When it comes to wine, most of us want the same thing that we look for in a golf course: an enjoyable experience that won’t break the bank. Josiah Baldivino is an avid golfer. He’s also the co-owner of Bay Grape, a gem of a wine shop in Oakland, California. We asked him to point us toward great red wines for under $30. Here’s his list of five that are crushing it.
Ercole Barbera del Monferrato Italy 2019, $17
This is one of best-value bottles I have come across in a long while. It’s made by an old-school cooperative of local growers in the Monferrato area of Italy. This is a lighter and prettier version of Barbera. But the best part about this wine is that it comes in a liter bottle with a screwcap. So, the next time you decide in the middle of your round that you are going to stop keeping score and just need something to calm the nerves as soon as possible, you can easily crack into this and start having fun. BUY NOW
Jean-Claude Lapalu Beaujolais Villages 2019, $26
Beaujolais has a bad rap for being basic. This one is the opposite. Gamay is the grape here, and if you haven’t had it, imagine a more playful version of pinot noir.
It’s very refreshing and best when served slightly chilled.
Pro tip: if you are going to bring lighter red wines on the course, I highly suggest putting the bottle in the fridge for 30 minutes and then pouring the wine into an insulated thermos. BUY NOW
Saliceto Albone Lambrusco Campogalliano 2020, $22
A cold, sparkling red on a warm day is a combination that can rival a perfectly-chilled glass of milk and fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies.
Bubbles make people feel good and pair well with defeat or victory.
Hard seltzer is becoming more and more popular these days, especially as an on-course beverage. But I implore you to come to the dark, fruity and dry side of Lambrusco. You won’t regret it!
Ellsworth Merlot Sierra Foothills 2019 $27
“I’m not drinking any f—— Merlot!” the ornery snob Miles Raymond says in the movie Sideways. Clearly, the man never tried this merlot. A small-production wine from the Sierra Foothills, it’s crowd-pleasing yet compelling. When it’s made well, Merlot can be one of the plushest and most fulfilling wines — a top-of-the-leaderboard selection.
Cacique Maravilla Pipeno Pais Yumbel 2020 $19
There are tons of affordable, interesting wines coming out of Chile right now.
This is one of my favorites. It’s made from a grape called Pais and tastes like fresh strawberries mixed with wet rock. This particular wine is made in a style that was originally developed for farmers to drink after working all day in the sun. It could just as easily have been made to enjoy after a long day on the links. BUY NOW