Peter Langenstein is the owner of Brix 26, a personalized wine consultation service based in San Francisco. Peter recommends buying wine from a negociant as a money-saving option. A negociant is a merchant who purchases wine from smaller growers and vintners. The wine is sold under the name of the negociant, not the original producer.
Some well-known French negociants include George DeBoeuf (Beaujolais), Louis Jadot (Burgundy), Guigal and Jaboulet (Rhone). Some California negociants include: Cameron Hughes (sold at Costco), Castle Rock (sold at Trader Joes), Charles Shaw (sold at Trader Joes).
Peter recommends these negociant wines:
Palazzo 2006 Proprietary Red Napa Valley ($55)
L.A.-based former music video producer Scott Palazzo sources this Bordeaux-style blend from vineyards in Carneros for his label to produce one of the most balanced Cabernet blends.
Orin Swift 2007 The Prisoner Napa Valley ($34.99) and Orin Swift 2007 “Saldo” Zinfandel ($27.99)
The negociant label “par excellence,” owner and winemaker Dave Phinney has done a phenomenal job sourcing from great vineyards all over California for these delicious blends that contain varying amounts of Zinfandel and interesting labels.
Coho 20007 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley ($45)
Owner Brooks Painter and Gary Lipp, who also works at Chappelet and is able to make their wine there, started their own label called Coho and are making beautiful Merlot-based reds and this great new Pinot Noir sourced from the Russian River Valley.
Twenty Bench 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($19.99)
Nine North Wine Company is like a giant negociant winery that’s created a collection of reasonably priced wines and the Twenty Bench Napa Valley Cabernet is always one of our best buys.
Jax 2006 Y3 Chardonnay Napa Valley ($20)
Sourced from Atlas Peak and Oak Knoll district, the Y3 is a great value in Napa Chardonnay.
Music Break: Somethin' Else by Cannonball Adderley