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The highs and lows of wine pricing 

I recently read a wine industry report stating high-end wines (defined as $50+ per bottle) dwell in a "dead space." Well, duh, who has that money to burn, unless your surname reads Gates or Buffet? I've always harped on the lunacy of over-hyped cult beverages that spread the snobbery associated with wine. But the high flying, drunk-on-cash prices of years past are now biting them in the arse. So I sadistically shout "woo hoo," and look forward to seeing the price pendulum swing back my way.

Plenty of expensive wines taste scrumptiously delicious, but scant few merit more than a twenty. Think Screaming Eagle, Kistler or Chateau Latour. But nestled in that cost are posh ingredients like French oak, state-of-the-art equipment and fruit from the best vineyards -- as well as a hefty dose of profit. But do they taste better? Often (though not always) so I'd prefer these pricey princes fall to a sensible level more of us can afford. Perhaps this recession will accomplish something for the masses: "socialize" wine and make better juice available for everyone.

The wait might be over.

Applying this real-world economics lesson, the influx of excess wine inventory means prices are bottoming right now. It's a good time to be alive, ladies and gentlemen, because we can grab seriously delicious wines for paltry sums. $20 for a red Burgundy that formerly sold for $80, $10 for $50, etc. But you'll need to get in good with your friendly independent retailer, who knows the deals from the wholesalers. Ask and you might receive.

The Best Wine Deals Available at Sam's Club

From excess inventory to buying in bulk, wine drinkers are winners right now. So I decided to take a stroll through the wine section at Sam's Club while guiltily getting my fill of cheap, yet apparently evil, corn-fed beef, polluting paper products and gallon jugs of Worcestershire sauce. It's difficult to resist perusing bottles that might be under-priced. There were some gems that I feel obligated to share.

Not sure if they will be the same at all Sam's Clubs but these wineries are pretty large so, chances are, you're good to go.

La Crema 2007 Pinot Sonoma Coast: $21.93. I'm lovin' the fruit coming out of Sonoma Coast these days -- the really cool climate is perfect for chards and pinots. Good price on this one. The Sonoma Coast Chard is $16.42.

Coppola 2007 Claret Black Label: $14.68. I've never been a fan of most of Coppola's wines, finding them much too mainstream-sell-out for my taste. But their Claret, a Bordeaux varietal blend, rocks.

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve 2009 Chardonnay: $16.34. Wine snobs mock KJ but they're the champions of increased wine consumption in this country. For that, I'm forever indebted. $16 for their upper-tier Grand Reserve series is a steal.

Sin Zin 2007 Alexander Valley: $15.72. The name says it all, huh? One of the trailblazers in the cool name brigade, Alexander Valley Vineyards rarely disappoints.

Rosa Regale 2006: $18.08. A sexy, slightly sweet sparkler from Banfi in Italy. It's sure to light a fire in the ladies' eye.

Recommended Wines

Petite Petit 2006 Petite Sirah Lodi Fun label from Michael-David winery that features gigantic circus elephants. These are the same guys who delivered other whimsical wines like 7 Deadly Zins and 6th Sense Syrah. The irony of petite sirah is that it's far from petite. This intense behemoth is blended with 15 percent petit verdot, a French Bordeaux grape variety that lends some rustic-ness to the mix. Dark and leathery with black cherry, mocha and roasted plums. Yet in all that flavor, it has smooth acidity and approachable tannins. Sw=2. $18. 4 stars.

Sweetness (Sw) rating: 1-10. Star rating: 1-5. Reach Taylor at, on Twitter @tayloreason, on Facebook and on her Web site,

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