Ok so the "good stuff" is in the cooler happily awaiting a special occasion or intentional indulgence but I like to drink wine with dinner or be able to offer a glass of wine to a guest and need some good "house wine" that is affordable, good with food and most importantly not a sugary fruit bomb.
I have been increasingly frustrated with the less expensive wines available in the 1.5L bottles from S. America and California, even Italy- they seem largely tailored to the big and sweet - Cabs that could pass for Welch's in a taste test
Recently I have gone in two directions to look for solutions - the very bottom of the shelf - Jugs, gasp I know, and the higher-end boxes two areas I hade not really explored. I found that while everything else in jug-ville was pretty much awful the Caro Rossi Burgundy was passable - dry-ish and palatable - if I was served a glass of it as "house" red I probably would not think twice one way or the other - it is stunningly cheap but alas the big jug does not last well and in boxes they only have their other wines which are undrinkable unless turned into sangria IMO
On the other end of the "value" spectrum I purchased a box of Le Ville Ferme - a Rhone red table wine from France in a 3L box. It is quite good, definitely a bargain for the quality, but not cheap at $28 or so. Different from most of the other "bargain" wines I have had it is dry, tastes like wine not juice and does not over power with fruitiness.
I feel like everything I have tried lately in the middle of the value spectrum (which I would put at the MAX $8 for 750 ml or $12 for 1.5 L or $20 box) is just way too fruit forward for my taste. I am looking for a simple dry red that will go with dinner and not overpower me with sweetness.
Is there something I over-looking? I prefer boxes for storage and flexibility (and the environment) but suggestions for inexpensive bottles are welcome too.
FYI live in the "wine desert" of Pennsylvania where the state controls our choices but do travel regularly out of state to purchase wine (Shhh!) still readily available wines are more easily obtained than obscure ones
looking for something outside the Bota-Box, Frontera rut on the cheap side and I unfortunately cant really have this conversation with the trusted staff at the specialty wine shops where I buy better stuff when occasion demands it.