I have posted before about getting into tasting different wines. With the ridiculous distilled spirit prices here in Washington state, I bet the beer and wine producers have much higher stock prices. I know the outrageous prices due to taxes and greedy suppliers has driven me towards wine and beer and away from vodka.
A few I have had lately are Two Vines Cab/Merlot blend, Two Vines Merlot, and Columbia Crest Merlot. All three are delicious red wines that I have found a reasonable prices. Of the three I cannot really pick a favorite since I like them all so well. They are also somewhat local for me so I am supporting businesses that are making great wines in my region. There are some really good local wines but pricing ($20 or more) keeps me out of that market unfortunately. I know of a few other local wineries I need to try to see how their pricing is.
I do not have the desire or the finances to spend $12 or more on a bottle of wine. I cannot justify spending that much. I have found the three I mentioned here on a great sale for $6-8 a bottle, and I can afford to do that for the quality of wine I am getting.
For me, and I have mentioned this before, I like wines that have taste that resembles the fruits that they are made from. I have found that the more expensive wines get away from that. I can appreciate the complexities of the flavors but they DO have to be GOOD flavors. I do not necessarily want a sweet, fruity wine that might as well be sold as a wine cooler, but I want something that tastes great, has some substance to it, and is affordable.
I am not an expert and never will be. I just want to experience great wines at a great price.