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Let's Wine

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Joined: 11/02/2008 - 09:48
Let's Wine

A mega-thread transferred from:  http://www.koreabridge.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=4890

Help! I love good wine, but find the prices here unreasonable. I'd rather drink 소주 than pay U.S. $25 for Mouton Cadet or U.S. $16 for Yellow Tail. Thus far I've been able to find one or two decent values, usually from Chile, for under W12,000 at each the bigger grocery stores I've been in, including Dongnae MegaMart. But can anyone improve on that?

What are your favorite wine shops (if any)? And are there any (gulp) wine bars in Pusan? 

Disclaimer: yes, I realize I'm not in Kansas (or Oz) anymore; and yes, I'm very thankful for the few bargains I have found. (I never thought I'd be grateful for Chilean cabernet.) And I actually like 소주, which is made from Korea's wonderful (and wonderfully abundant) sweet potatoes, and not from "grain" and certainly not from rice.
You can join a wine club on daum.net. They have monthly dinners and wine tasting. Wine can be expensive here because of the tariffs, but there can be a bargain or 2 around. Ylleo tail was on sale in homeplus a week or so ago. It was around 12 000won which isn't great, but the best you will be able to do. I find homever has the best wine selection these days, but you have to pay about 20-30 000 per bottle. They have Australian Shiraz/Voigner, some Chilean and Spanish wine around that price. You can also buy some wine in the liquor shops in Kukje market cheaper than supermarkets. You can get Montes Carbernet for around 24 000 which is 34 000 in supermarkets.
Actually the commercially produced Soju, which you may not be talkign about (although if you're talking about the traditional stuff I wonder where you get it) is made from Ethanol, water and flavouring, it's not distilled in the sense that other spirits are.
Also, there is some French wine that isn't great, but you can drink it, for 10 000 won in the liquor section of Kukje market.
Someone once told me that most Soju has a whole bunch of preservatives Formaldehyde being one of them. All that I know is I can drink a fair amount and not get hungover. More than 3 shots of soju and I am looking at a headache...
I think the formaldehyde story is a bit of an urban myth, but the chemical nature of it is certainly enough to ruin anyone the next day.
I hit the sales. Every few months HomePlus, MegaMart, E-Mart, Homever, etc. have "1+1" sales or serious price reductions, usually on Chilean or Australian wine. I go to these sales and buy a dozen or more bottles to stock up 'til the next sale comes along. The sales are very hit-and-miss. I hit the various stores about once a month (MegaMart is the one closest to my place, but I visit the other stores monthly-ish to buy stuff the MegaMart doesn't sell) and if I catch a sale, great.

Bottles of wine that are normally 12 to 18,000 won go for 5 or 6,000 during the sales.
What's wrong with Chilean wine? It beats most French wines hands down. Do you know that most French vines are transplants of Chilean vines?
Soju shouldn't be knocked too much either. It's got it's time and place and if you're getting headaches from it, you shouldn't be drinking the 900won variety. It's not like it's expensive. That's like complaining that wine gives you a headache because you drink Ripple or Thunderbird.
Had a Chilian wine ( red ) the other day. I got it for 8 000 at a family mart. Can't remember the name but it was pretty good. Most of the cheaper French wines ie under 10 k havent been so to my liking. I'm not much on wine so I don't pay much more than 12 a bottle anyway...
Too funny, I find I have the same problem...

Again completely wrong, many current French wines are replants of California vines... but what is new... Though there is nothing wrong with Chilean wine.
Weiku Boy,
You could make a night of it and come to nonaim cafe... We are not exactly a wine bar, but we have a very relaxing atmosphere. $22 gets you a nice Aussie wine (we do have a few other kinds)... another $15 for a great cheese platter. Plus, we are pretty generous with the crackers and olives. 

Or you could keep checking out the sales at the grocery stores. I've found a few good deals, although it is hit and miss.

There is a nonaim cafe thread floating around near this one for more information.

matt sid
There is a wine bar in the KyungSung area, across from Wa Bar and above Thrusday Party if my memory serves me correctly. I haven't been there, but a friend has and he says they have a massive selection and the prices aren't that much higher than buying in the supermarket.

I am in a rush right now, so if you need better directions I will update the post later.
Thanks for all your replies, especially Sadie. I'll definitely be watching for sales at Home Plus, etc. And I want to check out the Nonaim Cafe, next opportunity. 

On my last visit to Home Plus I found a nice-looking Argentine malbec, Bodega Privada, on sale for under W8000. I haven't opened it yet; but as long as the wine is drinkable, that is a good price even by U.S. standards. 

I found a wine bar, also in the area in front of PNU. It's called Goguma, and it's close to, and just downhill from, McDonald's -- but not the big McDonald's that's on the main street that runs from the subway up to the PNU gate. It's a couple of streets over from -- south of -- the big main street, and is closer to the subway station than the campus. W8000 was the lowest price I saw for a glass of red -- a Spanish rioja and/or tempranillo. The place has a nice atmosphere, dark and elegant but friendly.

Overall, though, I'm sad that wine is so expensive, and thus seen in Korea more as something for special occasions than for everyday living. And it's not just Korea; the same thing is true all over Asia. It's too bad; our hosts don't know what they're missing.
OP, I feel your pain. We moved here from Argentina where our everyday wine cost the equivalent of 1,000 won and an awesome bottle could be had for 10,000. LIke Sadie said the two for one deals are the best, but we don't drink nearly as much wine here as we are used to.
I don't know if you can get it in korea but I gotta tell you, I had my favorite white wine ever...
It is a sweet one though.


good stuff.
Things are looking up. The Bodega Privada W7800 Argentine malbec was certainly drinkable -- better than drinkable. And as preposterous as this might sound, I found a Spanish wine -- actually, a wine rep working in Home Plus pointed it out to me -- for W2900 that is not only drinkable, but actually good. It's called (and believe me, I considered keeping this as my secret) "Valhondo", and there is a red and a white (both for the same price; and yes, W2900 is not a typo). Both are country table wines; but the red appears to be made largely from the tempranillo grape (Spain's signature red grape, used in the wines of Rioja, Spain's answer to Italy's Chianti). The white, which I've had twice now, was surprisingly tasty; and though I was not able to confirm the grape(s), the wine is very similar to the good-value whites from northwest Spain I've enjoyed in Teh States for many years.

I don't know what you're on about, there are lots of decent wines for around $10.

South African Obikwa: Shiraz, Cab. and Merlot all 6900
Italian Citra: Montepuliciano, Sangeovese, Merlot and Cab. all 7900(now20% off!)
Some decent Ciantis for 10,000
Spanish Solara: Tempranillo for 8800

All at Emart

And many more which I can't remember. . .at homeplus, plus there is always a sale on one brand or another
If you want a hobby, why not make your OWN wine? I do.

It is not great wine, but I have a lot of fun and it is CHEAP.

My best wines are from maechil or pear juice. I like the drinkable stuff I get from Korean grape juice.
You can make wine from anything! Coffee, pomegranate essence, pineapple rinds, watermelon rinds.. whatever.

If you want to try it, I will give you all the basic information and yeasts and such. I use a yeast strain 
from Burgundy, France that is very robust and yields high alcohol content. I also have powdered tannin
from grapes that gives grapes that "dry" flavor for red wines , unless you want a sweet wine..
Choose your flavor, add sugar and yeast, then put it in an "oxygen proof" bubbler container that you made.
then WAIT. 

This is a VERY easy process. You can drink your product in 30 days, but is NOT wine, yet. You will have a grape
wine at 6 months, but I let some of my product age for years. Its up to you.

Fruit "wines" are drinkable very quickly, except grape. Grape wines need time to age and change, but 6 months is 

If you want to try pineapple beer, as made in South Africa, just put what you would normally throw away in a large,
sterile glass jar with some sugar and set it on your counter for a few days or a week. You will have pineapple-beer. 
The yeast on the skin will ferment the sugar and give you alcohol. Refrigerate it , or you won't like it as it grows older.

Among my Korean friends, I am "famous" for my machil-ju... Koreans harvest the fruit and age them in a ton of sugar to
flavor the eventual liquid. I buy the juice (or my friends give me home-made), and I just add my yeast and wait. The result
is very mild and very tasty. MUCH better than just taking the juice and mixing it with soju.

Neuveau wine , anyone? contact: [email protected] if you are interested.
Name them. Finding decent wines in Korea for under W10,000 (U.S. $11) is not as easy as it is in the U.S. 

Are you saying you've actually tried some or all of these, and thus can recommend them? The issue isn't whether there is cheap wine in Korea. Clearly, there is (see: Rossi, Carlo). The issue is finding good quality wines at fair prices, and sharing the information; and if you've found any good values in the W10,000-40,000 range, I'd like to hear about those, too.

Um, OK. The Solara tempranillo is a good tip, though; so, thanks for that. It's not one of my favorites, but I would buy it here. Cheers!
Currently Namcheon Mega Mart has got a tasty Medoc red (appelation Medoc controlle) for 9 thousand and change. It's in the main display area.
Try the Trio from homeplus, it is cab, merlot, and cab franc, i think and it is great. 24k

also the wine next to ONO is really good and the selection of wine is the best I have seen in Busan, Search this thread for ONO for directions...
What's wrong with Thunderbird or Mad Dog 20/20? Are you a snob or something?
Nope, and I got no problem with Soju either. I do have a problem with people telling me sh1te beer like Asahi or Sapporo or that Philippine crap is any better than a Hite. It's all the same weak swill but as it will all get you drunk, it all has a place.
Best wine deals I've found so far, the two for ones at the Mega mart. Good enough for this monkey.
Hite's crap! Maybe you should take a few steps away from the flag and give yer tastebuds a break with that Korean beer. Asahi, Sapporo, and San Miguel are better than Hite. I'd put it to a vote. 

If you drink Hite and say it's good, then I'd wager you'd drink Budweiser and Colt 45 back home. Personally, when I am in America, I drink Sam Adams, unless a good microbrew was available.
I vote for Asahi or Sapporo any day, San Miguel is a smooth clean tasting bear that has been around for over a hundred years, good comparing that with Hite.

In Japan there are several kinds of Asahi, we only get 2 or 3 here, they have a large range of styles and tastes. I will continue to buy it if for no other reason than Hite has raised its prices for the bottle so that buying Asahi is only a little more and I DON'T GET THE HITE HEADACHE!!!

Also Soju, do we even need to talk about that swill~

You can get really cheap vodka here that makes soju pail in comparison and soju is only drunk because of culture not taste, you are not Korean if you don't drink it...
There's two so far.
Asahi Sapporo and San Miguel are all about as good as Miller, Hite, or Bud. But where does a guy who loves Thunderbird and MD 20-20 have room to criticize Hite?

I'd prefer those to Hite any day of the week. Where these wines give me hallucinations, they don't taste like chilled pi$$ (don't ask!).
Plenty of room! 

I'd prefer those to Hite any day of the week. HITE is that bad! Where these wines give me hallucinations, they don't taste like chilled pi$$ (don't ask!) like HITE does. I'd prefer drinking wine strained through Chief Meaty's sweaty sock to drinking HITE! Unless you have a 9mm pointed at my skull, you will witness neither event happen in your lifetime!
Uhm, you've worked out with the Chief, right? I'd quickly retract that statement. And I still say the Japanese and Philippino beers are just as bad as any other pi$$water in a bottle. But I don't mind. I drink pretty much all beers except for Miller, Molson, and Cafri. Those three all taste oddly similar to me, kind of a dank Chief Meaty sweatsock aftertaste.
[size="4"][/size]getting back to wine. i would like to suggest three grant burgess wines all available at e mart. each is a good value in this korean wine market: 1) GB cabernet selling for 9900won; 2)Benchmark shiraz from grant burgess selling for 15,900 and 3) Benchmark cabernet from grant burgess as well, selling for 15,900 won. each is worth a try. all available in the 2005 or 2006 vintage.
As far as Aussie wines in the local grocer are concerned. I enjoy Yellow Tail or Wolf Blass if it's available. Not too haughty, but good enough to accompany most of the fare I present on my table. Aussie Shiraz, Merlots and Cab Sauv blends are great for the occasional steak dinner. 

I am disappointed with the selection of Chianti and Valpolicella are woefully lacking. When preparing a decent Italian spread, it's nice to accent it with an above average vino. If anyone has a suggestion, or good intelligence on available Italian reds in Korea, I am all ears.
you might check out winetime in the benecity building in haeundae. they had some nice italian wines there on my last visit. i am not sure of the price you are looking at. but they did stock castello di rampola which sells in the states for about $40. they had it for about 45000 won. it is in the same row of stores as starbucks and hagen daz.
Winetime is excellent, that is the store I was talking about in my previous post. I also picked up some Italian wine at Homever just down the street, They seemed to be having a sale and I got about 5 different decent wines for around 35000.

Check them out they had a sale on quite a few things which was a nice change.
I noticed a new wine shop in Sajik-dong just down from the Sports Complex Subway station on the North-east exit. Haven't bothered to stop in as I just imagine that it's fairly overpriced, plus I can't carry it on my MTB.

The previous Brands I mentioned I have all tried and are decent for the price especially the ones from Italy. To the guy about the Italian Chantis or Valpolicellas, I have found the brand Baldigio Chianti(spelling might be wrong) to be really good at times, although I've gotten 2 rotten corks from that brand and it tasted awful. Zonin Valpolicella. is also pretty good too. you can get both for around 10k at homeplus in Sajik. There are also 2 more pricey brands for around 18 or 20k(haven't tried). Important thing with Chianti is to see if it's the original region or the mixed region grapes. 

As far as comparing hite to sapporo, there is no comparison. One is a fine German engineered dry beer, the other is about 70% barley 30% adjunct(corn sugars/junk)+preservative combination that resembles beer. Korea seems to be the only asian country that doesn't have a decent beer, i think it's due to the general lack of interest in beer in their culture. Mind you Max and that Exfeel S are on the right path but they have a LONG way to go. And if you turn around and say German beers are all crap or the same too then you mustn't be a beer lover, rather drinking it just to get drunk. if that's the case just get that cheap commander vodka mentioned before and save a couple bucks. wink.gif
I noticed a new wine shop in Sajik-dong just down from the Sports Complex Subway station on the North-east exit. Haven't bothered to stop in as I just imagine that it's fairly overpriced, plus I can't carry it on my MTB. Maybe I'll pop in just to be sure. . . 

The previous Brands I mentioned I have all tried and are decent for the price especially the ones from Italy. To the guy about the Italian Chantis or Valpolicellas, I have found the brand Baldigio Chianti(spelling might be wrong) to be really good at times, although I've gotten 2 rotten corks from that brand and it tasted awful. Zonin Valpolicella is pretty good too. you can get both for around 10k at homeplus in Sajik. There are also 2 more pricey brands for around 18 or 20k(haven't tried). Important thing with Chianti, they say, is to see if it's the original region labeled 'Chianti Classico' or the neaby regions grapes labeled as per region. the best stuff is supposedly 'Chianti Superiore', imagine that must be a pretty penny.

As far as comparing hite to sapporo, there is no comparison. One is a fine German engineered Japanese inspired dry beer, the other is about 70% barley 30% adjunct(corn sugars/junk)+preservative combination that resembles beer. Korea seems to be the only asian country that doesn't have a decent beer, i think it's due to the general lack of interest in beer in their culture. Mind you Max and that Exfeel S are on the right path but they have a LONG way to go. And if you turn around and say German beers are all crap or the same too then you mustn't be a beer lover, rather drinking it just to get drunk. if that's the case just get that cheap commander vodka mentioned before and save a couple bucks. wink.gif
Excellent posts all around, guys and gals, especially you, Orion. I'll buy Citra next time I'm at an E Mart based on your say-so, as I really like Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which is consistently among the best values in the wine world. And I actually bought a Zonin Valpo earlier this evening, after you reminded me of it. 

Meanwhile, I continue to be impressed as hell with the Bodega Privada Malbec from Argentina. At W7800, it is one of the best U.S. $8.50 wines I've had anywhere. Everyday wine lives again! And it sure beats dear old 소주 no offense to our hosts.

I'm not a beer guy, but I don't think Cass and Hite are bad. My understanding is that, unlike wine, freshness counts with beer; and the best beers are almost always local brews that haven't traveled far or aged much. The one exception I can think of is Hoegaarden, a wheat beer, which does seem to travel well, and which I've enjoyed just as much here as in the tropical heat of Singapore or a snowy winter in Teh States.

Well I finally made it out to the E-Mart at Guseo, and was rewarded with the best wine shop I've yet seen in Pusan -- by far. It is better even than Orion made it out to be, with a wide-ranging selection that includes many good and/or good-looking bottles for under W10,000. Whoever the wine buyer is for that particular E-Mart location really knows what he or she is doing. Moreover, the sale prices don't require an E-Mart card or coupons; they're just sale prices. Very nice tip, Orion. 

At the moment I'm savoring a 2005 Leap of Faith Southeastern Australia Shiraz-Cab, in honor of yesterday's resounding defeat of Dick "Cakewalk" Cheney's odious BFF John Howard. It's under W12,000 and it's delicious.

Cheers! to E-Mart Guseo, and Cheers! to Oz.
E-Mart in Haeundae (right at jungdong station) is having a wine sale. It looks like they are trying to clean out a lot of small lots of wines. They have 5 bottles of this and 7 bottles of that kind of thing. I bought four of the Amigo cab sav and merlot for 5,000 each. A totally drinkable wine. (It's the same one that Homever and 2001 used to sell in 2 for 10,000 box deal). Go check it out. They had about 100 bottles on sale at least.
Two good wines to report: First, Pierre de Valangeay 2004 Bourgueil, a cabernet franc from France's gorgeous Loire Valley. Second, Domaine de Lory 2004 Costieres de Nimes, a syrah-grenache from the hotter Rhone Valley. The former is a light, aromatic red; the latter is a dark, heavy, spicy red. Both are priced at under W10,000 at E-Mart in Guseo-dong.

Also, the Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is indeed a bargain. I like the 1.5 liter bottle for W15,000, equal to two regular-sized bottles for W7500 each, and an especially good value if you drink a half-bottle or more per day, and thus can finish it within the four days it will stay fresh on your kitchen counter with a good stopper. I'll try the Citra Sangiovese next. 

건 배!
I don't drink wine much but I do frequent a cafe directly above the main Mcdonald's in PNU. They have a huge wine selection and a great relaxed atmosphere. The owner speaks English too, although he is only usually there later in the evenings.
Hey people, just a heads up out there. I was in Homeplus beside Bexco yesterday and they have the Argentinian Malbec Bodega Privada on sale for 4500 won which is usually 7800. I don't know if this sale exists in other locations, or how long it will last. You have to be quick when the opportunity presents itself. 

There is a wine bar near Emart in Haeundae which I don't remember the name of, but will post more info on soon.
How about we be proactive and try to form some sort of wine outing? What are some of the wine bars in town? Would anyone be willing to get a group together for a weekend night and try a few bottles at a wine bar? If there were a small group willing to go (between 4-8 people or so) we could split a couple of decent bottles for about the same price as a night on the the town drinking Hite, Cass and 5,ooo won mixers... so what do you say? Let's kick around some ideas or places to go and when.
I wouldn't mind meeting , but it depends. Perhaps my contribution to wine available that I buy might explain. I usually go to Homever to buy wine. I find E-mart and Homeplus as okay, but unimpressive overall.

In Homever they have a good selection of good Spanish, Australian, Chiliean and Argentinian wine. The prices for the "Robert Parker" wines are around the 20 000 - 30 000 range. They have recently had quite a few good Shiraz/Viogniers from Mclaren Vale. I also don't mind buying some Montes wine.

At Kim's Club in the basement of the outlet store near Goejeong Station they have a wide range of Montes wines. The best being the Malbec which has been on sale at times fro 10 000, but usualy goes for around 15 000.

If you like Montes wines some of the foreign food stores in Kukje market have Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon for 24 000, which usually goes for around 35 000 in supermarkets. They also have French wine for around 10 000 which I'm sure would have a similar mark up in supermarkets.
Thanks for reviving the Let's Wine thread. It's about time!

SALE ALERT: Home Plus has Hardy's Southeastern Australia Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay wines on sale right now, for W6360 per 750 ml (75cL). I've tried the Cab and Chard, and imho they are very good values at that price.

Hardy's is a producer that, like Citra, I scorned to try in the U.S.; but I'm very thankful for them now.

With the approach of spring, I've been into whites lately. Anyone tried any remarkable whites lately?

and Trevor, where is the Homever? Thanks. E-Mart Guseo-Dong is still my best store in Busan by far.
Homever is on the main beach road in Haeundae, across from DaeWoo Marina Apt. From Dong Baek Seom subway take I believe exit 1 and look for DaeWoo and Sun Plaza signs and find your way to a road that serves DaeWoo and comes out to the main beach road opposite Sun Plaza & Homever. Homever in Haeundae has the best supermarket wine selection IMO.

Speaking of wine venues there is a Wine Time shop a 2 min. walk from Homeover, going toward the beach, opposite Camellia and beside BeneCity (there's a Starbuck's next door). Without a doubt the best selection of wines are found here, sold by knowledgeable and attentive staff, however at typically higher prices than for the same wines stocked in the supers. Every month though they have 40% promotions on certain higher-end wines, so you can often get some real bargains. Alas, given the lack of customer traffic it gets here in Busan (compared to Seoul), I wouldn't be surprised if it soon goes the way of the dodo bird... like Won Tae's taco shop come the fall.
The Homever I go to is the one in the basement of Zio place which is kind of between Beomnaekol subway station (line 1) and Jeonpo subway station (line 2). I also bought a bottle of Astica Cab.sav. in Lotte department store for 10,000 down from 20,000. It isn't very exciting, but went down well with some pizza.
Reviving this thread where we left off, E-Mart Guseo-Dong has Citra Sangiovese 1.5L (a double-size bottle) on sale for W9900 (down from W15,000). That's a very good bargain in Korea. (Thanks again, Orion.)

I was in Seoul recently, and found something I'd been missing since coming to Korea: pinot noir. In the Lotte Mart at Seoul Station I found (with very little effort) a 2006 Laboure-Roi Bourgogne Rouge (red Burgundy) for under W20,000. (Previous vintages of this wine sold for between $12-$15 in the U.S.) I brought it back to Pusan to age a bit.

The Lotte near Seoul City Hall has a very nice wine store. I chose a 2006 Rothschild Vin de Pays d'Oc "Pinot Noir" for W12,000. I am generally very skeptical of any French wine with "Pinot Noir" on the label, as that seems to indicate it was made for the U.S. market; but something about the bottle -- the attractiveness of the label, the low price, the Rothschild name -- made me want to take a chance. I was rewarded with a very nice wine experience, staying up late at night in my 18th floor hotel room, sitting by the windows, looking out at the lights of Seoul, drinking it slowly but steadily from a hotel water glass (on top of a very good dinner in Myeong-dong of 삼겹살 and 뒨장찌개). That, to me, is what wine is all about.
I bought some Rothschild wine in Busan. I don't think it was Lotte mart. I think it was either Homeplus or E-mart.

Kim's Club in Goejeong is having a sale of low quality French red wine. Bottles are going for 5,000-7,000 won. I've drunk a couple and they are sufficient for downing with pasta or pizza. If you don't think they're that great you can always use them for cooking.
Thought I might also add that there are wine clubs on Daum Cafe. I'm a member of a couple. Might see you at a function if you join.


Home Plus at Oncheonjang has Bodega Privada Argentine Malbec marked down to W4500. Peppie reported this earlier, wrt another Home Plus location. It doesn't look like a sale, but rather a permanent markdown. Folks, this is a steal. A good wine for less than $5 U.S.

I typically buy only one or two bottles of vodka per year; but I have a craving for one now that the weather's hot. I want to mix it with fruit juice in a glass with lots of ice; yet I just can't bring myself to pay $27 for something that sells for half that price in the U.S. Where is the best place in town to buy vodka (and scotch and bourbon)?
matt sid
There is a suberb wine shop come wine barbetween E-Mart and the Rodeo outlet mall in Haeundae, I forget the name of it, but you can't miss it. It's on the right walking from E-mart to the Rodeo. I just searched this thread and was surprised nobody has mentioned this place before. 

It has 2 floors, the bottom floor is the wineshop, where they have a huge range, from the affordable to the steep. Then, if you wish, you can take your bottle upstairs and hang out in their bar/cafe there.

If I remember the name, or if anyone else knows it, I will update the post.
matt sid
Homeplus seems to have some incredible deals at the moment with prices so low you start to think what's wrong with the wine.

They have the well known Australian Hardy's (various varieties, both red and white) at 6-8 bucks a bottle. They have another Australian brand Moonya, which I've seen at over 10 bucks in Megamart, but here only 5 bucks a bottle and the Chilean Rio Bueno (sp?) also at 5 bucks. I wouldn't call the latter 2 great wines, but certainly drinkable wines. The Hardy's is just an incredible bargain.
Hey Matt (all this time, and I finally just got Matt's ID; well OK, so I'm not the sharpest tool in the old shed), thanks for the review of Moonya and Rio Bueno. You nailed my thought process exactly: if they're that cheap, something must be wrong with them. So I haven't tried those wines. But I will now, thanks to you.

My philosophy, in case any reader of this thread hasn't picked up on it by now, is that any fool can find a good bottle of wine for $20 or more. (Provided, he or she knows something about wine, or takes the time to read the wine media, or is smart enough to find and trust a knowledgeable salesperson.) The joy of wine, however, is finding good bottles for under $10 (U.S.), and great bottles for less than $20. I think it all goes back to our first trip to Europe, to that first time in France (or Italy, or Greece, or wherever) and that first great wine experience and the revelation that in the civilized world, wine -- good wine -- is an everyday affair that isn't supposed to cost a lot.

Yes, if I could afford to drink top-rated Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne every day, I would. And just for the record, I have seen plenty of red Burgundy (i.e., pinot noir) in Pusan. Just not for a very attractive price, in my opinion. Which brings me back to: Where IS the best place to buy liquor (scotch, bourbon, vodka, etc.) here in Busan? Anyone?
matt sid
Actually my id is matt sid, 'sid' being the first three letters of my surname. You're not the first person to think the way you did though.
Summer is the time for rose; and I've found a good one:

Henry de Brieres Domaine Beillant 2004 Cabernet d'Anjou, served lightly chilled, is fruity and delicious; and for just W7900 from E-Mart, is a great bargain. The Loire Valley is perhaps the loveliest part of France if not the planet; and I'm a big fan of its cabernet franc. Still, finding a good rose outside of Europe is a rarity, and a cause for celebration.

Moonya Southeastern Australia 2006 Shiraz-Cabernet is, as Matt told us, very good, and for W4900 at Home Plus, another excellent bargain. Home Plus hasn't run out of W4500 Bodega Privada Argentine Malbec, and let's hope it never does. (However, on a sad note E-Mart seems to have no more 1.5L bottles of Citra at any price. TT)
That Henry de Brieres Domaine Beillant 2004 Cabernet d'Anjou rose was so extraordinarily good, I returned to my E-Mart to buy up the rest of their stock. Instead, I found that some other person or persons beat me to it! Every single bottle, gone!

Well, c'est la vie. I bought a Marques de Monistrol 2006 Tempranillo-Merlot from the Penedes region of Spain, their next best rose according to E-Mart's knowledgeable sales staff. Amazingly it, too, is very good, and at W7000 another bargain. Wow, two good roses in one week! Again, whoever the wine buyer is for E-Mart really knows what he or she is doing.

Forget 보신탕. Delicious rose wines will get us through the dog days of Korean summer.

Note: When last checked, E-Mart Guseo-Dong was also out of the Marques de Monistrol rose. However, Lotte Mart at Dongnae (or Myungnyun-Dong) still had a few bottles left.
It occurred to me last weekend, as I was walking home from scoring another amazing value, this time a nice Spanish red (a hearty tempranillo) for under $7 (and which turned out to be delicious), that for the better part of the last year I've enjoyed better wines for better prices than I ever did in the U.S. This has been a really pleasant surprise about living in Korea.

It's true that in any U.S. superstore there are dozens if not hundreds of great values under $12. But how many good wines are there, really, for less than $10? And how many for less than $8? (I can think of exactly one.) Yet in Busan I've found good value after good value after good value. True, it takes a lot of shopping, and a lot of legwork. But still.

On the list of things I like about Korea, the availability of good quality low-priced wines ranks very highly.
Exciting wine news.

Two really fantastic wines from E-Mart. Both from the House of Torres of Catalunya in Spain, which has been around more or less forever. The first a fruity rose, Torres DeCasta 2006 Catalunya Rosado; the second a delicious white, Torres San Valentin 2006 Catalunya Parellada. Both available, curiously, only in half-bottles for W5000 each; but great values nevertheless.

Another white, the Moonya 2006 Southeastern Australia Colombard-Chardonnay, is a solid value at W4900 from Home Plus. In America I generally avoided Australian wines because of their unspectacular (read: boring) though consistently clean and fruity qualities. Now in Korea I treasure them for precisely those same qualities. Viva Australia! Viva Espana!

The Homeplus I go to has "Peter Lehman 2004 Barossa Shiraz Grenache" for 6900 down from 24900. The Grenache lightens and softens the wine. Not everyone likes Grenache which might be one reason they are discounting it.
Greetings Fellow Wine Lovers,

End-of-Summer Wine News: Three Great Values to Report! Red, White, and Rose

1. The Red: Sabatacha Ecologico 2003 Crianza (i.e. young Tempranillo) from the Jumilla region of Spain. This is a serious (and seriously delicious) red that the Guseo-Dong E-Mart sold for under W10,000. It'd be a good value at twice that price.

2. The White: Tesco 2006 Soave Classico (i.e. Garganega from northeastern Italy). Tesco (and Samsung) owns Home Plus; yet this one from the Oncheonjang store was a nice Soave, crisp, fruity and acidic -- a decent value at W8900. (As a bonus: the bottle's label is not only attractive but very informative, a model for wine labels.)

3. The Rose: Calloway Crossing 2007 Southeastern Australia Shiraz Rose. In a summer of splendid roses comes now a powerful wine, as you'd expect for a rose made from Aussie Shiraz. A good value for W9900 at the Oncheonjang Home Plus.

Cheers! [Note to Trevor: I added specific store locations per your request. I guess it does make a difference which E-Mart or Home Plus. For example, I never noticed the good value in Peter Lehman Shiraz Grenache, and indeed saw that wine selling for W23,900 or W24,900 at my Home Plus today.]
Which e-mart and homeplus do you go to?
HELP! I can't find this illusive thread you talk about which tells us where the wine and cheese platters can be found. It sounds horribly good and I need to find you! Nonaim Cafe - what is the thread name? Or, how do I get there??

Sorry to say that NoNaim closed it's doors earlier this year. The location in PNU is now an all day Brunch place.

I've been drinking a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from Homeplus called Rio Bueno.
It only costs 4 bucks and is suprisingly good for the price.
Not amazing, but fine for a school night.

On the recommendation of this message from March, I tried Hardy's and I've been pretty happy with the Shiraz. I tried a few other wines on the thread, as well, and I had good things to say about them, as well! I don't remember which ones and my notes are at home in a box as I just moved.

However, because I have gotten such good information out of this thread, I will pass on a SALE ALERT that is happening at the HomePlus in Centum City: 

Right now (and until next Wednesday, I believe) the Hardy's Southeastern Australia Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay wines are on sale for the low price of two bottles for the price of one (sticker price, W7800). I was in a huge rush so I just grabbed two bottles but I will for sure be going back to buy some more tonight. I believe there were several other wines on for sale but I didn't note them or the prices as I was rushing.

Thought I'd throw that out there, and I'll try my best to make a note of the wine and the other prices when I go tonight. 

Cheers for the heads up on that bargain! If you or anyone else happens to know whether that applies to other HomePlus stores (esp the PNU/Oncheon one), please post. If not, it's still worth a trip to Centum City.
Thanks for the tip. Home Plus Oncheonjang has had some really good sales lately; but the bad news is it looks like they might be closing out my favorite low-priced wines (Moonya 2006 SE Australia Shiraz-Cab and Bodega Privada Argentine Malbec, both of which I might have bought the very last bottles). I didn't notice a 2-for-1 sale on Hardy's there last weekend; but I'll try to get down there and check it out before the end of the week.

You're both quite welcome for the tip. I went last night and bought 8 more bottles of the Hardy's and another brand. HomePlus usually indicates a sale sticker as yellow (as opposed to white for regular price sticker) but I don't know if some of there are actually on sale or are just being highlighted (because they have a wine glass or two attached to them). The sale apparently goes until the 15th of this month which is next Wednesday.

Here's what I wrote down:

Two Bottles for the Price of One

Hardy's - Australia
Shiraz, Cab Sauv, Chardonnay - 2007 - W7900

Spain - Campo De Borja
Garanacha, Tempranillo - 2005 - W9900

Italy - Soave
Classico - yr N/A - W8900

Bottles with 2 Glasses Attached

Chile - 35 degrees South
Cab Sauv Reserve - 2007 - W17900

Chile - Calaina 
Reserva, Cab Sauv - 2007 - W19900

Bottles with 1 Glass Attached

France - Mouton Cadet
Bourdeaux - 2005 - W29000

No Glass Attached 
(maybe just a sale, maybe a highlight, I don't know)

Italy - Ruffinno
Chianti - 2005 - W19000

Italy - Santa Cristina - 2007 - W23000.

There ya go! If someone who knows more about wine than I sees something that is a good deal or that is something that they know is a good wine to try, please point it out to me! I tend toward drier reds, but my experience with wine is pretty limited. Cheers.

The 2-for-1 sale on Hardy's Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay is also at the Oncheonjang Home Plus. That's W3900 per red and W3400 per white, fellow wine lovers -- an outstanding value. It doesn't get any better than this.

I've noticed the Campo de Borja Garnacha listed by Thunder; but I didn't see that it is a garnacha-tempranillo. It's a really nice looking bottle; so if it is in fact a garnacha-tempranillo, I'll definitely be trying it very soon.

We need some good wines with which to toast the end of the world.

Extra Note: I never did find vodka at a reasonable price; but I did find the perfect thing to mix with soju. 석류 or pomegranate juice and ice with 참이슬 soju was a really nice substitute for vodka-and-cranberry juice on hot nights this past summer.
WB, ya done good. Thx for starting this thread and seeing it thru. I will head to HomePlus Oncheonjang tomorrow, then drown my sorrows after that trouncing of Lotte tonight..
I am not sure if there was confusion, but that was a list (a two item list, which I should have put 'and' between. Sorry.). It's not "Campo de Borja" Tempranillo-Garnacha, hyphenated together, but two separate wines. I assume you know that it's the Tempranillo by Campo de Borja and, a second wine, Garnacha, by Campo de Borja. Honestly, I said before that I'm not very knowledgeable about wine, but that was how I read WeikuBoy's message and I didn't want him to go out of his way to Centum City and then be disappointed.

As to what I meant but didn't correctly write, at Centum, the have both the Tempranillo and the Garnacha bottles. Tonight, I tried the Tempranillo and it was great. I probably drank more than I should have on a Thursday evening, but hey, it's the real start of the weekend, no? For more on Campo de Borja's wines, see here:http://www.docampodeborja.com/en/. Cheers! Happy to give back to the community. 

As an aside, if anyone wants to give/point to a primer on what a new wine drinker should be looking for vis-a-vis quality versus price, I would be grateful. This thread in itself has given me a great deal of information on what's available in Busan, but a general education in wine couldn't hurt anyone. 


End of the Month Wine News

Home Plus Oncheonjang now has a wine I encountered in Seoul and reported on upthread. (See post #48, dated 05/12/2008; or 12/05/2008 for BritWorlders; 2008.05.12 for Koreans.) It's the Rothschild Vin de Pays d'Oc Pinot Noir; but rather than the 2006 for W12,000 from Lotte Mart I reported on earlier, Home Plus has the 2005 for W14,500. I haven't tried it yet. I've been stocking up on wine (and whisky and all else from overseas) in anticipation of the dramatic price increases for imported goods that seem likely to follow the devalued Kwon. But even merely decent pinot noir at W14,500 in Korea is something rare and good.

Thunder, no problemo in re the Campo de Borja Temp and Garnacha. My Home Plus doesn't stock the Temp; that's why I was confused. I'll try the Garnacha soon; it's a very good-looking bottle. In response to your request for an education in wine, as no one else has stepped forward to help let me say that I would suggest reading the wine media. Subscribe to a magazine like Wine Spectator for a couple of years. It'll not only teach you the basics about grapes and regions, it'll also teach you how to talk about wine.

The bottom line is that snobbery and rules are out and the only thing that really matters is what tastes good to you. If you want a white with meat or a red with fish, then go for it. Experiment (a lot) and take pleasure in discovering what you like. The opinions of wine critics are best regarded, as the lawyers say, as "some evidence" - interesting and worth considering, but not conclusive or the final word. Most retail sales persons, on the other hand, are not out to sell only the most expensive bottles, and can happily be relied on.

Well, I stopped posting in this thread because after noting that Home Plus's Tesco selections seem to all be very good values there hasn't been much else to say. As Tesco goes, so goes WeikuBoy. Best of all were the "French Red Wine" and "French White Wine" that were available for around W5000 last winter. Yet there have been a couple of nice recent developments.

First, Home Plus now sells a Tesco Scotch, if you can believe that. It costs W12,800 for a 700ml bottle, and while it will never be mistaken for a smoky, peaty single malt from the western isles or even Johnny Walker Black, it's pretty good. I like it with Coke Zero or Pepsi Nex. Once again, bravo Tesco and Home Plus.

Second, the wine shop within the food market on the B1 level of the Shinsegae Dept. Store is by far the best wine store I've seen not just in Busan, but in Asia. Every time I've been there I've found a unexpected personal favorite: cabernet franc from the Loire Valley; rose ("rose-A)" from Navarre in Spain; and they have the greatest selection of red Burgundy (pinot noir) I've ever seen anywhere. It's truly awesome.

Bottoms up!
The Shinsaegae wine shop is probably the best value at the moment and they have a good range. Lotte isn't bad either, but much more expensive. I still lament the end of the Homever closing down sale. That was far and away the best value wine sale I've seen.

WB I'm not sure about 5,000 won French wine being good. I've drunk 20-30,000 French wine that I consider complete crap. So, while Shinsaegae is the best at the moment, it still lacks decent variety in the 10-20,000 won range.

The best and pretty well only wine in that range worth drinking is the d'Arenberg "Stump Jump" white and red blends for 17,000.
Megamart is having some very good wine sales these days. Lots of cheap entris from many nations including S. Africa. Haven't tried any S. African wines but I did buy a bottle of Siraz to try.
I don't think I've ever bought a wine from megamart that I've liked. I think it's probably the worst value of the major supermarkets for wine. I live near one but don't buy wine from there. I'm pretty depressed with what Homeplus and E-mart have to offer too. So, as I mentioned earlier, I'm buying mostly from Shinsaegae. Hopefully the new Costco will have some good value wine.
Megamart has always stocked some decent chianti, valpolicelli, a few decent California wines like Sutter Home, an a decent selection of Aussie wines including some fairly serviceable "ice wines" at a good price. They also always seem to have a couple of good Chilean wines on sale. All the stores are hit and miss but I don't think it's any worse than the others. Gotta check out Shinsegae though, I haven't been so I'm very curious.
Funny. Three days after my first post here in more than half a year, Home Plus Oncheonjang starts a great wine sale. They're letting go a large number of good wines, some at 50% off. Most exciting for me so far are the Campo de Borja Garnacha and Tempranillo, discussed upthread (see Thunder's posts from last October) at W7400/ bottle. Tempranillo might be Spain's signature wine grape, a medium body red comparable to Italy's Sangiovese (the basis of Chianti). Garnacha (Grenache in French) is a light red, roughly similar to Beaujolais (forget the insipid "Nouveau Beaujolais"; real Beaujolais is nice), and perfect for these unseasonably hot days of early summer 2009.

I try to stay positive and not talk about negative food & wine experiences here; but damn if Trevor isn't right, Megamart is the weak sister, so to speak, of our local supermarket wine stores. The Dongnae Megamart happens to have, tucked away in its bowels, one of the freshest and cheapest sushi restaurants that I've ever found anywhere (h/t to my students), so we visit there often; and it has a great bakery and the best cheese selection I've seen here; but it's been years (OK, a lot of months) since I've bought any wine there.
Joined: 08/05/2009 - 16:51

There are some great bargains in Shinsegae. They import some wines directly from the winery and also have made a range of wnes with Grant Burge called "Mariage". Look for the little orange sticker to see which wines they import directly. One Australian wine costs the equivalent of 45,000 won in Australia but is being sold for 30,000 won. They're also selling some other wines at below or similar prices to Australia. If it's the same price as Australia then it's good value having been imported. The best value for money is still d'Arenberg "Stump Jump" white and red blends which have been at sale for about 13,500 won (It goes for the equivalent of 13,000 won in Australia!)

Joined: 08/05/2009 - 16:51
Of course, there are some good wines from other countries too.