The Wine Curmudgeon regularly waxes poetic about Lodi’s Peirano Estate, which not only makes good, cheap wine (think The Other red and white blends) but is located in one of the least respected Wine Snob parts of California. They’ll tell you Lodi isn’t quite as bad as Texas, but that it’s bad enough. Seriously. I once had that discussion with a Napa winemaker.
To which I say: Drink this wine and be quiet. The cabernet sauvignon (about $14) has most everything a cabernet is supposed to have: quality berry and cherry fruit, low alcohol, the proper amount of oak and fine tannins. It's not over-ripe or too jammy, and will will even age a couple of years.
Serve it to people who only drink red wine, but don’t tell them where it’s from. They won’t believe you anyway. The Peirano will pair with beef and Labor Day barbecue, and keep it on hand as the weather gets more fall-like. And did I mention it’s only $14?