Shou Mei is my favorite general style of white tea. While I have tried individual silver needle teas that I like more, as a whole, I know I'm more likely to enjoy a shou mei picked at random than any other type of white tea picked similarly.
It is also extremely reasonably priced. I've seen it well under $10/pound in bulk. I don't think it deserves its reputation as a "low-grade" tea. Yes, it's low grade in that it's made of larger, more mature leaves and the grading system for white teas is defined to value lighter teas with more leaf buds, but I don't think that says anything about its quality.
My favorite Shou Mei is from Upton Tea Imports: ZW23; Shou Mei Classic Organic - My review
. I've sampled all of Upton's Shou Mei; I like Upton because they're the one company I've found that stocks a large selection of Shou Mei's, of relatively diverse characters. If you want a darker, sweeter Shou mei, of radically different character, look at ZW62. ZW60 is more refined, less astringent, than ZW23 but also much more expensive. ZW23 offers the best value, in my opinion.
I think it's a shame that so many high-end tea companies don't even sell shou mei. I'd like to see that change. Adagio, hint hint