You enjoy wine, but you are not an expert; you don’t know what wine goes with what food. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert or empty your bank account to pair great wine with food, or just enjoy a glass after work, and you may be happy to know there are lots of good wines that go with a budget.
How Do You Know?
To begin your quest for budget wine, start with the region where they are produced. Many lesser known regions are turning out great wine for only a little cash. For example, look to New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa for Chenin Blanc, and Australia for Riesling and Shiraz to name a few. Before you step in the store, arm yourself with the knowledge to choose a good wine for less.
Know what, where and how much and choose your retailers also. Many grocery chains are opting for bigger stores and branching out into areas where grocers have rarely gone before such as gourmet coffee, cookware and a large selection of wines to choose from. The secret is to look for stores that have knowledgeable employees dedicated to wines who can help you decide. Some stores even do wine tastings.
Wine critics make their living by tasting hundreds, or even thousands of wines a year and giving their opinion accordingly. There are magazines dedicated to wines and offer recommendations for all budgets and tastes, and many offer an online guide as well; some are by subscription only, but there are a few blogs and online guides for free such as Wine Enthusiast’s Online Buying Guide. In addition, blogs like Good Wine Ratings, are free. Another way to stretch your wine dollar is to buy a larger quantity such as a case; some retailers will offer a discount even if it is a mixed case of different types of wine. It never hurts to ask.
Great Wines, Great Finds
Across the country, there are great wines being sold at less than $20 per bottle and some for slightly more, but worth it.
#1 – Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine can be found around $11 per bottle and The Fearless Critic says, “The folks at Beringer outdid themselves here.” This moderately priced wine got higher marks in a blind taste test than Beringer’s own Private Reserve that retails for over $100.
#2 – Blackstone Winery California Merlot
Blackstone’s California Merlot also falls into the under $20 category and critics advise that this blackberry/plum and raspberry with a hint of vanilla goes well with lasagna and baked fish and is good for any occasion. Critics credit winemaker Dennis Hill for this vintage and consider it the best of the best.
3 – La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
La Crema’s Melissa Stackhouse is widely known for her winemaker’s talents and also the creator of this chardonnay which sells for approximately $18, as well as several others and pinot noirs as well. This wine features the delicious flavors of ripe pears and caramel/vanilla.
In conclusion, there are many great wines with robust and simple flavors, many with a price tag well under $20. You don’t have to be rich to drink like a king.[Image Credit]