I can’t claim to be a wine expert but I’ve drunk my fair share of it (almost always responsibly) and I know what I like. I’ve been very fortunate to have, at times some amazingly fine wines. When my father passed away my brothers and I split his wine collection and since then we have opened a bottle for when we’re together or for special occasions. These are the kind of wines where you understand what sommeliers mean when they talk about notes of leather, red currant, cinnamon etc. Wines you savor.
If you like wine but are not a subscriber of Wine Spectator (dahling) what are your favorite every day choices?
However, just because I’m economizing doesn’t mean I’m going to give up my wine. I’m just being frugal about it. And frugal doesn’t mean Boones Farm or wine in a box. There are plenty of good-to-very-good wines out there for under (dare I say it) $10.00. YES there are!
For me, I am put off by wines that are heavy on the vanilla or are thin and acidic. Unfortunately, these are both qualities of many inexpensive wines. Also, I’m a red drinker almost exclusively and have learned that red varietals like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon don’t come off as well at the lower price points. You have to be realistic and a blend is usually your best bet. Mixing grape varieties enhances the good qualities of each and softens the bad.
Here then are some of my favorites.
: Casa Santos Portugal ’s Bons Ventos 2009 and Espiga. Bons Ventos is a
bit richer and the Espiga sharper but at under $8 they’re eminently enjoyable. Lima
: Cupcake Vineyards’s Red Velvet- available at
CostCo for $8. Important note- this is the only one of their varietals that
works for me. The Merlot and California are dreadful. Shiraz
: 14 Hands’ Hot to Trot. This is at the high end of my inexpensive
wines, coming at $9.99. Which is why when I find it on sale I buy several
bottles. A great rich red blend. Washington State
When the weather warms up (July!) I do like a white now and then but am not a fan of the basics- chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. I love Viognier but they are usually pricey. Again, blends come to the rescue and this
white from Hashi is a beautiful blend of Sauvignon
Blanc and Viognier. It’s often served in Japanese restaurants as it is a wonderful
accompaniment to sushi. The only place I’ve found it in California is at Uwajimaya, the premier Asian market in the Portland PNW.
The other white I always enjoy is a Portuguese wine called Vinho Verde. It is crisp, fresh and has the slightest hint of effervescence. A perfect summer wine. I've bought it from several different wineries and never been disappointed.