12 top wine bloggers share their advice for finding the best wine on a budget.
As much as we wish we could drink rosé Champagne all the time, that stuff can get pricey. Here's a bubbly pink option that's fun and straight-up delicious, and sells for about 16 bucks.
Game day doesn't tend to really be much of a wine-drinking kind of affair, but in any crowd, there are bound to be those people who'd prefer a glass of white or red instead of a bottle of IPA. And sometimes those folks can put away more than just a glass or two. Enter the recently released wines by the liter from the San Francisco Chronicle's winemaker of the year.
On my lunch break, or as the day quiets down, I find myself trolling the interwebs for wine to buy. My method of choice: sorting by vintage. I set my search on under $20 or so, and have it show me the oldest bottles first. Sometimes it turns up treasures, like this awesome 2007 riesling for $13.99.
This time of year, with store shelves stocked sky high with bubbly both delicious and um...not, wine shopping can be a little overwhelming. Here's my guide to some new favorites and old standbys, all $20 or less.
The best of this year's options in freshly-available Beaujolais Nouveau.
I pay careful attention to the wine that disappears first at a party. When you have a mess of bottles open and one of them is emptied well in advance of the others, you know people liked it.
Which of the Rosemount wines should you grab if you're staring at the grocery store shelf and not sure what to buy? We tasted our way through the entire lineup under $10 to find out.
I opened two bottles of Vidianó last night, because: what the hell. Because I had them, because I was in love with Oakland, because Vidianó seemed as appropriate as anything to celebrate with.
My parents started their membership while I spent most of my time in the wine section, and kept saying stuff like "Wow...it's so cheap!" To anyone who has ever set foot in a Costco, it was the equivalent of me saying "Wow...that ocean is so full of water!" or "OMG. Shocking news. The tortoise beat the hare." So obvious...but still so wonderful.
I'd been hiding this quirky, slender, delicious looking bottle in the fridge for a special occasion. I don't mean a fancy dinner or holiday, or even an evening with important company. I mean a special occasion... Enter: the northern California coast, where there are fresher-than-fresh oysters available just footsteps away, doled out by the bag-full with little accompaniment besides sunshine and a shucking knife.
Like summer tomatoes or fall leaves, rosé is seasonal, and once this year's vintage is out, last year's is no more. This ephemeral nature makes it all the more alluring, and it also means now that spring has fully sprung, it's time to dip into the 2012 rosés. Drink them while you can, as if you needed an excuse. There are tons of worthy pink wines out there, and I did my best to taste a lot of them. None were over $16, and while all were perfectly chuggable, especially if you happen to be sitting in the sun somewhere, these were my top six.
Confession: I love a recipe from the Campbell's soup website. It calls for simmering chicken breasts in creamy stock, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, oregano, and kalamata olives. You sprinkle the whole thing with feta cheese and serve it up over orzo. I've eaten this dish with plenty of different wines that were all... fine. California Pinot Noir was overwhelmed; a northern Italian Barbera was bright but not bold enough; New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc made it feel like everything was fighting. But last week, I found the perfect match.
Today we're in the market for value rosés (under $13) that you can find in your nearby Trader Joe's. While some TJ's stores have specific selections of rosé from local vineyards, we focused on tasting wines that can be found across the country. After opening 8 bottles, we were left with 4 that we'd definitely seek out again.
I sat with a group of wine professionals, tasting a lineup of rosé wines blind, and we balked at the scarlet letter. "You've got to wonder what they were thinking when they made this," a fellow taster chided. And they hadn't even seen the label yet.
I've been wondering a lot about the following would-you-rather question: on average, if you were to spend around $15 on a bottle of wine, and you were given the option of a) randomly selected red wine or b) randomly selected white wine, which would you chose?
While the convenience of buying my vino with my Honey Nut Cheerios would certainly be welcome, the same question arises when facing aisles of wine, no matter the setting: What should I buy? What are the best options in this super-convenient scenario? And are the prices competitive with better wine shops?
There's one trick that almost never fails to convince folks of boxed wine's merits: don't tell them. Pour the wine before guests arrive, have them taste it, and wait till glasses are nearly empty for the final reveal. Of course, this magic only works if the wine is actually decent, and that's where we can help. We tried 9 different wines from Bota Box wines to see which were the best, and which just wouldn't work to convince anyone of the merits of skipping the bottle.
We tried a few popular and widely-available Columbia Valley-sourced bottles from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest Grand Estates (both part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates collective). You can usually find Columbia Crest for around $10, whereas the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley wines are closer to $14. But are the extra few dollars worth it?
We chose five grape varieties and lined up the Bogle and Beringer bottles head to head—Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are budget friendly: the Beringer Founders' Estate line costs around $8 a bottle, whereas the Bogle wines tend to be a couple dollars more at around $10. But are there any winners in the bunch?