The days of being confined only to Trader Joe’s “two-buck Chuck” simply because it’s the only thing you can afford are long gone. Buying a great bottle of Wine doesn’t need to cost you a fortune.
“Price doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality or taste of a wine,” Jon Thorsen, creator of the “Reverse Wine Snob,” informs CNBC Create It.
In reality, you can find an “incredible amount of good wine” accessible within the $10-$20 area, Ray Isle, director of Wine for “Food & Wine,” informs CNBC Make It.
If you’re a thrifty person and wish to spend just a few dollars to buy a good-tasting bottle, it might be more difficult. Thorsen discovers great wines for less than four dollars are scarce. They might not be terrible tasting. However, they’re unlikely to be a memory also.
However, there are exceptions: in the recent tasting, many Make It staff members actually prefer Trader Joe’s less expensive versions over the more expensive ones, for example, the 150-dollar bottle of Chateau Cote-Rotie de l’Ampuis.
Whatever your preferences are, wine experts suggest following these steps the next time you’re out shopping for wines that are intriguing and reasonably priced.
Avoid popular areas and grape varieties
Many wine enthusiasts have had the pleasure of hearing about Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. This is the reason it’s likely to cost more than other bottles. “Brand name plays a part — that’s true for wine regions too,” Isle states. “Famous regions, you’re kind of paying an upcharge just for the name.”
If you’re looking for an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon in the U.S., reach for an ounce of Paso Robles in California or Washington state. Both regions produce the perfect red Wine, Isle claims, yet they’re not as well-known. Popularity.
“I always suggest looking to lesser known regions and less familiar grapes — that’s where some of the great bargains are,” Isle states. Some amazing wineries are more obscure and enjoyable to drink, too, such as Nero di Avola from Sicily.
Name recognition can boost prices, but it also affects the local’s employment patterns. “It goes back to basic economics,” Isle declares. Regions with low costs for labor and lower costs for land can produce Wine more costlyly. Napa Valley, where the price for a half-acre of vineyard land can be extremely high, typically has higher-priced Wine in comparison to the Mendoza area in Argentina, for instance.
If you’re seeking an inexpensive wine, Thorsen suggests trying out a glass of Spanish Garnacha as well as the Portuguese Red Blend. For those who prefer white wines, try the bottle that contains South African Chenin Blanc or Vinho Verde from Portugal, Thorsen adds.
Refuse to accept your limitations
If you’re not acquainted with Wine, experts suggest that you not just try new grape varieties and regions but also taste wines that you don’t like initially. You might not have loved Chardonnay previously because it’s too sweet or too oaky to your liking.
Try an ounce or two of Chablis from France. It is made of Chardonnay grapes. It typically has a bright and light taste. “Push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Thorsen says.
It’s similar to introducing an unfamiliar food, Isle says. “If you’re not used to drinking wine, if it’s not something you drink regularly, the most appealing flavors are the very straightforward fruit flavors that you get in inexpensive wines,” Isle says.
It’s best to keep an open-mindedness, Anna-Christina Cabrales, director at Morrell Wine Bar in New York City, says to CNBC Make It. “Sometimes you’ll be surprised with what you’ll find,” she states. There are plenty of budget alternatives, which include a wide range of new cans and boxed wines that are hitting the market. Her top canning brands are Vinny and Lil Fizz, a California white blend made by the No Fine Print Wine.
In general, do not pay attention to the word “label.”
“Labels have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the wine,” Isle states. “They do have a lot to do with marketing budgets and convincing people to buy the wine,” Isle adds with a laugh.
The label language, specifically in the case of American wines, usually isn’t all that useful. For instance, in the U.S., the word “reserve” doesn’t mean anything, and there’s no official term, Isle says. “Old vines” also doesn’t mean anything at all. Contrarily, European wine regions tend to have strict labeling regulations, and therefore, the terms used to describe Wine might refer to official qualifications.
When you’re looking over the label on a bottle of Wine, two factors could be helpful, including the alcohol content and the place of origin. Table wines range between 12% and 15.5 percent in alcohol, Isle says. If it’s hot, you might want to stay clear of wines with high alcohol levels as it’s more astringent and heavier. Low alcohol levels are more likely to be lighter in flavor.
Also, be aware of the exact location where the Wine is made, Thorsen says. The smaller, the more affordable. Let’s imagine that you own three bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon at the same price in your shopping cart. One label says “California.” The second bottle states, “North Coast.” The third one is identified as “Lake County.”
Thorsen suggests you choose the third option. Why? The first bottle may be blended from vineyards across the state, covering 423,000 square kilometers, Thorsen says. The second bottle’s area is an area of 12,000 sq km on that region of the North Coast, while the third bottle must be sourced out of the 3500 sq km of Lake County itself. The wines are likely of higher quality. In addition, you’ll be able to be aware of what you’re buying.
Find a wine lover who is friendly (or gal)
There’s no need to go on your own. The process of buying Wine can be a daunting task, but there’s really no reason that you have to be an expert right from the beginning.
Instead, locate an online wine shop with people who are welcoming and willing to talk with customers, Isle says. Get recommendations from them and specifically ask if they’ve had a chance to try the Wine you’re thinking of buying. “You’ll save a buck by shopping at the big grocery store selection, but you’ll get zero help, and no one will know what they’re selling,” Isle states.
The key to finding a wine that you will actually enjoy within your budget, even in these boutiques that specialize in Wine, is to be clear in your search, says Cabrales. “Be specific as to what you want or else you’re going to be led down the road that you weren’t expecting,” she advises. This is also true for the price. If you are not looking to pay more than $15 for a bottle, make sure to let the wine professional know.
If you are aware of what you’re looking for in the market, it’s about finding the lowest cost. Large retailers, like Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi, provide the best bargains because they offer a variety of private-label brands, Thorsen states.
“Since these are exclusive wines, they cut out the middleman and generally offer them for less,” the expert declares. But you might need to look further for private-label wines. In Trader Joe’s, the labels do not always read “Trader Joe’s.” Instead, search for the “Trader Joe’s Exclusive” sign on the shelves to determine the wines that have private labels, as per Thorsen.