If I had to pick one word to describe what people are looking for from the wine industry in 2010, it would have to be value.
Unfortunately, most of the press and discussions about wine that we find in the national media or online are centered around either huge companies (Gallo, Mondavi, Kendall Jackson), which aren’t necessarily making good value wine (although they do sometimes), or the exponentially priced first growth French Estates and Napa cult Cabernet Sauvignon’s.
To that end, I’ve taken some time to craft a list of three wines which are inexpensive (under $10 a bottle), readily available across the country and can be paired easily with food. As you’ll find on my list at these low price points, I don’t look for wines which are representative of a specific grape but instead for wines that are simply good to have with dinner when I sit down along with my wife each night.
- Trentarte Rosso 2007; Available at Trader Joe’s, $6. This is a very well balanced wine that is imported from Italy. Trentarte means thirty three and the bottle is aptly named because it is an equal blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano. This is in many ways (despite the price) typical of the good Super Tuscan wines that received so much press over the past few years with flavors of rich cherry and many earthy tones intermixed.
- Chariot Gypsy 2008; Available at Trader Joe’s, $4.99. Another blend which can often be greater then the sum of the individual parts. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel and Sangiovese from vineyards stretching from Napa to Monterrey in Northern California. It’s a clean wine that can be paired with almost any food, closer to the texture and flavor profile of a Pinot Noir with fresh berry flavors, but without a noticeable nose for most drinkers. Definitely a fan favorite at Trader Joe’s as it will sell out quickly.
- Gallo Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2007; Available at Kroger family stores, Club price $8.99, originally $18.99. If you’re wondering why this wine was marked down, Gallo was caught in a Pinot Noir flap over their use of grapes imported from France that were in fact not Pinot Noir, but Merlot. This problem has caused retailers all over the country to dump the prices on any Gallo Pinot which is unfortunate because we know the exact vineyards this bottle comes from in Sonoma County. It’s an easy bottle to drink (as Pinot should be) with cherry flavors on the taste and spicy flavors on a very full finish. In this case knowing a little something from inside the wine industry can get you a bottle of wine that has simply been tainted by a mistake that has nothing at all to do with the production of the grapes within this bottle.
I hope you’re able to try these three bottles. Please let me know what you think of all of them as time goes by.
Guest posting today to help you find the best wine for your beer budget is Mark Aselstine. Mark opened Uncorked Ventures in 2009, along with his busineWiss partner and brother-in-law, Matthew Krause, when they decided they no longer wanted to work long, corporate hours for someone else.