Fall is upon us and along with it come the annual pressures of the holiday planning. Travel reservations are being confirmed, recipes are being clipped and budgets are getting checked. If you’re like us, wine will be on the menu, so it’s an easy place to start, allowing one less stress ahead. If you’ve avoided serving wine in the past because you thought it was too expensive, reconsider. It’s no longer a pricey treat; it can fit into almost any budget.
A day can make a difference. Look for the best opportunity for savings at fine wine retailers, whether it’s buying by the case or on “wine day.” If you were told you could save 10 percent to 20 percent for simply buying your wine on a certain day of the week, most likely that would be an easy choice.
Make friends with your wine shop staff. With any shopping relationship you should get to know your retailer. With simple conversations they will begin to understand your likes and dislikes and can guide you to the best wines available. And always remember, the best way to find great savings is to simply ask.
Respect the box. With more and more quality wines available, boxed wine is ideal for large or small gatherings. A 3-liter box is the same volume as four standard wine bottles, yet many boxed wines sell for less than $20. With the airtight preservation you can keep it up to a month, making it a solution for parties when you aren’t sure the amount that will be consumed. If you want to remove the stigma ofthe image, simply pour into decorative wine carafes before serving.
Explore the wine world. Many European regions offer tasty wine values, but searching for a specific bottle can beexhausting with the myriad labels, producers and vintage variations. Consider emerging wine regions with little or no recognition. Chile and Argentina continue to offer remarkable value, but also consider Spanish tempranillo and Italian chianti.
Keep your options open. Many quality wines are available at value prices. For quick savings, substitute blanc de blanc in place of vintage Champagne, malbec for cabernet sauvignon, merlot for pinot noir and late-bottled vintage port for vintage port.
THE VALUES UNDER $15
- 2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, Washington (about $11 retail)
- NV La Marca Prosecco, Italy (about $14 retail)
- 2011 PromisQous White Blend, California (about $9 retail)
- 2011 Apothic White Winemakers Blend, California (about $13 retail)
- 2011 Bogle Vineyards Merlot, California (about $10 retail)
- 2011 Root One Carmenere, Chile (about $11 retail)
- 2011 Grayson Cellars Lot 10 Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $12 retail)