As Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve near, many people are clipping recipes, planning menus and, this year, possibly considering ways to save money. Whether you are planning a large cocktail party, an intimate gathering or your seasonal family dinners, consider these tips for effortless savings.
Explore the wine world. Many European regions offer tasty wine values but searching for a specific bottle can be exhausting 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 lesser known regions in California, or even lesser known wines from Missouri and New York.
Make friends with your wine shop staff. With any shopping relationship you should get to know your retailer. With simple conversations your retailer will begin to understand your likes and dislikes guiding you to the best wines available. And always remember, the best way to find great deals is to simply ask.
There is life outside of chardonnay. You can confidently find values beyond the most familiar; consider chenin blanc, pinot grigio, shiraz and malbec.
Remember the basics. Buy by the case, shop on the retailers wine day, constantly search for in-store specials and always shop around for the best savings.
Quality wines at value prices. There are a vast amount of quality wines being offered from regions around the world. For quick savings substitute vintage Champagne with blanc de blanc, cabernet sauvignon with malbec, pinot noir with merlot and vintage port with late-bottled vintage port.
Bigger sometimes really is better. For large parties, big containers such as 1.5 liter or box wines may be the better value. Many quality boxed wines contain the same amount as up to four standard bottles and are usually priced less than $20 a box.
- 2007 La Playa Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile (about $12 retail)
- 2007 Ravenswood Vinters Blend Merlot, California (about $12 retail)
- 2008 Kendall-Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $12 retail)
- 2007 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, Australia (about $10 retail)
- 2007 St. James Winery Friendship School Red, Missouri (about $8 retail)
- 2007 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia (about $13 retail)
- 2007 Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel, California (about $12 retail)
- 2005 Trimbach Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France (about $18 retail)
- NV Gruet Brut, New Mexico (about $19 retail)
- 2007 Talbott Kali Hart Pinot Noir, California (about $25 retail)
- 2006 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $42 retail)