We all have wines we consider great values of exceptional quality that we enjoy day after day. Some call them “everyday drinking wines,” others, their “house wine.” I smiled when a friend used, “sip-with-pizza-on-a-Tuesday-night wines.” But I must say my favorite is, “Soldiers protecting the rare bottles in my cellar to not be carelessly consumed.” All consumers have a price point tailored to their budgets for these wines, but I’ve found for most, $15 is ideal.
I enjoy exploring wines in this category, and I’m rarely disappointed. But I always keep a few tips in mind.
- Don’t judge just by price. Ask for recommendations from reliable sources and let your tastes guide you. Don’t choose wines simply because the price tag looks like a bargain. If it’s not a varietal you like, the lower price isn’t going to make it taste better. A reputable wine retailer will mark down wines at clearance prices to pass the discount on to the customer, not because they are outdated and need to be sold.
- Buy the most recent vintage. A 2008 rose wine was intended to be enjoyed fresh or up to a about year old, so finding it at $8 in the mark-down bin is no bargain. Most value wines are generally not intended to age, and actually lose freshness as they age.
- All wine, regardless of price, should offer balance reflecting the elements from which it is made. For a white wine it may simply be its taste and the balance of acidity that assures freshness. For reds it may be the balance of tannin; too much leaves your mouth dry and exhausted; too little is much like drinking Kool-Aid.
THE VALUES UNDER $15
- 2015 Simple Life Pinot Noir, California
- 2014 Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc, California
- 2015 Picpoul de Pinet, France
- 2014 HandCraft Pinot Grigio, California
- 2015 Tercos Torrontes, Argentina
- 2014 Vinum Cellars Chenin Blanc, California
- 2014 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha, Spain
- 2014 Black Ink Red Wine, California
- 2013 Sawbuck Cabernet Sauvignon, California
- 2015 Ecco Domani, Italy
- 2015 McNab Rose, California
- 2015 Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand