Think you can’t find any good wines on the cheap? Think again!
Don’t always expect good, drinkable wines to be pricey. Here’s some ideas that will remove the barriers to getting your bottle of joy.
One of my secret pleasures is finding a cheap bottle of wine – less than $8 – that turns out to really tickle the taste buds. A good place to start is with the heavy discounters like Grocery Outlet or ALDI. They can pack quite a punch when it comes to selection – and sometimes carry a rare gem. During one of Grocery Outlet’s annual wine blowouts, I picked up two cases of Gnarly Head Chardonnay for under $5 a bottle!
If you are a total novice to wines in general, don’t be afraid to start off buying a wide selection of inexpensive varieties, popping a few corks, and simply getting to know some of their personalities. Dry, sweet, syrupy, light, tart? There are all different kinds of flavors… and some which may surprise you, especially considering the price tag!
But what if you don’t like them?
That’s okay too.
One of the good things about buying on-the-cheap is that if it’s dreck, dump it! No big loss, and you’ll have a general idea of what to avoid next time. Just can’t stand the idea of waste? Put the cork back in the bottle, pop it in the fridge, and use it to sauté your next entrée. There are several recipes online that can be an excellent use of an otherwise unpalatable wine.
Those Box Wines
Don’t sneer! Gone are the days of turned-up noses over boxed wine. In fact, the packaging style continues to become more mainstream, as vintners realize that the economical packaging and convenience allow them to sell their wares for substantially less.
Did I mention convenience? I have a carton of Big House Red I’ve been sipping on for the last couple of weeks.
“Wait…what? Two weeks?!” you exclaim, knowing, of course, that normally when you pop the cork (or twist the cap), a countdown begins – that you only have a few days before the flavor goes bad unless you refrigerate the bottle.
“Yep!” I reassure you. Your knowledgeable fears may be laid to rest; they’re not a worry with box wines. Packed in a sterile foil pouch, the wine stays good because it never comes into contact with oxygen. Another plus: they fit three bottles worth of wine in one box! It’s just more burgundy for your buck. (Or more wasted for your wallet, if you must.)
Winefolly has a good summary of online purchasing sites, but the drawback to most is that the cost of shipping usually offsets any savings you might have made through purchasing online – with the notable exception of Total Wine.
Order online, pick up locally, and save a bunch! They have an enormous selection of lower-cost wines, as well as hosting frequent wine tastings, and have a very helpful and knowledgeable staff who are all ready to guide you to your favorite varieties. Be sure to check out Total Wine’s Guide to Wine if you want to be overwhelmed!
Good Taste Is All in Your Mouth
How can you tell if a wine is good? That’s easy! Do you like it? Do you want to drink it again? Share it with someone special? Maybe buy a few bottles to stash in the pantry?
Yep! That’s a good wine. What a sommelier you’re becoming! I’m so proud of you.
Oh, and that budget? As you explore, expand, and embrace new and delicious wines, the prices you are willing to pay will creep up too. That’s also okay. Save up for those special purchases! Here at Uncorked Canvas®, we are all about the experience.