Wine to Fit Your Style (and wallet)

wine-bottlesAlthough I love to drink wine, I’d hardly consider myself a “wine snob”.  I’m perfectly happy with a $10 bottle, and have found lots of favorites in that price range.  Perhaps if I were better versed in oenology (the study of wine and wine making) and viticulture (the study of vine growing and grape harvesting), I may feel differently.  However, for the time being, as long as it isn’t in a box or a jug, I’m usually pretty easy to please.

I happen to live in an area with fantastic wine stores that employ incredibly knowledgeable salespeople, so seeking out the best values in wine is relatively easy.  However, not all wines are created equal.  There are plenty of wines you may not enjoy in any price range.  Choosing a wine solely by the price is a sure-fire way to end up with some duds.   

While visiting my parents in Florida we came across a wine store that was perfect for people like me, who enjoy wine, know what characteristics they like in wine, but have otherwise limited knowledge on the subject.  The store (a franchise called Wine Styles) is organized not by grape varietal (pinots in one section, merlots in another), but rather by “style” of wine.  Each section is marked with a sign, identifying the type of wine found there.  The categories include  “crisp”, “silky”, “rich”, “bubbly”, “fruity”, “mellow”, “bold”, and “nectar”.   Each section has a wide variety of different wines in every price range.   What I like about this format is that there is sometimes style or flavor variation even within the same grape, so one chardonnay may be “silky” and another may be “mellow”.   By shopping by style rather than price and/or grape variety alone, chances are you’ll end up with something you like AND that fits into your budget.

Looking for something to sip on your patio in warmer weather?  Maybe you’ll head for the “crisp” section.  Need a wine to go with the steak you’re putting on the grill tonight?  “Bold” may be the destination for you.   Whatever your level of wine knowledge and whatever your budget, this type of format makes shopping easy for everyone.  Even the wine snobs will like it!

Some of my favorite bottles $12 and under:

Reds:

Conde Valdemar Crianza

Luzon Verde Organic Jumilla

Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir

Il Bastardo Sangiovese

Whites/Roses:

Oyster Bay Savignon Blanc

Barefoot Savignon Blanc

Montsant Falset Rose (wait for the ’08 vintage to come out)

 

 

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

Above photo by Wine Traveler

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3 Responses to “Wine to Fit Your Style (and wallet)”

  1. Donna Says:

    Tracy – you gotta give the Black Box wines a try…talk about value!

  2. Tracy Says:

    I’ve heard of Black Box—will definitely check it out! Thx for the recommendation!

  3. Mike Says:

    If you are looking for a crisp white for the summertime, you might want to try a style of wine from France called “Muscadet” (pronounce the “t”). Some good ones can be had for less than $20.

    Summer parties seem to feature a lot of Barefoot and Yellow Tail, so it’s nice to have something different 🙂

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