Wine is one of those little things that bring me pleasure. I enjoy discovering new wines, but I’m not a wine snob. As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite wines are those that taste great but don’t break the bank.
I recently asked Gary Vaynerchuk — host of Wine Library TV — if he could suggest some good inexpensive wines for spring and summer. Gary put together a special episode of his program just for GRS readers:
“You want to talk about ‘get rich slowly’? Look for value plays in wines,” Gary says. “If you don’t overspend on wine, you’ve got more money in the bank!”
He makes a great point. As with anything, the key is to find value. Find wines that you like that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg. I used to buy $40 and $50 bottles of wine. Sure, they were great — but you know what? I’ve found that it’s actually more fun — and certainly better for my budget — to find wines under $10 that I enjoy. One of the best parts of frugality is the sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve found something worthwhile without spending a lot of money.
Here are the bottles that Gary mentions in his video:
- Domaine De Laure Rose 2007 (~$7) — Gary says that a rosé is a perfect wine for spring or summer, served chilled while sitting on your porch.
- El Hada Verdejo Viura 2008 (~$8-$9) —
- Dolianova Vermentino Di Sardegna Prendas 2007 (~$12) — “Great with shellfish.”
- Beau Joubert Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (~$8-$9)
- Chateau Pesquie Les Terrasses 2006 (~$10-$15)
- JT Cellars Petite Sirah 2006 (~$9) — “Bigger and more complex than sirah.”
- Correaux Beaujolais Villages 2007 (~$7-$11) — Gary says that “beaujolais is an amazing play with fish.”
- La Sera Barbera D’alba Il Cielo 2006 (~$12) — A great alternative to chianti. Goes well with veal and pasta.
- Fiorano Montepulciano D’abruzzo 2007 (~$8-$9) — “A pizza wine for a Wednesday.”
- Quiteria Loma Gorda 2006 (~$10-$12)
- Seidelberg Pinotage 2006 (~$9-$10) — Gary says that pinotage is “a very controversial grape.” (Ha! I love it. “Controversial grape.”)
- Barrandica Mendoza 2005 (~$12) — “Tastes much better than most $25 California cab-merlot wines.”
You may not be able to find these exact bottles in your supermarket or wine store. That’s okay. If that’s true, then try to find the same varietal. If you can’t find the Dolianova Vermentino Di Sardegna Prendas 2007, for example, then simply look for a vermentino. (Even that might be a challenge.) The key is to be adventurous. Don’t just drink pinot noir and chardonnay. Try new things.
“Go out and explore and expand your palate,” Gary says. “Try different wines, wines from Argentina and South Africa and the south of France. So much great stuff out there…Get out there and try new things. The only way you’re going to know if you like a wine is if you taste it.”
When you do find a wine you love, write it down. If you discover that it’s within your budget, stock up. Consider buying a case. That’s what I’ve begun to do when I find a wine I like. Over the past year, I’ve purchased two cases of wine, and I want to purchase one more. The one-time expense can seem huge, but in the long run, buying in bulk will save me money.
Luxuries like wine (and chocolate and good cheese and…) can be difficult to justify for a frugal shopper. But if you budget well and shop carefully, you can enjoy drinking wine without spending a fortune.
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