Finding Good Wine for Cheap
My wine of choice these days cost me $6 a bottle. It also comes with a screw top and a label that looks like a badly drawn Hallmark card. You'd never think such a hideous bottle at such a low price would contain anything other than swill. But the Shenandoah Vineyards 2005 Zinfandel was better than some $30 wine I've had, so I bought a case direct from the vineyard (it’s $8 a bottle in the city). No one I’ve served it to has spit it out yet.
Yes, good wine can be had for $10 a bottle or less—and you don’t have to live in wine country to find it. Your best bet is a store that sells nothing but wine and is staffed with nice people. These folks’ livelihoods depend on selling wines that people want to drink, so all you have to do is go inside and ask them what they have in the $10 range. If there’s no wine shop nearby, or if they give you attitude (“I don’t know what I can do for you at that price…”), walk out and head to the nearest big-box liquor store.
There you’re likely to find these six fine wines recommended by Scott Beckerley of K&L Wine Merchants in San Francisco. Take note of the year—Dionysus and Mother Nature have an intimate relationship.
• Rock Rabbit 2006 Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp and dry white wine goes well with delicate chicken or fish dishes.
• Beringer Founders’ Estate 2006 Chardonnay. White but with more character than a Sauvignon Blanc, it can be served with any fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, or pasta with cream sauces.
• Mark West 2006 Pinot Noir. Serve this light-ish red wine with chicken, salmon, or pork.
• Falesco 2005 Vitiano. A light dry red from Italy, it’ll complement pasta with tomato sauces and lighter red meat dishes.
• M. Chapoutier 2005 Cotes du Rhone (Belleruche). The hearty French red is good with beef, lamb, or pork dishes.
• Alamos 2006 Malbec. Try this robust red wine from Argentina with lamb, beef, and barbecue.