A little daily wine with dinner is a healthy and happy way to go through life. But it ain’t exactly the cheapest way.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to save money and get more value from your daily dose.
1) Take it Down a Notch
For one thing, the modern wine industry is making consistently good wine across the board even at the lower price points. This means you can probably ratchet your level of "price comfort" downward a bit without making your taste buds twitch. You might not even be able to tell the difference. It always helps to ask for help, too. Wine merchants can recommend a reliable, less expensive wine for daily drinking.
2) Drink Globally
Once you start poking around at your local wine store, you'll find bargains are there for the having. In fact, the flipside of a reined-in wine budget can be the freedom to explore the world's less likely wine regions and ultimately expand your wine-drinking horizons. Sometimes you can snap up wines from countries that, while lacking the cache of Napa or Bordeaux, are nevertheless producing good wines at kind prices (Bulgaria anyone?). Nab these wines, and you might feel like you've made a secret discovery.
3) Value the Value Regions
Beyond Bulgaria, you'll find many of the familiar suspects are offering good values. The Australians, for example. Australian Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Chardonnay can be priced to please. For some reason, many of these labels have critters on them -- kangaroos, emus, fish, and so on.
Argentina and Chile are also big on value. And as we move closer to grilling season, this becomes increasingly good news. Argentinean Malbec is not only relatively inexpensive; it's also very nice with grilled meats. Meanwhile, on the windward side of the Andes, in Chile, folks are making delicious Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that would make top-notch house wines.
Portuguese and Spanish wines can be another good value. If you're looking for a refreshing sparkle, Spanish cava is a less expensive alternative to Champagne, and it's food friendly, too, particularly with fried foods, fish, sushi, and a lot of Asian cuisine. Or try an inexpensive Spanish rosé. In general, rosé is a very versatile, food-friendly wine, and it's particularly good with grilled foods.
4) It's in the Bag (Which Is in the Box)
And last but in no way least, you have probably already heard the rumor: Boxed wine is no longer a punch line. It's true, the wine is pretty good, and the value is tremendous. A 3 liter box is the equivalent of four standard wine bottles. And if it takes a week or so to put away that much wine, no problem: The box's air-tight bag technology helps preserve it. As you tap the wine, the bag collapses, preventing wine-wrecking oxygen from reaching your delicate beverage. Boxed wine stays fresh for a month or more. And the price is definitely right.
Give the box a try. Here are a few recommended and widely available boxed wines.
- Discover the best recipes to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- These 12 recipes go gaga for Merlot.
- Here are the best recipes to pair with Chardonnay.
- Find the right wines to Pair with Appetizers.
- These simple recipes prove that Champagne Pairs With Almost Everything.