Yes, we would all like to spend a leisurely afternoon at the wine store, surveying the selection and carefully and thoughtfully choosing bottles for our various holiday events. But let’s be honest. How many of us – including the Wine Curmudgeon – have time to do that at this time of year?
Still, there’s no reason to panic. As wine has become more popular in the U.S. over the past decade, even gas stations have improved their selection – and at reasonable prices. So if you need a bottle or two for a holiday gathering, and but only have time to stop on your way home from work, don’t panic. Keep these possibilities in mind:
• Grocery stores: Look for end caps (the displays at the end of the aisle, where most markets put their sale wines) and for displays in other departments. For example, many stores have sale white wine near the seafood and sale red wine near the meat counter. I found Meridian chardonnay ($7), Wente cabernet sauvignon ($13) from California, and DuBoeuf Beaujolias-Villages ($10) from France at my local Kroger.
• Liquor stores: This is jug wine country – race in, grab a couple of bottles, and race out. You can usually find labels like California’s Glen Ellen and Sutter Home for $10-$12 for a 1.5-liter bottle (which is twice the size of a regular bottle). I even saw a 1.5 of Cristalino Spanish sparkling ($15).