The cheap wine checklist

cheap wine checklistCheck off the boxes on this cheap wine checklist to help find quality cheap wine

This is the first of two parts about buying cheap wine in the age of premiumization. Part II: How I used the cheap wine checklist to buy a case of quality cheap wine for $82.67.

Tired of cute labels? Overwhelmed by fake pricing? Want to buy a quality bottle of cheap wine, but not sure how to do it? Then use this  cheap wine checklist; if a wine fills these boxes, then it’s likely you’ll get value for your money.

□ Look for wine made with grapes you’ve never heard of, and don’t worry that you’ve never heard of them. It’s not illegal to buy wine that isn’t made with cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, or merlot.

□ Look for wine made in southern France, most of Italy, and all of Spain. These wines tend to cost less and deliver more than wine made elsewhere. Some Argentine wine, usually malbec and red blends, is also worthwhile, though it’s not a sure thing.

□ Look for white blends. Even those made in regions where wine tends to more expensive, like white Bordeaux, cost less. These wines are usually made with grapes you’ve never heard of, like semillon in the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux.

□ Look for importers who specialize in quality and value, like Robert Kacher, Ole Imports, Hand Picked Selections, and Winesellers, Ltd. They’re listed in small print on the back label.

□ Look for rose. Despite the best efforts of the hipsters and wine snobs to make us drink $30 rose, there is an almost infinite amount of cheap and delicious rose that still costs around $10. And because rose is more popular than ever, it’s available year round.

What not to look for? Most pinot noir, even at $10 or $12, which tastes like a fruity, and even sweet, red blend. Also, many red blends tend to be overpriced thanks to premiumization. And we know how I feel about cheap wine from California.

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3 thoughts on “The cheap wine checklist

  • By Bob R -

    Outstanding advice, although it still won’t enable you to buy a case of good wine for $79.44, unless they’re closeouts. But these are the kinds of rules I keep in the back of my mind when wine shopping.

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      Just wait until Monday’s post, Bob. I added wrong, and it’s actually $82.67, but it can be done.

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