It’s still possible to buy quality $10 wine; just avoid the cute labels and marketing gimmicks
Premiumization has made it that much more difficult to buy quality cheap wine, but it’s still possible. The key, as I have written before, is to concentrate on value and ignore cute labels, scores, and marketing gimmicks. That’s how the wine business tricks us into paying $15 for $8 worth of wine. Which is why we have the cheap wine checklist.
I bought these nine wines last week at Jimmy’s, the well-regarded Italian grocery in Dallas. I spent more this time than during previous cheap wine shopping expeditions, but that’s because all the wines are Italian. Hence, no $6 Spanish values.
Having said that, there’s not a stinker in the lot, and the average is still around $10 a bottle. Suck on that, premiumization:
• Cusumano Insolia ($12). This Sicilian white has long been a favorite, even though it has experienced some quality ups and downs. Regardless, it was one of the wines that helped put Sicily on the wine geek map. The red, made with nero d’avola, is worthwhile, too.
• Falseco Vitiano Rosso ($10), One of the great moments in my wine writing career was meeting Riccardo Cotarella, whose family makes these wines. Year in and out, $10 or $14, the red, white, and rose are some of the world’s great wines regardless of price.
• Scaia Rosato ($11). I bought two bottles of this, one of the best roses I’ve tasted this year.
• Fantini Sangiovese ($10). One of literally dozens of terrific $10 red wines from Italy made with sangiovese. Plus, a screwcap.
• Rocca di Montemassi Le Focaie ($10). See the Fantini (though no screwcap).
• Scaia garganega chardonnay blend ($11). I mentioned this white to another Italian winemaker, and he got visibly jealous.
• Rocca Caselli Toscana ($8). Difficult to find (one more example of how screwed up three-tier is), but this Italian red is well worth the trouble.
More cheap wine shopping trips:
• Once more: A case of quality wine for less than $10 a bottle
• Cheap wine checklist: $82.67 for a case of wine
• $100 of wine