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Wine on a Shoestring Budget

By Wine Club Co-chairs  |  february, 2013, Issue 2
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CC image courtesy of boo_licious, Flickr

You don't have to spend a lot to find a bottle of delicious wine. While the flavor-complexity does tend to increase the more expensive you go, that doesn't mean you can't get a great drinkable wine without breaking the bank. As your dutiful Wine Club Co-chairs, we have each picked out our favorite wine under $20. Some still have the complexity of an expensive wine and can be enjoyed on their own; others are just good wines that can be had with dinner at home instead of your usual beer. The point being that wine is meant to be enjoyed and can be had on a regular basis. We hope you enjoy our selections and add wine to your typical drink rotation.

Leah Lansberry Austin - Ballatore Gran Spumante

I'm a big believer in drinking sparkling wines or champagne for more than just special occasions. This hidden gem is light, sweet, and easy to drink. It goes with everything from Thai food to pizza to brunch and is a steal at the grocery store, so you can afford to drink it often. Styled after the traditional Spumantes of Italy's Asti region, Ballatore Gran Spumante carries a delicate balance and crisp, clean finish. Delightfully refreshing and incredibly versatile, it can be enjoyed on its own or as part of any sparkling wine beverage.

Where to buy: Dominick's (several locations, including 255 E. Grand Avenue)

Dana Fortini - 2010 Terras Gauda O Rosal

This Albarino blend is one of my favorite white wines from Spain. Although the bodega is by no means the largest in the region, Terras Gauda played a pivotal role of restoring two of the other native Rias Baixas grapes in this variety to prominence in Galicia (Loureira and Caino Blanco, both white grapes). The result: a crisp, acidic, slightly flinty wine with a medium finish that pairs amazingly with spicy food or "mariscos" that is so typical of this region of Spain.

Where to buy: Binny's Beverage Depot (several locations, including 213 W. Grand Avenue)

Allison Fortune - 2011 Domaine Francois Girard et Fils Sancerre La Garenne

This wine is one of my favorite finds at Binny's - it's a delicious, quintessential Sancerre from the Loir valley in France. Bright and lively, with delicious and well-balanced acidity, this wine pairs great with food and is quite enjoyable even by itself - I like to drink it before, during, and after dinner.

Where to buy: Binny's Beverage Depot (several locations, including 213 W. Grand Avenue)

Pooneet Kant - 2011 Viognier Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards

This Viognier is delicious - aromatic, crisp, and refreshing. This is a wine I will be stocking up on for the spring. If you like Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc, give this wine a try - it probably falls somewhere between. It is very floral, which makes it smell and taste sweeter than it actually is. Delicious!

Where to buy:

Tom McGinnis - Rickshaw 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA

I usually enjoy this with a meal because it pairs easily with a range of dishes. Rickshaw Wines, maker of this 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, started with fruit intended for $50+ bottles, then blended in selections from quality producers across the Alexander Valley and Paso Robles. The result is a balanced, fruit-forward example of California Cabernet. Lots of bright red-berry flavor, a little spice, and a decent value-play for this interesting bottle you might discover at your local grocery store (or Mariano's). Rickshaw donates 5% of gross profits to food-charities, so imbibe with impact!

Where to buy:

Brad Schwartz - Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel

When seeking a nice bottle of red, I often jump for Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma or Napa. However, Zinfandels offer more bang for the buck with an added benefit of originality at dinner parties. What are old vines? They are at least 50 years old and produce lower yields, which lead to more of the vine's sugars and nutrients being funneled into each grape. Lesser-known Lodi, California is home to Klinker Brick and many of the world's finest Zins. Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel offers black cherry and vanilla aromas with a long, smooth finish.

Where to buy: Binny's Beverage Depot (several locations, including 213 W. Grand Avenue)

Last Updated 2/25/13
Last Updated 2/25/13