I just finished reading an interesting article in the San Fransisco Chronicle online “Pro’s Guide To Bargain Shopping“. The author of the article Jon Bonne’ had 3 sommeliers buy a weeks worth of wine at an average of $10/bottle & report their finds back to him. The results were mixed, but what I found most interesting about the article were some tips for finding these bargain (AKA CHEAP) wines.
First was the idea that one of the things that dictates price is its actual cost. A novel concept huh? Practically speaking, wines that are aged in expensive oak barrels are going to cost the producer more to make and those extra costs will be passed on to the consumer – YOU. Many people are very fond of un-oaked reds, but I find many of them lack the structure I like in a red wine.
Which leads to a strategy I have employed once or twice recently, especially considering the mercury levels of late. Picking up affordable (a nicer word than cheap) whites & rose’s. This primarily because unlike reds, whites can be very crisp & refreshing when made without the use of oak barrels. Sure I have bought some duds. And YES, you must be careful with whites to ensure that you are buying a relatively young vintage. But I have discovered some very nice wines through this experimental method.
Another idea that I need to embrace more is that of atypical varietals & regions. As one of the sommeliers in the article put it, “The more adventurous you are, the more you’ll find better value“. Buying wines made from grapes or regions that are unfamiliar to us can and apparently often does lead to good wine finds – wine priced right that also tastes pretty good. It is also a great way for a wine curious person like myself to expend their wine base/palate.
There are some other interesting tips like avoiding cheap Pinot Noir, or the lower level wines of well known wineries.
Check the article out, I’m sure you will get some valuable information from it. I know I did!
Happy bargain wine tasting!