Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with really cheap wine, but other times it’s just dreck that nobody should have to suffer through. The world is awash with wine, and while we are inundated with ever more expensive wines, some things continue to fly under the radar!
So let’s see where the real values in the world are and discover how you can drink well for just a little more. Don’t drink that, drink this!
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Don't Drink: Crappy Cheap Shiraz
Cheap Shiraz can be sweet and fruity, and in generally resembles Capri Sun juice drink more than it resembles wine. This is truly a shame since Shiraz/Syrah is such a complex and interesting grape. Usually more fruity than grapy, the wines have had a rough couple of years, which means that many are available for a song. Try one of these for the full fruit, spice and savory meat experience that Syrah can offer.
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Don't Drink: Crappy Cheap Chianti
Cheap Chianti can be god-awful. Thin, acidic, shrill and just totally unappealing. How do producers make wine this bad from such a loveable little grape?
Sangiovese is arguably Italy’s most important grape, responsible for iconic wines such as Brunello and Chianti Classico, as well as a slew of delicious table wines. Spend the extra dollar and enjoy a delicious Chianti, or look for some of the pure Sangiovese wines that drink like mini super Tuscans for a fraction of the price.
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Don't Drink: Crappy Cheap Côtes du Rhône
Côtes du Rhône is like Chianti, over cropped and over produced until the worst resemble little more than industrial floor cleaner. That’s not to say that there aren’t great values in Côtes du Rhône, but you might end up finding wines from pure Grenache that offer at least as much pleasure if not more. Add some oomph when you take a look at Spain.
Spain may be the historic home of Grenache, and the vines have adapted well to the climate and soils. This yields inexpensive wines that are packed with plump, juicy fruit.
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Don't Drink: Crappy Cheap Red Blends
So many cheap wines are simply blends of other wines that couldn’t be sold. Truth is, these blends often taste better than their component wines, with one wine covering the faults of the others. But blending comes with a price. You tend toward the mean, so while you might get something decent to drink, you’ll probably get something totally anonymous.
Want a red blend that has real character and won’t break the bank? I’m still hot on Portugal, arguably providing the best red wine values in the world. You do have to be a bit choosy, but when you find a winner, it can be a towering home run.
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Don't Drink: Crappy Cheap Sparkling Wine
Bubbles aren’t just for the holidays, they’re for celebrating the everyday!
There is a sea of sparkling wine out there today, some crap, some great and most priced a little ambitiously, as I would put it. Surprise, you don’t have to spend an arm and leg for a good bottle of bubbles! Keep it simple and fresh and you can get away surprisingly inexpensively. So inexpensively, you might as well buy a pair of these delicious sparklers.
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Want to Learn More?
Check out the first installment of Don't Drink That; Drink This!