Don't Drink That, Drink This!

Enjoy premium wine at decent prices


Wine prices getting you down? Tired of feeling like you’re getting screwed every time you buy a bottle of wine? Well, there are options. I’m not saying that you can get the same wine for less, but you can get a similar wine for less! And you know what, sometimes that less expensive wine even tastes better!

What many people seem to forget is that part of the appeal, to collectors of course, of the great wines of the world is their ability to age. This often means that a great wine can suck in its youth, while a less expensive wine which is created with near term consumption in mind can deliver a great experience as soon as you pop the cork!

So take a look at these options that you may have not considered. And while you’re at it, consider this, more than nine out of every 10 bottles of wine purchased in the U.S. is consumed within 24 hours of purchase. Don’t get caught up in the whole great wine web. Drink what you like, and drink well for less. Don’t drink that, drink this!

Photo courtesy nessguide via Flickr/CC

Don't Drink: Crappy Over-Priced Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the world’s favorite white wine and the most reviled at the same time. Yes, we love our Chardonnay, but we don’t love your Chardonnay, so there!

One of Chardonnay’s biggest assets is also its biggest liability, it comes in all flavors and styles. It’s tough to recommend a specific style of Chardonnay, but I have to say that I’ve been drinking more Chardonnay lately as I’ve been able to identify the styles I like. Want to experiment with super Chardonnay on a budget? Check out the range of wines coming from Italy. Seriously, it’s planted all over the place and it’s relatively difficult to sell, so values abound!

Drink This:

A crisp wine from the North: Alois Lageder Chardonnay 2009

A richer version from the South: Tormaresca Chardonnay 2009

Photo courtesy

Don't Drink: Crappy Over-Priced Merlot

Merlot is the wine no one wants to admit to liking. Besides that whole “we’re not drinking any f*c&ing merlot” episode in the movie Sideways, I’m at a loss for a reason. The truth is, Merlot is easier to drink than Cabernet. It’s rounder and lusher, and with darker, somewhat chocolaty fruit. In other words, it’s what many producers wish their Cabernets tasted like! There’s no shame in loving a smooth Merlot, and if you are after something smooth and rich, check out the Merlot from Washington state, where warm days and even nights lends the wines an uncommon polish.

Drink this:

Red Diamond Merlot 2007

Chateau St Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Buy this wine at Sherry-Lehmann!

Photo courtesy Wisdom72 via Flickr/CC

Don't Drink: Crappy Over-Priced Cabernet

Cabernet with a famous region’s name attached to it frequently sells for several times the price of the wine in the bottle. So what are you to do? Check out the lesser-known regions, of course. Cabernet is grown just about everywhere in the world and the notion of terroir effects only the top wines. So if you’re looking for a good daily drinker that won’t break the bank, check out someplace with a nice consistent climate. Chile has really stepped up its game over the past decade or so, and their Cabernets certainly compete with the world’s best, even if not all of us are ready to fully admit that!

Drink this:

Two Classic Reserve Cabernets:

Los Vascos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Echeverria Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2007

Photo courtesy slrevare via Flickr/CC

Don't Drink: Crappy Over-Priced Sauvignon Blanc

We’ve been inundated with a certain style of Sauvignon Blanc over the past few years and are being asked to believe that that is the epitome of its expression. On the other hand, white Bordeaux, much of which is predominantly Sauvignon Blanc, has been slipping down lower on the wine list. That always puts pressure on pricing, and the truth is that the quality of white Bordeaux has never been better. While the value of red Bordeaux is approaching zero, white Bordeaux is one of the wine world’s great value secrets.

Drink this:

Looking for light and crisp? Check out: Chateau Bonnet Entre- Deux-Mers 2010

Buy this wine at Sherry-Lehmann!

A classic white Bordeaux: Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc 2009

Photo courtesy colodio via Flickr/CC

Don't Drink: Crappy Over-Priced Rhone Blends

You are not going to believe I’m saying this, I hardly do, but Australia is getting ready for a come back and it is in part because of the phenomenal value of the GSM blends. That’s Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, and the Grenache in particular is a wine to watch. I recently had one of my favorites, the Yalumba Bush Vine, and it was a testament to all that Grenache can achieve.

Drink this:

A great GSM: D'Arenberg d'Arry's Original Shiraz/Grenache

Killer Grenache: Yalumba Grenache Bush Vine 2008

Photo courtesy Sifu Renka via Flickr/CC

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  • Snooth User: Stanger
    454848 3

    I can certainly vouch for that. I'm a Merlot fan and find that cheaper wines such as Lindeman (Australia); Copperidge (CA); and Concannon Merlot and Pinot Grigio (CA) actually have a better flavor than some of the more expensive wines. I'm convinced that one does not have to spend a lot to get a good flavored wine.

    Jan 03, 2012 at 4:48 PM

  • Snooth User: FrankAlfa
    997823 2

    I only have three words : Amarone, Amarone & Amarone!!!!!! There is no other wine to drink!

    Jan 03, 2012 at 7:15 PM

  • Snooth User: FrankAlfa
    997823 2

    I have been drinking wine and making wine for many years. The only wine I buy is AMARONE!!!! Nothing else even comes close to the complexity and flavor of an Amarone!!!!!

    Jan 03, 2012 at 7:17 PM

  • Snooth User: FrankAlfa
    997823 2

    Tonight I am enjoying a 2007 Amarone Villa Arvedi by Bertani! It is a very young, rough wine at this time but it has a big wonderfully flavor, that is broad and concentrated with a lovely long finish, totally dry but with sweet fruit and tanins that are not totally soft yet and are there for a good nudge. I like to drink Amarone wines that are 8 to10 years old when they have married all of their many layers of complexity flavors to a point where everything has matured into "Liquid Gold" and becomes a magical drink with a long, long, long finish!!!! You have not tasted wine until you have indulged in enjoying a well aged Amarone. Be patient and you will be rewarded with one of life's rare pleasures. Nothing comes close!!!!! Amarone wines are not cheap but a if I am going to drink wine, I want to drink something special! I bought about 28 bottles of several different Amarone wines this year and the Vintages have been 2006, 2007 & 2008's. I will continue to buy and enjoy Amarone wines for many years to come. Year after year, I will enjoy the very finest wine there is by drinking well matured Amarone wines. Forza Amarone!

    Jan 03, 2012 at 9:17 PM

  • Anyone got any views on Amarone...?

    Jan 04, 2012 at 5:56 AM

  • Snooth User: Svein
    621844 5

    "Modern" Sauvignon Blanc: Too often overpriced and pis-de-chat like!

    Jan 04, 2012 at 9:35 AM

  • I agree that Chilean Cabs can be quite nice. I had a 2000 from Patagonia that was tasty and smooth.
    Thanks for the heads-up about Red Diamond Merlot. Now I have a better idea why it's one of my top sellers.

    Jan 04, 2012 at 12:11 PM

  • Snooth User: Stevern86
    909211 36

    For Sauvignon Blanc I look to Lake County California and New Zealand. Price is definitely not the best indicator of best wines in this catagory. Good stuff for a reasonable price abounds. I agree with the great value in white Bordeaux's too.

    Jan 05, 2012 at 4:08 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Just goes to show you there is always a good option no matter what your price point or palate preference.

    Jan 06, 2012 at 11:10 AM

  • Snooth User: misselly
    343778 2

    I am a white wine drinker and really love OPEN RIESLING/GEWÜRZTRAMINER. $11.95 in Ontario....

    Jan 09, 2012 at 2:58 PM

  • Snooth User: ceegee58
    661495 137

    My go-to wine is Rodney Strong Merlot. It is far superior to lots of more expensive wines I've tried. Another favorite is Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of these are under $20 a bottle and never fail to wow!!

    Jan 10, 2012 at 10:41 AM

  • awesome

    Sep 24, 2013 at 9:25 AM

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