So, we certainly had some spirited responses to our last email about some of the greatest value wines for getting your drunk on. Did I really just say that? I think I did! It should have come as no surprise to anyone that my go-to wines tend to be Italian, but truth is there’s a world of great wine out there, and I indulge with wines from all over the globe.
I base most of my drinking around what I’ll be eating, with the wine sort of playing second fiddle. If I’m in the mood for barbeque, for example, I’ll think about the wines I have on hand that would go with ‘cue, and then once my wine is chosen, I can follow up with a recipe that I think will work with it. Ok, so that’s one mighty loud second fiddle, but with wines like this you'd better pay attention!
Join the chat on SnoothDo you have a go-to "just for fun" wine? Do you have any favorite bottles for under $10? Head to the Snooth forums and let us know. While you're there, weigh in on our Global Tasting Initiative by telling us about your best-ever Cabernet Sauvignon experience.
One of California’s truly great wines in my opinion is good ol' Zin. There are a ton of producers making wines that suffer from all the ailments that plague modern winemaking (ie, too much alcohol, oak, and sweetness) but when you find someone making a bright, pure style, Zin can be remarkably food friendly as well as easy on the wallet. For a lighter Zin, like the ones recommended below, grilled or pan-seared pork is an ideal match. I like to prepare bone-in pork chops on the grill with cracked black pepper, and slap them into a freshly-baked roll. Perfect with a tumbler of fresh Zin!
Two To Try:2008 Sobon Hillside
2007 Pedroncelli Mother Clone
There are tons of people talking about Gamay these days, referring to the wines as “baby Burgundy” and the like. Truth is the best of Gamay do resemble some Burgundy, especially with a bit of age, but the wines I’m thinking of are best described on their own terms, full of fresh fruit in an easy-to-like (drink) style. Gamay is about as food friendly a wine as one can get. The prefect match though? You got it, roast chicken. Stuff some herbs under the skin, throw a lemon and some garlic in the cavity, and pair it with Bojo on the back porch.
Two to Try:2008 Jadot Beaujolais Village
2008 Edmunds St. John Bone Jolly
Here’s a tip: Edmund St. John is a winery that flies under the radar but never fails to produce complex, balanced wines at very fair prices. If you’re not familiar with them, make a point of finding out about their wines.
Ok, so this is a bit of a stretch in many ways. The red wines of an entire country, how am I going to go about dealing with this? Well, I’m not. I will say that there are tons of great, inexpensive wines coming out of Portugal. In a certain way it’s the last frontier, especially of Europe, where obscure varieties and old vines have met innovative and adventuresome new winemakers, supplying the world markets with incredible deals. Rich, rustic wines that drink well on release and yet can benefit from time in the cellar, that’s Portuguese reds in a nutshell, and an idea for another email series – inexpensive wines for your cellar! Stay tuned.
The Portuguese wines I've been drinking tend to be classically structured wines perfect for stews and braised meats. They're a little rustic so you don't have to get fancy with the spices, and just so I can sneak something Italian in here, I 'd serve it with polenta! Yeah I eat a lot of polenta, at least it's cheap!
Two to try:2007 Porca de Murca
2006 Lavradores de Feitoria Douro Tinto
Want to know more? Don't miss part one of Six Wines for a Cheap Drunk.
Get to know Snooth's favorite expertsWelcome to The Grapevine
In this weekly feature, we pose 10 burning questions to prominent wine experts -- we'll pick their brains about wine myths, trends, and the best values on the market.
10 Questions for Jeff Lefevere
Jeff Lefevere, founder and editor of the award-winning site Good Grape: A Wine Manifesto, does away with the velvet rope and offers intelligent, accessible insights into the wine business and culture as a whole.