$10 Wine…

December 16, 2008

Is it possible?

Is it possible to find a really good bottle of wine for less than $10?
We can all breathe a sigh of relief, because the answer is a resounding yes – so just because most of us are having to tighten our belts a bit lately, it doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy our wine!
As an amateur wine drinker myself, as yet uneducated about the desirable vintages, best regions and subtle differences between grapes, I’ve found there are a couple of basic pointers to be followed that can pretty much ensure the purchase of a good, cheap wine – which is not an oxymoron.

Avoid very inexpensive wines that are less than a year old, as the toxin content can be much higher and it can also be sweeter – your taste buds will be rewarded by a wine that is within the second or third year of its vintage.
A surprising way to pick a good wine is by carefully studying the label – many people are embarrassed to admit this might be how they choose a wine, but winemakers are meticulously careful about their choice of label and the information included – wine labels have their own special language and offer the connoisseur vital information, not least of which is the vintage, growing region, grape variety and often a brief yet informative description of the wine’s flavors.

The Greeks and the Romans wrote about wine in ancient times and almost anyone can come up with an ‘oaky’, ‘fruity’ or ‘dry’ description when pressed – but the real point of wine, whether it is “charming”, “presumptuous”, “impertinent” or any number of other lyrical descriptions, is to enjoy it and savor its taste.

The very eye catching label of Rex Goliath Cabernet, produced in California, depicts a 47 pound champion rooster who became famous in a Texas circus at the turn of the century. This wine doesn’t buckle under a heavy-weight champ title either – a cabernet with a dark, intense color, big fruit flavors and a strong finish - it’s is an excellent match for a hearty red meat dish and at just $8.99 both your wallet and your host will thank you.
The Rex rooster can also adorn your holiday table and compliment your own roasted bird, (at the same price), pair Rex Goliath Merlot with your pheasant or duck and the extremely versatile Rex Goliath Chardonnay with your turkey or chicken.

Being a little geographically adventurous is another way to find a great wine at a great price… If you head Down Under you’ll discover Alice White Merlot – a medium bodied red with hints of black cherry and a smoky, blueberry and currant aroma – this wine goes with everything from red meat to chicken. At just $8 a bottle you can throw in a bottle of the Alice White Lexia, with the laid-back kangaroo basking in the hot Australian sun on the label (just in case you forget where this wine hails from), this fruity varietal complements dessert perfectly, or makes an excellent accompaniment to a spicy Indian curry or some Thai takeout.