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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Top Five Wines Under $20

I used to think wine was only going to taste good if I had tons of money to throw at a bottle, say $60 to $80, at least. Then I realized the key is to just keep trying. Cheap (or inexpensive) does not always equal poor quality in wine. I'm not encouraging you to scour the dusty bottom shelves of your gas station's wine selection (if you happen to live in a locale that allows such lascivious sales to take place), but rather I would advise that you go to your grocery store to look around. You don't have to go to the speciality wine  and liquor package store to get a good bottle. Just check out the store where you usually buy your groceries.

I've been exploring inexpensive (my favorites are under $10, but I will go as high as $20 at times) wines for about two years now. Here's a list of my top five favorites in order of increasing price. Each wine I've listed is a Cabernet Sauvignon because that is my favorite. 

1. Trader Joe's Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon - $3
The "two buck chuck," as it is commonly known, is famous for being awesome - especially for its price. I definitely agree. At three dollars a bottle, it is hard to go wrong with this wine. You can only buy it at Trader Joe's though, and they aren't everywhere. I recommend letting it aerate with a decanter or by simply allowing it to rest in your wine glass for awhile, however.

2. Newman's Own Cabernet Sauvignon - $9
I first tried Newman's Own brand spaghetti sauce. I spotted this bottle of wine at a Publix grocery store, and I knew I had to try it out because I trust the brand. I was not disappointed. This is a great bottle of wine, and I think it works well straight out of the bottle. 

3. Leese - Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon - $11
This Leese-Fitch variety is still affordable, but not every-day affordable (at least in my opinion). I can really taste a difference with this wine, which probably helps explain why it is a bit more expensive than the first two options. Like the Newman's Own, I don't decant this wine.

4. Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $17
The Vintner's Reserve by K.J. is a great wine. Most people who drink wine (that I have met) know this company, and it is widely thought of as being a very solid brand.

5. Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon - $19
I first tried this wine sort of on accident. I read an article that explains why you should always try a bottle of wine if you like the label (basically because if you like the design of the bottle/label, then you may have like-minded thinking to that of the creators, so you may have the same taste...etc.) so I decided to go to the package store and give it a try. I picked out this bottle because, well, the label is just cool. And I was not disappointed by the wine inside! The company actually named the wine Educated Guess because the process of picking out a wine involves educating guessing, as does the process of creating the wine. (I love it!) This is definitely the priciest of the bunch, but it is worth the extra cost. 

I hope this brief guide will help you out if you're out looking for an inexpensive wine to bring as a housewarming gift or to a party or just for your own enjoyment! Don't be afraid to try any wine you see in a store. As long as you're staying within the bounds of your own personal budget, you can't go wrong. Every bottle is a learning experience and will bring you closer to understanding what kind of wine works well for you!

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