You’re running to the wine shop to pick up a bottle of vino for your neighbor’s holiday dinner. Buy one that’s too expensive and, after all the parties on your calendar, you’ll be in debt by New Year’s. Buy one that’s too affordable and you risk offending the host and her guests. Never fear: Our friends at Wine Library are teaching us how to pick the good stuff, for cheap.
Search For Bottles From an Undervalued Region
Everyone loves wine from France and Italy, but when you’re angling for a deal, try wine from a more underrated area, like Portugal. You’ll find sweet, fortified port; reds that taste expensive, but aren’t; and a selection of delicious, affordable whites. It might even convince you to book that trip to Lisbon you’ve been putting off all these years.
What to buy: 2015 Passaros Escolha (You can’t miss the cute bird on the label.)
Try an Everyday Wine From a Premium Producer
A fancy bottle of Brunello di Montalcino can set you back a pretty penny, but a Sangiovese from a Brunello producer doesn’t have to. Some wine producers declassify some of their bottles if they’re using grapes from younger vineyards, trying a new technique or making wine in a style that’s different from what regional regulations dictate. Their markdown is your gain, people.
What to buy: 2014 Capanne Ricci Ricciolo, from a well-known Brunello producer, is one hell of a pizza wine.
Say “Yes” to Dessert Wine
If you want something sweet for a cheese pairing but would rather spend more on the Brie than the booze, you’re in luck. Dessert wine is typically difficult to produce, so many are pricey, but the sweet white from the Monbazillac region is a total steal.
What to buy: Chateau Vari Monbazillac Reserve Du Chateau (It tastes like it's worth at least three times the price.)