Choosing a great, inexpensive red wine can be as easy as asking a competent wine salesperson for his or her recommendation or spending many happy hours tasting wines and discovering your own likes and dislikes. In all likelihood, a bit of both is in order.
Here is some good advice to help you find that great, inexpensive bottle of red wine and start you on the road to becoming an educated wine consumer.
*Finding Your Price Point
The first question you have to ask yourself is, “I would never spend more than $…on a bottle of wine.”
This figure is going to determine for what and where you are going to shop.
Figure your price points in increments of $10, under $10, 10 -$20, and so on. You will generally see improvements in quality as you move up in price, but there will also be many exceptions and bargains to be had.
You may not actually get a “great” bottle of wine for under $10, but you may find some rather pleasant and satisfying wines.
*Knowing Your Taste
Everyone has his or her own taste and preferences in red wine and the same grape varietal will have a markedly different taste from region to region.
According to the French Wine Society, Merlot is the most widely planted and abundant grape. Many wine experts contend that there is just too much of it, but that may translate into a greater savings for you!
But a Merlot from Chile, Australia, California, or Argentina may taste considerably different, as will any of the grape varietals from across different growing regions. This is called “terroir”.
Terroir is simply the connection of the varietal to its place of growth and vinification (a fancy term for “wine-making”). It takes into consideration soil type, climate, Vineyard altitude and local wine making traditions.
Once you find your price point, try wine from the same grape varietal from different wine growing regions. If you become fond of a particular wine, then you may have found the wine-producing region that will yield wines that are more likely to please your palate.
Try this approach with the other red wine types and styles. There are great inexpensive red wines made from Tempranillo in Spain, Montepulciano in Italy and Malbec in Argentina. Many can be had for under $10.
*Find a Good Wine shop
To get a good idea of what you like find a good wine distributor with knowledgeable, helpful staff.
Look for salespersons who are about helping you find great cheap red wines at your price point, not condescending snobs who will push their own tastes on you.
With the knowledge you’ve gained by tasting a few wines from different growing regions, tell the salesperson what wines you like and ask for their suggestions. Ask if they have tried the wine and what food it pairs well with.
Since sales staff in good wine shops have usually tried many of the wines they offer, you are apt to get good recommendations.
For the sake of ease, keep a list of your favorite 10 wines. Sometimes you’ll just be in a hurry and need a bottle of wine for the table or a last minute gift.
There is so much diversity in the wine market at the present time that it is absurd to offer a list of the “best” inexpensive red wines. This is really a matter of personal taste, and you should make your own determination after using some of these strategies.
Finding good inexpensive red wines may not only save you money, but also start you on an adventure in tasting wines from all over the world.