A Little Love for Cheap Wine...

Of all things food related, not much has greater potential for pretentiousness than wine.

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"This goes with that this vintage is better than that one old world v. new no one drinks that anymore you can't get a good wine for less than ."

It's no wonder that so many people shy away from learning about wine the entire beverage at times seems guarded in this veil of code, where foreign numbers and names are meant to mask the obvious questions: how does it taste? And, do you like it?

For a moment, I want to give a little love to cheap wine specifically, a wine I bought for less than $4 from a drug store.

But first, a disclosure: as much as I enjoy drinking wine, there are financial constraints. Seeking out new, complex and interesting wines can cost money. And while I think there are many good wines for very cheap prices, as I've begun exploring more I've found myself spending more.

While I don't want to say "you get what you pay for," I will say that if you never spent more than $10 on a bottle then I think you would probably not fully appreciate what can be done inside of a bottle. But on the flip side, for $20 you can get some fantastic wines. Personally, I don't spend more than $30 for a bottle because at that point I don't think I can really appreciate it versus the price. And spending $30 on a bottle is something I rarely do that represents a lot of money for something I'll drink in an evening.

So that's my disclosure: I do think drinking great wines can be expensive. But I also believe there are many good wines, very drinkable, easy wines, for very cheap prices.

On a trip to the local wine store, where I do most of my shopping and get almost all of my advice, I asked for a drinkable, basic, simple, every-day wine. Something I could drink often, something that would be good, something that would be relatively inexpensive. I ended up with a Romanian Pinot Noir (2004 Murfatlar). I don't even know what "Murfatlar" is a basic internet search seems to indicate it's a vineyard, but I suppose it could also be a region. All I know is that it's a very basic, simple, hearty wine. It's not dry, not complex at all, and very drinkable. I spent about $9 on the wine, and bought several bottles.

I drank the Romanian wine as a go-to, basic table wine. Until, fast-forward about four months, I was wandering through a CVS one day. They had a Crane Lake Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 for $3.88 per bottle, and I bought it out of curiosity. "How bad can it be," I asked myself, fully expecting the answer to be "awful." I took it home. I drank it. I really liked it. Huh. That was unexpected.

So I decided to try an experiment. I bought another bottle, and my girlfriend bought a bottle of the Romanian Pinot, our "go-to" everyday wine. And we did a blind taste test.

She went first: Romanian on the right, CVS on the lift. Sip, ponder, sip, ponder. Which did she like best? The cheaper, almost-a-joke, CVS wine. My turn.

She handed me two glasses, and I tasted. My first thought was that they had similar weights. Not necessarily similar tastes, but that each packed the same amount of punch. I tried each wine again. Side by side, one was too sweet. It came off a bit like syrup next to the other, which had a bit more spice. Neither wine was very structured or complex, but both we're very drinkable.

I chose, and the verdict was the same. We both picked the Crane Lake wine as our favorite, bought from CVS on a whim.

Now, to be fair to the wines, you probably shouldn't compare a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet grown thousands of miles apart. They won't taste the same, they shouldn't taste the same, they aren't the same. But we weren't really comparing the two wines we we're simply trying to work out what we liked most. What we would prefer to drink as a simple, everyday, basic wine?

Nothing knocks a little pretentiousness out of you like preferring a wine you bought at a drug store.

So, if I we're to put a "moral" of this story together, it would be this there are a lot of very basic, simple wines out there. Some are very good. And there probably isn't a limit to how little you can pay, or where you can find them. Even, it appears, at the local drug store.


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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 11/12/2016