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The Savvy Wine Cheapster


I rarely use the word “value” when talking about wines.  Value makes me think cheap, and cheap makes me think bad, and bad makes me think of the Fantastic Four movie, new flavors of soda that are obviously not meant to be, and my ever non-existent love life.

Today though, we’re going to look at wines that, well, are an outstanding value.  This means that the wines are very good and very inexpensive.  The reason for this is consumer perception and supply and demand.

For instance, California’s Napa Valley has become a mega brand that consumers gravitate towards for comfort and familiarity.  Yes, Napa makes outstanding wines, but with the high demand comes a high price not enticing for us common folk.

The solution?  Explore lesser known wine regions and more obscure grape varietals.

What are regions and varietals?

Wine Regions:  This is where the wine was produced.  More popular regions command a higher price. Examples include Napa Valley, Sonoma, Willamette Valley, Bordeaux, and Burgundy.

Grape Varietal:  This is the kind of grape that the wine was made from.  Grapes can be red or white, and hence produce red and white wines.  Common red varietals you’ve probably heard of include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.  Common white varietals include Chardonnay, Chardonnay, and Chardonnay.

Taking what we now know about wine regions and grape varietals, we can buy better wine for less money.  There are countless possibilities for replacing overpriced wine with underpriced wine and I have listed a few below.  Give it a try next time you’re in the wine aisle or in a restaurant.

If you like… Then try…
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State, Australia, and South America
California Chardonnay California Viognier, Australian Chardonnay
Oregon or California Pinot Noir New Zealand Pinot Noir
Other great wines to try…
Washington State Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Syrah

Spanish Tempranillo and Grenache

South American Malbec, Cabernet, Carmenere

Pso Robles Syrah, Cabernet, Chardonnay

Portuguese Vinho Verde


  1. He Said | Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Is that a bottle of No Man’s Land from Bulgaria?

    They make good wines!

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