5 Budget-Friendly Wines
By Laura Fagan Published July 2022
Who doesn’t love to get more for their money, especially when it comes to wine?
Budget wine is a term that gets a bad rap, and it's easy to see why. People tend to think of a budget wine as cheap, flavorless or just plain bad. You get what you pay for, right?
Not necessarily. There are plenty of quality bottles out there that won't break the bank if you know what to look for. Thankfully, we have wine experts who know the best low-cost wines that are delicious and food-friendly. So, for summertime value sipping that gives you more bang for your buck, wine experts Nathan Dale and Paul Quaglini share their top five affordable wines.
We all love to drink wine, but we don't always have the cashflow to indulge in luxury wine on the regular. Do not fear: this doesn't mean we're left with limited or underwhelming choices. In fact, Paul shares that there are plenty of phenomenal value wines on the market and that, “Often times if you look off the beaten path just a bit – you can find some terrific values.” There's something for everyone—from crisp whites to complex reds and everything in between.
With a beautiful nautical label, this light-bodied white wine is the ultimate bargain bottle to enjoy oceanside. Albariño wines are primarily produced in the Rías Baixas region of Spain, where the grapes are influenced by the coastal Atlantic climate. Paul explains that Coral do Mar from ABC’s Sourced & Certified Collection is the perfect complement to seafood and “screams to be opened on the beach.”
This albariño is dry, crisp and citrusy. It expresses with flavors of stone fruit, a zippy acidity and a slight salinity which makes it wonderful to serve with fresh seafood or spicy dishes.
If you are looking for a region that boasts several budget wine options, check out Chianti. Chianti is a large wine growing region in central Tuscany that produces many inexpensive, yet impressive wines. One of Nathan’s favorite Chiantis is the Monna Lisa, which is produced in San Donato and dedicated to La Gioconda of Leonardo de Vinci’s masterpiece.
This wine is made primarily from sangiovese grapes, has great structure and delivers flavors of dark berry, plum and tobacco. “If you are having pizza or pasta, there is no better wine for this,” Nathan shares. “It’s friendly, it’s fruit driven [and] it’s got great acidity.” This is a delicious modestly priced choice to keep in the house for everyday drinking and easy food pairings.
Sauvignon blanc is New Zealand’s signature varietal and has become increasingly popular and widely enjoyed. These refreshing and easy-sipping wines are loved for their fruit flavors and bracing acidity.
Marlborough is one of the newest, yet most recognized sauvignon blanc producing regions. It is located on New Zealand’s South Island and is the most planted region in the country. From Marlborough, Paul suggests trying Sea Pearl for its value and quality. The wine has a lovely herbaceous quality and with a Stelvin® closure, it’s a perfect wine to bring along on a trip to the beach, the pool or anywhere outdoors.
Try pairing Sea Pearl with Asian fusion dishes, herb-inspired Thai dishes or fresh seafood.
A budget-friendly red blend is always a smart choice to have on-hand for a weekend BBQ or a family pasta night.
Nathan encourages you to try Perimeter from Precept Wines. Perimeter is made from grapes sourced from Washington State, which tend to be juicier and fruitier without too much weightiness. For the price, you can grab several bottles to sip through the summer.
No Curfew Pinot Noir is a new arrival to our stores and shelves. It is from winemaker Tony Baigi at Amicia Cellers in Napa Valley. Tony is known and celebrated in the industry for his luxury wines; however, this pinot is under $20. This exceptional wine is silky with intriguing depth and gorgeous dark berry flavors.
Paul explains that pinot noirs at this price point often don’t represent the varietal well because only 75% of the wine needs to be made from pinot noir grapes in California appellations. Paul finds that once you blend in other red grapes, the wine loses its integrity. This is not the case with No Curfew.
“The greatest compliment I can give it is that it really tastes like pinot noir,” Paul explains.