If there was ever a time to drop $10 on a bottle of wine, this is it. Thanks to a glut of unsold wine after a series of bountiful vintages around the world, there’s an abundance of bottles in stores this winter that offer serious quality at not-so-serious prices.
Here are a few key strategies for finding great affordable wines. First, look for bottles labeled with broad place names rather than specific appellations—California rather than Napa Valley, South Australia instead of Barossa Valley. Second, opt for unoaked whites over oaked (new French oak barrels run $600 or more, a cost reflected in the wine’s price). Third, seek out less familiar grapes like Chenin Blanc, Torrontés, Malbec and Nero d’Avola. Less demand for these wines means they tend to be less expensive—even when the pleasure they offer is extremely high.
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2005 Banrock Station Riesling ($5)
Fruity and balanced with a hint of lemon zest, this South Australian wine could very well be your new house white.