Most wine shops give a discount—up to 20 percent—if you buy a whole case (12 bottles). Many stores even offer discounts for mixed cases. Jill Bernheimer, owner of the Domaine LA wine shop in Hollywood, gives her ideal dozen.
Dry, brut Proseccos like the NV Sommariva and Nino Franco Rustico are perfect in a mimosa or a spritz, and good enough to drink on their own.
Whether from Alsace, Burgundy or the Jura, these French sparkling wines are terrific values compared to Champagne. For only $20 or $30, you can have a best-in-class experience.
I believe in the same philosophy as Tom Haverford of TV’s Parks and Recreation: “Treat yo’self.” Open some Champagne, just because. Find a “grower” bottle, like Gaston Chiquet, or one from a small négociant, like Philipponnat.
This lean, crisp, minerally white from the Loire Valley is nearly always affordable ($15 and under) and is a terrific food wine. Muscadet is high-acid, salty, textural and great with seafood.
From Italy, this is a great “mother-in-law” wine (for when you’re hosting Pinot Grigio–drinking family members but wish to serve something more interesting). Styles range from fuller and fruit-driven (De Forville) to higher acid (Brovia).
People ask for Sancerre more than almost any other white wine in my shop. But I prefer less tropical and herbaceous styles of Sauvignon Blanc, like the Loire Valley’s Menetou-Salon. It doesn’t have the name recognition of Sancerre, so prices tend to be lower.
Not all sweet wines are cloying, nor does drinking them make you unsophisticated. There are many reasons to drink things like off-dry Riesling or Moscato.
Every case should include something new and offbeat. Lighter-bodied aromatic reds from obscure grapes like Frappato and Pineau d’Aunis are worth searching for. Serve them slightly chilled with middle-of-the-week Indian or Thai takeout.
Perhaps the most versatile red wine for food, Pinot Noir is great with chicken, red meat or vegetarian meals. For people with California-loving palates who want to drink Burgundy, try Côte de Beaune-Villages from Camille Giroud.
I focus on “New California” wines in the shop (they’re lower-alcohol, with less intervention in the cellar). Wineries like Hobo have some of the best-priced, highest-value wines.
Include one special-occasion red, like a Bordeaux, Barolo or old-school Napa Cab. These are fuller, more structured wines.