• I was asked for the umpteenth time to recommend affordable good wine buys in every department.

    Or as it was put “Inexpensive tasty wines for the grad student! That can be found anywere?…say Texas :)”

    I decided to skip my usually playful banter and just go over a ton of wine that can be found for only a modicum of ducats..

    Its typically far easier to find an easy drinking inexpensive white than a red because the reds tend to be overblown fruit bombs without much character.

    I’m going to give wine suggestions from the shelves of Safeway grocery stores and BevMo. Although not everyone has access to these stores, the brands they carry just about everyone else does as well.

    Barefoot Cellars Sauvignon Blanc is a consistently good white.

    It is a classic California style with lots of gooseberry and fresh cut grass on the nose.

    Bright acidity makes this a nice wine to pair with Asian food. It helps cleanse the palate between bites giving you a sort of reset button to experience your food anew.

    At $5.49 to $5.99 its a great way to enjoy a glass or four without breaking the bank.

    I also really like the Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio for mimosas (or throw in a bit of pomegranate juice.) It has a really persistent effervescence and a crisp vibrant palate. $8.99

    If you like a hint of sweetness and a floral nose, The Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato rose at $6.99

    Dry Creek Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) is dynamite for $8.99 to $9.99.

    They use all their own fruit and have been making fabulous bargain wine for ages. Its bright and fresh yet gentle. Not as aggressive as the Barefoot this wine is really approachable.

    Clos La Chance Monterey County Chardonnay $6.99.

    Typically this label’s wines are in the $20 range, but this Monterey they produced more so its a bit of a steal. Unoaked and bright, this wine is loaded with apple, honey, pear and citrus on the palate. It over sells itself.

    Husch Mendocino Chardonnay is a nice go between.

    Its $12.99 at Safeway and $13.99 at BevMo, but drinks like a $20 wine. Its got medium body yet still fresh on the palate. A touch of oak to make it a crowd-pleaser for those who don’t know what they want or the mixed group party.

    Now on to some red picks.

    If you like a fruit driven wine that has a touch of spice and tastes like boysenberry jam then any Zinfandel from Dry Creek, CA should do the trick.

    Two consistently low priced Zinfandels are Bogle Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel ($8.99) and Cline California Zinfandel ($8.99/$9.99)

    Pinot Noirs are a bit trickier. It is a finicky grape, and it can be quite difficult to find inexpensive good Pinot.

    Beaulieu Vineyards, BV for short, coastal Pinot Noir is not too bad for only $6.99-$7.99. Soft and easily quaffed, this Pinot is about as complex as a $7 wine can get.

    If you don’t mind spending double then the Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir ($14.99-15.99) is perhaps your best bet at achieving a glorious inexpensive Pinot.

    Its balanced in both acidity and body. Light spice on the nose with a red cherry and red plum palate. The finish lingers in a pleasantly reflective way.

    Cabernet Sauvignon is the most common wine paired with steak and often the most boring of the cheap wines. I found two that won’t disappoint.

    Ravenswood Vintners Blend Cabernet Sauvignon ($8.99)

    Medium bodied and certain to be liked. This wine aims to not wow anyone but instead be nice and easily drunk.

    If you want a rather more aggressive ripe fruit with smooth tannins Cabernet. Then I suggest trying the Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon. At $9.99 you won’t find a better deal this side of the equator.

    I’ll go over some more bargains next week. Until then enjoy these.