Wine for many people can either make or break a meal or occasion. That's why turning up to a friend's house with a cheap bottle can sometimes be interpreted and taste equally as badly. The way to avoid being branded as 'the person who brought the vinegar', whilst still ensuring you're not getting stung by sky-high prices just to ensure you're bringing something of quality along, is to know when you've found a wine that offers great value for money.
I'll show you below how to wow guests with your selection of wine at the next dinner party, only to deliver the news later on that the great tasting red or white you all enjoyed only cost $X. Go from 'Vinegar Vanguard' to 'Wine Wizard' by utilising these tips to help you choose the best tasting, most affordable wines.
Robb Geddes, the Sydney-based master of wine gets us off to a great start by advising we look out for the accidentally cheap, not the intentionally cheap wines. Large retailers often need to buy larges amounts of wine to get their prices down, but sometimes, usually down to human error, they make mistakes on the pricing. If you see that a bottle of wine is priced incorrectly, by which I mean when it’s priced less expensively than it should be, snap it up like it’s the last thing on the planet.
To get value during your shop, stay focused on your shopping list and stick to it. Only pay as much as you can afford and never overspend just for a bottle of wine. However, quality needs to be factored into your purchasing decision too. A $40 bottle of wine reduced to $20 will generally be a better deal in terms of finding the balance between price and quality compared to a bottle reduced from $20 down to $10. Plus, it will also give you a bigger wow factor at a dinner party.
The most important step to follow in terms of your focus though, is to let your taste buds guide you. If you know the varieties of grape that you prefer, the regions, wineries and years, then you will most likely have a successful time in your search at the bottle'O.
One of the most enjoyable parts about discovering your preferences is to make sure you try a wide variety of wines. If you are completely brand new to the world of wine, start by purchasing a selection of cheaper wines, but ensuring you have variety such as a chardonnay, cabernet, shiraz etc. If you find a particular bottle that you like more than the others, you should then begin exploring more wines within the parameters similar to that wine e.g. same region, same winery, same grape or same year.
The best deals that I have found are usually within the areas that other shoppers are uncertain about. The general public may still be very keen to drink a standard one grape wine, yet I’ve picked up some great deals on blended wines which most shoppers would probably tend to shy away from.
Take for example a sauvignon blanc, if you like this wine but are not especially impressed by its higher calories or taste, then a Semillion can be a great alternative with its lighter flavour and lower calorie count.
If you are more of a Chardonnay drinker, then you’ll be happy to hear that they are coming back with a bang and there also happens to be a very good selection lately too. However, being able to distinguish between them can make all the difference to your meal. Although there are two different grapes within the same variety that is used, pinot gris and pinot grigio offer different tastes. Pinot gris has a much richer flavour whilst a grigio will taste far leaner and lighter on the pallet.
A good recommendation I was given recently was for a Shiraz Durif, which is an affordable inland wine that is grown within the Murray River and Griffith areas. Try it out the next time you're searching for wines which you haven't tasted before.
Heading ever closer to the BBQ season makes the desire to find a great wine to accompany red meat more prevalent. There are plenty of exceptionally good tasting European wines for exactly this and sometimes retailers will put big discounts on them to encourage sales (particularly of lesser known labels). The next time you're on the hunt for a new wine to try from this continent and you're interested in something from Italy, definitely consider a Barbera, Sangiovese, Vermentino, Geddes or a Nero d’Avola. If you prefer French wine then this one is particularly hot at the moment; the Petit Verdot, which has notes of blackcurrant and beetroot that should make your diner's mouths go bang at the next BBQ.
Age and Timing
If you need to save money when buying wine, you honestly have to forget about age. Sauvignon Blanc ages quickly and will keep for less time compared to other wines meaning you will get the best out of it whilst it’s still younger. It's wines such as Semillon and Riesling, however, that improve with age and can taste better the older they get.
If you are a fan of sparkling wine, again this is bottled ready to drink and generally won’t improve too much with time.
This same concept can be used with Rose, which is not designed to hang around too long, hence the reason you won't find a great selection of the stuff in general. June is an ideal time to buy this wine because retailers want their stock to sell before the end of the financial year.
Using the Internet to search for deals and discounts can be a much more convenient way to find great deals. Dan Murphy’s for example right now are offering a free 1.5L Shingleback D-Block Reserve Shiraz 2005 if you order $350 or more from them.
Along with deals like this, you can find plenty of others popping up on Buckscoop all the time. We also have a number of coupon / vouchers for a variety of bottle-O's being submitted regularly to our site helping you get instant discounts on online purchases. For example, stores like:
Finally, it’s important to mention that you should always drink responsibly, and if you need any help you can contact ‘The Australian Department of Health’, the ‘Drinkwise’ team or the ‘ReachOut’ team.