Red, white, and recession: two bargains under $10

You don’t have to have been long financials for most of 2008 to want a good bargain; great wines under $10 are always in demand, and increasingly hard to find. Here are two for weathering the financial downturn–and beating the summer heat.

serranaFonte da Serrana, Alentejo, Portugal, 2004. $5.99 (find this wine)
Alentejo is a hot, dry part of Southern Portugal that, when it comes to wine, traditionally has been more known for making closures–corks–rather than what goes in the bottle. But this wine will make them consider planting more vines. The alluring nose of dried herbs precedes the all-berry attack the attack, which, in turn, is followed by a surprising degree of bright acidity and gentle tannins. A GREAT summer quaffer. And our new house burrito wine. Day two it was still going strong and poured at fridge temp, marvelously refreshing on the deck. The blend is mostly Aragonez (a.k.a Tempranillo) and the indigenous Trincadeira.

beaulieuHugues Beaulieu, Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux de Languedoc, 2006. $7.37 (find this wine)
Picpoul de Pinet is a blast of summer freshness that comes from a stone’s throw away from the Mediterranean. With a citrus zip of tart acidity, a light saline quality, this wine, from a cooperative producer, is refreshing to pair with 95 degrees–as an aperitif or with seafood. It’s easy to understand why Picpoul is known as the Muscadet of the south both for flavor profile as well as wallet-friendliness. I got this bottle from a sale that is now, sadly, over (bringing the price up to $8.99) but I will definitely get more for the dog days of summer.

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4 Responses to “Red, white, and recession: two bargains under $10”

  1. “…refreshing to pair with 95 degrees”?!?! Ha, I love it!

    Maybe it’s time to consider a wine pairing challenge based around ambient temperature. IE, For the cold, foggy San Francisco summer I’ve been drinking Gulfi’s Rossojbleo ’06 Nero d’Avola, which, as I’d hoped, is a bracing blast of southern Mediterranean sunshine cut with enough acidity to work swimmingly on carbonara night Da Spume.

    – wolfgang

  2. Since I haven’t a poolside to pair by
    I appreciate all tips on affordable wine!

    If you can hit the right sale at Union Square Wines
    try the Wolffer Rosé from Long Island
    which I saw somewhat recently for under $9.
    Light pink and full of strawberries with a touch of minerality
    and citrus-
    Quite divine!


  3. Tyler,

    I’ve had the Hugues Beaulieu Picoul. It *is* a very good wine and a very good bargain.

    Picpoul is a good producer which maintains great acidity – even in places like the central and eastern parts of Paso Robles.

  4. Although I certainly can enjoy good wines from around the world, I usually purchase US wines. There are some excellent wines available between $10 and $20 a bottle. Visiting a winery in your own backyard can be a mini-vacation, too!

    Maryland has recently started a program, Maryland’s Best, encouraging people to buy “local.” The unfortunate point is that they did not mention wine in their free pamphlet but the website lists Maryland wineries. Maryland has 23 open wineries producing more than 300 wines and more wineries are opening this year.

    Why not check out wineries in your own backyard?


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