What’s a go-to supermarket wine? [Reader mail]

Heading to visit a non-wine friend who graciously offered to pick something up for us. I don’t know the market in Florida and she didn’t indicate that she wanted to go to a specialty shop (that’s fine–not everyone can take our habit as seriously as we do). So what’s the best I could ask her to pick up at a supermarket?

It is generous of your friend to give you such a warm, Florida welcome. But it is really hard to know what’s at the store she is going to as the selection could range from dire to quite acceptable. Maybe try a throwing out a Champagne name since there are some good ones that may be available and, at least, it will add to the celebratory air. Or a domestic sparkler, such as Roederer Estate? Of course, it depends what you like or are in the mood for, too.

Perhaps the best idea is carefully put a nice bottle in your checked luggage. It will get a tossed around in transit, obviously, so make it still and make it young. Also, when visiting a different state, I always like to check out wine shops to see what their selection and pricing is like. Sometimes I find wines that I don’t see a lot at home. And when you’re on the ground, you might have a better idea of what your dinner plans are or what the weather is going to be to make a great selection. So put a shop on your first day’s itinerary, if you can.

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16 Responses to “What’s a go-to supermarket wine? [Reader mail]”

  1. Most stores have Penfolds Koonunga Hills Cab-Shiraz. Its pretty dependable, available and reasonably priced.

  2. They might well have Bogle offerings. Other possibilities would be Columbia Crest and Chateau St. Michelle.

  3. I second Christina’s suggestions although I would add McManis, Cycles Gladiator, Concannon and Kenwood. All solid and consistent wines!

  4. mad dog 20 20

  5. I found some terrific advice for shopping for wine in a supermarket:

    “When it comes to wine I’m very particular about what I buy. There are two things I look for before making my selection.
    First, the word “Wine” must appear somewhere on the label. This is something I insist on.
    Second, I look for a sign nearby that says “On Sale.”
    Follow these two rules and you won’t go far wrong.”

  6. If you don’t know where they’re shopping why not just give a region and type, one you generally like anything from of course, like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc?

  7. Well, the biggest Florida-based supermarket chain is Publix. They have a website about their wine. One of the monthly specials is a nice Antinori cheapie…


    Although I’d go for the bring-your-own option, myself. Young and still, like the nice man says. Wrap it in two layers of bubble wrap, it’ll be fine.

  8. chateau st. jean is my go-to supermarket red wine, will chateau ste. michelle is usually a safe bet when it comes to whites. i don’t know how often you can find those on the east coast.

    beyond that, i try to look for clues beyond the word “wine”, and look for regions like napa or sonoma (as opposed to simply “california”).

    but the best advice is to find a wine shop. i used to work at a wine shop when i was in my twenties, and my favorite thing in the world was recommending new wines to people. there is no better suggestion than to find your local wine nerds, and let them put a bottle in your hand

  9. If I had to pick one common Supermarket wine that stands out to me right now, it would be Mumm Napa Brut Rosé… A reliably excellent for the price bubbly.

  10. Thanks for sharing these thoughts–some good strategies here.

    Over on Twitter, Mike Madrigale suggested Louis Jadot’s 2010 Beaujolais and many chimed in and agreed retweeting him and some added “”Jadot Beaujolais” true that, definitely one of the best 9 dollar bottles of wine out there.” and “Louis Jadot 2010 Beaujolais-Villages ‘Combe aux Jacques’ is very solid.”

    Caleb Ganzer thought they might have a Drouhin chablis/macon.

  11. I agree with the Bogle suggestion. They always represent the varietal and you’re never disappointed for the price. Others…Wild Horse Pinot or Merlot, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Gnarly Head Zin.

  12. Columbia Crest will always be found in the super market and is the best wine under $10 I have tasted vintage after vintage.

    Cycles Gladitor mentioned above is too sweet for me.

    If super markets had a wine buyer that knew anything about wine they would all carry Dr. Loosen Dr. L Riesling which is always a huge hit at my tastings.

  13. I just spent some time down there, and the best things I saw were from Perrin, and La Vieille Ferme.

  14. perrin is pretty good

  15. Why make a federal case out of this? I won’t kill you to say ‘Thanks a bunch, but you’ll be busy enough anyway,so we’ll just pop into your local Higgledy-Piggledy on the way over.’ If your friend is providing lunch or dinner, you can ask what’s to be served and say you’ll grab something to go with it. From your letter it appears that she has no clue, and I imagine she’ll be relieved.You can pretty much guarantee that if you give her specifics she won’t be able to find them, and more e-mails will result and her level of uncertainty/anxiety will grow. She’s trying to be a good hostess, so why don’t you be a good guest: take her off the hook.She’ll appreciate it and you’ll be perfectly content with the wine you choose.

  16. As the Dr. said, Roederer is a good choice. My other choice is Mumm. It’s always good and you can usually find it for around $15.


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