The Cheaper Side of Life: The Cheap Connoisseur

This week we’re going to tell you how you can fill your wine cellar on cents. Some might think that wine is an expensive and elitist hobby, accessible only to the rich, but nothing could be further from the truth. With a few bucks and an eye for good deals, you too can become a wine connoisseur. I’ll recommend a couple of whites for you to try. I shop at Argonaut Liquor, but most of these should be available at any decent sized liquor store.

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the worlds most popular varietal wines. The name means roughly “savage white,” because the grapes were originally wild and found in South West France. A good Sauv Blanc should be dry, crisp and refreshing. A lot of Sauvignon Blancs still come from France, but New Zealand also makes some of the best in the world. At your local wine shop you should be able to find Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, usually about $9.99. For a slight step up consider Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, which usually goes for a couple dollars more. Like most whites, Sauv Blanc goes well with cheese and fish–it can even be paired with sushi.

Chardonnay is a tricky varietal that takes on the flavor of the region it’s grown in. This phenomenon is known as terroir, the effect of geographical location on the flavor of coffee tea or wine. It’s a good term to remember if you want to sound impressive. Chardonnay is often fermented in oak barrels, and picks up some of their flavor. Chardonnay is usually fruity, and many styles have a “smoky” flavor. In America, many of the best chardonnays come from the Napa valley. At $6.99, 2006 Woodbridge Chardonnay is an excellent buy, but for something a little tastier you may want to consider a bottle of the 2005 Blackstone Monterey County Chardonnay, about $9.99. If you’re looking for unoaked (or steel fermented chardonnay) you may want to consider the 2008 Snoqualmie Chardonnay at $9.99 or Wishing Tree Chardonnay at $8.99. Chardonnay goes well with poultry, smoked fish and garlic-heavy dishes.

My name is Geoff, and that’s the cheaper side of Wine. Check back in two weeks for advice on reds. In the meantime, let me know if you have any great deals I may have missed. Cheers!

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