WHAT A WINE GEEK DRINKS ON A BUDGET
By Maggie Walters
Resident Wine Geek Maggie Walters here! Here’s my latest iteration of the budget blog series. I drink through wines that are affordable, and the wines I feature stand out from the rest. No cookie cutter wines here! Only the best for the money, because drinking wine on a budget should not mean missing out on quality.
1. Kuentz-Bas Alsace White Blend Imported by Kermit Lynch
Grapes: 60% Sylvaner, 30% Muscat 20% Auxerrois (This wine is NOT sweet. Don’t let the muscat grape make you think otherwise!)
What sets this wine apart: First, it’s imported by Kermit Lynch, who is kind of the bomb. Anything he puts his name on is a guarantee of quality. Secondly, this wine is biodynamic. Biodynamic farming involves some serious commitment. Think organic farming but with more involvement on a larger scope. From soil fertility to raising animals that assist with pests, weeds and fertilizing the soil, it’s pretty impressive! This winery was founded in 1795 and averages a vine age of 30 years. Talk about getting an incredible wine for your money!
- Flavor profile: Brisk and dry, this wine really makes your mouth water! Hints of fresh apple, wet river rock, orange peel, and an underlying earthy note to balance it all out.
- Food Pairing: Cheeses and fish/seafood/shellfish.
2. Calcu Reserva Especial Sauvignon Blanc, Colchagua Valley Chile
What sets this wine apart: If you like Sauvignon Blanc, Chile should be on your radar! It’s the next big thing for this white zesty grape and it’s really putting Chile on the map for wine production! All grapes going into Calcu Sauvignon Blanc come from sustainable growers who treat their grapes with love and respect (yeah!). The winery also focuses on smaller production so they’re all about giving customers quality wine for their money.
- Flavor profile: Hello tropical fruit! Notes of pineapple jump out of the glass followed by green apple and ripe pear. This crisp and refreshing white is sunshine in a glass.
- Food Pairing: Chicken/fish pasta with lemon cream sauce and Caesar salad!
3. A to Z Oregon Chardonnay
What sets this wine apart: A to Z’s method is incredible wine, consistently well made and expressing Oregon’s cool climate for an ‘everyday wine’ price. I think they hit the nail on the head! This unoaked Chardonnay, sustainably farmed in the Willamette Valley, is a foodie’s go to pairing for under $15.
- Flavor profile: Aromas of tangerines, lemon curd, white flowers, apricots, lime zest, kumquats, honeydew and wet stones. Tart and full on the palate, this wine is full of complexity and concentration.
- Food pairing: Baja fish tacos to truffle fries to crab cakes to fried chicken. This is a good bottle to have in your arsenal for food pairings!
4. Languedoc Red Wine Imported by Kermit Lynch
Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault
What sets this wine apart: This is not a cookie cutter red blend. Kermit Lynch works with winemakers in southern France to create a wine that is a true expression of its terroir. I typically don’t describe a red wine as "steely" but Languedoc being fermented and matured in stainless steel, that term just makes sense. Sediment isn’t removed from the wine with fining or filtering. Many wine professionals say that not using these methods actually keeps more complexity and character in the wine. I’ll let you be the judge of that!
- Flavor profile: This medium bodied red is all about freshness, from its altitude to the use of stainless steel. It reminds me of standing on a river bank and breathing in cold, crisp air. Tart red fruit and green herbs showcase themselves with dusty fine tannins and bright acidity.
- Food pairing: Charcuterie, dishes with marinara sauce, and herbed fatty fish.
It amazes me when quality wines are sold for under $15. Show these amazing producers some love by cracking open a bottle and drinking some of their delicious, reasonably priced wines. I hope you enjoy drinking these wines as much as I do.
Until the next iteration, Cheers!
All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price. Products and prices are subject to change.