As someone who writes about food and luxury travel as part of my job, you'd think I'd be reallyinto fine wine. And I am, because it's great.
But what I really love—and drink regularly—is *cheap* wine.
One thing you should know: I organize my work day around what I call "coffee hours" and "wine hours." Once the sun goes down, the wine comes out. And often I do so with guests who are capable of drinking an entire bottle in one night, as am I. If that's your penchant, you can't be spending $50 a bottle—not if you want to be able to pay your rent at the end of the month.
So I've essentially been on a life-long quest for wine that is delicious but value-priced. Here are the tricks I've learned:
1. Have a Cheat Sheet of Good-but-Cheap Regions to Buy From
And know exactly what to buy from them. There are plenty of countries that that are known to deliver in price as well as in value and flavor, like...
New Zealand (Sauvignon Blanc)
Australia (Riesling and Shiraz)
Portugal (Vinho Verde)
Chile (Cabernet Sauvignon)
2. Get a Wine Wand
I am *obsessed* with the wine wand. It is an AMAZING hack for inexpensive wine. Swirl the wand in your glass for three minutes (or more) and all the histamines and sulfites (used to preserve wine, and found in tons of cheaper wine) will be removed.
Bonus 1: The wine tastes better.
Bonus 2: You will not feel like crap the next morning.
3. Let Your Cheap Wine Breathe and Get Chilly
Another hack for making inexpensive wine taste better is to simply allow it to BREATHE. Invest in an aerator, or simply decant it and it will start to taste better. I also chill all my wine—not just the white, but the red!—you'll find it tastes better longer. Plus, it's really nice to be able to open your fridge and see a bottle of wine waiting for you! Want to make that bottle last even longer? Start to appreciate the beauty of a fizzy wine mixture (try lemon line or grapefruit soda).
4. Pull Out the Blender
Inexpensive wine can also be brought to life with something called hyperdecanting. Here's how: You throw your red wine in a blender for 30 seconds. That's it. (Just don't tell anyone you did this, they will SERIOUSLY judge you.)
Ultimately, the world needs to get over its prejudices when it comes to cheap wine versus "good" wine. Wine is not always "art"—a lot of us don't really care that much about the history or the complexity of our glass. We just want something that tastes delicious.
Besides, wine is ultimately about being social, sharing and enjoying—who wants to put a price tag on that?