It’s the dog days of summer; the heat advisory has been extended, Jerry has no A/C, and Kara’s lover just moved across the country. This calls for discount-bin wine.
So, what puts you in a discount-wine state of mind? Are you thrifty by nature or is your search for value circumstantial?
We scoured shops throughout the city to find the best value wines and let us tell you, it did put us in a better mood. As we write this, we’re sipping on a 2018 Alsatian Pinot Blanc priced at $16 from Rosemont Wine Bar, new to the Elizabeth neighborhood.
We found it too hot to agree on one wine per shop, however, so we chose our respective greatest hits from the three places we visited in between air-conditioned breaks in the car.
Rosemont Market & Wine Bar
Jerry: “I’ve decided on the Langhe nebbiolo by G.D. Varja. For any fans of Barolo or Barbaresco wines, Langhe nebbiolo is always your best bargain alternative while still enjoying this Goliath of a grape. Honestly, I prefer to take the temp down a couple ‘a notches by chilling this tannic red to around 55 degrees before consuming. Doing this will bring forth the tart cherry and anise notes.”
Kara: “I chose a Le Jardin d’eolie Vin de France pinot noir. Fifteen buckaroos. Vin de France tells me that the grapes could be from anywhere in France, meaning more flexibility for the winemakers and more affordability for you. Can be a toss-up, but for $15 I would absolutely take a chance on this pinot.”
Jerry: “From this bin, I chose the Chateau Du Trignon marsanne because everyone needs a little bit of citrus and honey notes in their glass when relaxing by the pool. This affordable gem from Cotes du Rhone is a perfect crisp alternative to chardonnay when you’re in a pinch.”
Kara: “I found a Saint-Bris in the cooler for $18.99. I always get excited when I see this AOC [Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée] because it’s the only place in Bourgogne, France, where sauvignon blanc is made. A beloved grape from arguably the most expensive place to love wine in the world … if you love the slightly more coveted Sancerre, you must try this.”
Reid’s Fine Foods
Jerry: “It’s time to shine the spotlight on everyone’s favorite affordable wine country: Portugal. For the final pick, I chose a zippy white wine from the Vinho Verde region. The grape is called alvarinho, however, you may know it as albarino from Spain. With an aroma of grapefruit and a dance of lemon zest and honeydew on the palette, this is a value that some might consider a true luxury. You don’t want to miss out.”
Kara: “The 2017 El Enemigo bonarda from Mendoza, Argentina is calling to my thrifty heart. For $25.99, this wine can satisfy your big bold red needs perfectly. Everyone knows that Argentina makes a mean malbec, but bonarda is an impressive grape to look for, too. You’re gonna get dark fruit, smoke, game, and structure. Get her some food ASAP. Plus, I really admire the winemakers behind this bottle for how they’ve advocated for high-altitude wines in Mendoza.”
We were really impressed with Laurel Market
As first-time visitors to Laurel Market (yeah, we don’t get out much) we were really excited by the range of affordable (and not-so-affordable) wine in such a small space. If they had tables, dear reader, we would need you to scrape us off of them at the end of the day.
We also want to mention other affordable wine places we love: Tip Top Daily Market, Common Market, and Rhino Market to name a few.
Learn more: A Guide to Charlotte’s Best Markets and Delis
There are also several regions that you can gravitate toward in any wine shop you frequent: Chile, Alto-Adige, Croatia, Languedoc, and Slovenia are some of our favorite ones to look for. Every sommelier knows that great wine doesn’t have to break the bank, you just have to know what to look for.
Now you know, too.
Become a Nerve Member: Get better connected and become a member of Queen City Nerve to support local journalism for as little as $5 per month. Our community journalism helps inform you through a range of diverse voices.
This work by Queen City Nerve is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.