Wine is an elixir of the gods made to help you get through quarantine. And while it practically grows on trees (vines) and is available in just about every store from Portland to Pensacola, you can still be a little selective. You know it’s true, treat yourself.
We all know about bargain vino like Carlo Rossi and Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck. These are perfectly serviceable wines that will have you feeling a little more at ease during unpredictable times. Yet, we also think the spectrum of mass-produced wines is surprisingly large in terms of quality.
Compiled below are ten wines or labels worth your time that are generally large-production affairs, available in most grocers and online outlets. They’re not always cheap, although they tend to be. Because they’re made at such a scale, they’re extremely reliable, with the winemaking very much streamlined and dialed into a predictable science. You’ve got enough to worry about right now as it is, so cheers.
Armed with one of the largest wine-canning facilities out there, Oregon’s Union Wine Company has changed the crushable wine game and has made some really good juice en route via its Underwood line. It’s wine put into aluminum that’s tasty enough to warrant a glass.
These bottles tend to come in around $6 a pop, which is impressive. Skip the Pinot Noir but the Pinot Grigio and Cab are both just fine, especially for the price. If you’re extra thirsty, the label does box wines as well.
A quality Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, Los Vascos is earthy, dark fruit-driven, and the recipient of some pretty solid critical acclaim, given the price tag.
An accessible take on the classic Italian red style, Ruffino’s handful of Chianti takes are great for the dinner table. The large Tuscan estate goes back to 1877 and turns out some quality, pasta-ready wine. Italian restaurants in the states have long relied on the brand, from entry level up.
An old standby from the Rioja in Spain, Marqués de Cáceres produces a handful of tasty wines at good prices, like the Crianza, made mostly of Tempranillo, and the thirst-quenching Verdejo.
It’s nice to grab a Merlot at the supermarket that tastes like the varietal, all while spending about $10. The Charles Smith brand, based in Washington state, has specialized in a varietal program that’s easy on the wallet and the eye (the labels are handsome).
A workhorse pink wine, this rosé is uncomplicated but refreshing and mostly dry. It’s great with most lighter foods but has enough in the way of fresh berries and floral components to enjoy on its own.
There’s a lot of okay Malbec from South America at this price range and availability but sometimes you want something a little different. Enter Tannat, a big red especially popular in Uruguay. Fire up the grill, throw on a steak, and crack this beefy wine.
Here’s a Sauv Blanc from New Zealand that’s quite cheap and quite tasty. It’s fresh and tropical in flavor, as a good Kiwi white wine should be. Enjoy this wine solo or with lighter fare like chicken salad.
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