Top 9 Supermarket Wines You Should Buy

Supermarket wine aisles can be pretty daunting. With rows and rows of wine bottles stuck together like little glass soldiers, picking out a wine for the right price and quality can be tricky.  Plus, most of us are generally in a hurry and don’t want to deal with calling the grocery wine expert to help.

I have several ways of dealing with my selection. One that I often tell people is there are certain varietals you can pick by region that usually do not disappoint. For example, a Pinot Noir from Russian River, a Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley, or Chateauneuf-du-Pape from just about any vineyard in France! Second is I analyze labels, but again this is time consuming. The best way is the list I’ve created below that gives you go to wines whenever you need a quick idea for a white or red.

I’ve had many people ask me for this type of advice by email and I’m sure this list will evolve again over time as wine does, but these are my current selections based on quality and price.

Please Note that prices below are only approximations from retailers like BevMo or Safeway, so it’s a good idea to look around for the best deals at different stores.  People assume that wine prices are pretty stable, but they aren’t. Retailers compete on wine prices just like anything else.

Most importantly taste, have fun, and report back on any favorites!

  • Chateau St. Jean North Coast Chardonnay 2012, $13.99 – Aromas of lemon, fruit, and brown spice make this a good, well-balanced wine.
  • La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2012, $19.99– Rich and creamy with great floral notes.
  •  Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2010, $19.99 – A crisp and classic Italian style white wine that pairs well with just about anything.
  •  Estancia Pinot Noir 2012, $12.99 – A medium bodied wine with flavors of black cherries, raspberry and a smoky and silky finish.
  • Ridge Three Valleys 2011, $24.99 – Excellent, rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast.  Dry with light tannins and bouquet of jam, bacon, and grilled mushrooms.
  • Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Heritage 2011, $10.99 – A wonderful California Zin with classic flavors of jammy blackberry and spicy pepper.
  • Layer Cake Primitivo 2010, $14.99 – I was at first hesitant to try the twist top, but their rich, fruity wines are a steal for the price and quality. And even better is their grapes are sourced from the beautiful region of Puglia, Italy.
  • Grandes Serres Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010, $24.99 – Powerful at around 14% or more alcohol, yet surprisingly flexible with all types of food, especially mediterranean dishes. Notes of black cherry, herbs de provence, black currents, and blueberries are only a few of the complex flavors these wines can produce.
  • J.Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, $13.99 – A great robust Cabernet from Paso Robles with dense fruit and oak flavors.

Share your favorite supermarket wine in the comments below.

 

8 Comments:


  • By Rodrigo Alvarez 01 May 2014

    Norton Reserva 2010 Malbec

    • By admin 01 May 2014

      Great suggestion, thank you! I see it’s sold out already on some websites and it looks like a great price.

  • By Mark Capalongan 01 May 2014

    Laura,

    That’s a solid list. I might be tempted to say that your can’t go wrong with a Zin from Paso, a Syrah from Dry Creek, and a Pinot from the Santa Cruz Mountains. Then again, those aren’t always in the grocery store.

    Speaking of which, there are many wines that will never by on the shelves of retail stores. It would be interesting to see your article on wine finds and bargains for handmade wines as well. I’m sometimes shocked and amazed at the great wines that come from places like Hanna Nicole which are grown in Contra Costa County of all places. Who knew?

    • By admin 01 May 2014

      Great idea for for an article on handmade wines not found in markets. Some of my favorite wineries are small production and handcrafted wines and you are right there are many that are affordable great wines.

  • By Mama 01 May 2014

    Laura,
    Thanks for the list. I will use it.

  • By Tami 02 May 2014

    I LOVE the Ridge you mentioned. One of my favorites, too!

    Other reliable favorites…

    Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare – a solid reliable Rose. Hard to say what every vintage will taste like but typically it’s a very nice balance of dryness with a hint of strawberry. Under $20. (Online BevMo has it for $14 club bev price; I’ve also seen it at Piazza’s; Mollie Stone’s may have it too)

    Marques de Caceres — Both the Crianza Rioja and the Rose. The Crianza Rioja has gone up quite a bit in price since I first started drinking it (used to be $6!!!) but it is still affordable. The Rose is gorgeous, a tad fruity but not overly so. Both are available at Trader Joe’s.

    Kenwood Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc — again, used to be really cheap ($6 on sale) but due to people discovering it… and of course inflation… it’s more like $12 now (less on sale). Light, refreshing, and fruity without being overbearing.

    Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel — Rich flavor; tastes more expensive than it really is (under $20). I see it frequently at Cost Plus. (They also make a lovely Rose, but I’m not sure if it’s available in grocery stores.)

    • By admin 02 May 2014

      Good additions, Tami! I think I’ve tried all but Marques de Caceres. Sounds delicious.

      I highly recommend Ridge winery for picnics as well. Their winery is beautiful in Santa Cruz Mountains. Three Valleys is a good choice for cost. Most other ridge wines above this price like their amazing monte bello series.

      Thanks for your comments.

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