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.