I sometimes go to some discount food store. Grocery Outlet Bargain Market? Something like that.
It has “whatever isn’t selling” at other places. I start there and IF I can find something on my list, I buy it. Then hit Walmart or COSTCO depending on what’s the majority of my remaining list. After that, it’s Trader Joe’s or on up the list. Each tier being more expensive and more variety of better goods. This lets me get most of my generic groceries at good quality for cheap, and yet still have the special things (often at special prices) as desired.
Well, this GOBM store has a wine section that is just full of various wines. I’ve gotten BV (a high end label) there sometimes, along with some really cheap stuff. It all depends on who has too much of something in inventory. What intrigues me is that this creates a constant kaleidoscope of change. Brands and wines I’d never search out, never think of, or never try at $10 / bottle; but sold at discount for far less. Many domestic, some large number imports that didn’t move as well as the distributor contracted.
So a couple of days ago I had a New Zealand Chardonnay that was quite good. IIRC it was $5 / bottle. Sadly, I don’t remember the name. That’s the downside to this method of buying wine. IF you don’t keep track, well, a lot of brands go past the nose and lips and it’s not always easy to remember all the brands. Especially the next day ;-)
But today I’m trying the “2nd Tier” bottle I bought. (Tomorrow or the next day is the 3rd Tier $3.99 bottle…) For about $4 or $5 / bottle I got a nice little Sauvignon Blanc from Slovenia. Now not only did I not know that Slovenia made wine, I had no idea they made decent wine. This one is labeled Avia (R) and is very drinkable. No, it’s not going to be getting awards in France. It is more in the Italian Table Wine style. Very drinkable. Nice flavor. Fruity enough. Smooth enough. The only “downside” is a high sulfite level (so a round in the blender or some time breathing needed to avoid a sharp slightly sour effect). I run into this in many wines. Some imports more than domestic, but plenty of domestic wines too.
It really is the case that the best thing you can do for your wine drinking experience is find a way to ventilate wines to remove the sulfites that preserve them. I’ve found that a few seconds trip through the blender works wonders. My neighbor has a fancy device that you pour the wine through and it swirls around some spirals. I already own a blender so…
But back at the wine.
Other than the sulfite giving it more ‘bite’ out of the bottle than desired, it’s quite a drinkable table wine. The label says “hand harvested” and “estate bottled” and even “100% varietal”. From the Primorska Region, wherever that is. It also says “medium bodied, medium dry, with harmonized fruity flavors” and I’d agree with that. At 13% alcohol, it has some “ambition”.
I have no idea if I will ever see this wine again. I doubt many local liquor stores carry it, and the grocer having it will depend on the fates. BUT, if it is still there next week, I’m picking up some more…
It’s a very odd experience, bottom fishing at the discount store. Some wines are great and fantastically low prices. Others are worth almost what you paid for that $4 bottle. Most of the time it’s the former with only a few of the latter, so on average well worth it. Just be prepared to turn the “so-so” stuff into wine coolers and move on.
Other wines surprise you. Something you just kind of like, but without any real reason. Nothing fantastic about it. Nothing shouting “It’s the NOSE!” or “Those chocolate overtones!!” (had that once in a Monterey Cabernet Sauvignon and went back and bought a case… then a couple of week later went back to buy another case and it was sold out…) Sometimes it is just “I’d really like another glass of that.”
And that, really, is enough to make a wine worth buying. I’d like another glass of this with my lamb “Salisbury steak” tonight. I’d like another glass of it with TV after dinner. I’d like another glass of it now as I head off to the kitchen to make dinner. Sadly, there’s only 3 glasses of it left in the bottle at the moment. So desert will have to be with something else. ;-)