Feeling thrifty? Good, because this week we explore wines under $6-$7. You know, the ones no one really boasts about buying....but admit it, you do. These bottles cost less than an entire glass of wine a nice wine bar, so you pick one up at the grocer's in hopes you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Whether you're opening a less expensive bottle after going through a few nicer bottles at a party or just picking up something to enjoy with a frozen weekday meal, can you tell the difference? Truth be told, yes you can usually tell when you're drinking a $2 bottle of wine and sometimes its actually okay..... and sometimes it's not okay. We explore wines, two red, two white and give them the "okay" or "not okay" rating to save your palate from an upsetting surprise.
La Delizia Pinot Noir 2011 Price: $5.99 Where to get it: Total Wine This is a pretty sweet Pinot Noir with fresh flavors of raspberry and cherry. If you brought it to a party, virtually no one would guess you paid less than $6 before tax. It is "thin" and very drinkable and while it won't please everyone, it should be gone before the haters notice. You could drink this wine with a pizza on a weeknight to unwind or you could pair it with appetizers for a fancier event. Bottom Line: Okay
Three Wishes Merlot Price: $2.99 Where to get it: Whole Foods At first glance you might think "Oh everyone loves Merlot." And yes, while Merlot has become the beauty queen of red wines--this Merlot is not quite so pretty. It tastes like communion wine. Seriously, it met the sink. I had high hopes for Three Wishes as I've had their Chardonnay before and didn't recall recoiling in the way I did when tasting their Merlot. Even if you drink this after several glasses of good Merlot, you still might wake up regretting the decision to imbibe. Bottom Line: Not okay.
Quail Oak Chardonnay Price: Original price $6.99, Club card price $3.63 for a limited time. Where to get it: Safeway This is sort of a store-brand wine if you will, and rates slightly higher than Franzia boxed wine. Not great, not sink worthy either. It's a bit watery and a bit too acidic to pass for something more expensive so at regular price, we'd pass on this wine. When it's on the cheap side you might give it a whirl. Bottom Line: Nearing okay.
Quail Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Price: $5.99 Where to get it: Whole Foods (Pardon the name similarity. Let's just say "Quail" must convey something to the majority of wine buyers.) Up front you should know that the brand is owned by Bronco Wine Company, which also produces Trader Joe's "Two Buck Chuck" and they are about the fourth largest producer of wine in the United States. That being said this wine totally passes for something that you might pay $8 plus for. Really. This pale gold Sauvignon, while not amazing, is slightly buttery but a little dull. Feels like a Chardonnay, but not full of character. Drink in good company. Bottom Line: Okay
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.