Sunday, December 04, 2005

Affordable Wine

Many of my posts are about affordable wine, and affordable means something a little different to everyone. This is what I mean by affordable.

I try to make sure I have some wine on hand for drinking every day, and I try to keep those bottles under $10. On the weekends, I tend to drink something a little bit more special, and my price limit creeps up to about $20. Then there are wines for very special occasions, and I will go up to $30.

If anyone is trying to build up a cellar, the most important tip that I can give anyone is to keep a plentiful supply of cheap wine on hand. This stops you from being tempted to use the good stuff when you simply feel like a glass of wine, but you are not in a frame of mind to appreciate a serious bottle.

Funnily enough, and I know this is a little irrational, I simply don't take white wine as seriously as red (except for sweet wines.) I just won't spend as much on a white wine as on a red wine. The most expensive white wine I regularly buy is Conundrum. It's an interesting California wine that is a fascinating blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, Sémillon and Viognier. It costs around $24.

I sometimes buy Champagne, but I try to keep the cost down. One of my favorites is Montaudon, and that usually goes for under $30.

I have a fondness for sweet wines, including Sauternes, Vouvray, and Canadian ice wine. I tend to break my price limits with these wine, and buy at the $30 to $40 level, conveniently forgetting that this frequently buys you only a half bottle.

This is from the perspective of someone living on the east cost of the United States. Californians seem to get a lot of wine more cheaply, particularly when it is from California.

I have a few valuable wines. Some of these are presents from generous friends. Others are wines I have seen at amazing prices, and pounced. For example, I managed to get a lot of the 1989 and 1990 Cos d'Estournel for only about $25 a bottle in about 1993.

The most expensive wine that I have ever bought for myself was probably the wonderful ice wine from Henry of Pelham in Niagara. I bought it at the winery, and it cost about $55 (Canadian) -- this works out to about US $80 or so per bottle (considering the rate of exchange at the time and the fact that this is a half bottle.)

What does affordable mean to you? What is the most you have ever spent on a bottle of wine?

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