How to Pick a Good Wine at different Price Points

There are so many different wines, how do you know what to choose? Depending on how much you want to spend, follow these tips to find the perfect wine that fits your budget and satisifes your taste buds.

$5-$15

Best buys in this price range are Argentinian Malbecs and Spanish reds from Rioja. There are also many very good rosés that are affordable.

$15-$30

There’s a lot to choose from here. The Rhone Valley in France has some excellent choices. Guigal makes both red and whites. These are hearty wines that pair well with fall and winter dishes—think stew and roast. Italian wines in this price range are also a good choice. Chianti Classico and red blends from Tuscany pair well with red sauce, veal and even chicken marsala. Collefrisco Pecorino is a white from Italy that has a creamy texture and is a nice fall wine. Chardonnay from California is another option by itself or with cheeses or a meal.

$30+

This is where you can find wines to put in the cellar. California cabernet, barolo, Bordeaux and Burgundy are a few examples. Pay attention to vintages and producers. Not sure what the best vintage and producers are? Our wine experts are happy to help!

Picking Good Wines

  • Pay attention to the label—the more specific, the better. If it just has California chardonnay on the label, that means that the grapes could have come from anywhere in the state or possibly from several places in the state. If it says Santa Cruz mountains, estate bottled, it means that the grapes came from the estate of the producer in that specific area.
  • Know your vintages—vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a specific year. Wine quality can vary greatly from year to year. In France, where irrigation is frowned upon, quality can vary from vintage to vintage depending on, among other things, rainfall. Warmer seasons produce riper grapes, while poor growing season can reduce sugar in grapes, lowering the quality of the wine. Quality of vintages varies in all wine regions, some more than others. In the Western Hemisphere, growing seasons are more uniform because regardless of rainfall, the controlled use of irrigation contributes to uniform vintages.
  • Look for consistent producers—Even in bad years, a good producer can make decent wines. Most wineries can make a very nice wine in a perfect year with the right temperature, rainfall and sunshine. If you’re buying a wine to drink in the near future, it’s OK to make a selection based just on the producer. If you’re looking to cellar a bottle, check both the vintage and producer.

Information provided by Mike’s Wine and Liquor