The Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s isn’t the only wine worth buying when you head to the grocery store. Instead, there are more choices than ever when it comes to browsing Costco or Kroger (KR) shelves say experts like Tom Wark, the Executive Director
Specialty Wine Retailers Association, “Grocery stores have done an excellent job of increasing their diversity of wines over the past ten years – there is usually a little of everything.” And with all the anti-aging claims of drinking wine, it’s perfectly acceptable to try them all. But don’t look for small production wines in the supermarket aisles say oenophiles like Gary Vaynerchuk the host of Wine Library TV, “for a grocery store there needs to be some long term stock available.”
Here are our top picks:
Gunderloch, Riesling 2006
Opting for a German or Austrian Riesling can be a safe bet, says Vaynerchuk. “They tend to be excellent wines to serve with food or for simply quaffing,” explains Vaynerchuk and adds that bottles are widely available at prices that aren’t over the top.
Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2004
A bottle of Cotes du Rhone is a safe bet and usually available wherever you go, but it can get tough when it comes to differentiating between labels, writes Oz Clarke author of the Essential Wine Book. “Mostly red, the wines can be tremendously fresh and fruity,” Clarke explains and recommends that shoppers ask a merchant before making the final decision.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2007
While the Kim Crawford Winery started in 1996, the Marlborough region in New Zealand has long been known for quality. “It’s a white wine that the Kiwis have perfected,” Wark says. The wine is also easy to find in supermarkets across the U.S.
Clos du Bois Pinot Noir 2005
Many California wines are becoming a big hit at the grocery store as well, and experts agree there’s plenty to taste. “Most Sonoma wines have a freshness and a soft edge which makes them very suitable for drinking on their own,” explains Clarke.
Andretti Zinfandel-Primitivo 2005
Various grape varieties in California’s Napa Valley can also yield great results when blended, says Wark. “Blended reds represent excellent values and often find their way into grocery stores,” explains Wark.
Espiral Vinho Verde 2006
A Trader Joe’s favorite, this Portuguese wine costs four bucks and a good summer option. “It's really crisp, slightly fizzy and tastes a little like limes,” says Maridel Reyes, a magazine writer.
Vesevo Greco di Tufo 2006
Lesser known wines like the Greco di Tufo can also be a good bet, says Vaynerchuk who recommends shoppers opt for a type of wine they have never had before, other types he likes are Petit Verdot Chinon.
Falesco Vitiano 2005
Blended wines from Italy are always good deal says Dr. Debs, who writes about easy-to-find wines at the blog GoodWineUnder20.blogspot.com and explains that the Vitiano is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. “It's a perfect pizza and burger wine, but is special enough to go on your Sunday dinner table, too,” she says.
Montsarra NV Brut Cava
Debs calls this non-vintage Spanish sparkling wine a steal. “We tend to only have sparklers for special occasions, but this wine is a wonderful reminder that for well under $20 you can have sparkling wine more regularly,” she explains.
But when it comes to finding a suitable wine at the supermarket, Wark says it’s important to experiment and seek suggestions, “Your best bet is to ask for the manager of the Wine Department.” Now sip slowly.