10 Wines You Can Afford to Love

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Above: And ten reasons to love Publix

Yes, you too can be a wine connoisseur on your minimalist 30K a year salary. I've just finished reading The Wine Trials by Robin Goldstein, a scrappy little tome about the 6,000 wines he arranged to have blind tasted over the course of a year.

Want to guess what he found? The 507 tasters preferred 100 cheap wines under $15 to bottles priced at $50 to $150.

There are a gazillion reasons for this, detailed at length in the book, but one of the more obvious ones is that expensive wine just doesn't always taste better.

Take, for example, the blind face-off between Dom Perignon champagne ($150) and Domaine St. Michel Brut Sparkling Wine ($13.29 at Publix). Two thirds of the tasters preferred the cheapie Brut. Goldstein posits that big names like DP are spending a fortune on advertising, marketing, and "positioning" their products as luxury items, and not much money at all on actually producing a great wine. Isn't the world a topsy turvy place?

I went to Publix and found 10 bottles from Goldstein's list. I was looking mostly for the category winners and editor's picks, so I'm sure they sell others. But to get you started, here they are. And once the extra Publix wine discounts were factored in, boy were they cheeeeap!

Reds:
George Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, $9.99
Bogle Zinfandel, $12.49
Rosemount Shiraz, ($10.49 - $2.15 discount = $8.34)
Barefoot Merlot ($7.49 - .37 discount = $7.12)
**Campo Viejo Rioja Crianza ($9.49 - .95 discount = $8.54)

Whites:
**Marques de Cacares Rioja ($10.49 - .53 discount = $9.96)
**Alice White Chardonnay (on sale for $4.99)
Fat Bastard Chardonnay (10.99 - $1.10 discount = $9.89)

Sparkling:
**Domaine St. Michel Brut ($13.99 - .70 = $13.29)
**Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut ($11.99 - $4.99 discount = $7)

** indicates category winners or editor's picks.
Anybody tried any of these? Care to comment on them? Or do you have your own faves under $15 you'd care to share?

--Gail Shepherd


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