We're glad to have Ms. Elyse Luray, author of Great Wines Under $20 to give us some great wine tips for those of us on a budget!
Take it away, Elyse....
Choosing wine on a budget is easy as there are no wrong choices! My book, Great Wines Under $20 gives you 200 wines to choose from but also some insider tips on how to choose your favorite flavors. To start, set your price limit and decide if you prefer a red or white wine and then you’re good to go! Here are some quick budget tips for you to find the best wine for you.
Vintage: The year the wine is produced will appear on the front label of the bottle. Should you care? The answer is probably not when you are drinking young and/or inexpensive wines, similar to the ones in my book. It is a common mistake to think that all most wines improve with age. Only a select few actually do and these are the ones that are quite expensive.
Glasses: Expensive glasses do not make wine taste better. I do believe you should not use paper cups. Places like Costco, Home Goods and Walmart, all sell inexpensive wine glasses. For white wine: use a smaller, narrower glass – preferably a tulip shape. For red wine, use a wide, larger rimmed glass. If you can only buy one glass, do with a red wine glass for both.
Corkscrews: There are many expensive and fancy corkscrews on the market today. While I enjoy them and the ease that they provide when opening a bottle of wine, a simple waiter’s corkscrew always does the job. There is no need to invest money in this.
Food Pairings: You do not have to serve filet mignon or a two-pound lobster to drink wine. There are plenty of wines in my book that go well with pizza, quesadilla, nuts and cheese, artichoke dips, sushi, nachos and so much more. You can serve inexpensive wine at a barbeque with hamburgers and hot dogs. The golden rule is to pair your wine with the same region, red wine with meat and white with fish. Chardonnays are great with a simple caser salad, Chianti with pasta or pizza, Merlot with take out Chinese food and a Petite Sirah with hamburgers.
Pricing: I found each wine at multiple stores or on the Internet for multiple prices. It does depend on what state you live in, taxes, shipping (if buying online) or inventory. At below $20, most wines only fluctuate a dollar or two.
There are also some inexpensive gifts you can give wine lovers. First, a copy of my book Great Wines Under $20, others ideas include: a decanter, wine coasters, wine charms, an ice bucket to keep your wine cool on a hot summer day, a photo album to place labels that you like in, a contemporary level style bottle opener, or simply a bottle under $20.
Here are some of my suggestions for the perfect wine to complement any meal or evening:
A summer beach party: Pacific Rim Dry Reisling, Cloudline Pinor Noir, J Wine Pinot Gris, Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir, Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Bogegas Mugas, Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc
Just a gift: Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir, Condesa de Leganza Crianza. Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec, Adelsheim Chardonnay, Crios Torrontes
Bio: Elyse Luray is a self educated, wine auctioneer, who is a recurring auctioneer for Miami Food and Wine Festival and the Chesapeake Wine Auctions. She is a contributor on “The Nate Berkus Show” and one of five hosts on PBS’ “History Detectives.”