There is a huge misconception that the best wines are always the most expensive. It’s true that factors in the vineyard and winery affect price point, however most of the time pricing comes from market forces (demand). Although I do have love for my pricey bottles, I also understand that my budget doesn’t allow me to drink them all the time.
All that said, there are so many wines that I’m absolutely loving for ANYONE’S budget. From $10 to $100, I’m giving you my current favorites in each price range!
$10-$15 - Stemmari Grillo 2017
The quaint summer sip! Hailing from Sicily, this wine boasts the perfect mix of pineapple, mango, white flowers, lemon peel and jalapeño. Take it out to your back patio after a long Tuesday, or crack it open on a Saturday afternoon. Hell, drink it everyday if you really want…it’s $11! This one was a little hard to track down, but you can order it here.
$15-$25 - Champalou Vouvray 2017
It could be the wine or the fact that Madame Champalou made me cry with her story of passion, love and perseverance…all I know is this wine is not to be missed! Fermented in stainless steel tanks, this wine sits on its lees for eleven months before it’s bottled. Notes of pure Chenin goodness include red apple, honey and wet stone. This is a dry wine with just the slightest touch of detectable sweetness. Pick this up at Astor Wines for $21.96.
$25-$35 – Laurence & Rémi Dufaitre - Côte de Brouilly 2016
My love for Gamay is so real right now, and yours should be too. Coming from 80-year-old vines (yes, 80), this organic wine gives me all of the juicy red berries and minerality my heart desires. This wine is fermented in concrete tanks and transferred into tonneau (900L barrel) to open it up a little. Chill it slightly and drink now, or let it sit for a couple. Either way, I promise you’ll love it. Find it at Gramercy Wine & Spirits for $26.99.
$35-$45 – Hermann J. Wiemer “HJW Vineyard” Riesling 2017
You didn’t think I was going to write this blog post and not include Hermann Wiemer, did you?! This Riesling comes from a vineyard perched 700ft above Seneca Lake with all grapes hand-picked, hand-sorted, whole cluster pressed and fermented with indigenous yeast. This Riesling is insanely pronounced on the nose and palate with flavors of concentrated citrus and stone fruits, and a backbone of minerality. Get ready to have your world rocked! You can purchase this wine directly from their website here for $39.
$45-$55 - Comando G Vinos de Madrid 'Rozas 1er Cru' 2017
All Garnacha is not created equal and this wine is the perfect example of pure Spanish bliss. Coming from a single vineyard 900 meters above sea level, this wine shows rich layers of raspberry, red cherry and violet. There is a strong finesse related to those warm sunny days and a very high altitude. Aged in French oak, you can drink now or age as you please. Find this wine at Verve Wine for $55.
$55-$65 - Champagne Henriet-Bazin Marie-Amélie Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs 2012
I’ve done a whole separate blog post on my love for Champagne Henriet-Bazin, so it should come as no surprise that one of their wines would appear on this list! Besides having a total Grape Chic label, this Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs vintage wine comes from 60+ year old vines showing the pure power of terroir. Expect to find green apple, brioche and hazelnut after spending 5 years on its lees. This wine is a total steal at $65 and can be purchased here.
$65-$75 - Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge La Crau 2015
Although just a baby, this wine knocked my socks off when I tasted it a few months ago. I’m happy to drink it now, tomorrow, the next day…and then again in 10 years. A blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah and 5% other permitted varieties, this wine is everything you’d want from the Southern Rhone. Red Cherry, black licorice, cocoa and a hint of game light the house on fire. This is a wine a wish I could afford to drink all the time! You can find this wine at Morrell Wine for $69.
$75-$85 - Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve 2015
Only the very best and oldest plots make up this elegant Reserve Pinot Noir so much so that it's almost too exclusive for itself. Hirsch's website states, "Each block was individually developed and planted based on soil, exposure and topography, and each is farmed, harvested and vinified separately. This process enables us to evaluate each farming block separately, and to select only the finest barrels from the most expressive vineyard blocks for the Hirsch Reserve Pinot Noir." Are you sold yet? If you're in the mood to splurge, you can pick this up at Morrell Wine for $85.
$85-$95 - Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana 2013
This is one of those wines that could bring you to tears. Ripe sour cherries and rich layers of spice, tobacco, and dried flowers seem to endlessly unfold...and they will keep unfolding for years ahead. This Barolo macerated on its skins for 20 days for color and flavor extraction and malolactic fermentation was done in oak as opposed to stainless steel. This wine then aged in barrique for 16 months followed by 16 months in the bottle before it was released. It needs a little time for the tannins to soften, but it's worth picking up and throwing in your cellar! You can find this wine at Morrell Wine for $95.
$95+ - Chateau Canon 1er Grand Cru Classé 2011
Last year I brought the 2004 vintage on a mini getaway to Cooperstown, NY and was absolutely blown away by the gorgeous layers of velvet red plums and chocolate. 2004 was a bit of a tough year, so 2018 was the perfect time to drink. The 2011 vintage is definitely considered to be more "classic," for Saint-Emilion, and if you're into points, it was rated 96 points by James Suckling and 93 points by Robert Parker. You can drink now, but I would definitely hold as this will only get better over time. You can find this ON SALE right now for $119.99 on wine.com.