Unless you’re hosting an extremely important occasion, or you are a wine connoisseur with unlimited funds, high priced wines are typically not considered when most people are shopping for wine.
Many people have the notion that the higher the price, the better the wine. This is simply not the case. Prices may be higher for certain wines simply because of a history of success. For instance, a certain wine may have had an exceedingly good year or two, which makes that vintage very high priced, especially if the vineyard has suffered since with a bad growing season. Scarcity may force the price way up.
That doesn’t mean that there are not any good deals on perfectly fine wine. Here are some easy tips to find good wine for less money.
Look for critics scores
Many wine critics rate wine before it is bottled. While these score ratings are not the be-all and end-all of wine tasting, they do give a pretty good depiction of how the wine tastes. If you compare more expensive wines with the less expensive bottles, you may find some that are scored around an 88 or 89, a very good wine, while a lower priced wine may actually receive a score in the 92 to 93 range, which is an outstanding wine. So it seems one can’t really judge a wine by its price.
Do your research
While the scores are merely a suggestion from a wine critic, it always helps to do your own research before you go to the wine store. What kind of wine are you looking for? Is it a Merlot, a Pinot Grigio, or perhaps a Riesling? Learn the regions in which the grapes were grown. What kind of climate did the region have each year? Temperature and humidity have a great effect on the quality of wine from year to year.
Once you have a general idea what type of wine you wish to buy, the scores in that category would be another tool in your research. Now, we just mentioned that scores are only suggestions, but why not try some of the higher scores in the lower price range instead of blindly tasting wine by price alone? There are numerous websites that list the scores for wines, along with their average price. Pick out a few on the list and write the names of the wines down to take along with you to your local wine shop.
Try different vintners
You may have a favorite label, one you turn to time after time, but until you step out of your comfort zone and try other vintners, you will never know if your current favorite is truly the one you enjoy most. More often than not, the less known wine makers, which may be the up and coming stars in the industry, start off with low prices and work their way up each year. Trying smaller vineyards is a great way to save money while picking up the best wines before they become superstars.
What have we learned?
Keeping an open mind is a great way to experience new, fantastic wines while keeping the budget intact. Pay attention to critics scores, but only as a suggestion based on someone’s critique, perhaps one you won’t agree with. Do your research and delve into the growing conditions of a particular vintage. Try new vintners as well as different locations and years of the same wine. Always ask your wine shop agent to suggest something new within your price range. Normally, your local wine shop will have knowledgeable people trained to help you make a decision about your wine selection and will point you in the direction of exciting new wines to explore.
Start at the bottom shelves at your wine shop and work your way up. You’ll never know what treasures you’ll uncover until you start digging!