There is a trick to buying good, cheap wine. The key is trusting the wisdom of crowds and simply understanding that bad wine does not sell out. So when you are hunting for a new wine, just look at which wine is selling.
If most of the bottles for a particular brand have been sold, chances are it is selling because people like it. And if other people like it (the more the better), you probably will too.
When in doubt, follow the crowd, and you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised more often than not.
This is my time-honored method, and one that has yielded me very good results. While I’ve found good deals in nearly every wine-selling store I’ve frequented this way, I’ve had the most luck at Target and Trader Joe’s, as you’ll see below. Here are my current top choices for $6.50 or less:
4. Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon — $5.99 (Trader Joe’s)
I love red wine, though I don’t drink it very often. I usually drink sweet, white wines. Why? You ask.
Because the lady prefers sweet, white wines, of course!
Fortunately, I do manage to occasionally slip her a little red, and, very very occasionally, she even likes it.
The delectable Velvet Moon Cabernet is one of those very few she has approved of. I recommend you give its smooth taste a try as well.
3. Barefoot Moscato — $5.99 (Target)
Barefoot is a quality budget brand available nearly everywhere, with its bottles often displaying the many awards its low-cost wines have won. While I’ve tried most of their offerings, I find the Moscato to have the most refined taste of the lot.
Those with a desire for a more fruity wine should certainly enjoy Barefoot’s Moscato, which fairly claims “flavors of juicy peach and apricot” and “hints of lemon and orange citrus.”
It is quite sweet however, so if you’re looking for a more mild dessert wine I would recommend something like Dr. Beckermann’s Auslese (see below).
2. Fetzer Gewurtzraminer — $6.49 (Target)
Fetzer prides itself as being “the earth friendly winery,” using 100% green energy in its winery operations including solar, wind and geothermal energy, according to its label. While I can’t vouch for any impact green energy has on winemaking, whatever they’re doing, it’s working.
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The Gewartzraminer tops my list of Fetzer’s quality offerings as a delicious dessert wine that I could imagine purchasing for significantly more than the $6.49 it fetches at Target.
1. Dr. Beckermann Auslese Rheinhessen white dessert wine – $5.49 (Trader Joe’s)
A steal at $5.49, this Auslese has gone toe-to-toe and beaten many of my favorite dessert wines that go for as much as 3-4 times the price.
Dr. Beckermann’s Auselese has a very elegant taste, like honey, that leaves none of the bitterness associated with cheap wines.
Bring it over for dinner and impress your friends with the blue-bottled Auslese and leave them marveling at its price — or keep it as your little secret.