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10 cheap wines that will fool your friends into thinking you bought an expensive bottle

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 11 Jul 2018

If youre a wine drinker, you know that a lot of restaurant wine lists and wine-shop selections cater to a deep-pocketed clientele. If youre trying to drink high-quality stuff on a reasonable budget, its easy to feel like youre fighting a losing battle. But it doesnt have to be that way. INSIDER spoke with a group of bartenders, wine servers, and beverage directors from across the country, all of whom offered personal-favorite bottles that ring in for 20 bucks or less.Sangiovese is a great red.The red Tuscan grape behind Italian-restaurant staples like Chianti and Brunello, Sangiovese produces wines with pointed acidity and ripe fruit flavor that pair beautifully with an giant bowl of pasta. Of course, these well-established wines often come at a steep price. According to Benjamin Appleby, sommelier at Abe & Louies in Boston, name recognition does a lot to inflate these bottle prices:"In Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is king, and the price tag reflects that renown,"Appleby told INSIDER. "However, there are many lesser known, and therefore less expensive, Sangiovese based wines from Tuscany and the surrounding regions that are absolutely delicious."But no need to worry: if youre planning a romantic "Lady and the Tramp"-style spaghetti dinner (or just want something nice to drink with your delivery pizza), you can get in on the Sangiovese action without shelling out for high-end Super Tuscan.Wanna try a Tuscan Sangiovese for less than a twenty' Try Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino ($18.99), a particular favorite of Applebys. He calls it "complex but very approachable, with more fruit and less mustiness than its "big brother" Brunello. Rosso is intended to be a more casual drinking experience. It's fresher, needs less aging, and doesn't require a long time in a decanter to open up."Xinomavro might be a new favorite for you.If you like the taste of Italian reds but want to try something a bit more under-the-radar, Xinomavro, a popular grape in Greece and Macedonia, may be just the thing for you. "If you like Nebbiolo, but you dont feel like springing for a bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco, I recommend checking out Greeces native Xinomavro. Greek wines are experiencing a renaissance of quality, and Xinomavro is a big part of the reason why. Medium in body, it still has a wonderful, mouth-watering acidity and plenty of tannic structure, making it a great food wine," raves Greg DeForest Campbell, wine server at Corkbuzz in New York City. If you want to take Xinomavro for a trial run, its low price makes that an easy endeavor. DeForest Campbell suggests Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro Naoussa ($14.99), a well-balanced red with pointed acidity that pairs beautifully with late-summer BBQ eats. Gamay is a light red.A lightweight red varietal from the Burgundy region of France, Gamay is often compared to Pinot Noir both because theyre grown in similar areas and because theyre relatively-delicate red wines that pair equally well with a juicy lamb chop or a grilled fish. According to sommelier Tim Wallace of Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, you can find affordable bottles of Gamay from its home country of France or from newer plantings in the United States. "Gamay is the grape that I want to drink every day. The style of the wine can vary wildly, there are bright, light, fun, gluggable (or glou glou in French slang) options all the way up to serious, single vineyard Cru options with everything delicious in between. Traditionally hailing from Burgundy, Gamay is starting to see a surge of plantings in America with exciting results. When it comes to a fun, easy-drinking yet affordable everyday wine, you just can't go wrong with Gamay," Wallace explained.Wallace considers Gamay grown in the Willamette Valley a particularly solid buy, and hes partial to the Bow & Arrow Gamay ($18.99). "I absolutely love everything that winemaker Scott Frank makes, but I just keep reaching for another bottle of this beautiful wine time after time. Everything Mr. Frank does is sourced from small, sustainably grown vineyards in the blue collar Willamette Valley. The liveliness in this bottle that comes from bright, mineral acidity and notes of bright berries lends itself to anything from slices of watermelon on the beach to my dad's famous barbecue grilled chicken. When it's 100 degrees outside, go ahead and drink it chilled and it's as refreshing as your favorite rose," Wallace told INSIDER.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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