Vino Values 5

Good Wine at Every Price Point

A wine’s value, Total Wine assistant manager Graham Tregurtha says, is based on many factors: the production level, the prestige of the region from which it came, the age of the chateau where the grapes are grown.

But it’s also about what appeals to one’s palate.

“It’s truly about what you value,” Graham says. “If you would love to drink $500 bottles of wine all of the time, I’m happy to sell them to you. But you don’t have to spend that much to get really good bottles of wine. I can get you into so many price ranges that have intrinsically valuable wines based on your palate.”

Below, Graham offers some recommendations for those looking to drop some serious cash on a bottle of vino—and for those who are on a budget.

Inexpensive White Wines

Armani Pinot Grigio Venezie, $11.99

Graham describes this as a quintessential Italian pinot grigio: light, clean crisp, very easy to drink. It pairs well with light fare, he says, like salad, chicken and fish.

Fire Road Sauvignon Blanc, $12.99

A vino from New Zealand, this wine is crisp and has hints of passionfruit and grapefruit. It has a nice, clean finish, Graham says, “that lingers a little bit longer.” It goes well with pasta and seafood.

Buttercream Chardonnay, $13.99

This California wine is one of the most popular chardonnays at Total Wine, Graham says. He describes it as an oaky style, but it’s also “creamy, round, very smooth,” with nuances of pear. It goes well with cream sauces.

Inexpensive Red Wines

Iter Pinot Noir California 2016, $14.99

A “very round style” of pinot noir, as Graham describes it, this wine offers “an amazing mouthfeel and a long finish.” Though it pairs well with many dishes, Graham says it’s also “amazing by itself.”

Cruz Alta Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, $12.99

An Argentinian wine, the Cruz Alta has what Graham describes as a “deep, dark fruit.”

“The lingering dark, almost mocha coffee tones lend themselves well to big foods like steak, lamb,” he says. “It will hold up to those without overpowering.”

Domaine de la Presidente Cotes Rhone Rouge, $10.99

This French wine is a red blend, with hints of plum, cherry and pepper. It goes well with lamb.

“It’s a good wine to take people into the old world, who may have been a little bit intimidated,” Graham says.

Expensive White Wines

Javillier Meursault du Cromin 2016, $52.99

A product of the Burgundy region, this wine offers what Graham describes as “some amazing tree fruit popping in the front, apple, pear, maybe some tropical notes.” It goes well with grilled fish.

Dom Belland Pul Mont 1er Cru Champ 2014, $94.99

A Puligny-Montrachet, this is a small-production wine with hints of grapefruit.

“The vineyard is very well known for producing some of the best chardonnays,” Graham says. “It’s out of this world.”

Bevan Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Reserve 2015, $64.99

This wine, Graham says, is “one of the best coming out of California.”

“It’s an amazing, full-bodied, well-balanced wine,” he says. “You get oak, you get butter, but it’s not overpowering.”

Expensive Red Wines

Amici Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2015, $49.99

The Amici, Graham says, “is deep, rich, with hints of spice, and some nice tannins on the backside.”

“This is really one of the best $50 wines you’re going to find,” he says. “It easily drinks like a $75, $100 bottle.”

Teeter-Totter Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, $69.99

Teeter-Totter is a small-production label, and most stores receive only a case or two now and then.

Graham describes it as having a smooth body with a deep concentration of fruit that pairs well with meat dishes.

Chateau Leoville Barton St. Julien 2012 D, $84.99

Hailing from the Bordeaux region, this is a “beautiful, old-school style of wine,” Graham says. “It has some Bordeaux musk that gives it some character. It’s an interesting, wonderful style of wine.”