Bang for your Buck

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about value wines. Wine drinkers are looking to get the most bang for their buck.

My favorite value country is Chile (actually Chile is probably my favorite wine producing country regardless of price). Concha Y Toro is the largest vineyard in Chile covering over 17,300 acres. They produce wines at all different price levels; the most inexpensive being Frontera, the #1 Chilean wine in the United States.  brand_img_frontera_01You can find Frontera at all local liquor stores; it is mostly sold in the larger1.5L bottles for around $10. Frontera produces many different varietals, their most popular is their Cabernet/Merlot blend. This spring they released a Malbec, making them the only 1.5L Malbec in the United States market. The whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are very popular during the summer time and the reds, Carmenere (which put Chile on the map), Merlot, Cabernet, and Shiraz are popular year round. Next in line for Concha Y Toro is Estate Reserve Casillero del Diablo, which is available at all local liquor stores, in the regular 750mL size, for around $10. brand_img_casillerodeldiablo_01In the 19th century, Concha Y Toro founder Don Melchor discovered his workers were stealing and sampling his greatest wines.  This led him to hide his greastest wines in Casillero del Diablo - Cellar of the Devil. Just like Frontera, Casillero del Diablo is known for their reds including; Carmenere, Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, and Malbec. In addition, Casillero del Diablo offers a Pinot Noir which is simply delightful. In addition to Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Casillero del Diablo offers a Gewurtztraminer. This Gewertz is dry with some spice to it, making it perfect for sushi or to simply sip on a hot summer patio. Along with great prices Concha Y Toro frequently receives “Best Value” and “Best Buy” along 85+ point ratings on both Frontera and Casillero del Diablo.  I’m not finished with Chilie yet; there is still one more vineyard to look at, Santa Rita. sr_120sauvblanc_lab_smSanta Rita’s best-selling “120” series recalls the heroes of a pivotal event in Chile’s successful 19th century struggle to overthrow Spanish rule. In the early 1800s, Doña Paula Jaraquemada, then proprietor of the Santa Rita manor house and estate near the Chilean capital of Santiago, famously gave refuge in the cellars of her property to 120 Chilean patriots, following a fierce fight with soldiers of the Spanish Crown. When a brigade of Spanish soldiers arrived at the expansive one-story ranch house in search of O’Higgins and his band of rebels, the feisty matriarch stated she would rather see the Spanish burn the property to the ground, with her inside, then let them step foot within her family home. Thus, O’Higgins and his band of 120 men lived on to fight another day. Santa Rita 120 is found in all local liquor stores, in the regular 750mL size, for around$10. It offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Cermenere, Merlot, and Shiraz. However, it is most known for Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Recent awards include; Carmenere 2007 “Extreme Value” Wine & Spirits Magazine; Sauvignon Blanc 2007 “Best Buy” 87 pts, Wine Enthusiast; and Cahrdonnay 2007 “Best Buy” Wine Spectator.

Don’t rule out boxes! Box wine had a very negative stigma for a long time but now that stigma is changing. The stigma is changing for good reason! Good quality wines are being put into boxes. Keep in mind that a 3L box is equal to 4 bottles of wine! Boxes better preserve wine because the bag does not allow oxygen to get in. Also, you do not have to deal with the problem of corks; having to always remember a corkscrew, difficulty removing the cork, breakage, or cork tant. If you are trying to be “green” boxes are definitely the way to go - they greatly reduce transportation costs and thus carbon emissions. Here are the numbers: 55% less carbon footprint, 3L box requires 1/2 the emissions of the 750mL to create, and 85% less landfill waste. Another point is that living in Minnesota many of our local parks do not allow glass - so drink in public with boxes! About a year ago Italy’s bibo_family_lg1Agricultural Ministry announced some wines would now be able to be sold in boxes! Italy!! Introducing Bibo, the first premium 3L from Italy. Pronounced BEE- BO, it is Latin for “I Drink.” from the island of Sicily Bibo brings two blends, a Cabernet/Shiraz and Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay. Priced just above $20 ($5/bottle) it is available at Cashwise Duluth. Funf is a QBAfunf51Riesling from Schmitt Sohne vineyards in Germany. Also brand new on the market it is a croud pleaser. Priced around $20 it is available at Mount Royal and Cashwise. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Last but not least, is Andes Peak from my favorite value country Chile. Andes Peak is also new to the market, offering Cabernet, Merlot, and Chardonnay. The winery is ISO14001 certified which means they practice sustainable agriculture and natural pest mangement. They are also certified IMO for life which means Andes Peak provides nuturing and fair working conditions for all workers. brand_img_andespeaks

I hope this list gives you some new ideas to try. So get out and try some tonight. Cheers!

join duluth dish