Wine X Staff
Wine X Online Edition
Inflation bites a big hole in our pocketbook. But we aren’t afraid of a little challenge, and we sure aren’t settling for plonk. One way to push past this weird economic time without compromising what’s in your glass is to expand your range.
The fact is, most of us walk into our fav wine merchant and immediately go down the same one or two well-traveled isles. Guilty. There are a bunch of other really amazing bottles that are relatively cheap, borderline obscure, and fun as shit to drink. Now you have a reason to wander. Here’s a bunch of varietals that you can easily get your hands on for under twenty bucks without having to compromise quality or region. These are great grapes from home regions that know how to max what they have.
- Assyrtiko: A white grape variety native to the Greek island of Santorini, Assyrtiko produces wines with high acidity, mineral notes, and flavors of citrus and stone fruit. It can also be used in blends. I’ll be honest, I used to only drink these at Greek Fests, but I’ve started buying for daily drinkers now. Acid bombs.
- Aglianico: A red grape variety primarily grown in Southern Italy, Aglianico produces full-bodied, tannic wines with notes of black fruit, smoke, and leather. It is sometimes referred to as the “Barolo of the South.” It’s a fun name to say too.
- Tannat: A red grape variety originally from the Madiran region of France, Tannat is now most commonly associated with Uruguay, where it produces full-bodied, tannic wines with notes of black fruit, chocolate, and tobacco. It’s also in a lot of Hungarian reds. These drink like much more expensive bottles. Super every day reds.
- Blaufränkisch: A red grape variety primarily grown in Austria and Hungary, Blaufränkisch produces medium to full-bodied wines with notes of black cherry, black pepper, and spice. More balanced than Tannat, these bad boys are gulp worthy.
- Grignolino: A red grape variety primarily grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, Grignolino produces light-bodied, acidic wines with notes of cherry, raspberry, and herbs. This is one of those “what’s in my glass?” wines that make you rethink your standard fare. Go Grignolino or go home.
- Godello: A white grape variety primarily grown in the Galicia region of Spain, Godello produces wines with high acidity, mineral notes, and flavors of citrus and apple. Godello should be a summer by the pool wine, sitting in an ice bucket between pours. I dig Godello, and the last bottle I had made me text my crowd a bunch of wine-positive emojis.
- Saperavi: A red grape variety primarily grown in Georgia, Saperavi produces full-bodied, tannic wines with notes of black fruit, chocolate, and spice. It’s a little harder to find, but it’s there in your bigger retailers. This is a big ol’ wine that makes for a great end-of-evening glass. You may find these bottles with a generic name rather than the varietal name, so carry your phone and do a little search when you’re about to buy.
- Mencia: A red grape variety primarily grown in the Bierzo region of Spain, Mencia produces medium to full-bodied wines with notes of red fruit, floral notes, and spice. Like a lot of Spanish table wines, Mencia is wow-factor value that deserves a following. It’s the type of drinker that will follow you well past this budget-tightening time.
- Pais: A red grape variety primarily grown in Chile, Pais produces light-bodied, acidic wines with notes of red fruit, herbs, and earthy undertones. A good Oregon pinot alternative.
- Treixadura: A white grape variety primarily grown in the Galicia region of Spain, Treixadura produces wines with high acidity, mineral notes, and flavors of citrus, pear, and apricot.
These varietals may be less familiar, but chill…… they offer unique and interesting flavors and can be found at a reasonable price point. Throw one of these bottles into your rotation, and let us know which ones you really dig.