Wine is a wonderful thing, but one quality bottle of it will cost you more than a 24-pack of beer, right? Not always. We enlisted the guidance of Stacie Hunt (certified sommelier, wine reporter for NPR and author of Zinfandel: Beginners Guide to Wine) to point us in the direction of seven great wines for $5 or less. Just don’t blame us if you turn into a derelict wino overnight.
Chariot Gypsy Red, 2010 (Central and Northern California) Offered exclusively at Trader Joe's, this cult favorite is often snapped up the moment it hits shelves by its fanatical following. If you see an available bottle, pounce.
Marques De Montanana Viura, 2011 (Spain) Though the “viura” grape isn't well known in the U.S., it’s the go-to white wine for Europeans.
Emergence White Wine Blend, 2011 (Paso Robles, California) This full-bodied white pairs well with full-flavored dishes like roasted meats and lobster. It smells of peach, honeysuckle and white citrus flowers and tastes like a juicy, white, summertime peach.
Beringer White Zinfandel, 2011 (Napa Valley, California) Like most white zins, this one pairs nicely with spicy foods, creamy pasta dishes, mild cheeses, fish, pork, egg dishes and more.
Tres Pinos Cuvee, 2009 (Los Angeles, California) Produced in the oldest operating family-owned winery in L.A., this excellent blend is made up of zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
Roccalta Sangiovese, 2010 (Italy) Made with Tuscany’s premier grape, Roccalta Sangiovese has aromas of strawberry and raspberry and tastes like fresh plums, cranberries and red berries. Pair it with pizza.
Bota Box RedVolution (California) Wine from a box? Why not? This zin/cab/merlot/syrah/petite sirah hybrid tastes of black and red berries with a hint of spiced vanilla. It may not cost five bucks, but the box runs $19.99 for four bottles’ worth, which is basically the same thing.