Time for a confession. I drink a lot of wine. There, it’s out.
I’ve grown up in a family who plays games such as “guess what flavors are on the nose of this particular wine” and belongs to 15+ wine clubs. Regular shipments to my parents’ home are boxes and boxes of wine for their wine fridge/wine room. Each labeled, and placed strategically in a particular place in the wine cellar to stay to its perfect temperature.
I used to work at a winery, and needless to say believe I have somewhat of an idea on what is good versus bad wine. The good wine I usually drink with my family and costs $50 – $200. That’s the great wine actually.
But I’m living on my own, I need to shop, buy shoes, eat out, go to happy hours – so I am not ready to part with $50 for one bottle of wine; yet.
So what to do? Well – Safeway actually has a fabulous selections of wine that are within anyone’s ideal budget range!
My mom and her girlfriends do girl’s night every Wednesday where pending weather they go on a hike, eat pizza and drink wine. Each host buys a bottle under $25 – hides it in a paper bag, and then the ladies taste, guess what kind of grape (Cabernet, Pinot, Syrah, Zinfandel etc.) and what they smell on the nose and after a quick taste.
So – I thought I’d round up some of the best wines at Safeway for under $15 to help guide your next wine trip!
BEST LIGHTER RED WINES
Pinot Noir: Mark West Pinot Noir California 2010 for $9.99 a bottle
This wine features aromas of cherry cola (Lana Del Ray anyone?) and is slightly on the sweeter side with a hint of maple. Allspice and cinnamon also arise on the nose, and a hint of tobacco balance out the bottle.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Greystone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 for $10
The sweetness of this wine might remind of milk chocolate. Some sweet baking spices like nutmeg also come through and add some complexity to the fruity cherry flavors. This one pairs great with a salty cheese like gruyeure.
BEST FULL BODIED RED WINES
Garnacha: Las Rocas 2009 at $11
This wine is slightly smoky, with black cherry aromas. The dark flavors are nicely balanced with a slight tobacco and oaky vanilla and nutmey flavors. This wine goes great with a softer cheese, think a honey goat or brie.
Malbec: Bodega Tamarai Reserva, Argentina at $11
This wine has smokiness both on the nose and in the mouth. Not too fruity, you may get a slight hint of fruit like raspberry. It’s best when sitting open for a bit and can be paired with a grilled steak or portobello mushroom.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Bonterra, Mendocino, 2010 for $15
Nice black cherry flavors with both black pepper and spices, with a hint of vanilla oakiness. I prefer a sweeter cabernet so this one isn’t my favorite and is best enjoyed with heartier beef dishes. It’s a dry red and great in a tasting line-up.
Chianti: Cecchi DOCG 2009, $14
This wine is rather robust and has an earthy smell, is a bit peppery but is complemented by dark fruit flavors. The tannins stand up well to richer dishes like meat-based pasta sauces.
Cabernet Sauvignon: Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Black Label Claret, California 2010 for $15
This wine is layered with dark fruit flavors like currants, dark cherry, balsamic and even a little like soda. It’s very acidic though and is best drank after breathing for a while. Best paired with a meaty lasagna or beef stew. Full bodied and delicious. I drink this wine a lot and it is one of my favorite on this list.