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Posts: 21
Registered: ‎02-21-2007
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A few more money-saving practical tips

Three ways to save 20% to 30% on everyday wines under $15 a bottle (pgs 98-99 in my book has a broader listing)

1. Experiment with less familiar grape varieties for bargains like Albarino (my memory trigger to remember this wine is "Al Pacino") and a red from South Africa called Pinotage.

2. Find understudies for your favorite wines: --Instead of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand always getting the role, give Muscadet from France a chance.
---Let Malbec from Argentina go on stage, and give Cabernet the night off. ---Cast Pinot Gris from Alsace instead of the usual star, CA Chardonnay.

3. Experiment with less celebrated wine regions when you want “the usual suspects”: --Cabernet from South Africa instead of Napa --Chardonnay from Australia instead of CA --Sauvignon Blanc from Chile instead of New Zealand

Five ideas for smart splurges so you won’t have to re-mortgage the house (pgs 102-103)
1. Buy ultra-premium, age worthy wines like red Bordeaux, Barolo and Brunello for $50 to $75 a bottle when they are undrinkable and hold them for five years. Then start drinking them over the next 20 years as they increase in complexity and value.

2. Ask specifically for “second labels” of famous wines from Bordeaux and CA. These are premium wines made from grapes that just weren’t quite good enough to go into the top brand, but they’re dead ringers for their more privileged cousins--at about 1/3rd the cost.

3. Buy famous wines in poor vintages. Top producers in France, Italy and Spain have to ruthlessly cull out grapes when the growing conditions aren’t great to make good wine, and can’t charge top dollar for it. So their loss is your gain.

4. Look for the second tier wines in Bordeaux that are just one step down on the quality ladder from the 61 wines that were classified as the best back in 1855. These second tier wines are called cru bourgeois, and cost $20-$50 a bottle - and there are 247 labels - compared to the 61 top wines that range from about $50 to $250 a bottle.

5. Seek out the mega stars before they become famous and unaffordable. Before Tom Cruise was a mega star he was a “wanna be.” For his first hit, Risky Business, he was paid, $75,000 – for his three MI’s he got $75MM. Your mission, if you accept it, is to find those budding mega star wines before they become famous and unaffordable. Example: Elyse Cabernet, Napa CA, $14.50 a bottle in 2000, now $65 in 2006.
A meal without wine is called breakfast!

The Wine Diva
Author & Wine Educator