Sommeliers also drink wine from the supermarket. Many people like Hot Pockets for dinner, and – yes – in the 12th century. The gangs find cheap, gay wines that they really like.
I call them homemade wines, said Cassandra Felix, a top sommelier who moved to California this year after 10 years with The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. If you keep a bottle in the basement, you don’t want to open it on Tuesdays, so I make sure I always have an easy drinking bottle.
As Americans travel less to the grocery store and eat more at home, it is difficult to take the chance to stock up on $13 worth of olive oil, tortilla chips and albarinho in the same place.
Cassandra Felix / Photo by Lauren Samson
Felix grew up in South Florida and knows how to manage publications. The top shelf really means top shelf, she says, and customers can find wines on the bottom shelves. Your other tips: There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Go ahead, add your bottle of peanut butter and jelly.
Sommelier Belinda Chang is a wine lover at the supermarket. It may be funny, but I buy 90 percent of my wine at a grocery store, said Chang, who runs wine programs at cultural restaurants like Charlie Trotter and Modern. She lives in Chicago and shops at the regional supermarket chain Mariano, which claims to bring 5.99 quaffers to Silver Oak.
In recent months, Chang has organized a high-end virtual breakfast with wine online. Their customers get their mobile phone number for wine advice. She says people send me pictures of Costco bottles and ask me if it’s a good price?
You don’t need Chang in your smartphone to find good wines in the supermarket. Below, the sommeliers present their selection, from chicken wine to Left Bank Bordeaux, as well as strategies for finding the right bottle for every budget and taste.
Kirkland Wine Set / Photo by Freeman
Drink the species you like
For those who are afraid of losing their favorite grapes, Chang offers wines of the same variety but in different styles or from different producers and regions. If you always buy Gallo Merlot [from California], why don’t you try Merlot from other parts of the world? She asks.
Gienna Basaldo, a sommelier in Morris, San Francisco, lives about half a mile from Full-Food in Auckland. There she recently spied on bottles of Boya Sauvignon Blanc (18 dollars) from the Chilean valley of Leida.
I visited a winery in Chile and, my God, the wines are good, she says. Basald once had to dazzle the taste buds of Leida’s Sauvignon Blanc valley for a competition, and she was the only one who determined the region. His rival colleagues suspected New Zealand.
Matthew Prigen has been working for the Texan company H-E-B for 20 years. On Sundays, the wine manager of the Underbelly restaurant group takes care of the smoked meat all day. I like the good California Zinfandel with barbecue, and stealing the $30 Three Valleys Zinfandel Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma, Prigen said. It has ripe berries and the right amount of herbs and oak to accompany perfectly cooked ribs.
Kirkland Signature Pauillac is one of Bordeaux’s most prestigious applications for less than $25. They’re hard to find anywhere. -Vanessa Prize, Author/Sommelier
For a lighter meal in the heat of Texas, such as a watermelon salad with fetas and basil, Pridgen cools a bottle of Domaine du Salvard Rosé ($18) from Cheverny in the Loire Valley. It has a delicate nose of red fruit and citrus and a tasty acidity, he says. The price of the wine was too high.
If you don’t know whether you want a rose from the Loire, Long Island or Lodi, don’t hesitate to ask for references, even in the supermarkets. Every good grocer has someone on hand to help you and point you in the direction of something tasty and cheap, Prigen said.
Vanessa Price offers Joe’s rosé wine for an easy $1. Sommelier and co-author of the recently published Big Macs and Burgundy: The Real World Wig Guide says it’s the perfect pink drink for outdoor wigs with hot dogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob. It is filled with ripe strawberries, raspberries and citrus fruits with matches. Take four packs, she says, and don’t knock until you try.
A bird on a bottle?
Chang also buys a cheap rose for the drinks she drinks all year round, and although it is not a strict rule, she has found herself digging bottles with birds on them.
Mariano a la rose Two birds with one stone ($10), 100% Cinsault with two flies on the label. It is a Vin de France, a kind of catch for French wines that do not comply with the other AOC guidelines. According to Chang, wines from France are often of great value and labels indicate the grape varieties used, which helps to demystify the juice.
Belinda Chang in Mariano / Photo by photographer, Tim Musho
She’s also obsessed with chicken wine, also known as… The Old Farm ($7). I have all three flavors at home: Pink, white and red, Chan said. In love with the Parisian chicken, she combines a rose with a simple bird on the grill, white with a chicken and mushroom sauce with white grapes, and red with a dish that looks like cola-au-vin.
Sushi and Wine Evening
At night, when Price looks at Schitt’s Creek and Wegman eats sushi, she looks at a liter size and the Hugl Grüner Veltliner ($10). As if an extra 250 millilitres of wine is not enough, the wine is produced in a family cellar, she says. And it has the characteristic profile of green with electric acid and spicy white pepper.
Basalda pays the Broadbent Vigno Verde ($10) from the integral power supply country. With 9% alcohol by volume (abv), a pleasant acidity and a restrained fruit, the audience is fascinating, which is also ideal for drinking during the day, she says.
Sommelier Eduardo Bolanzos from Los Angeles, who recently took leave of the group Mozza, worked many years ago in San Sebastian, Spain. He invested this knowledge to use the Basque pop-up, Red Bukho, together with his brother.
Bolanssos cooks a lot more at home these days. When lamb chops or steaks appear on the grill, he opens a bottle of Trader Joe’s Marqués de Riscal Reserva Rioja ($16).
Eduardo Bolanzos / Photo by Ioben Herrera
Felix is also a fan, but she thinks her red fruits and notes of spicy skin and cedar wood go well with Hot Pockets and DiGiorno frozen pizza. Because Basalda is not Spanish, he prefers an 18-litre bottle of Austrian Zweigelt with his frozen pizza.
For the Spanish offer in the New World, Felix recommends the fresh and light fruit of the Marquis de Caceres Crianza ($15). And for the Caesar salad Felix Martin throws some Codax Albariño ($13) in his Publix car.
The creaminess comes with the ash character that Albarinho sometimes has, and the salt content cuts the cheese, she says.
Interior photo of the entire wine department in Naperville, IL / Photo courtesy of Whole Foods
Wine under trade name
Basaldu recently purchased the collection according to the criteria of the Rioja 2014 Reserve ($17) – a choice under a private label of the company Full Food. The network buys wines from emblematic regions such as Chablis, New Zealand and Barolo and produces them under its own label. In addition to the braised notes of cranberries, plums, cherries and grilled meats, it almost has the character of a barbecue with chips, Basaldo said.
The price drops Kirkland Pawyak’s signature ($23) every time she sees it on Costco. It is one of the most prestigious applications in Bordeaux for less than $25, she said. They’re hard to find anywhere. While many of Bordeaux’s cheap stems and vegetables come from the left bank, the bottle of gooseberries and pastry spices has the sheen you’d expect from a classic Pauillac, she says.
Add sparkle to your shopping cart
For the bubbles that are not from Chandon and an hour of aperitif Bolaños Mionetto Prosecco (14 dollars) buys from Ralphs, a supermarket chain on the west coast. He has been working in Italian restaurants for years and says that Mionetto produces brilliant spritz for the aperitif.
Basalde becomes Crémant, a French sparkling wine, produced like champagne but not expensive. At the start of the pandemic, she put trout caviar in an omelette accompanied by a glass of Crémant d’Alsace Rosé by Domaine Allimant-Laugner ($18), made from 100% Pinot Noir.
This will be our little treat this week, she says.