Recession-Proof Your Taste In Wine

A good bottle of wine doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

There are plenty of flavorful choices costing less than $15, which is good to know as the economic times seem to get more and more challenging.

On The Early Show Wednesday, Josh Wesson of Best Cellars suggested several, and gave advice on selecting vintages sure to please the palate.

He points out that inexpensive wines are a great way to enjoy some "perks" without spending big bucks and, even though the falling dollar has made imports from several countries more expensive, there are still numerous places offering bottles that won't bust a budget.

Wesson's buying tips:

  • Look to places where supply exceeds demand (due to consistent overplanting of grape vines), such as Australia and, surprisingly, California. Over-planting in Central and Northern California vineyards in 2000 led to a glut of grapes, and wine prices plummeted.
  • Consider wines that, up to now, have been orphaned, forgotten, ignored or otherwise neglected, including ones from countries such as Portugal, Hungary and Romania. Also think about offerings from lesser-known regions of well-known countries, such as the Languedoc in France; Umbria, Sicily or Apulia in Italy; and La Mancha or Jumilla in Spain.
  • Look to wine-producing countries where the currencies are weaker than ours -- Argentina and Uraguay come to mind.
  • Look to wines packaged in inexpensive, large-format containers. Those packaging costs "subsidize" the quality/value of the wine inside. This just might be box-wines' greatest hour! Box-wines, for instance, contain approximately three bottles worth of wine. The tetra pack inside helps keep the wine from oxidizingm, so it's a great value in the amount of wine you get, as well as the fact that the box wine will simply last longer than vintages in traditional bottles will.

    Wesson's suggestions:

    Bottle from Gascony (Gascogne)/Domaine d'Uby Colombard-Ugni Blanc Gascogne Blanc ($11)
    Bottle from Uruguay /Domaine Monte de Luz Tannat 2007 ($11)
    Bottle from Romania/Vox Populi Pinot Noir 2006 ($11)
    Bottle from Spain/Salneval Albarino ($12)
    Bottles from Italy/Salvalai Pinot Bianco 2007 ($9) and Le Sciare Primitivo 2005 ($10)
    Bottles from Argentina/Crisol Torrontes 2007 ($9) and Santa Cecilia Malbec 2007 ($9)
    One box wine from Australia/Hardy's Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 ($24 for 3 liters, amounts to $6 per bottle)
    One box wine from California/Black Box Chardonnay 2006 ($28 for 3 liters amounts to $7 per bottle)