Yeah, OK, maybe it>"/>
Yeah, OK, maybe it sucks that you lost your job--believe me, The Wino feels your bank-account-draining pain. But let's look on the bright side of the dark side: There's never been a better time to be a wine drinker looking for a good deal. You didn't even have to get a passing grade in Econ 101 to grasp these liquid laws of supply and demand. Just walk into your supermarket and cheer at the shelves and shelves of wine, many marked down to the same price as a grande mocha. Hot damn!
The Wino's going to pickle her liver, ferreting out tasty deals that won't give you a monster hangover, starting with a bottle of $2.99 Chardonnay from the Gross Out.
That's right, The Grocery Outlet--home to brands you've never heard of if you only shop at mainstream supermarkets--carries a decent selection of wines in the $5 range. But it was the $2.99 sale that brought me in, and on a Chardonnay that had been chosen by Food & Wine magazine as one of the best whites under 15 bucks.
The Pine & Post Chardonnay was an older vintage, a 2006, so I'm guessing the distributors were looking to unload before a new vintage hits the market. I was happy to oblige.
When drinking cheap wine, it's important to lower those expectations. You're not going to get a French Chablis at McDonald's frites prices. Here's yet another reason to be a homer: Washington state makes some fan-freaking-tastic wines, and even those that dwell on the lower price rungs do not suck.
I was reminded that there are wines that do suck at last week's Bite of Seattle when I paid $6 for a glass of California Chardonnay that was as sweet as a sucker. Which is exactly what I felt like for paying $6 for a sugary Chardonnay. (Fortunately, the nice guy behind the bar let me swap it out for a Stella.)
A good Chardonnay has a pleasant buttery quality that's balanced with a sharpness that keeps it from being as flabby as the love handles on Zach Galifianakis. The Pine & Post Chardonnay was right on target, as bright as a rare sunny Seattle afternoon. The Wino chugged three glasses of it while eating a big bowl of spinach pasta drenched in marinara. Yes, you're supposed to drink red wine with red sauce, but you know what? Those food-pairing rules are wide open to interpretation. Drink what you like with what you're eating for gawd's sake!
The Wino's rating Pine & Post Chardonnay eight out of 10 brown paper bags, taking off two points off for the two morning-after aspirins.
And, hey, before you wine snobs go hatin' on The Wino, I'm gonna include an instant upgrade for you big spenders. This week, it's Barnard Griffin's Rose of Sangiovese, a pretty pink wine. Don't worry, guys. You won't look girly drinking it. Real men drink rose! It's about $14 and it won't give you a headache . . . unless you drink the whole bottle by your own bad self.