Cheap is good; cheaper’s better

We make no bones about the fact that we drink — and enjoy — cheap wine. We aren’t part of the 1% that the folks at Occupy Wall Street keep talking about. That’s not to say we don’t occasionally splurge on a vintage that goes beyond our usual $10 ceiling, especially if we’re at a nice restaurant. It’s pretty hard to buy a bottle for $8.99 when you’re out on the town, unless you plan on dining at the local 7-11. What wine pairs best with those nasty all-day-on-the-rollers hot dogs, I wonder.

Gross Out wines

Pretty wines, all in a row...

So, it kinda goes without saying that we jump at the chance to get our inexpensive vino on sale. I mean, who doesn’t love a sale?

Double-plus good if the sale is at our fave wine outlet. Grocery Outlet’s 20%-off sale only lasts for five days; we made sure to show up on Day 1 so the shelves wouldn’t be picked over. Of course, buying wine on a work-week Wednesday kinda precludes us from sampling too many of the vintages right away. We do both have real jobs. Honest.

So, by way of preview, here’s a look at what we bought, just in case any of you actually give any credence to our opinions. If you like wine — and we know you do, unless your name is Nick M. — then get thee, to the Grocery … Outlet, for some bargains.

NOTE: Prices here are the shelf prices; actual price paid is 20% less. (You’ll have to do your own math. And show your work!)

Pine and Post 2006 Chardonnay — $2.99: We’ve had the P&P 2009 Merlot and loved it, so picking up a bottle of this Washington Chard for under $3 seemed like a no-brainer.

Sawtooth Winery 2006 Ice Wine Gewurtztraminer — $4.99: It’s unlikely that Nampa will ever be confused with Napa, but this local winery has a rep for good whites. And this skinny little 375 ml bottle with an image of a dry fly (that’s a fishin’ term for you easterners) will make an awesome vase when we’re done.

Speaking of small bottles with flies on them, we also picked up Sawtooth’s 2006 late harvest Sauvignon Blanc for $4.99. This will be a nice wine for a weeknight when we want to spend a little extra time on dinner and enjoy a single glass of crisp fall flavor.

Our final Sawtooth Winery selection is the 2006 Merlot ($7.99). All of the Sawtooth picks are from their “Reserve” line, which will make us sound a lot more impressive when we review them.

From the Treasure Valley to far-off Tuscany, our next pick is a Corte Mura 2010 Chianti ($5.99). I’m not sure either of us has actually drank a chianti, which is a dry red wine, but we are looking forward to making that little thup-thup-thup sound with our tongues when we serve it with some fava beans.

Continuing our world tour, we picked up the Shingleback 2006 Merlot ($6.99), from Australia’s McLaren Vale, known for its hearty reds. I confess to first picking up the bottle out of curiosity over why anyone would name a wine for a popular rock band, but then I realized this wine actually gets its name from one of the local lizards. You can’t go wrong with reptiles.

Speaking of rock and roll, we couldn’t resist picking up the Ed Hardy ’77 Tattoo Cabernet Sauvignon ($3.99), a red table wine from France. France. Really. A wine that looks like it was bottled by a Hell’s Angel doing 20-to-life for stabbing someone in a bar fight, made in France. OK, then. The fellow cheap-wine fan who tipped us to the Gross Out sale has taken this one for a ride, and her review was less than glowing. We’ll reserve judgment, but we probably won’t serve this in mixed company.

Next, we get to the Turn Me Sweet 2010 Tempranillo ($5.99) from Spain. We’ve had good luck with sweet reds that feature women on the bottle (think Mad Housewife), so this seems like a good bet. For the record, Brad did not pick this one out despite the busty pin-up-girl label.

Finally, the only wine that was (sort of) actually recommended by someone is the 2010 Bodega Privada Syrah from Argentina ($5.99). The wine guy at Grocery Outlet was telling anyone who would listen that this was the best red on the shelf. The smoked-glass bottle and the distinguished label kinda set it apart on our new wine rack (more about that later), but the price was right. The tiny italic font — and the fact that it’s in Spanish — makes the label a bit hard to read. The website indicates that this wine is best with barbecued “lamp” or steak. Hmmm. A “light” meal, perhaps?

OK … that’s the lineup. Nine new wines to go with the half-dozen still awaiting the corkscrew. And an impressive variety … three locals, plus wines from France, Argentina, Spain, Italy and Australia. Here at, we span the globe to bring you the best in cheap wine.

We’d be interested to hear from others who take advantage of the Grocery Outlet sale. Tell us which wines you picked and which ones you liked or disliked. We’re always looking for suggestions!

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