Somm Tip: Here are 8 bottles to try to help curb wine spending now that inflation is on the rise.

BZ

I came across these recommendations recently and thought to myself, “why is this worth sharing?” The simple answer is this – the wealthy don’t become wealthy on accident – their decisions are by design

1. Swap Touraine for Sancerre

Sancerre, a sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley is considered a classy, upscale wine. Urban legend says it was the official white wine of Paris. It crept up in price. A good one will run $20 to $40+. Touraine is also a wine region in the Loire Valley. The wine is also made from sauvignon blanc grapes. 

2. Swap Chablis Premier Cru for pricier white burgundies

It is possible to find a bottle of Puligny Montrachet for as “little” as $80, but many others are in the $100 to $300+ range. Your wine-loving client who is also a label snob is not going to buy into “New Zealand chardonnay is almost as good.” Chablis is another respected white wine region in Burgundy. For some reason, their wines are better value than Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet and PM, referenced above. You should be able to find a Premier Cru Chablis also made from the chardonnay grape in the $40 range. 

3. Swap Mumm’s Champagne for Moet

Moet et Chandon champagne runs about $50–$60 a bottle now. Veuve Clicquot is up there too. From time to time, Costco has Mumm’s champagne on sale around $28+/bottle after an in-store discount. Mumm’s is a well-known brand. For years it was the one poured over winner’s heads at the Formula 1 races for 15 years. (Then sponsors changed.)

4. 90+ Cellars-

The wine business is unique because every year produces a new vintage. Sometimes the past vintage doesn’t sell out. Prestigious wineries can’t run “blowout sales” without cheapening their brand. Some will sell-off their excess wine sitting in tanks or barrels to an intermediary who will not disclose the name of the original producer on the label. 90+ Cellars is an example. There are others. You can get quality wine at a more reasonable price.

5. The 2019 Bordeaux Vintage

Bottles are arriving on shelves at finer wine stores. Prices are not that bad. Availability is always the issue. Cos d’Estournel, a Grand Cru from the St. Estephe region is about $160.

6. Second labels from top Bordeaux chateaus.

If $160/bottle sounds expensive, consider the second-label wines from famous properties. Same grapes, but younger vines. Same land, same production facilities, same winemakers.

7. Swap Rioja for red Bordeaux

Both are wines with flavor that improve with age. Rioja comes in three or four tiers. Tempranillo, the grape is often used to describe the lowest tier. It’s often called Crianza. The words to look for are Reserva and Gran Reserva.

8. Swap Mâcon for Meursault

Chardonnay is the default grape for white wine in Burgundy. Now imagine you were a custom builder in Manhattan. You design great homes, but they are hugely expensive because land costs so much. You decide to start building in New Jersey. Same quality design and construction, but the homes are more affordable because of cheaper land prices. Comtes Lafon is a famous producer in Meursault. The average price on his village level (entry-level) Meursault is about $178/bottle—if you can find it. They decided also to make wine in the nearby Mâcon region of Burgundy, where land prices are cheaper. His Domaine des Heritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon wines sell for about $25–$35/bottle.

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