9 affordable ‘weeknight’ wines

It all began when I made the mistake of writing a wine column that included, among a lot of less expensive wines, a fabulous find that cost $115.

In flooded the reader e-mails: “Snob,” one wrote. “Regular people can’t spend that kind of money on wine.”

Well, that was understandable, particularly in this economy.

So I wrote a column titled “10 good wines for under $15,” with tasting notes on wines in that category.

I got some encouragement:

“Good job,” e-mailed Marlene Wellington. “Thank you for the affordable wines. I guess you aren’t a snob after all.”

But another reader was unconvinced: “That lady was right. You are a snob. Regular people can’t spend that much on wine.”

I guess the economy is worse off than I thought.

Next I wrote a column in praise of what I called “Tuesday night” wines — wines that are “pretty good and pretty cheap.” Wines for nights like Tuesdays, when neither the boss nor the in-laws are coming to dinner, so you only have to impress yourself. I invited readers to tell me about their Tuesday Wines.

I suppose the e-mail that followed was inevitable.

“I’m confused,” a reader wrote. “You’re talking about Tuesday wines. But my paper runs your column on Thursdays.”

Still, I shouldn’t complain. A number of people took me up on my invitation to share their everyday “house” wines:

“I’ve found a wine from Mendoza, Argentina, that’s $4.99,” wrote Armando Perez from an att.net address. “It’s a Finca Flichman Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s my everyday house wine. I usually purchase two to three cases. It’s delicious.”

Concha y Toro from Chile has always been my favorite winery,” writes Randy Randall from Bradenton. “They have a chardonnay called Frontera that’s really sweet and rich. It’s great with roast chicken. And it’s $6.50.”

“I have the perfect Tuesday night meatloaf wine. It’s Columbia Crest’s ‘Two Vines’ Cabernet Sauvignon, for only $8. It’s from Washington State,” wrote Odalys Cruz of Hialeah. “Actually, in our house, we call it our picadillo wine.”

“I’ve tried a number of wines, and the ol’ nut holds true. If you like the taste, it’s good wine,” wrote Mark Carswell of Pembroke Pines. “My favorite is a cheap red, Livingston Chianti, $7 at Publix. I also keep a bottle of their white zinfandel in the fridge for guests.”

“I know it isn’t cool, but I like sweet red wines,” wrote Mary Oglesby of Miami. “ Barefoot Cellars makes one called Sweet Red. I don’t know what it’s made of, but it’s very nice, and only $7.50.”

Mary, Barefoot’s website says it’s made of zinfandel, pinot noir, barbera, grenache and petite sirah. It goes on: “The number-one request we hear from our fans across the country is the need for a sweet, soft-style red wine.”

“I found a good one,” wrote Tomas Mulet of Miami. “It’s the 2009 Ménage à Trois, St. Helena, Calif. (zinfandel, merlot, cabernet sauvignon); $9 at Costco.

“In our house, our ‘go to’ wines are Tormaresca Neprica (about $12) and Leese-Fitch Cabernet on sale this week at my retailer for $8.99,” wrote Dennis Kozuch, of Buffalo, N.Y.

Interesting choices, Dennis. Neprica is a red wine from southern Italy made of negroamaro, primitive and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Leese-Fitch is a California blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, tempranillo, Alicante Bouschet (an old French variety) and petite sirah, from the Sebastiani family.

“Gallo makes a Café Zinfandel that’s very fruity but lighter than most zins, and it’s only $8 for a magnum. This fills my bill,” says Gary Marcier of Pembroke Pines. “I keep it in the refrigerator and drink it kind of chilled.”

So there you are, fans. Readers’ favorite “Tuesday night” wines from around the country. And don’t forget: It’s even OK to drink them on Thursdays.


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