The moment Nina Mosley (Nia Long) and Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) shared a drink in “Love Jones” is clearly a classic in our minds. Back in the day a simple of glass of wine at a nightclub would run you about $5 and these days it’s closer to $10. For that same amount you can get a decent bottle of wine.
In search of a decent bottle wine on a budget, ESSENCE.com enlisted the help of African American Wine Tasting Society founder Renee Rowe, who says one of the biggest misconceptions is that to get a good bottle of wine you’ve got to spend lots of money. “With a glut of wine in the market that is absolutely false,” she says. “There are some great value wines under $20.”
Take Renee’s list of suggested wine (in no particular order) to your local wine shop and be on your wine to enjoying quality wine on the cheap.
Wild Rock Pinot Noir (New Zealand), $17.99
Characteristics: “It’s a light grape that has bright fruit flavors but also has some nice spice characteristics,” says Renee.
Goes Well with: Salmon
Tamas Estates Double Decker Red (California) $10.99
Characteristics: Medium bodied; a blend of Petit Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera (types of grapes).
Goes Well with: This is the perfect wine to sip on if you’re having burgers, says Renee.
Maryhill Winemakers Red (Washington), $13.99
Characteristics: Bold flavors of black cherry, chocolate, cranberry, coffee and vanilla. It is a bordeaux blend, which means it has some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc, says Renee.
Goes Well with: Meat dishes, like flank steak, beef stew or roast beef.
Della Scala Montepulciano D’abruzzo, $8.99
Characteristics: Soft tannins, dry and light bodied.
Goes Well with: “If you’ve got pizza, spaghetti, lasagna or anything with a red sauce, this is the perfect sipper for it,” says Renee.
Villa San Juliette (California), $15.99
Characteristics: Flavors of black cherry, cassis and a bit of chocolate.
Goes Well with: “Soft and velvety” is how Renee describes this wine produced by the producers of “American Idol.” A perfect steak wine.
Villa Rosa Moscato D’asti (Italy), $14.99
Characteristics: This Italian sparkling wine is perfect for people who like to sip on something sweet, advises Renee. It only has about 5% alcohol so it won’t give you a headache the next day.
Goes Well with: Any type of light dessert like cheesecake, fruit tart or pound cake.
Choco Vine (Holland), $13.99
Characteristics: A red wine infused with chocolate. Containing about 14% alcohol, Renee describes this impost as a chocolate milkshake for adults.
Goes Well with: “Served chilled or over ice, this wine does not need food, it is a dessert in a glass.”
InZINerator Zinfandel (California), $14.99
Characteristics: Lush, bright, black fruit. It has everything from blackberries to plums, “it’s what I call a “fruit bomb.”
Goes Well with: The perfect match for barbecue and also works well with grilled meat, pizza, pasta and burgers.
Santa Alicia Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile), $10.99
Characteristics: Hints of vanilla, cassis and soft bright red fruit
Goes Well with: Grilled red meat or burgers.
La Mano Mencia Roble (Spain), $11.99
Characteristics: Aromas are bold of cherry and spice, and smells like cedar
Goes Well with: Griiled meat, grilled chicken and pork roast.
Wirra Wirra Church Block (Australia), $19.99
Characteristics: A blend of Cabernet Saugvignon, Shiraz and Merlot with aromas of red and black fruit as well as a bit of smoked tobacco and coffee.
Goes Well with: “This to me is a true steak wine,” says Renee, “and it definitely gives a lot for $19.99 a bottle.”
La Puerta Torrontes (Argentina), $10.99
Characteristics: Light, floral wine, with hints of grapefruit citrus.
Goes Well with: “I call this one the perfect deck sipper,” says Renee, “because it’s a great outdoor wine that doesn’t require food.”
Bastianich Sauvignon “B” (Italy), $13.99
Characteristics: Light and crisp and dry with crisp clean apples and pears and has a great acidic finish.
Goes Well with: Green or fruit salads.
Chateau Peynaud Bordeaux Blanc (France), $13.99
Characteristics: Light, fresh and fruity with hints of green apples with a bit of pear.
Goes Well with: Seafood, salads and fish.
Sauvignon Vouvray (France), $13.99
Characteristics: 100% chenin Blanc (grape) with a hint of sweetness. “This is a crowd pleaser because it’s a wine where it’s not so dry that people who like sweet wine are not going to like it,” says Renee.
Goes Well with: Chicken and fish
Babich Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), $14.99
Characteristics: Gooseberry and grapefruit; very citrusy.
Goes Well with: “The acidity makes for a perfect pairing for anything with a cream sauce,” says Renee.
Chardonnay Eberle (California), $19.99
Characteristics: Round, rich, luck, with hints of right apples and bright pears. “The epitome of what Chardonay should be,” says Renee.
Goes Well with: Compliments roasted chicken and lobster.
Sun Garden Riesling (Germany), $10.99
Characteristics: Hints of peaches, apricots, sweet but not overly sweet.
Goes Well with: Any type of spicy food and Asian cuisine.
Saint Christopher Gewurztraminer (Germany), $10.99
Characteristics: “This is a nice alternative to Riesling,” says Renee. “because it’s typically going to be sweet but it has nice floral characteristics and a spice component.
Goes Well with: Spicy Thai food and turkey.
Fire Road (New Zealand), $13.99
Characteristics: Gooseberry and honey dew melon characteristics.
Goes Well with: Any type of light meat like tilapia or grilled chicken.