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The Best Cheap-Ass Wines & Where to Find ’em

By Rachel Fogletto

Don’t you hate it when you’re making a wine run and you’re faced with the dreaded pop-quiz question from your well-meaning wine sales clerk, “Are you looking for anything in particular?”  First of all, no one in the liquor store scanning the price-tags is looking for anything in particular.  My real answer is that I’m trying to find something drinkable to a 30 year old that won’t overdraft my checking account. But even on my best “give zero fucks” day, this might not be a personal anecdote I feel like sharing.

My advice is to do what I did, and join a wine of the month club to avoid this entire scenario. I personally use Winc which is great because once you join you and a friend can get a bottle for free every time you refer someone. They also give you a $10 credit after you rate 10 wines. If you’re a millennial-identifying person like me, chances are you love a deal as much as you love to drink. However, I know this still doesn’t solve the problem of that person at the dinner party or BBQ who asks you a million pretentious questions about the wine you brought. Chances are you’re not an asshole like me who would say “This is a great wine to drink in bed while you marathon West World!” Or, maybe you’re in a place to splurge, but you don’t know how to express what you’re really looking for in the wine that’s best for you.

Because I know I’m not alone, I reviewed some of my favorite wines with information that is actually relevant. For your convenience I’ve included food pairings with each review you can use as code for the wine qualities you really want. Here are a few of my current favorites:

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Folonari Montepulciano      

This is a great wine to drink while you’re cooking, cleaning, or generally doing anything that requires motivation to get through. Highly recommend to drink while paying the bills, or going through clothes you never wear anymore to donate to Good Will. Seriously, you never wear that dress, it doesn’t look the way it did on the online model, and this wine will help you let it go. Also great with a pasta dish with red gravy, or pork-oriented meat.

Where you can find it: Grand Wine Cellar,Wine on Nine, and literally hundreds of places in NYC

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Ruza Zinfandel Rose

Rose is pretty great right now because it’s popular enough that you can bring it to a party where you hardly know anyone and it’s guaranteed to be a hit. On the flip side, it’s the perfect wine for a hot day to pour into one of those insulated water bottles and drink in public. Also a refreshing boost for drinking when exercising in your apartment (drink at the actual gym at your own risk). I heard it also pairs well with sushi, poultry and cheeses, but I’ve never made it that far.

Where you can find it: Metro Liquors, Pier Wines, Penn Wine and Spirits, Winc (see link above)

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Cavit Pinot Grigio

Super delicious. The first time I had this I opened this up after a night of drinking at about 2 am to entertain company and I woke up with no headache. This wine also tastes good with a poultry or fish dinner, and Pinot Grigio seems to be a general crowd pleaser. I think it’s on the sweet side but still tolerable if you like dry wine.

Where you can find it: Chelsea Wine Cellar, Winebook & Spirits, 9th Avenue Wine & Liquor

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel

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Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines in general. I personally think the dark, bold flavor is great for doing dark and bold things, like Facebook stalking (best if enjoyed at the onset of this activity and at your own risk), getting ready to try stand-up comedy at an open mic for the first time, or my personal favorite, marathoning Scandal in bed. Ok, so the last one isn’t really bold, but if you drink enough you’ll have dreams that you’re actually part of OPS which is pretty bad ass. Pairs well with braised ribs, chicken enchiladas and dark chocolate.

Where you can find it: Brite Buy Wines & Spirits, Madison Wine & Liquor, Old Brooklyn Wines & LiquorLa Baronia Wine & Spirits

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Invoke Syrah

This is a great end of a long workday wine. Easy to drink and provides that “It’s ok, you’ll get that promotion next year” kind of comfort while you’re eating cheese and crackers over the counter for the 5th time this week. If you’re sharing, definitely bring to a gathering serving beef, pork, BBQ, and indulgent meats of that nature.

Where to find it: Winc 

Happy drinking!

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