The pleasure in affordable wines, from the pen of a Sommelier - Thewinedrops

The pleasure in affordable wines, from the pen of a Sommelier

There’s bliss in wine, in every subtle aroma, and every drop of thirst-quenching goodness. 

We love wine, yes, because it’s boozy, but also because it nourishes our imagination.
Wine is also a world of discovery. With so many wine styles and grapes, so many wine-producing regions, and passionate winemakers, you can enjoy a different bottle every day and not taste through half of it.
Wine, though, is often considered a costly drink. Some bottles indeed go for thousands of dollars, but interestingly, even the most inexpensive wines can be the source of immense pleasure if you know where to look. 


What's the deal with wine prices, anyway?

​Most of the time, expensive wine comes from small, prestigious plots of land. Productions are small, and the grapes are of the highest quality. The wines are not good, they’re great — but they’re also famous.
Bear with me on this one. Fame creates demand, and demand drives prices up. So, high-priced wines are excellent, but sometimes their prices aren’t justified.
Here’s a shocker, outstanding wine exists in the least expected places, and since it’s not very well known, let alone famous, it’s very well priced! You’ll find these everywhere in South America, in small-town USA, in every unexplored European town, but particularly in South Africa. 

South African Wines, The Best Value for Your Money.

People have been making wine in the country since 1659 when the Dutch settlers brought grapevines to the Rainbow Nation. Red, white, sweet and sparkling, South Africa’s vineyards represent every wine style on earth.
We’re talking almost 100,000 hectares of vines planted with Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Also, the remarkable, and unique to the country, Pinotage.
South Africa’s best wines, all scoring over 93 points in Wine Magazines can be priced higher than R1000, we’re talking about the best of the best — that’s great value right there. Yet, you need not look far to find superb wines for under R500, sometimes even less than R150 but let that be our little secret.

Where To Find The Best Valued South African Wines.

And for more consumer advice, here are some grapes, wine styles and regions to look out for if you want the biggest bang for your buck.
Western Cape Chenin Blanc
South African Chenin Blanc is surprising, whether it’s from Stellenbosch, or Swartland, expect dry, refreshing white wines reminiscent of wildflowers and citrus peels. Perfect wines for summer of exceptional quality at a low price.
Western Cape Red Blends
Varietal wines are great, but blends are equally enjoyable and sometimes cheaper. Pinotage-Cabernet is a popular blend, and so is the remarkable Grenache-Syrah blend. Enjoy full-bodied wines of structure and complexity, ripe red and black fruit aromas, and the loveliest spice-infused palates.
Darling Cinsault and Sauvignon Blanc
The small region of Darling has been making extraordinary wine from old vines for decades; we’re talking world-class wine at a fraction of the price. Wine made from Cinsault is spicy and meaty, and the Sauv Blanc is herbal, thirst-quenching and citrusy.

Make Wine Part of Your Life Today.

​Great wine comes at all prices; that’s the beauty of it, so get yourself a bottle of wine, call some friends over and enjoy your favorite fermented drink. Wine is for everyone, and even the most inexpensive bottles can be an immense source of pleasure if you know where to look.

Franco Salzillo
Food writer and certified Sommelier

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