Grub and Vine -

Wine

March 5, 2011

When the best wine choice is a beer

For me, ordering wine out is a different game than buying it in a retail shop. Because I can count on the price being marked at least 2x above retail, restaurants and bars are places where I’m extremely conservative with my wine budget dollars.

Food quality being the same, I heavily favor restaurants and bars with well picked wine lists that have at least one desirable, value-priced wine (sub $35) in each category.

After a week of drinking value-priced malbecs in Argentina, I cried ‘uncle’ and ordered this beer.

But sometimes, it just isn’t possible to find a decent glass of wine for the price you have to pay. Consider these scenarios:

  • You’re at a midrange steak and seafood restaurant, but you realize that they want $15 for a glass of Acacia ‘A’ chardonnay–a bottle that has an everyday price of $12 at Costco.
  • You’re at a sports bar or ballpark that clearly views wine as nothing more than a profit center — all you see are uninspiring names like Woodbridge, Vendange, and Gato Negro.
  • You’re just not in the mood for a glass of wine, even if the dish you ordered is begging for it.
  • At your favorite neighborhood Asian noodle shop or sushi bar, when there is not a single bottle on the wine list that can hang with the hot and spicy food you just ordered.

When these things happen, I urge you to punt…and grab a beer or a bubbly water instead.

Life is just too short to drink wine that doesn’t inspire you.

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