Don’t get me wrong -- I’m not above Two-Buck Chuck. However, one could say my palate for wine and beer has improved significantly from my early 20s to my late 20s and boxed wine is now only for...special...occasions.
That being said, even though I’ve taken a step up, it’s a very, ever so slight step up. As we all know well I’m sure, it doesn’t hurt to be able to save -- and thanks to the wonders of Washington, you don’t have to look too far for a great bottle of wine at an affordable price point.
And as this ever so normal and random second weekend in February approaches, you may be in need of some ideas for: if you’re planning a Leslie Knope-worthy Galentine’s Day and need a little extra cash for your kick-ass gift; if you’re spending the night in with your love because, let’s be honest, eating cheap food and watching Netflix sounds way cooler than any of those other elaborate plans; or if you want to treat yourself to the best wallet-friendly “you-night” ever, consider these for a slightly semi-sophisticated, but still kinda-classy options.
For variety and to help cover all price points, these range from under $15 to under $25, whatever you consider “cheap wine” to be.
The Winery: One of the oldest wineries in Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle was built by a Seattle Lumber Baron in 1912, when he decided Washington would be a great place to grow wine, despite naysayers (he was not wrong).
The Wine: Easy to drink with plenty of fruity apple notes. Perfect if you want something light and drinkable.
Equally Cheap Food Pairing: The light fruity notes of Riesling pair well with Asian flavors. Chateau Ste. Michelle mentions it pairs well with chicken and coriander flavors, so consider some delicious Taste of India takeout.
2. Charles Smith 2013 Vino Pino Grito: $12.00
The Winery: This winery’s namesake -- Charles Smith -- worked in the music industry for much of his early life. After settling down in the Pacific Northwest and bonding with a French winemaker a wine was born -- with a little rock-and-roll spirit still infused.
The Wine: A little more complex, this wine is going to be juicy and full of citrus, with some notes of apricot and nutmeg.
Equally Cheap Food Pairing: Pino Grito’s acidic and citrusy flavors are perfect for a seafood dish. A light fish would work nicely -- such as some Fish and Chips from Emerald City Fish & Chips.
3. Columbia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon: $17.00
The Winery: Started by a band of University of Washington professors and friends, who wanted to see Washington wine grow in 1962.
The Wine: The darker fruity flavors of blackberry are complemented by the sweeter cocoa notes.
Equally Cheap Food Pairing: A bold red like this needs a heartier food to help match it. Pick up a warm bowl of some Kell’s Irish Stew or Shepherd’s Pie.
4. Cougar Crest 2013 Estate Grown Grenache Rosé: $18.00
The Winery: Washington State University grads Deborah and David Hansen met at school. Although you can get a degree in winemaking from WSU, this pair started out in Veterinary Science and Pharmacy before pursuing their love of wine 18 years later at the Walla Walla airport.
The Wine: Light fruity flavors with a hint of spice, you’ll be feeling ready for summer during these cold (??) winter months.
Equally Cheap Food Pairing: With the boldness and fruitiness of a red but with the light acidity of a white, a Rosé pairs nicely with almost anything. However, a nice bite of cheese pairs nicely with it, so treat yourself to a tasty Zeek’s Pizza.
5. Dumas Station Cow Catcher Red: $24
The Winery: A family run business, Dumas Station was created by two Walla Walla natives out of their garage in 2003.
The Wine: Filled with more savory flavors, this wine will give you a more bitter fruity flavor (blackberry) and offer up some richness of mushroom and olives.
Equally Cheap Food Pairing: The complex richness of this mixed red pairs well with a strong beefy flavor. Enjoy with cheese as well as by grabbing a burger or two or three from Uneeda Burger.
It doesn’t matter if you have a date with destiny or with netflix this weekend. These wines will help carry you through safe and sound into the week.
-Cassi Gallagher, TWIF Newsletter Editor and Blogger