metro mama

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

2 Buck Chuck

Now that we’re living on one salary, Papa and I have been looking for ways to save money. Our wine expenditure was one of the things we had to consider. Now, we like our wine, but we can’t afford expensive wine. Luckily, we are willing to sacrifice quality for quantity.

One way we save money on wine is by making our own. The wine we make is decent enough, but the best part is, it works out to about 3 bucks a bottle. We make ours in a shop—my father-in-law brews his at home and can produce a nifty little wine for about a buck a bottle. Our homemade vino is a perfectly acceptable everyday wine. When we’re having guests, or a special meal, we like to spring for a treat—a 12-dollar bottle of wine. Our very favourite is Yellow Tail Australian Shiraz. It’s only $11.95 and we like it better than many more expensive wines.

Another good, cheap red is Brindisi (15 bucks for a 2 litre bottle). It’s not a screw cap, either. If the huge bottle embarrasses you, you can decant it. I find that most people, even some who profess to be connoisseurs, can’t tell the difference between a 12-dollar and a 40-dollar bottle of wine. If your guests can, just try to distract them with the food and conversation.

Our newest great find is Unbuntu, a rich, fruity South African Shiraz—only $11.05! Let it breathe before you bolt.

My pick for white, and it’s great for a picnic in the park, is Vendange Chardonnay—$5.95 for a half-litre (great size for lunch) and it comes in a convenient tetra pak. The only thing that’s missing is a straw on the side. If you’re willing to spend a few more dollars, we love the Cave Springs Riesling.

The best advice I can give you is, if you find a cheap wine you love, buy as much as you can afford and put it away. I still recall, with horror, the summer everyone discovered Yellow Tail—the supply couldn’t keep up with the demand and there was nary a bottle to be found.

What are your favourite cheap wines? I’m always looking for a new bargain.



Blogger crazymumma said...

OOOOHHH thanks for some of the suggestions. We are very frugal in our spending on vino. I like the tetra packs (we call them Mummy Juice Boxes),and I like the White Rabbit.

We made our own for a while, but we both got really bad gut rot...hmmm, maybe we were just drinking to much of it.

There was an Italian we drank for a while called Mezzo Mondo,
under 8$ and it was just fine. And in the summer for special occasions, I like to get a bottle of Spanish Sparkling is so much fun!

Sounds like you must be feeling better around your place if you are chatting about wine....

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also really like Cave Springs Riesling. Have you ever tried Mission Hill? I've enjoyed everything except their Chardonay (I don't like Chardonays though), their bottles range from the ten dollar point but average around fourteen dollars.

9:50 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

we've been drinking this 'long flat' something or other ... I don't know anything about it because I just keep telling people to get it for me.

and, no, i'm not a complete dolt.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Haley-O said...

great advice there, thanks!....How do you make your homemade wine, though (*picturing you and papa stomping grapes together in a bucket*)? Curious....

1:30 AM  
Blogger penelopeto said...

We're into the Yellowtail cab sauv as well as the shiraz, but I'll also second crazzymumma's pick of the white rabbit. tetra pack wine doesn't put me off, and when we served it to cousins who go for the good stuff, they loved it. And, if taste and cost are not enough to turn you on, white rabbit donates money to the repopulation of salmon in lake ontario with every pack you purchase.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I'll ever be able to leave France. How much do you pay for a bottle? OMG! That would seriously hamper my lifestyle...

I never pay any more than 4 euros for a really good bottle!

My mom (in Canada) made wine once. I drank half a glass and passed out. The worst hangover EVER the next day.

8:54 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Haley: We do it in a shop. It's pretty easy actually! The only labour you have to do is bottling the wine, and it takes about half an hour.

My father-in-law does the whole process at home and it's much cheaper. He buys these kits at Costco and it's pretty easy I think.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous ali said...

have you ever had cakebread wine? my parents got it in napa and they swear that it's the most fabulous wine!! i don't think it's cheap, though.

i'm not really a wine i can't really offer any advice!

9:59 AM  
Blogger jen said...

i totally agree...if i like it, i buy a bunch of it, b/c good cheap wine can be elusive. i got a great bottle of night owl shiraz the other day, cheap, and yum...although nothing is better than homemade..i lived w/ a winemaker for a few years and loved it.

11:05 AM  
Blogger mad_hatter said...

I like Lindeman's Bin 50 Shiraz. Not sure how cheap it is where you are b/c wine is whiningly expensive out here.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

I"m not a wine drinker but my husband is two of the wines he likes are Pinot Grigio and Masi Campofiori, both are relatively cheap (i think), plus we have about 150 bottles of homemade wine downstairs. When we'll ever drink it who knows, since having Samantha wine doesn't sit well with me anymore.
commenting on jcheval's comment, when Joe and I were in France we couldn't believe how cheap the wine was, we brought back 15 bottles and were shitting our pants at customs (but we made it through unnoticed!)

1:33 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

We used to make our own fairly often and enjoyed almost every batch.

My favourite standby? Rosemount. They have a variety of Shiraz and Shiraz blends, and they consistently win prizes, though they are not really pricey.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Lisa b said...

no tips but I agree that you have to buy a case when you find a good affordable wine. I felt like all of TO decided that yellow tail was going to be their house wine. We lucked out and found a stash when we were visiting my husbands family in Hamilton.

3:44 PM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

I love me some yellow tail Shiraz.

I have this uncanny ability to forget the name of most wine brands I drink ... and it is not because I am such a lush that I get to drunk to remember. Its just this weird mental block.

When I was in university I worked for an executive development program and had to plan events for fancy schmancy CEOs and once organized a blind wine tasting. We bought realllly expensive wine and then the cheapest we could find and they had to taste test to pick their fav. 95% picked the cheap stuff.

Cheers to 2 buck chuck :)

7:58 PM  
Blogger petite gourmand said...

bin 555 is always a pretty safe bet it's around $14 per bottle
or Sterling merlot is also around the same price also pretty decent.
Ontario wines have really come up in price, but I agree the cave springs Riesling is always delish.
we were at vintages at summer-hill the other day and big daddy kind of went a little crazy.
I'm the frugal one in our house, and I agree, you don't necessarily have to spend a lot to enjoy a good wine.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

I love, love, love that you make your own wine. There's a place around here that helps people make their own and I've been thinking about it.

Another point: There is nothing wrong with screw tops. My favorite wines (of the moment) are from New Zealand and they love their screw tops. A nice sauvignon blanc is Oyster Bay. We get it around here for about $9 bucks.

One more wine that we like and serve for larger groups is Big House Red. It's a California table wine, also with a screw top, also for about $9. Easy drinking and non-offensive, it goes down easy. Sometimes too easy! ;)

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've made wine in a shop (Fermentations) both from juice and from grape. I went to bottle one batch heavily pregnant. That felt bizarre.

I love a smooth bottle of Red Australian. I often don't buy the same bottle twice. I love to continuously try new wine.

I found it disturbing that so many of the vintages are now coming with a screw cap. That seems so wrong.

I'd love to have one of those wine tasting parties where distributors come to your home and you get to sample many exquisite bottles.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oooh, thanks for the suggestions! I've got to wait anothr 8 months before I can have a glass, but that Riesling would probably be my choice. I've always loved Rieslings.

We like fruit wines, too. There's a winery in St. Pete's in Florida that makes all its wine from Florida fruits. I love their tangerine wine and their grapefruit sparkling wines.

7:53 PM  
Blogger cinnamon gurl said...

I like the cave springs reisling too. Glad to see a South African wine on your list. There are some great, reasonably priced SA wines out there.

8:17 PM  
Blogger cinnamon gurl said...

Two Oceans is one we like. I think they're quite reasonable (under $10?) but my memory is foggy.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

I'm also a fan of Yellow Tail, but we are so cheap that we usually buy Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes. I think it's a good table wine.

p.s. that is SO cool that you make your own wine. Wow.

1:26 AM  
Blogger creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

Check you out - Bootlegging. That's cool!

We love Buena Vista Chardonnay - it's the best for $10-12

2:46 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

We are big fans of Yellow Tail Shiraz too. Yeay!

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz. It's an Australian wine and it's my favorite. Not too expensive, great taste.

I also like Smoking Loon -- I think it's the Merlot that's my favorite.

9:40 PM  
Blogger scarbie doll said...

Masi Soave makes a nice light white that's easy on the pockets.

Screw tops indeed get a bad rap. I just interviewed wine columnist Tony Aspler about his new book, The Wine Atlas of Canada -- my God it's a gorgeous book! Anyway, he said that screw tops are actually preferable because they eliminate the chance of the cork tainting the wine. I think it's the types of wines that come in screw tops and tetras that give them a bad rap.

Mummy's juice boxes indeed! Love the tetra!

2:40 PM  

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