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Some things - like a good haircut - are totally worth splurging on. But when it comes to wine, paying more doesn’t always make a big difference. And when you find out that 80% of the cost of a bottle of name brand vino can do directly to advertising, not to making the wine, you see why finding more affordable varieties is better. Here are some lesser-known wines to look for that are just as tasty as the high-dollar bottles that overshadow them.
- Txakoli [[CHA-coli]] - This slightly-effervescent white wine from Spain is lesser known in the U.S., but that makes it easier to find a good bottle for under $20.
- Vinho Verde - This crisp, citrusy white from Portugal is fizzy, but not as bubbly as a sparkling wine. It comes in red, white, and rosé, and it’s super budget-friendly at less than $10 a bottle. Look for the tall bottles with a screw cap at your local wine store or Trader Joe’s.
- Muscadet - Hate buttery chardonnays? This white from Spain is nothing like them, so you may appreciate the “underripe fruit-forward” Muscadets. They’re light, less than 12% alcohol and you can find a good bottle for about $15.
- Trousseau [[TRUE-so]] - It’s a lighter red, like pinot noir and it’s now grown in California as well as France. Look for a bottle in the $15 range.
- Beaujolais [[boh-zhuh-LAY]] - There’s more to this wine than just Beaujolais Nouveau, $20-ish bottles of Cru Beaujolais or $15 Beaujolais Superieur are better and delicious served slightly chilled.
- Grenache - This is one of the most commonly planted grapes in the world and you should be able to find a bottle of the medium-bodied red for about $12.
- Crémant [[CRAY-muh]] It’s a French sparkling wine similar to Champagne, but this one doesn’t have to be grown in that region of France or be aged as long. Oh, and the price tag for a Crémant is only about $10 to $15, so it’s way more affordable than Champagne.
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