Congratulations! The days of stocking your cart with cheapo wine are over, and you’re ready to take the next step in adulthood: learning how to pick wine. You’re no longer as worried about getting the most bang for your buck (well, two bucks); now you’re concerned with things like taste and value and choosing quality over quantity. It can be intimidating to face the world of wine, but you’re not in it alone. Here is a little wine for beginners guide to help you take the leap. Use these wine tips to select Two-Buck Chuck alternatives from Wine.com and Gold Medal Wine Club that won’t set you back much more, especially with that hard-earned Cash Back you’ll get at Ebates:
Instead of the Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon:
The StoneCap Cabernet Sauvignon is a good transition to the wide world of red wine. It’s easy to drink but has plenty of maturity and robust flavors, and a bit more spice than the super-discount cab you’re tired of. You’ll mostly love that you won’t have to spend time at your next dinner party secretly pouring glasses in the kitchen to keep your friends from seeing the label.
Instead of the Charles Shaw Merlot:
The intensity of fruit in this Santa Ema Reserve Merlot is showcased best by its deep ruby color, which will mesmerize you even before you take your first sip. The spicy plum aroma (distinctly worth more than two bucks) will best complement your cheese course. Now all you have to do is figure out how to put together a killer cheese course.
Instead of the Charles Shaw Chardonnay:
You’re going to want a soft Chardonnay after graduating from the harsh grassiness of Two-Buck Chuck. This Madroña 2013 Chardonnay has notes of white peach and honey, combining mellow and bright aromas for a nicely balanced white wine. It hails from El Dorado in the Sierra Foothills, which is a much more in-the-know response than, “Somewhere in California, I think.”
Instead of the Charles Shaw White Zinfandel:
Understanding that the grape is actually called Zinfandel, and not White Zinfandel, comes with time and maturity. Now that you’re there, you’re ready to put down the sugary pink stuff and pick up the real deal. Try this Four Vines Lodi Old Vine Zin to get some of the best of California’s rich and fruity treasure. Bring this bottle to your next barbecue to truly impress.
I know what you’re thinking: but regular Zinfandel isn’t pink! If you’re not too keen to give up the rosy hue that you love in the $2 version (but you’ve outgrown its sweetness), you’re probably ready for a true rosé from Provence. This Whispering Angel Rosé from Chateau d’Esclans is refreshing and bright with just enough tart fruit to turn you on to dry rosés — and may you never go back.
Chelsea is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, specializing in lifestyle and travel. When she can’t get on a plane herself to visit somewhere obscure (Montenegro anyone?), she’s training her sweet puppy and taking visitors to wine country with her fiancé. She loves being able to share ideas and stories proving that doing good and having fun can go hand in hand.