Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grocery Shopping My Way

As I mentioned before, I don't see a point in spending more than $10 on a bottle of wine unless it's a special occasion. After your second glass you're not going to be able to tell the difference anyway, and by the 5th you could be drinking grape juice that had been left out over night and think it's the finest Zinfandel you've ever tasted. So save the $35 bottles for anniversaries and birthdays (my favorite celebratory wine is Domaine Chandon's Pinot Meunier).

My budgeting trick when I go grocery shopping is simple: I allow half of my food budget to go to wine. Please remember that most of the time I'm only shopping for one dish at a time, not to stock the kitchen, so if your budget is $150, don't go and blow $75 on wine. When I go out to pick up items for a meal, I generally have a budget of $15-$40 depending on what I'm making and what I already have in the kitchen. I know that $7.50 doesn't sound like much of an allowance when buying a bottle of wine, but when you think of all the grocery stores that have great sales it's not that hard.

Take Bloom for instance. They had a sale on Barefoot wine 2 for $10, Barefoot being one of my recommendations for a decent wine that won’t blow your budget. They also had Pepperwood on sale for $6.50, Red Bicyclette for $7 and Yellowtail for $8. A bottle of any of these will leave you more than enough left over to buy dessert!

Sometimes I’ll hit up the local wine shops and treat myself and my dinner guest to some of my favorite Virginia wines, such as Rockbridge’s Toscara Red or maybe one of the flavored wines from Horton Vineyards for dessert. Virginia wines are great because they’re both quality and generally under $15 a bottle. They’re my favorite to bring to girl’s wine nights because we get an idea of which vineyards we would like to visit. But that’s for another blog…

The point is, you can find great wines that aren’t too expensive to compliment any meal, you just have to be willing to experiment with different brands and see which ones agree with your palette.

Until next time!
-Wine Chic

Thursday, January 24, 2008

An Introduction

I'm poor. With the way the economy is today, who isn't? But I'm not about to give up my wine and other little treats that help me forget that I work 40+ hours a week with little to show for it. I've found ways to indulge without going over budget, and so I've decided to share some tips and recommendations with whomever might feel like reading.

A bit of information about me: I don't follow the archaic rules for drinking wine. Just because I'm eating pasta with chicken does not mean that I'm going to stay away from red wine. I also only have one set of wine glasses... they are basically a white wine glass with a larger base that is perfect for reds. An excellent find on sale at Pier 1 if I do say so myself. I'm also not ashamed to drink wine out of a plastic cup once in a while, especially if I forgot to pick up dish detergent on my way home.

As far as food goes, I definately still have a lot to learn. My default on any dish that doesn't quite hit the right notes for me automatically gets red pepper flakes and lots of garlic. Not that I want all of my dishes to taste the same, I'm just still learning the proper balance for other herbs and spices.

I don't believe in spending more than $10 on a bottle of wine just for myself or for "afterhours." I think I'm the queen of baked alfredo. And I think that fine dining doesn't only come out of a restaurant at $20 a plate.

I don't know how much interest everyone else will have in what I have to say or how long I'll be able to keep my own interest, but at least this will be a fun project for the time being.

Until next time!