Written by Zoe Gill, 17 May 2013.
There is nothing shameful about saving money on wine. There, I said it.
Until I stumbled across this Undertendollars blog, I felt lonely, hiding in the shadows of my local Dan Murphy’s quietly rushing to the counter after choosing my said bottle and handing over my $10.00 note as I see $9.99 flash on the screen.
No not really, but seriously… I have bills to pay and wine to drink.
I want to be merry.
I want quality, not crap. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So over these cheaper, mortgage paying drinking years, I have developed a knack for finding good, decent bottles of plonk that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Even more importantly… they won’t come out of a cask and will easily impress your friends, family and guests. For my first inaugural worthy wine post, here at Undertendollars, we thought it might be useful to share my top ten hints, tips and pointers about drinking and enjoying that cheaper bottle of plonk that I have developed over the years.
Tip 1: Ask!
In larger, chain bottle shops, they have people working there, who are quiet wine connoisseurs or have previously worked in all sides of the wine/alcohol industry, from restaurants, sales to manufacturing. I love striking up a conversation with the wine buffs at my local and as a blogger, I ask them about what wine they would drink undertendollars. They usually love to talk about something they are passionate about… So what are you waiting for… Start the conversation!
Tip 2: Look for Specials
It would be amiss of me not to mention this as I am known for being a complete
cheapskate bargain hunter… There are many wines that are either cheaper for a short time, cheaper in two’s, six or a dozen. Who doesn’t want a $20 bottle of wine at a $10 price?
However, I have had many of my favourite $10 wines that have been better than $20 ones due to age, maturity and all sorts of other grown up wine drinking reasons so buyer beware. Many of the $10 wines have been mass produced so they are drinkable straightaway for a mass market.
Also, if you can afford too, it might be more realistic to also buy your $10 wine in bulk, and you can make substantial savings of up to 20%.
Tip 3: Look at the bottom of your docket
I looked at a shopper docket the other day and I saw a two for one deal at my local, chain owned bottle shop. Who doesn’t like something for nothing?
Tip 4: Nitrogen isn’t your friend
When wine is produced, sometimes producers pump nitrogen into the top of the bottle to settle the contents, there are all sorts of reasons for this. Nitrogen happens. The main reason is that nitrogen is more predictable than oxygen as well as being safer (they also use it in aeroplane tyres!). What you need to do to get rid of the nitrogen is this;
- Take your bottle of undertendollar wine;
- Take half a mouthful out of the top of the bottle (don’t drink this amount, we want to get rid of it for a reason) but it’s your wine, do what you like!
- Place your thumb in the top of the bottle;
- Shake the bottle of wine 4 – 5 times.
This tip was shared with me, from my favourite, most gorgeous, quiet wine connoisseur Mr. Magoo (yes that is his nickname) from my local. Thanks Mr. Magoo!
Tip 5: Red wine needs to take a breath and white wine can benefit too
Now Mr. Magoo and I don’t share our love for this next tip, but I do it anyway because that’s how I roll.
I believe red wines need to breathe and decanters are old school and way cool. I absolutely love them and their function and I truly believe that red wine tastes better after being decanted for .5 – 1 hours before drinking. A decent decanter (look for a smaller neck and wide base) will set you back around $10 – 15, and you don’t need anything but glass, they are also beautiful to serve out of to impress guests. Look for decanters in outlet stores after Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day, this is when they were most easily found and cheaper. My decanter was $15 and I always use it when guests come over or over comfy Friday Night takeaway.
Tip 6: White wine needs to be cold
In Spring/Summer, when I mostly drink white wine I like to use a carafe. Remember carafes? They were what your parents drank out of when they took you to the local Italian Restaurant as a kid and had the ‘house wine’. The reason carafes are great is wine gets cooler more quickly in them. Keep your carafe in the freezer and pour your desired amount of wine into it, and then put it back in the fridge… You won’t regret it.
Another great tip (we do live in Australia), is waterless ice blocks… It is a bit of a tragedy I feel when your wine gets ruined by water, because you are desperate for a cold alcoholic drink in Summer. Again, outlet shopping, you can pick up waterless ice cubes/carafes for undertendollars and you will use them for years.
Tip 7: Cheaper champagne/sparkling needs juice… Don’t argue with me. It does.
This is controversial I know, but if you are going to drink undertendollars sparkling wine (I take the challenge to find a sparkling for you that won’t break the budget), add fruit juice. Yes I said it. Just do it. Champagne/Sparklings are usually drunk before meals as an apéritif (before the meal) and the reason champagne cocktails were invented was, people knew how easy it was to get tizzy, so they added fructose (there is a science to it) to help your body with the alcohol content. So, if you are going to drink a cheaper sparkling, do it wisely and add a juice such as guava, dry it out with grapefruit, or really sweeten it with rosellas or berries.
Also, a hint. If you do drink undertendollars wine the night before, and feel less than awesome, have a large fruit juice the next day upon rising. Fructose (Fruit Sugar) has been proven to rev up alcohol metabolism in your system. Now you know why you feel better after that glass of orange juice with your vegemite toast the next day!
Tip 8: You only need one ‘go to’ good undertendollar wine.. or maybe two!
This is my best tip ever. You only need one good red and one good white wine. If you like it, stick with it. Luckily here at Undertendollars, we are taking the
hangovers hard work out of it for you. We hope we find something you are going to love as much as we do.
Tip 9: Don’t be afraid to drink foreign wine
Honestly, places like Spain and France got their good wine reputations for a reason. There is a neglected spot in many bottle shops where dust settles over the foreign section that I love to go. Maybe it is my love of travelling, people and places, but I love asking about the wine in these sections and whether I can find something awesome that may have been hidden before. Sure, there is no doubt, we have fantastic wine in Australia, and New Zealand but there is also lovely stuff elsewhere. Over the coming weeks I am going to showcase two foreign wines that I love and cannot wait to share these with you. Get worldly and go for it!
Tip 10: Share the love
If you find a good wine, tell others. No matter how much it costs. There is nothing better I think, then sitting down with a partner, or friend or two and chatting about wines you love. Wine producers deserve recognition and praise for what they do, after all it is a craft. If you have a good experience, you must share it. Hey, and why don’t you even share it with us here, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you find these ten top tips useful, have you got some more? Drop us an email or let us know on facebook!
Cheers my dears, until next time… drink good plonk,
If you liked this page, make sure you check all the
Wines tested for Undertendollars on the Worthy Wine page and don’t forget to share with your friends