What's Your Publix Pick?

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Do you buy wine from your local supermarket? How much time do you spend deciding, how much do you usually spend, and are you usually satisfied with the chosen bottles?

Living in a state where the local supermarket sells wine can present a real challenge. While supermarket wine may offer convenience, wading through the overwhelming selection of lousy and often overpriced options, on the other hand is not so cool.

People always ask me the same question: "I'm going to the supermarket... Which bottle of wine should I buy?" Over the years I've found only a handful of bottles that I would say are worthy of my attention.

This list includes:

I am also a fan of most of the Mondavi whites/reds, and any of the Jacob's Creek red wines. Not a very long list, eh? There's gotta be more out there worthy of a wine whore's palate... I am always looking for new ideas, suggestions, and thoughts. Unfortunately, many of the samples I receive in the mail are not available at my local supermarket.

What's your favorite supermarket selection?

If I like your suggestion, I'll get out the old video camera, head to my local Publix, and feature it in a future segment of TWWTV...


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drinknectar said...

I'm not sure where you're located, but I see a lot of Sagelands, Hogue, and Hyatt (all around the $10 range). I believe these three wineries are owned by the same company. Sounds like a great concept to explore further to help out my readers too.

Kate said...

Not sure if I am spolied by living in California, but here are some of my fav Supermarket Options from a store called "Pavilions" (a Safeway brand store):

La Crema Pinot Noir or Chard. - about $15

The Little Penguin Cabernet or Pinot - between $5 and $8, depending on the sale

BV Coastal Cabernet - Under $10 (stay away from the Zinfandel - had a bad experience with that one!

Chateau St Michelle Riesling - between $7 and $11, depending on the store and sale.

Do you have access to Trader Joes? They have a lot of great options as well, and usually $1-$5 cheaper than the traditional grocery store. We find that we usually do most of our wine purchases there or at BevMo (Beverages and More)

GrapeSmart said...

At GrapeSmart we're big fans of wine from the grocery store. But then again, we're spoiled because we live in California where there's a lot of choice at the grocery store. I went to Jewel while visiting my friend in the Chicago suburbs and it was hard to find a decent bottle under $20. Here (in LA) it's easy peasy.

My favorite supermarket go-tos are:
1. Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon ($15-$20)
2. Sanford Chardonnay ($15-$20)
3. Coppola Claret ($12-$15)
4. Clos du Bois Pinot Noir ($8-$10)

For more info on how to shop the grocery store, check out GrapeSmart's blog.

The Wine Whore said...

I'll have to check those out... I don't think I've seen them at the stores by me. Is there a certain varietal that is safe to choose?


Richard Auffrey said...

In MA, very few supermarkets sell wine so it usually is not much of a significant option. Plus, MA has a law that only permits a corporate entity to have 3 liquor licenses. So any big chain can only have 3 stores that sell wine.

We have 3 Trader Joe stores that sell wine and they do have some decent wines there, better than the average supermarket. But as only 3 stores sell wine, I don't make it to those that do too often. Thus, I can't say what good wines they are currently selling. They do sell the infamous "2 Buck Chuck" wines, which are ok, but nothing special.

The Wine Whore said...

Ok, great feedback guys but now I have a question... if you could shop in any one store, which would you choose and WHY? :)


Tom Johnson said...

Bogle Cab. It's a deal and a half.

The Wine Whore said...

For some reason every time I see something about Bogle Cab, I can't help but think that I've tried it even though I really haven't. Is it just the Cab, or do they make any other types of wine that could be considered a deal?


frank said...

We don't have Publix here in the Virginia Beach area, but when I happen to purchase wine from one of our local grocery stores, I typically go with:
* Bogle Petite Sirah
* Bonterra Sauv Blanc (when available)
* Mondavi Fume Blanc
I tend to limit these purchases when it's just me at home during the week so I don't have 'pour some of it down the drain' guilt.

The Wine Whore said...

Frank, I am a fan of Mondavi's Fume Blanc, after all, who wouldn't be! This is probably one of the most significant bottles of wine he's ever made. :)

Someone else mentioned Bogle Cab... are there any other Bogles worth trying?


Tyler said...

Bogle's Phantom is worth checking out, if you've never had it (50-ish% Mouvedre, the remainder Petite Syrah and Zin). Not sure if Publix would stock it, but they may.

Other grocery lines that are worth checking out: Frexinet and Cristalino Cava (as well as Segura Viudas), mainly because Cava is arguably the best value in sparkling wine out there. Louis Jadot's Burgundies (in white and red, across the board) are quite nice. Additionally, my local Publix has a fairly nice Spanish selection available -- from Bodegas LAN and Marques de Caceres through Martin Codax. Worth checking out.

Psycosis said...

Vintage Ink is a favorite of mine, and the wife recently picked up Obviously Malbec which we both enjoy enough to buy again. The grocery store, either Walmart [when we're desperate] or HEB [SE Texas Institution if there ever was one] is our only source of wine usually. Back in FL it would have been Publix all the way. I kinda think of HEB as our version of Publix. As for price, we usually stick to ~$15 at most.

The Wine Whore said...

I think $15 is a fair amount to spend at a supermarket.. now if there's a special bottle that I am looking for, then I may splurge and spend a bit more, but that's still reserved for a wine shop and not a supermarket.

I've heard a lot about Cava being a great value but never actually tried it... what makes it so great?


Tyler said...

Randy; Cava is a methode traditional sparkling wine made in Spain. The primary grapes are Macabeo, Paralleda, and Xarel-Lo. It's not as mineral as Champagne, and not nearly as yeasty (due to less time spent on the lees). Generally they cost less than $15, and I can't think of any that cost more than $25. The quality is high -- flavors are crisp and clean, with a very nice, distinctive lemony note (kind of like a blanc de blancs Champagne, but without the slightly apple note you find in those). They're a bit lighter than Champagnes, but honestly most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference without the bottle for reference (honestly, most people drink Champagne once or twice a year at best).

Really, I'm surprised you've not tried one; while they're not perfect Wine Whore wines (the producers being located in Spain and all), they're incredibly inexpensive and quite fun. At Total Wine, I can recommend Rondel, Marques de Monistrol, and Conde de Carault. Additionally, available widely, you can find Freixenet (the black bottle -- Cordon Negro -- is drier and generally better than the frosted bottle -- Carta Nevada), Segura Viudas, and Cristalino. There's really not a lot of bad Cava out there.

The Wine Whore said...

I always love it when I can learn something new! Thank you for the info Tyler!

After reading the list of Cava that you mentioned, I stand corrected. I DID have a Cava once and didn't even realize it. I was at a party once where the host bought a huge bottle of Freixenet, and we all signed it with a metallic permanent marker. Made for a cool memento of the occasion... the juice wasn't bad but I'll have to try some of the other ones you recommend before making any sort of judgment.


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