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Using Bargain Wines to Your Advantage
Using bargain wines is often preferable for occasions when it would be unwise to to invest a large amount of money in expensive wine.
Do you really want to use top-notch red wine for making sangria or for serving up at parties, when friends have already had enough to drink? No, I didn't think so!
Drinking Bargain Wines
Blended wine is usually cheaper and a reasonable bet in terms of drinkability. As a general rule, Chilean blends are the cheapest option, although it's often worth paying that little bit extra for Australian blends. In fact, a number of Australian producers market two excellent blends at the lower end of the price spectrum, one white and one red. The red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz and the white consists of semillon and chardonnay. Keep an eye out for these grape combinations, if you're after a bargain!
Another winner at the cheaper end of the market is Spanish Rioja (both red and white). As Rioja is usually less fruity than the previously mentioned blends it is generally better for serving with food, rather than drinking on its own.
Other Uses of Bargain Wines
If you're making sangria, you need red quaffing wine - and lots of it. As sangria is made from red wine, sugar, fruit juice and spirits, the quality of the red wine becomes largely secondary. This is where boxed wines come into their own. Buy large boxes that are relatively cheap - no one will notice! Be sure to purchase reasonable quality fruit juice and don't go for the absolute cheapest wine as you may live to regret it, the following morning!
Large Parties and Receptions
When serving wine to a large party, cost is obviously important. As a rule, boxed whites are generally more palatable than boxed reds, so if want to trim costs, anywhere, buying cheaper white wine may be a safer option.
A great way to improve boxed red wine is to add a reasonable quality bottle of red wine. Provided that you choose the correct bottle of red, this can make an impressive difference to the taste. Of course, you do need some suitable decanters or serving carafes and a little patience to pull this one off, successfully.
Finally, choose your nibbles wisely. Plain potato chips will do little to help you disguise a poor wine. Instead opt for a selection of cheeses, as they will enhance the flavor of even the cheapest of wines.
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