Next time you're reaching for that bottle of Yellow Tail, stop! Step outside your neighborhood Giant Eagle and sip on one of these affordable wines that you won't find on many area shelves.
Orin Swift Cellars, California
The Prisoner, 2008, $36.99
find it at: Rozi’s Wine House, 14900 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-221-1119, rozis.com
The Prisoner has been captivating wine snobs since the early 2000s. Rozi’s sells the 2008, which co-owner Gary Rossen says has been garnering much acclaim. “It has some tannins, and it’s real jammy,” says Rossen, so expect concentrated fruit, an attribute of a fine wine, from the mostly zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and syrah blend. “Orin Swift just makes a dynamite wine.”
Sea Ridge, California
Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot $4.49
find it at: Minotti’s Wine & Liquor, various locations, minottis.com
Sea Ridge is Minotti’s version of Two-Buck Chuck. “It’s a great everyday table wine you can open when you have guests over,” says Tommy Fessler, manager at the Rocky River store, which goes through 15 to 20 cases a week. The price makes the best-selling buttery chardonnay and mild cabernet perfect for parties and wedding season. The medium-bodied and soft merlot is also worth a try.
Spanish wines are like indie rockers: They’re not mainstream, but they slowly gain due respect. Mario Vitale, West Point’s wine department manager, likes this tempranillo-monastrell blend. which is cheap because Spain is keeping prices low when others aren’t. “It’s full-bodied, slightly spicy and easy to drink,” Vitale says. “They’re making friends with the masses with this wine.”