It's a given that you'll be grocery shopping this holiday season, so you may as well maximize your efficiency and cut out a trip to the bottle shop. Here we've rounded up some of the best grocery store wines you can pick up from Aldi, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco, Wegmans and other supermarkets.
If you know what you're looking for, it's possible to navigate the sometimes haphazard wine selection in your grocery store. Without the benefit of a knowledgeable wine merchant, however, and with the lure of brightly colored "SALE" banners drawing your eyes askance, the problem in grocery store wine shopping becomes, what are you looking for?
With the freneticism of the holidays drawing nearer, being able to pick up a bottle or more while collecting cooking supplies and without making a separate trip starts to lean more toward necessity than simply convenience. When you're hosting, and not just looking for a bottle to bring with you elsewhere to put in someone else's hands, is when the ease-of-purchase meter flatlines into critical territory.
Fortunately, there are excellent wine finds to be had in many national and regional merchants, both in terms of value and of quality. When you've put care and concern into your lovely food offerings is no time to pair them with thoughtless discount libations. These nine wines can all be found in grocery stores, and are worthy of your holiday beverage table -- and nobody need know they shared a cart with the numerous pints of butter pecan you intend to stress-eat for breakfast this season.
Prosecco is sometimes thought of as champagne's country cousin, but that doesn't mean it isn't still bright and vivacious, nor lacking in pedigree. Selections such as Grandi Mori Valdobbiadene Prosecco bring the tart green apple and floral notes with an energetic texture and are absolutely something to clink flutes with.
Don't fear the mouthful in the middle of the name: Valdobbiadene (val-DOH-bee-ah-DAY-nay) refers to a place in northern Italy whose Prosecco selections are known for high quality. Like Champagne, Prosecco pairs well with anything but really sparkles with a spread of canapés or light fried bites such as Chowhound's zucchini fritters.
Whole Foods boasts a Master Sommelier as their wine buyer and consultant, the only grocery retailer to be able to make such a claim. (Because, of course, they do.) That being said, it's safe to say that any selection from Whole Foods is a good bet. For something off-the-beaten-path, try Biokult Österreich Grüner Veltliner. Austria's primary grape, Grüner Veltliner, is one that loves food, and especially vegetables, with its gentle acidity and lightly spicy white pepper notes.
Biodynamic wines are also centerstage right now, so you'll get extra credit for timeliness and intrigue. White wine lovers can drink it start to finish with any holiday meal, and it's particularly worthwhile to provide for salad if you are doing a multi-course pairing (bless you), or even as a holiday brunch offering. Try it with Chowhound's savory egg pudding.
If your entire family can agree on something this holiday season, it is likely this white blend from France's sunniest appellation, Alsace. The crisp, mineral finish will appeal to those whose ersatz wine sensibility makes them prefer only "bone dry" cuvees, but the rich, yellow fruits and floral characteristics from the blend of gewurztraminer, pinot gris, riesling and muscat will appeal to your other, more "normal" family members.
And then there's fun, or at least, distraction to be had by seeing if anyone knows how to spell gewurztraminer. Try it with another easy crowd pleaser such as this roasted rosemary and lemon chicken.
Those hallowed shelves of Wegmans and those hallowed vineyards of Burgundy have at least one thing in common: They inspire fanaticism in their disciples. Chardonnays from Burgundy are known for their nuance, with a purity of fruit and well-integrated French oak. They are rich and buttery, without being cloying, and this selection from Burgundy's OG Maison Louis Latour is ripe for pairing with another buttery brethren: lobster.
Pinot noir is a grape of legend, with some of the world's highest price selections in service to this fickle, thin-skinned berry. Trader Joe's is a merchant of legend, because seriously? How did we ever live without it? And Russian River Valley in California's famed Somoma County is a legend for producing some of the highest quality pinot noir selections in the United States, with wines that sing with bright red berry flavors.
Put all together, in Trader Joe's Petit Reserve Pinot Noir, and add a sticker price that maxes out in single digits, and you will become holiday entertaining legend, especially when you pair it with the likes of seared duck breasts with raspberry-honey glaze.
Costco's wine stores have a pretty deep selection of some of the world's heavy hitters where wine is concerned. It's generally a fine place to pick up a bottle, or a case -- or a pallet. (Only you know what your friends and family are capable of.) Kirkland's line up of signature labels provide plenty of affordable wines to choose from, but one that particularly stands out is the Kirkland Signature Malbec.
Argentina's malbec is an easy wine to drink, holding its middle ground well with juicy fruit notes with just a hint of spice and tannin, and what's more its an easy grape to pronounce, which leaves everyone feeling good about themselves, something we could all use more of during the holidays. Try it with an easy boneless roasted leg of lamb.
Italian wine labels, much like many elements of holiday entertaining, are sent to try us. But don't necessarily let that lead you into inferior choices just because something else is easier to interpret. (With all continuing respect due to malbec.) All you need to know about this earthy, spicy selection is that the grape is nebbiolo, a star in Northern Italy, where another holiday star is born: truffles.
So if you're going for broke on those little fungal gemstones, you'll want to aim high in the wine department also. Nebbiolo's high tannins beg for some richness and decadence to contrast it, like Chowhound's truffled fingerling smashed potatoes.
There are family members that will happily drink whatever you put in front of them, and then there are those who must have a classic varietal, classically paired, with high scoring numbers to boast about. What if you could have all of that, and have it share a cart with the several dozen "must haves" that made themselves apparent to you on your latest trip to Target?
Paso Robles is a wine region in California known for producing big reds that lead with power. DAOU's 2017 cabernet sauvignon comes out swinging with assertive black fruits, dried herbs and an equally full basket of secondary characteristics like olive, tobacco and espresso. And here's another power move, if you're up for it: Pair it with a classic beef Wellington.
If you spot this limited availability ice wine at Aldi while shoveling festive advent calendars into your cart, stop what you're doing, and grab some. (Then go back to the shoveling, because those calendars are seriously amazing.)
Ice wine is what happens when grapes are left on the vine to freeze, concentrating their sugars and producing knockout sweet wines to pair with your favorite desserts, or better yet, cheese plates. Vidal is a grape native to North America, in this case, Canada, prized for its floral and deep honeyed flavors. Offer some for a grand finale with Chowhound's sticky toffee pudding.