I would be what one would call a reverse wine snob. At the age of 25, I was in real estate, making more money than I could ever imagine bringing home now and wine would be the method of celebrating large sales. So instead of the typical wine stages of starting with White Zin, I started with $50-$100 bottles. These day's, I tend to stay in the $10 and under price point unless I am entertaining. Take it from me, you don't have to spend $100 on a nice bottle of wine for a romantic night (although I did include a few of my favorites at the end of this post).
I included more wines in the $30 and under price point since that is typically the price point I prefer to stay in for holiday's.
Silver Oak Cabernet Alexander, 2009 $59.97
Thanks to a former relationship, I was first introduced to higher end wine and Silver Oak was a bottle that frequently sat at the dinner table. It features aromas and flavors of black currant jam, rose petals, chocolate, and sandalwood. Its seamless texture and long, smooth finish make it a wonderful wine for current drinking.
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 40th Anniversary $54.99
I absolutely adore Caymus. Once again, thanks to those great years in Real Estate, I became introduced to this wine. According to Wine Advocate: "Its dense purple/black color is followed by copious quantities of creme de cassis and blackberry fruit, silky tannins, a voluptuous texture and stunning purity...a fabulous example of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a tribute to this amazing family."
$50 and underStag's Leap Artemis Cabernet $44.97
Stag's Leap Artemis is a delicious full bodied cab that is full of flavors. Cherry, mocha and espresso are the key players in this delicious wine.
Cakebread Chardonnay $45.99
Cakebread will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my first favorite higher price point wine and drinking it always brings me to a happy place. Cakebread Chardonnay is full bodied with a fruit and floral scent.
Tsarine Brute Premium Cuvee $49.99
I was proposed to with the big brother of this champagne out of France. It's a very dry and crisp champagne with great floral aromas and flavors.
$40 and under
The Prisoner Red Blend $39.99
The Prisinor is a full bodied red blend that has an incredible flavor to it. It's always a crowd pleaser and pairs well with red meats.
Chalk Hill Chardonnay $36.99
Chalk Hill was one of the first Chardonnay's I was introduced to. I would say it probably started my love for Chard. It has intense aromas and flavors of pear, apple, hazelnut and integrated oak with their signature balance of richness and elegance.
Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut $38.99
Champagne, France - An Impressive consistency of lemon and lime flavors, smooth, crisp and easy to drink. A good length that is clean and full of apple and honey notes. Richness and softness fills the finish with a clean aftertaste.
$30 and underAntinori Peppoli Chianti Classico $25.99
I was introduced to this Chianti over the weekend at the Clearwater Beach Uncorked Wine Festival. It is an extremely smooth Chianti that drank way too easily. It's out of Tuscany, Italy-where we honeymooned! A ripe, fruity red, with black currant, damson and hints of coconut and chocolate. Very powerful, with a silky medium body and a fruity, chocolate-coated finish.
Landmark Chardonnay Overlook $26.99
This is my favorite Chardonnay. While Cakebread used to be my favorite, Landmark took over last summer. From Wine Advocate: "A consistently delicious effort, the 2012 maintains beautiful tropical fruit and honeysuckle notes as well as a pure, front end-loaded, fruit-driven style...It is an amazing value."
Louis Bouillot Perle Rare Brut Vintage $24.99
My best friend introduced me to Louis Bouillot and we tried all of the champagnes that were available at Total Wine. Each had their own unique twists but the rare brut vintage was my favorite. It's a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay matured in oak barrels.
Folie a Deux Cabernet $24
Folie a Deux is a delicious 100% Cabernet that is well balanced and full of rich berry flavors. It is very smooth and pairs well with pretty much everything.
$20 and under
I first bought this wine because of the label and it is now one of my go to red wines in this price point. Petite Petit has 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot.
La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast $14.97
Without a doubt, my go-to Chardonnay in this under $20 price point. From Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River spends time in 29% new oak. It exhibits notes of orange marmalade, white peaches and pineapple, medium to full body, heady glycerin and a long, pure, well-balanced finish."
Mumm Napa Brut Rose $18.99
What I drank on my wedding day! Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, it has deliciously forward flavors of raspberries, strawberries, gingersnap cookies and vanilla lemon custard, with the bubbly froth and tart yeastiness of a fine sparkling wine.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio $17.97
Santa Margherita is my Mom's favorite Pinot Grigio. It is a dry wine with a very fruity finish. Of all the Pinot Grigio's out there, this one is my favorite.
Phebus Malbec $10.99
My best friend suggested Phebus Malbec when I asked her what her favorite under $10 a bottle red was. While this is a dollar shy of the $10 category, she insisted I put it on my list. It's a very smooth, full bodied Malbec which drinks like a $25+ bottle.
$10 and under
14 Hands Cabernet is a delicious intense full bodied cabernet. It's full of fruit flavor and pairs well with pretty much anything.
Clos du Bois Chardonnay $8.47
Clos du Bois is a frequent visitor during our girls nights. You can't ask for more for under $10 a bottle. It has flavors of pear, green apple, vanilla and caramel. It is 70% barrel-fermented to integrate fruit and oak flavors and is very buttery.
Rondel Brut Cava $8.99
This is my go to under $10 a bottle of bubbles. It drinks very nice for the price point
$100 and up
Dom Perignon, 2004 $145
My absolute favorite champagne is Dom Perignon. It was the first high end bottle I ever bought myself to celebrate a huge real estate transaction in my 20's. These day's, drinking Dom to celebrate is a faded memory but I still dream of this bubbly goodness.
Tzarina Brut $119
Last but certainly not least: Tzarina.....The champagne I was proposed to with. This was such a delicious champagne that we actually went out after polishing it off in search for a second. According to Wine Enthusiast: "A rich, bottle-aged wine, full of toast as well as apple and crisp grapefruit flavors, this has great balance and elegance. It's full of fruit, but structured and seamlessly integrated. It's ready to drink now, but will improve with age.