It is easy to see the writing on the wall after the recently released financial data. The economy is in the gutter, and not in that fun “passed-out after a bender” sort of way. The data from October was clear: people are starting to cut back. We’ve decided to follow suit, and have made trims to our weekly operating budget. Habib (our personal man servant) now has Sunday afternoons from 3- 6 PM off, we’ve decided to do away with our mid November tradition of “organic truffle” week, and we’ve cut back on grooming expenses. The grooming decision was hard, but we relented after our dry cleaner explained that cotton socks really don’t need to be pressed at all.
One thing we are not ready to give up is great wine. We’ve used the interweb - our primary tool of thriftiness – to locate some tasty favorites for under $15. As we all know, we will get through this financial crisis one way, and one way only: drinking. You better get to the liquor store and kick start the economy with one of these frugal finds:
1. Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2005 is a good red to bring over to a dinner party. Why not show up with two bottles? Your hosts will be impressed by your bounty. More importantly, they will have no idea that the economic downturn is affecting you. Little do they know that each of these richly spiced bottles only cost $10. What should truly impress them is that you were able to find that many quarters buried in the folds of your futon.
2. If your interested in a full-bodied red, try The Campo Viejo Reserva 2004 ($12.99). Be sure not to take the full-bodied moniker too far. We know you had to cut back on your gym membership, so you shouldn’t go all out and serve this Rioja vino with a cheese tasting. You know the extra pudge won’t be pretty, especially since the only cheese that works with your downturn budget is Velveeta.
3. Argentina’s award winning Graffigna was the country's first winery to brand, bottle and export wine. Graffigna's Centenario Pinot Grigio 2007 ($12.99) is perfect to sip as you plot to brand, bottle and export your meager belongings for some extra cash. After you finish the bottle, you can cry as you put your beloved Barry Manilow record (signed!) up on Ebay.
4. Consider a wine from Brancott, where Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was born. Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2008 ($12.99) pairs best with scallops, oysters and most other shellfish and seafood. If your food budget sounds a bit more frugal than that, we hear it also goes great with chicken flavored Top Ramen.
5. In poor economic times, the dessert course is usually the first to go. It is true that you shouldn’t spend your funds on cupcakes and brownies, but there should be a little left over for something delicious at the end. Sandeman Ruby Porto ($13.99) is a well balanced choice to sip at the end of the meal, especially because one bottle can last several days. Think of how well it will complement your weekly cuisine. Sandeman goes well with the three major budget food groups: Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Margarita pizza.
These five finds are available at Beacon Wines and Warehouse Wines and Liquors. Velveeta is available, well, we’re not quite sure where Velveeta is available. If you’ve gotten to the point where you think micro waving a cheese-like substance is a good idea, we think you should be able to find some on your own.