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The Best White Wines at Costco Under $15

My parents started their membership while I spent most of my time in the wine section, and kept saying stuff like "Wow...it's so cheap!" To anyone who has ever set foot in a Costco, it was the equivalent of me saying "Wow...that ocean is so full of water!" or "OMG. Shocking news. The tortoise beat the hare." So obvious...but still so wonderful. More

The Best Budget Rosé Wines at Trader Joe's

Today we're in the market for value rosés (under $13) that you can find in your nearby Trader Joe's. While some TJ's stores have specific selections of rosé from local vineyards, we focused on tasting wines that can be found across the country. After opening 8 bottles, we were left with 4 that we'd definitely seek out again. More

The Best Red Wines at Safeway Under $15

I've been wondering a lot about the following would-you-rather question: on average, if you were to spend around $15 on a bottle of wine, and you were given the option of a) randomly selected red wine or b) randomly selected white wine, which would you chose? More

The Best White Wines at Safeway Under $15

While the convenience of buying my vino with my Honey Nut Cheerios would certainly be welcome, the same question arises when facing aisles of wine, no matter the setting: What should I buy? What are the best options in this super-convenient scenario? And are the prices competitive with better wine shops? More

Which Bota Box Wine is Best?

There's one trick that almost never fails to convince folks of boxed wine's merits: don't tell them. Pour the wine before guests arrive, have them taste it, and wait till glasses are nearly empty for the final reveal. Of course, this magic only works if the wine is actually decent, and that's where we can help. We tried 9 different wines from Bota Box wines to see which were the best, and which just wouldn't work to convince anyone of the merits of skipping the bottle. More

We Try Super-Portable STACKED Wines

The set of four 187-mL pre-poured cups are sealed and stacked on top of one another. They're handy the way juice boxes are, since you don't have to deal with bottles, corkscrews, or glasses. This means you can take them on picnics, camping trips, or wherever your heart desires. More

Seema's Favorite Budget Wines of 2012

As the holiday season approaches its peak, I've put together a line-up (or a wine-up!) of my favorite affordable sips of the year. Red and white, still and sparkling, Old World and New. Take this list with you if you're stocking up for familiy visits and parties to come in the next few weeks. More

Washington Wine Battle: Columbia Crest vs. Chateau Ste. Michelle

We tried a few popular and widely-available Columbia Valley-sourced bottles from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest Grand Estates (both part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates collective). You can usually find Columbia Crest for around $10, whereas the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley wines are closer to $14. But are the extra few dollars worth it? More

California Budget Wine Battle: Beringer vs. Bogle

We chose five grape varieties and lined up the Bogle and Beringer bottles head to head—Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are budget friendly: the Beringer Founders' Estate line costs around $8 a bottle, whereas the Bogle wines tend to be a couple dollars more at around $10. But are there any winners in the bunch? More

Which Black Box Wine is the Best?

I hate to say it, but sometimes I waste alcohol. I open a bottle, enjoy a glass or two, and put the rest in the fridge, promising myself I'll finish it tomorrow or the next day. But sometimes all the vacuum pumps and rubber stoppers in the world can't stop me from needing to pour the rest down the drain. More

Our Search for the Best Chianti Under $20

I have to admit that the range of home cooking in my apartment is pretty limited, particularly on weeknights when the ingredients of time and proper planning tend to be lacking. My boyfriend's go-to dish is "Chicken a la Frank's"—basically a chicken breast dropped into a pan with some Frank's hot sauce. When backup is inevitably required, I usually opt for simple, tomato-based pasta dishes. And what better to bring to a table of simple Italian cooking than rustic Italian wine? Fortunately for us, enjoying Sangiovese doesn't have to mean blowing the budget. More

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at Red Lobster

Laced with plenty of butter and cheddar cheese, the biscuits at Red Lobster are pretty freakin' tasty. The rest of the food? Well, you can probably do better, depending where you are, but sometimes, you find yourself at a Red Lobster, and you're thirsty. We're here to help. Keep this list handy if you want to pick out a wine you won't regret. More

Our Search for the Best Gewurztraminer Under $20

Usually I reach for a dry Riesling or a partially-oaked Chardonnay, but if my notorious sweet tooth kicks in or I'm opting out of dessert for the night, Gewürztraminer hits the spot. Often on the floral side and somewhat effervescent, this wine can be a refreshing alternative to your go-to white, especially when you're looking for something that will go well with food. More

Our Search for the Best Viognier Under $20

Viognier is one of my favorite affordable-wine options because it makes some pretty interesting wines that can please a lot of different people. For manly men who prematurely decide white wine is too feminine for them, Viognier offers a rich, medium to full bodied white that can stand up to hearty food. For people who like their wine on the sweeter side, there are some options that are round, floral, and a little sweet. More

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at The Olive Garden

Today we begin our foray into exploring the wine lists at popular chain restaurants. If you find yourself at The Olive Garden, there's no sommelier, and no cutesy descriptions, but you will see many of the same wines at every branch (though there may be a little variation from location to location). We tasted our way through 23 wines that you'll find at The Olive Garden in order to point you toward the best deals. More

We Try Every White Wine from Barefoot

My mom came into town this weekend. And she came to our Serious Eats wine tasting. I figured a lineup of Barefoot whites would actually be very appropriate for my mom, as most of what I've heard is that they tend to be light, fruity, and sweet (and inexpensive, at about $7 a bottle). Most of them fit the bill, but a couple stood out as much more palatable compared to the rest of the lot. More

Our Search for the Best Malbec Under $20

They say all good things come in threes—The Three Musketeers, Three Blind Mice, Three-Minute Egg. I would give you a fourth example, but that just seems like poor judgment. Instead, I'll tell you about three brave grapes, that many years ago made the long and trying journey from a faraway land called "France" to an also faraway land called "South America". The names of these grapes are Carmenere, Tannat, and Malbec. For this post, we tried a whopping 22 bottles of Malbec to pick out our favorites to recommend. More

Our Search for the Best Zinfandel Under $20

My love story with Zinfandel started at a small winery in Healdsburg, California called A. Rafanelli. Their Zins are ripe, slightly spicy, and just plain delicious. The only problem was that I lived in New York, and so I've had to put a lot of effort into this long distance relationship. My first trip there, I took back 2 bottles, the next 4, and before I knew it, I was sacrificing extra underwear in my suitcase to make space for all the wine. (Totally kidding...underwear is one of the best shock absorbers to prevent breakage during transit.) More

Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste Along: New World Merlot Under $20

I remember drinking Merlot after I saw the movie Sideways, and I thought, "What's the big deal? Why was he so angry about Merlot? Despite my own affinities for the glass in hand, it was sad to realize such a blanket statement about a grape would stick around for a while. Fortunately for us amateurs, we get to make up our own minds about this grape variety. Here are a few tips on where it's made, how to serve it, and some tasty (and affordable) bottles to try out. More

We Tried Every Red Wine from Yellow Tail

In college, we used to have formals with all the exchange students from England who had come for the year. It was called a "formal" and half the people had British accents and we were all drinking wine, so it was clearly one of the more posh events on the social calendar. Needless to say there was a lot of wine consumed, and funding such efforts on a college budget usually meant one thing: Two Buck Chuck. I wish that back then we had splurged the extra few dollars and traded up to Yellow Tail. This week, we tasted all of Yellow Tail's red wine offerings and the rosé, a total of 11 bottles. Read on for the results. More

Yellow Tail Bubbles Sparkling Wines

The bubblies are roughly aligned with the prices of the Yellow Tail varietal bottles, coming in at around $8 to 10, depending on where you buy. And each comes with a novel, resealable closure called a "Zork". Basically, you peel off a spiral of plastic (like some milk gallons have) and shimmy off the remaining closure. Less exciting without the pop one normally looks for in a sparkler, but it should keep the bubbles in the bottle for longer. But is the stuff beyond the Zork any good? More

The Best White Wines at Costco Under $15

Aiming to do a similar review for reds in the near future - stay tuned!

The Best White Wines at Safeway Under $15

@ Lorenzo

My intent here was not at all to suggest that buying wine at a grocery store is beneath me, and in fact, I do it frequently myself (when I travel to states where grocery stores are allowed to sell wine). I think if you took a look at my writing history for this site, you'd see that budget wine is my area of focus, and the challenging thing generally is picking out bottles that you'd recommend to anyone from a sea of options. I don't claim to be a sommelier—I am not one. But I have tried a lot of budget wine over the years and hope that my perspective is helpful, perhaps a starting point for people that haven't tried buying wine in a supermarket.

Some of the phrases you had picked out were qualifiers, and the intent was not to give back-handed compliments to these wines, but to actually provide useful guidance on when we would recommend bottles (e.g., "for a party" means that you can hopefully buy it in volume and be able to please a variety of people). That's not to say that I wouldn't buy it for myself to enjoy with dinner. Hopefully this gives some context for how and why these pieces are written.

We Try Super-Portable STACKED Wines


The cups are sturdy enough to be re-usable, can be re-stacked and each stack comes with a single plastic lid that you can re-use as well. The only issue is that they are significantly smaller than the govino glasses (and no handy thumb notch), making it a little precarious for large pours or even large hands.

Washington Wine Battle: Columbia Crest vs. Chateau Ste. Michelle

@ Michl

Good point, although the brands Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle are actually both part of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, which is a collection of a bunch of different brands (including Red Diamond and Stag’s Leap.)

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at Red Lobster

@ carriebwc

Haven't seen the wine list at Chili's yet, so I'll have to look into it, but for Applebee's there was actually a lot of cross-over with Red Lobster (e.g., the Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio was a decent, inoffensive white)

@ Marcia

Good call! Years ago when I was in Michigan, I occasionally found myself at Buca di Beppo for one reason or another. Don't remember the wine, but I'm sure there's a drinkable Chianti or something in there somewhere...

Our Search for the Best Gewurztraminer Under $20

@ Big Guy

Thanks for the catch! I did mean eastern.

Our Search for the Best Viognier Under $20

@ Tootsie

We tried some Chardonnay before: an un-oaked Chablis that was quite dry and a couple of Chiliean options that were partially oaked (the best of both worlds IMO). The Cono Sur was drier.

One of my favorites is the Domaine Corsin Saint Veran Tirage Precoce, but may be worth a more comprehensive look for less expensive/widely available options.

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at The Olive Garden


Red Lobster sounds like a great idea to include in the lineup - will do!

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at The Olive Garden

@ Funghi Porcini

Very welcome. And great question—the Times Square OG in NYC does not allow wine purchased externally, but that policy may vary from location to location.

And yes, Will and I are trending toward more and more overlap...there's plenty of cheap booze / food to go around!

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at The Olive Garden

@monopod / all

Since we ordered take-out instead of dining in, the food was not "at its best" by any means (to your point that context is very important). Overall, it was okay—I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but that also wasn't the intent of the post. If you do happen to find yourself at OG there are a few wines that might make the experience better (and that you might see on the wine lists of other "average" restaurants).

The main issues I had with the food were non-breadstick bread that came with the spinach dip was stale, the stuffed mushrooms suffered significantly from being cold, and the lasagna / chicken parm were over-salted—unfortunate, yes, but not errors I would be surprised by at any mediocre restaurant. I do remember the minestrone being decent though, and no complaints about the breadsticks.

All that said, I do not consider myself a foodie. Happy to talk wine any day, but these are just my thoughts as a (perhaps slightly above) average diner.

We Try Every Red Wine from Barefoot


He actually tried them last year...enjoy!

Our Search for the Best Zinfandel Under $20

@ All

Thanks for the recommendations!

@ Miguel v

Sounds like a wonderful accident - great to hear they've kept the tradition of producing delicious zin for so long!

We Tried Every Red Wine from Yellow Tail

@ nancycooks

The rosé was a little too sweet for our taste, but if you prefer your wines on the sweeter side, this could be a refreshing option with a good chill on it. It smelled like strawberry jam and was fruity, juicy, and slightly effervescent.

@ mparrish

That name makes a lot more sense!

We Tried Every Red Wine from Yellow Tail

@ mayan

While smaller scale, local wineries can produce great, affordable wines, by their nature, the bottles tend not to be available to most people. For this piece in particular, we aim to provide a useful review of a large scale line of wines that are often very accessible no matter where you live.

We Tried Every Red Wine from Yellow Tail


We tried the Shiraz-Cab blend and found it to be quite similar to the Shiraz (i.e., decent).

We Tried Every White Wine from Yellow Tail

@ jecla0

A little late to the game, but I'm pretty sure that's not true. Even though France exports a smaller share of its locally produced wine than Australia (~33% vs ~55%, according to this report), France produces 3-4 times the wine of Australia as a whole, making the total volume of exports much greater as a result.

We recently had a round of "can you name the top 5 wine producing countries in the world?" at a wine tasting, so we eventually got to the bottom of this!

We Tried Every Red Wine from Yellow Tail


The Cabernet-Merlot (the 2010 for us) fell in the middle of the pack. Had a sweet cherry vanilla smell to it with a little heat (both from the alcohol, which mellowed out after a while, and from the light baking spice/nutmeg flavors). And there was a little bitterness on the finish. It was a little sweeter than the straight Cabernet, which most of us preferred.

We Tried Every White Wine from Yellow Tail

@ DJ Dedd

Depends on what you're looking to add to the dish - if you want something that'll brighten a dish with greener, herbaceous flavors, I'd go with the Sauvignon Blanc. For something with a hint of sweetness, the Riesling would be a better bet. Although, other comments on cooking with wine much appreciated!

We Tried Every White Wine from Yellow Tail

@ Koloratur / Tootsie

Good call - I think the oaking on the regular Chardonnay may have been part of its downfall, so I'd guess the Tree-Free would be more natural-tasting

Good Bubbles For the Buck: Picking The Best Prosecco

Asti (or Asti Spumante) is another Italian sparkler, but is made from the Moscato grape instead of the Prosecco grape. As you noted, Asti tends to be significantly sweeter and lower in alcohol compared to Prosecco, so you can usually get away with drinking more of it

Good Bubbles For the Buck: Picking The Best Prosecco


Asti (or Asti Spumante) is another Italian sparkler, but it is made from the Moscato grape, instead of the Prosecco grape. As you noted, the style tends to be significantly sweeter and lower in alcohol compared to Prosecco, so you can usually get away with drinking more of it

Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-Along: Cabernet Franc


For this post, all of the NY wines we tried were from the Finger Lakes. Although I've personally tried a few from Long Island...bit of a mixed bag...

Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-Along: Cabernet Franc

@ photovox

Funny you mention Del Dotto - that was one of the first places I tried Cab Franc and shared the sentiment. Plus, the barrel tasting cave tour was so much fun!

5 Cool Weather Cocktail Recipes from Rickhouse in San Francisco

I'm a big fan of Rickhouse, and coming from NY, their $8ish cocktails seem like a steal! The affiliated store Cask is also great, especially for picking up liquors produced locally.

Serious Eats Amateur Wine Taste-Along: Syrah

@ wyz

That's a good point - from the mixed half case I brought back, the Mitolo Jester was actually the least expensive. That said, my "upper bound" wine was somewhere around the 40 dollar mark (i.e. not breaking the bank), and the ones I've opened have been pretty stellar (on the drier side, intense but not overpowering smokiness, rich dark fruit, really well balanced). The ~$10-20 range wines can be hit or miss, and we'll have better guidance next week following the tasting on which wines fall where.

College Tours: Where to Eat Near The University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia as a whole is a culinary playground worth exploring, but West Philly has plenty of gems to keep you busy (just a short walk from campus). And getting out into West Philly was easily one of the best things I did while in school. Of course, Penn has no shortage of way satisfying late-night greasy spoon spots, which are equally important. Here's a look at my favorites. More

DIY Blueberry Cereal Bars

Homemade blueberry cereal bars pack real blueberry flavor in a crisp, tender, buttery crust. By using a food processor to do the mixing work, this recipe requires a time investment but is not labor intensive. There is a bit of the devil in the assembly details, however. More

Where to Buy Beer in Philadelphia: The Best Bottle Shops

Philadelphia's rightly proud of its collection of beer bars, but even our most social drinkers need reliable retail to ensure their booze receptacles refrigerators stay full and happy. Here are our picks for the best craft beer stores and bottle shops in the city. If you're planning to come through for Philly Beer Week, visit these spots to stock up on beers you can't find in your home town. More

Seema's Favorite Budget Wines of 2012

As the holiday season approaches its peak, I've put together a line-up (or a wine-up!) of my favorite affordable sips of the year. Red and white, still and sparkling, Old World and New. Take this list with you if you're stocking up for familiy visits and parties to come in the next few weeks. More

Chocolate Oatmeal Pie

This recipe is my attempt to re-create the original version of this pie from the Brooklyn pie shop, Four and Twenty Blackbirds. It comes pretty darn close to replicating the original, which features a flaky all-butter crust, a layer of rich ganache, and a layer of gooey oatmeal that gets all caramelized and crisp on top. More

Thomas Keller's Chicken Breasts with Tarragon

As tough as chicken breasts can be to cook—there's no fat or bone to help mitigate dryness—a pounded chicken "paillard" is as easy. It's a technique that becomes a no-brainer once you learn it, whenever sauteeing the old boneless, skinless standby. By pounding the breast into uniform thickness and watching carefully, you can turn out a surprisingly moist cutlet with plenty of caramelized surface area. Add a delicious pan sauce—this time, by one Thomas Keller—and it's a solid dinner, indeed. More