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We Asked 17 Sommeliers: What’s the Most Underrated Supermarket Wine?

Sometimes the convenience of a one-stop grocery haul for dinner and a bottle of wine can be too hard to pass up. Although they lack the selection and expert guidance of a traditional wine store, if you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where supermarkets carry booze, you can save yourself time (and usually a few dollars) by taking advantage of their selections. However, under the glare of harsh lighting and with the high stakes of a satisfying dinner on the line, it’s easy to crack under the pressure.

Thankfully, as our wine experts below can attest, there are plenty of underrated supermarket wines that won’t let you or your meal down. From a Spanish Rioja and a lively Alsatian blend to a Vinho Verde and several dependable sparkling bottles, you’ll find a handy lineup for the next time you end up wine shopping in a grocery store below.

The most underrated supermarket wines, according to sommeliers:

Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Crianza
Hugel Gentil Alsace Blend
Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon
Broadbent Vinho Verde
La Vieille Ferme
Nortico Albariño
Crémant wines
Boxed wine (specifically Black Box)
Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut NV Sparkling Wine
Louis Jadot (specifically their Pouilly-Fuissé)
Campo Viejo Cava
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé
Trimbach Riesling
Oxte Red Blend
Burgans Albariño

“I think the most underrated country on supermarket wine shelves still has to be Spain. You can find some great values there; a $15 Spanish wine is often going to give you a lot more bang for your buck than a wine from somewhere else in that same price range. Something like the Rioja Crianza from Marqués de Cáceres is usually under $20 and delivers well above its price point.” —David Osenbach, wine director, Providence, Los Angeles

“To me, the most underrated supermarket wine is Hugel Gentil. It’s an Alsatian white blend that seems to be widely available and is oft overlooked. I suspect that’s because of the classic hock-shaped bottle (tall and skinny) combined with the blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer, and Sylvaner that convinces people that it’ll be a sweet wine. It’s not! It’s dry. It’s a truly versatile white wine that has big fruit and balanced acidity with pronounced minerality. It’s great with anything spicy or as an aperitif. Fantastic with seafood, pork, or roasted vegetables; salt and fat are its friends.” —Greg Cantu, wine director, Quaintrelle, Portland, Ore.

“Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is an American classic, [with] some of the first vines planted in America. It boasts a beautiful, juicy nose filled with cherry and currants, an elegant dry mouthfeel with a long supple finish, [and] pairs perfectly with backyard barbecue or lovely weeknight pasta with a meat and red sauce!” —Molly Wismeier, co-owner and sommelier, MaMou, New Orleans

“People love to hate on supermarket wines, but there are so many tasty wines available. I always recommend the Broadbent Vinho Verde to friends, family, and guests. I usually keep a few bottles in my fridge at home because it’s just so tasty!” —Gabriel Corbett, sommelier, JÔNT and Hive Hospitality, Washington, D.C.

“I love the La Vieille Ferme series of wines! [They] do an exceptional job of offering wines that are delicious, approachable, and easy on the wallet. So many wines that you see in the grocery store can taste manufactured and do not have character or sense of place, but the Famille Perrin are masters of their craft, and it shows — even at $9.99 a bottle. I am particularly fond of their rosé, but their red and white Rhône blends are delightful as well!” —Mark Patykewich, director of food & beverage and wine director, The Katharine at The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Winston-Salem, N.C.

“Nortico Albariño is a racy, clean, and acidic wine sold at specialty grocery stores, which is also great because it is very well made and inexpensive.” —Kate Jacob, partner and beverage director, Makan DC and Makan Charleston, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, S.C.

“I’m from Jersey where supermarket wines are just a fantasy, but I would love to be able to pick up some bubbles like a Crémant. Usually delicious, cheap, and versatile, Crémants are great in a spritz or a Mimosa, or in cooking!” —Bobby Snyder, head sommelier, Yingtao, NYC

“Boxed wine! It tends to get a bad rap because it is ‘cheap.’ As of late, makers have really put an emphasis on quality. Black Box has a wide range of varietals that can be found almost anywhere. At $23 for 3 liters, it’s a fantastic value. Plus, who doesn’t love a good game of slap the bag?” —Justin Cho, assistant beverage director, KNEAD Hospitality + Design, Washington, D.C.

“I believe the Anderson Valley Brut NV sparkling wine is the most underrated. If you are like me and can’t ever seem to have enough sparkling wine at home or need to pick something up before heading to a friend’s house in a pinch, Roederer Estate is my go-to supermarket wine. They are known for their expertise in sparkling wine production and their commitment to quality and sustainability in farming. Their Anderson Valley Brut NV sparkling wine is one of the most well-made, delicious, and crowd-pleasing wines you can buy from a supermarket.” Alex Sarovich, founder/CEO, Own Rooted Hospitality, Healdsburg, Calif.

“My underrated supermarket wine choice is Louis Jadot. They’re a fine producer from Burgundy, and they have an extensive lineup of several different Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Gamays, any of which will pair well with whatever you’re planning on having for dinner. My personal favorite is their Pouilly-Fuissé.” —Bernadette James, sommelier, Stages at One Washington and The Living Room, Dover, N.H.

“Campo Viejo Cava. When you compare a great Cava to bottles of Champagne, like Veuve Clicquot, you end up getting a lot more bang for your buck on the Cava. Campo Viejo is made in the traditional Champagne method and has great acidity to pair with a lot of different foods.” —Brianna Buthorn, sommelier, Bourbon Steak at JW Marriott Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.

“I almost always have a bottle of Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé in my fridge, just in case I feel the need for some inexpensive bubbles. It’s very affordable and I think it punches well above its weight in terms of quality. If I were truly celebrating something I would probably go find a true Champagne, but just for whimsical bubbles, I like to always keep their Brut Rosé on hand.” —Jon Macklem, wine director, Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg, Calif.

“The most underrated supermarket wine can change depending on personal preferences and availability. Wines from regions like Portugal, Spain, and South America often offer great value and will consistently surprise with quality relative to their price. Lesser-known grape varieties and appellations within these regions are what I tend to look for. My favorite go-to is usually Albariño. You can generally find a quality one for less than $20 and sometimes for less than $15.” —Wayne Gravesande, assistant general manager, Ketchy Shuby, NYC

“I would have to say Cava! Everybody loves bubbles, but most people are unfamiliar with those outside of Champagne or Prosecco. Cava is Spain’s contribution to this fun, sparkly category. [It has] zippy fruit and high acid and is perfect solo or as a Mimosa, with a price point that is pleasing for everyone!” —Tiffany Tobey, sommelier, KNIFE Italian at Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas, Irving, Tex.

“Among the hidden gems of the supermarket wine selections, the Trimbach Riesling truly stands out as an underrated treasure. Grown in the sun-drenched vineyards of Alsace, France, this exquisite dry Riesling reflects the legacy of the Trimbach family, who have been synonymous with viticultural excellence for generations. What makes this Riesling my go-to choice for everyday enjoyment is that it’s zesty with an intense minerality.” —Molly Austad, sommelier and wine director, Bludorn, Navy Blue, and Bar Bludorn, Houston

“My choice would be Oxte Red Blend from Trader Joe’s. This velvety red blend is surprisingly complex for the price point with notes of plum, licorice, and white pepper. It’s a great table wine, because it is easy to drink yet could easily pass as a more expensive bottle.” —Luke Rowe, bar manager, ELWAY’s Bar at Ritz-Carlton Denver, Denver

“The most underrated supermarket wine is Burgans Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain. Though this crisp and bright white wine is a fantastic value, it is often passed over on shelves for varietals like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit comes from sustainable family farms in the subregion of Val do Salnés, where the cool climate leads to Albariño with bracing minerality balanced by ripe tropical fruit. Pair with shrimp tacos, ceviche, or conversation on a patio.” —Alisha Blackwell-Calvert, advanced sommelier and beverage director, Madrina, Webster Groves, Mo.

*Image retrieved from Andrii via stock.adobe.com

The article We Asked 17 Sommeliers: What’s the Most Underrated Supermarket Wine? appeared first on VinePair.

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