The grocery store is more than a place to go shopping for potatoes, eggs, and oat milk. It’s also an emporium for wine. All over the country, major grocery chains keep shelves stocked with plenty of bottles. But, more often than not, they’re the same wines that you see over and over. The trick to finding the more interesting offerings is to check out the second and third shelves, where hidden gems may be lurking. Here are some that came highly recommended.
7 wines to buy from the grocery store:
Imported from Germany, this easy-going Riesling is a fan favorite for Aldi shoppers, especially Kaiya Kirk, a WSET student and presenter for Couch + Cork, an in-home wine tasting and events service based in Bennington, Vermont. “It’s 9.5% ABV so it’s like the eaaaasiest drinking wine ever. It’s definitely on the sweeter side, but it has surprisingly good acidity for balance,” says Kirk. This wine is one that works with light dishes like seafood, salads, and grilled chicken, but it is also perfectly fine to drink all by itself.
“When I’m in a pinch, I grab Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. I know I can count on them,” says Ella Raymont, a sommelier and wine educator in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This light and fresh wine is made from 100% Gamay grapes grown in Beaujolais. The fruit is hand-harvested and whole-cluster, cold-soaked before it’s barreled and bottled. The end result is a fruit-forward table wine that is juicy with strawberry and black cherry flavors and a touch of spice.
You may very well want to pair Bread & Butter’s rich and creamy Chardonnay with a side of actual bread and butter. Or you could drink it alongside a box of Teddy Grahams, Graham Crackers, and Camembert like Couch + Cork owner Nancy Koziol does. “Last summer I included this on-a-whim pairing at a tasting, and people still email me about how it’s their go-to evening pairing. Mine, too!” she says. This wine is produced by acclaimed Napa Valley vintner Linda Trotta, who, prior to launching her own winery, won numerous awards for her work in the vineyards and cellars at wineries such as Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Swiftwater Cellars, and Gundlach Bundschu.
“Organically grown. Not too much window dressing. Affordable.” That’s how Jeff Burrows, the sommelier and wine educator behind FoodWineClick, describes this blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Zinfandel, and Malbec used to make Bonterra’s rosé. Not only is Bonterra widely known for making quality and approachable wines, but also for its commitment to organic and biodynamic farming, which has been a part of the winery’s mission since 1987.
Here’s a quality sparking line that Etinosa Emokpae, a sommelier in Pennsylvania, says offers “great bang for your buck.” Produced in New Mexico, this sparkling wine has been a Gruet Winery bestseller since the company first began releasing wines in the U.S. in 1989. “The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is one of my favorite domestic sparklers because it strikes such a great balance between freshness and richness. It’s got great acidity combined with luscious orchard fruit notes,” says Emokpae.
From the village of Soave within the Veneto region of North Italy, comes this fresh and zesty white wine, composed of native grape Garganega. “It’s so good, and not hard to find,” says Alex G. Bardsley, a Washington D.C.-based sommelier, who notes that Suavia’s wine has nothing in common with the poor-quality Soaves of the 1970s that did so much to damage the reputation of a classic wine. A refreshing wine with fruit and herbal nuances, this Soave pairs well with a number dishes including fish, white meats, and light pastas.
If you’re looking for a good wine that will work well with an extravagant or casual dinner — and one that isn’t too high in price — consider wines produced by Ridge Vineyards, an award-winning winery that has received critical acclaim for its approach to winemaking for the last six decades. The red blend, made with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, and Mataro is a standout. But regardless of what Ridge Vineyard wine you choose, you’re bound to enjoy them, according to wine educator and author Elaine Chukan Brown. “All their wines are totally solid, affordable, and over-deliver,” she said, noting that the red blend, in particular, is “clean, mouthwatering, and friendly.”