Wine is like the gateway drug into adulthood, right? It’s what you bring when you meet your significant other’s parents. It’s what you drink on Wednesdays so your day ends in an alliteration. And it’s that drink that occasionally allows you to become uber famous, just by drinking a whole bottle of it (cheers to you, Matt Bellassai).Above all though, it’s pretty damn tasty. I originally swiped my wine-o card when I started working at Trader Joe’s during college. A wine that was $2.99, plus a 15% discount? Load up those cases, boys! Yet, just like wine, I began to mature over the years, and with maturing taste buds comes a sort of attention to detail. At age 25, the 2 Buck Chuck started to taste a little off. Maybe it was the extra money in my (now regularly washed) jeans, but I started to crave something a little more…palatable. Because if you’re starting to whine about it, you need to buy some better wine.
Instead of Charles Shaw Chardonnay try Vinas Chilenas Rosario Chardonnay ($4.49)
When you graduate from college and start chugging that murky water of adulthood, sooner or later you’ll be invited to a summer soirée or your significant other’s nephews first birthday where wine isn’t just encouraged, it’s required. Instead of sauntering up with a 2 Buck Chuck Chardonnay dangling from your hands, put down a fiver and waltz up with a Vinas Chilenas Rosario Chardonnay. The longer it takes to say the wine, the better it tastes. Or so I was told.
Instead of Charles Shaw Shiraz try Benefactor Shiraz Se Australia ($4.99)
Shiraz is that sophisticated coworker whose hair is always immaculate and never has toothpaste on her shirt. The next time she invites you, or more accurately passive aggressively asks for a Shiraz recommendation for her Pampered Chef party, nonchalantly say Benefactor’s Shiraz. She doesn’t have to know it’s under $5 until she steps foot in Trader Joe’s. And we all know those high heels wouldn’t walk that plank.
Instead of Charles Shaw White Zinfandel try TJ Petit Reserve Rose Napa Valley ($6.99)
We all know the type who can’t stand wine. They’d rather drink a case of Bud Light before corking open a bottle of fermented grapes. OK, we get it, you enjoy bad tasting water. But occasionally in adulthood, wine is expected as the beverage of choice. Don’t be the person who shows up empty handed. Next time you’re invited to that stinky cheese and wine party, muster up $7 and grab a bottle of TJ Petit Reserve Rose Napa Valley. Sure, it’s pink, but Jessica Day sips it and she bagged Nick Miller.
Instead of Charles Shaw Cabernet Sauvignon try La Finca Cabernet Argentina ($4.49)
If Cabernet Sauvignon were a person they’d be that down to earth friend who has hippy dreadlocks one day and a sophisticated top knot the next. They’re versatile yet full of personality. It’s that person who has it all, yet will drop everything to drown your sorrows. The next time you need them to come knocking, ask them to pick up a bottle of La Finca Cabernet Argentina. You’ll feel better not staring at a Charles Shaw label for the 10th night in a row, and your friend will feel better knowing they spent an extra $2 on you.
Sure, these wines won’t break the bank or get you that gig as a sommelier but they will give you that edge that says ‘I know a little something about wine yet still not enough to pair it with that cut of meat you just bought.’ But if you all drink enough, I’m sure any of these choices would pair just fine.