Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Why wait for Memorial Day? Grilling season is effectively here—the weather’s warm, the charcoal is available, and with any luck you’ve delegated some nearby child to scrub off all of last year’s grilled-on gunk with a handy wire brush. One hitch: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for beef and pork are up a good notch over last year.
Faced with this, I have the following advice: Buy affordable wine. More specifically, buy good affordable wine. And buy it in bulk, or at least by the case (most wine stores give a discount on case purchases, usually 10 to 15 percent). You won’t have to worry about running out the next time you have a picnic, and the extra dollars you save can be rerouted toward an additional sparerib or two.
Here, in a bargain-hunting spirit, are five great bottles, all well-suited for big, charred chunks of meat:
2012 Li Veli Susumaniello ($11)
2011 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump Red ($13)
2011 Cachette Côtes du Rhône ($14)
2012 Cameron Hughes CAM Collection Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
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