by Elise

New York Wine and Food Festival: 3 Must-Have Wines Under $30

(Photo Via: Jezebel)

I am not a wine connoisseur but I truly appreciate a great glass, not to mention the man who knows how to pick a good bottle. According to, “…it’s true that you don’t have to pay a fortune for a bottle of wine, but keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for. If you really want to impress that special lady, show her your cellar of fine wines — or at least display your knowledge of them.”

Many of us are long past the dorm days of being wooed by boxed wine and Belly on DVD, but we’re also not ready to drop $400 on a bottle of Chteau Marguax. So what is a 20-something  young man to do when trying to purchase the perfect port for his date? Can the palate of a wine novice distinguish the difference between a $5 bottle of Gato Negro courtesy of the local bodega to a $2225 Montrachet? With my Swagger New York team in tow, wine glasses dangling from our Delta lanyards, we headed to New York’s Annual Wine & Food Festival looking for answers to the best wines under $50.

Let the day drinking ensue. Unlike my men, I like my wine white (…well depends on the day), so things started off light, with a glass of sparkling Cavicchiloi new to the market. I have to admit, it was the scantily clad flapper girls pouring out the goods that caught my attention first, but the crisp, sweet bubbly goodness brought me back for a second glass. At only $12 a bottle, this is definitely a winner for the ladies and for your pockets.

Quickly moved on to an 8 month aged Sauvignon Blanc via Arcanum Galerie Mt. Brave. Smooth, not too sweet, with a bite at the finish. At $30 a bottle, a definite winner. Compared to a less expensive Vignonier (at $25), I wondered whether the 2 month aging difference made this Sauvignon Blanc tastier. According to a Silverado Wine Rep, “It’s all marketing, if the audience is there, a vineyard can charge whatever they want.” The Wine Group Rep expands, “Estate wine is more expensive because of shipping costs, availability of the grapes, demand, but does not have anything necessarily to do with quality.” I’ll take his word, because their Sauvignon Blanc was hands down my favorite at an average of only $12 per bottle!

We can’t talk white wines without touching on Moscato. Yes I’m young, black, and I love hip hop, but no, please don’t pour me a glass of Moscato. The sweet libation’s rise in popularity can be strongly accredited to being dubbed by every other rap artist in the past several years. Instead, impress your gal with a little known alternative, Sweet Riesling. Chateau Ste Michelle does it proper at only $9 a bottle! Granted, it is still pretty sweet; you will probably have your fill with one glass.

Typically not a fan of most red wines – although a Merlot does pair well with a steak – the question loomed: Does price play a bigger factor for reds than for whites? After some light research, it’s a general consensus that the correlation in price, taste, and aging is more distinguishable in terms of red wine. Tupac was on point, “The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice”; the longer the darker grapes are aged, typically the better the wine will taste, and in turn the more expensive the bottle will be.

So what does all this mean? If you want to impress a date, just buy a tasty wine not necessarily an expensive one! Know how to pronounce the name, taste it prior to your date, and you’ll lock in a winner. Plus, after two glasses, she’ll be just tipsy enough to not even care.