Searching through wine lists can be a daunting task. Thumbing through dozens of pages filled with esoteric varietals and unrecognizable regions is tiresome, all while knowing you just want a fantastic sip that won’t break the bank. We get it!
Our experts are here to help. Enter: Wine Directors Kevin Bratt of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Ryan Arnold of Aba, Ēma, il Porcellino, Beatrix, Summer House Santa Monica and Stella Barra Pizzeria, Seth Wilson of Booth One, Richard Hanauer of the RPM Restaurants and Steve Tindle of Shaw’s Crab House are here with their favorite bottles under $50 to keep your glass full and your wallet happy.
Looking For: Rosé
Château Virgile, Costieres de Nimes, 2017
Looking For: Bubbles
Emendis, “Nu Allonge Brut”, Cava, NV
Tasting notes: using the same Champagne method, this Cava is a great pocketbook-friendly alternative to Champagne made with indigenous hand-harvested Spanish grapes.
Where: Booth One
Giuliana, Prosecco, NV
Tasting notes: RPM Restaurants spent years trying to find the perfect Prosecco recipe: a balance of fruit sweetness and raciness.
Where: RPM Steak, RPM Italian Chicago, RPM Italian Washington D.C.
Fun & Fresh Whites
Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, 2015
Elk Cove, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, 2016
Tasting notes: great alongside grilled fish and white meats. Often times Pinot Gris has a hint of sweetness, however, this one is bone dry and perfect for summer!
Where: Summer House Santa Monica Chicago
Genio Y Figura, Rias Baixas, 2015
Full & Flavorful Whites
Kilikanoon, Riesling, Clare Valley, 2013
Tasting notes: a dry iteration of Riesling – unlike Riesling’s reputation of being sweet – the Kilikanoon is extremely food friendly with explosive flavors.
Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt, Riesling, Mosel 2015
Tasting notes: hailing from a 650-year-old estate with a reputable female winemaker, Anagret Reg-Gartner, this Kabinett-style of Riesling strikes a balance between the tartness and restrained sweetness.
Where: Booth One
Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny, 2016
Tasting notes: a perfect price-conscious alternative to Sancerre, this Sauvignon Blanc-heavy wine is crisp and delicious, with the touch of Chardonnay lending a lift to the palate.
Where: Joe’s Seafood Chicago, Joe’s Seafood Washington D.C.
Light & Bright Reds
Centonze, Frappato, Sicilia, 2016
Tasting notes: put on a slight chill to counter the hot and humid summers, the Centonze has bright raspberry and cherry notes.
Where: il Porcellino
Envinate, “Albahra”, Canary Islands, 2016
Tasting notes: a perfect summer red, this wine is aged in concrete barrels instead of wood, preserving a fresh quality of the grapes.
Colle Ticchio, Cesanese del Piglio, 2016
Tasting notes: fantastic medium-body wine reminiscent of an earthy Pinot Noir, with strong pepper notes. Perfect alongside Cacio e Pepe and Carbonara.
Where: RPM Italian in Washington D.C.
Ripe & Ready Reds
Bernard Baudry, “Les Granges”, Chinon, 2015
Tasting notes: organically grown, easy-drinking wine with notes of ripe blackberry, sweet bell peppers and violets.
Where: Booth One
Ravines, Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, 2015
Tasting notes: light and fruity red wine perfect for afternoon sips, packed with notes of red raspberry.
Where: Joe’s Seafood Washington D.C.
Conde Valdemar, Rioja Reserva, 2009
Einaudi, Dogliani, 2014
Tasting notes: often overlooked for Barbera, Dolcetto is a super versatile red wine from Piedmont in northwest Italy.
Where: Stella Barra Chicago