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 and Richard Hanauer of the RPM Restaurants 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