The Texas Book Festival's cooking tent was heavy on the big name, national stars this year, but one event where the local kids got to come out to play was the Writing About Wine and Why We Love the Vine. The talk featured Austin Chronicle wine writer Wes Marshall and TRIO sommelier Mark Sayre; they were joined by wine writer Mark Oldman.
The focus seemed to be on getting good wine without spending a fortune, and enjoying it minus the snobbery. In fact, when asked what the best wine he ever tried was, Oldman mentioned a $15 Sauvignon Blanc that he loved largely because of how well it was paired with his meal and the company he enjoyed it with. Below, their tips on the best deals in wine, and how to make sure you get your money's worth.
· Both Marshall and Oldman agreed that Gruet, a sparking wine from New Mexico, of all places, is a fantastic deal. You can get it for $11 in Texas. Marshall went so far as to call it "the single best bargain in American wine."
· Both writers also warned caution when it comes to equating price with quality. Marshall referred to bottle price asymptosis: you don't necessarily get a bottle that's twice as good just because you paid twice the price.
· Everyone was crazy about Torrontés, which is a white wine from Argentina. Oldman recommended getting them for $10-12 a bottle, and all three lauded pairing them with spicy food.
· Oldman recommends avoiding trendy grapes and heading towards ones that are out of style, as they'll be priced more competitively. Likewise, Marshall mentioned researching great vintages that have been getting lots of press and going after the years on either side of them for the same reason.
· For Italian white wine, Marshall named Colio, which is "priced much lower than it should be."
· Another way to enjoy wine on the cheap is to skimp on the food cost, not the bottle: Oldman likes the high-low pairing of champagne with barbecue, while Sayre mentioned serving bubbles with popcorn.
· All Texas Book Festival 2010 Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]
· All Wine Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]