OUR FAVORITE THINGS: A Wine List for the Post-Grad Budget
[Welcome to Our Favorite Things, a series featuring—you guessed it!—our favorite things. From books to brands to tunes to film, these are all things we at That First Year want to shout from the rooftops about.]
In my recent post-graduate months, I have discovered something wonderful: a deep appreciation for wine. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciated it thoroughly when I was in college. Very thoroughly. But now I'm realizing that there's more to wine than just a really good pregame drink.
For example, I now know that white wine pairs well with fish and chicken, and red goes great with burgers and steaks. And I know what people mean when they say things like "dry" and "light" when before, the only descriptors I knew were "sweet-ish" and "this tastes like church wine."
But, most importantly, I now have a range of wines and pairings for the moods and feelings that we all go through in our post-grad months and years. Such as, I drink red wine when I want to feel like Olivia Pope, aka get my big girl pants on and get stuff done, even if I'm home in my sweatpants. I drink white wine when I want people to think I'm fun and fresh and light and airy and up for anything when really I want to be home in my sweatpants.
Now, though I like to imagine that Olivia Pope drinks affordable red blends, I think it's safe to say that she shoots for something a little pricier than what a recent college grad is willing to spend. And let's be real, that's not a whole lot. To quote Jess from New Girl "I splurged, I spent $6 on this wine."
Which is why I have created this guide for you all, full of adult-ish wines for adult-ish people. The blends and bubbles on this list range from $9-$15, and all come bottled—a step above a college box, but not going to break the post-grad bank. Think of it as falling somewhere above Andre, but not quite as high as Vueve Cliquot.
Cheers, friends! And enjoy, at least mostly, responsibly.
Apothic Red, $10.99(ish)
If Olivia Pope really did drink affordable red blends (though as we've previously discussed, she probably does not) she would drink Apothic Red. It's smooth, but not too sweet, something you can enjoy more than one glass of without getting a sugar high before your buzz kicks in. It's a full-bodied flavor (aka it doesn't feel like anything is missing when you take a sip), and for such an affordable wine, it has an expensive taste. I know this, because I one time bought a bottle while at my parents house, and they served it at a dinner party without embarrassment.
If you're looking for something to bring to bae's place for a night in, as a hostess gift for friendsgiving, or for something without an embarrassing name to keep around the house for when your parents come to visit so they think you're a real adult, this ones for you.
Pairs nicely with: fuzzy slippers, comfort food, chocolate chip cookies, Law and Order (SVU, obvi), and Shondaland Thursdays.
La Marca Prosecco, $13(ish)
This is for when you're feeling fancy, but it's also three days before pay day and you've realized that you have too much month at the end of your money. It's fancy enough that you can show up to girls' night feeling like you have your life together, but not too fancy that you can't chug the whole bottle in one sitting. Because, let's be honest ladies, there's nothing worse than buying expensive champagne and drinking it slowly because you feel bad about the price—which is where La Marca comes in. It's a little tart, very crisp, and has just the right amount of bubbles to make you feel floaty instead of bloaty. It's perfect for a quick drink before a night out, or something to sip on during a night in (aka while you're sitting on the couch at your Galentine's day get together, Facebook stalking your ex and his new girlfriend).
Pairs nicely with: heart shaped cookies, Breakfast at Tiffanys screenings, brunch (mimosas haay), and celebrations (yes, the fact that it's Friday counts as a celebration).
#TBT White Blend, $13(ish)
I'm going to be honest, I first bought this wine based solely on the aesthetic (though it did turn out to be pretty great). Aside from the obviously perfect choice of name, the wine comes in a delightfully hip bottle. The label could practically be an Instagram post from your super trendy college friend who lives in LA and is pursuing her interpretive hip hop career. It's not only a good addition to your wine rack, but would look oh-so-Pinterest-y with twinkle lights stuffed into it after it's empty.
Aesthetics aside, the wine is actually pretty good. It's a white blend—great for beginner winos because you don't really have to know much about it to enjoy it. It's not overly sweet, but has an almost sugary aftertaste, which balances out the crispness. It's light and falls on the lower end of the alcohol content, making it great for a long Friday lunch, or for those nights when you bring work home with you. If you want a trusty basic white wine for your basic white girls, this is a stellar choice. Fair warning: it's better served cold, so pop this one in the freezer for a few before topping off those glasses.
Pairs nicely with: 90's Spotify playlists, working lunches, summer nights, trendy sunglasses, and kale salads (for when you're balancing healthy eating with not killing your co-workers)
Underwood Rose, $14(ish)
Rose all day, y'all. You've seen the Insta captions, now it's time to try the real thing. I, personally, am not a huge rose fan. I know, I know, there's a lot of hype, but I just never really understood it. UNTIL I tried Underwood Rose. Life changing. Where all other roses tasted like juice, Underwood tasted like real wine, with a fruity edge. It has "undertones of peach and strawberry" according to the bottle, which just means that when you're drinking it you're thinking, "Wow, this tastes like it would be great in sangria." And it totally is. Underwood is the perfect addition to a summer barbecue, a sweet sangria, or a weekend picnic. And, if you're not convinced enough, Underwood also comes in TRAVEL CANS. Travel cans y'all! You can take the fun with you wherever you go, and you don't even have to worry about those pesky "no glass" rules. If you're looking for an easy breezy summer sipper, take a look at Underwood.
Pairs nicely with: pool decks, watermelon, beachside picnics, red and white gingham, SPF 30, and rooftop bar parties.
Moselland Cat Riesling, $10(ish)
This is another purchase that was entirely based on the bottle because, drum roll please... it looks like a cat. An actual cat! It's effing adorable, people. And surprisingly enough, it actually contains a deliciously refreshing wine. Riesling is a newfound passion of mine. Think somewhere between a Moscato and a Prosecco. It's one part sweet, one part sparkling, and all parts yum. For those of you out there who are taking your first wobbly baby steps into wine country and are still hooked on juice wine, this is where Riesling comes in. Riesling doesn't have the same bite that most wines have, though the alcohol content is pretty much the same. So it's has the same sweetness, but it's balanced with a refreshing fizz. Its not quite as bubbly as a Prosecco or Champagne, making it a little lighter. It's perfect any time of the year (as most wine is). Just add a bow to make it a great gift for that one friend you never know what to get!
Pairs nicely with: a fruit and cheese plate, foreign films, birthday parties, the La La Land soundtrack, and weekend getaways.
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