Empty wine rack? Here are some ideas so you can stock up again with some food friendly wine and rock the casbah

Scary sight isn’t it?

In this tough economy we often seek convenience and value, which makes us look for ways to combine errands to save time and money. You may find yourself grabbing a bottle of wine or two from the grocery store instead of a small wine shop, and there are some killer deals on the shelf.  Here are some ideas to bulk up your wine rack at home so you can socialize, enjoy, or entertain without breaking the bank…or worse…going without wine! The horror.

Look for wine from Portugal or Chile in the aisle: I’ve recently had a few bottles from both regions that cost under $10, but tasted like a $25 plus bottle should. Trying these varietals is cheap…see what you like…I promise you’ll find a keeper.A 2008 report issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that (by volume) Chardonnay (19%), Cabernet Sauvignon (11%), Merlot (10%), and White Zinfandel (8%) accounted for a 48% share of market in U.S. food stores. Cabernet Sauvignon grew the most (expanding by 723,000 cases), with notable gains for Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Here are some simple  food and wine pairing ideas for these popular varietals:

Chardonnay -  (shar-doh-NAY): Buttery flavors with hints of oak make this full bodied white wine is a good match for a simple garden salad with vegetables Cabernet Sauvignon - (ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YOHN): A rich red wine with red fruit mixed with spice is a good match for bittersweet chocolates

Merlot - (mer-LOH): A lush red wine with plum, black cherry, & caramel is a good match for an old fashioned hamburgerWhite Zinfandel - (white ZIHN-fuhn-dehl): A juicy wine with citrus & berries is a good match for bbq chicken

Pinot Noir - (PEE-noh NWAHR): A red wine with red berry, truffles, & earth is a good match for a porterhouse steakZinfandel - (ZIHN-fuhn-dehl): A red wine with jammy fruit like blackberry is a good match for pepperoni pizza

Sauvignon Blanc - (SOH-vee-nyawn BLAHNGK): A grassy white wine with herbs & smoke is a good match for cheddar cheeseRiesling - (REEZ-ling): A sweet wine with peach & orange blossom is a good match for Asian style chicken (Thai or Teriyaki)

Pinot Grigio - (PEE-noh GREE-geo): A light white wine with crisp citrus flavor is a good match for scallops

- HelloVinoJim