Keeping in mind our household shopping motto, "Retail is for suckers" -- here are a couple of cheap wines we recently enjoyed:
2003 Casirello del Diablo Chardonnay: I found this Chilean wine languishing on the closeout shelf of a local party store. Since we're kind of doing an around-the-world thing with wine, and hadn't yet hit South America, I figured I'd give this poor bottle a try. Despite an initial predicament of dry cork that finally necessitated digging it out with a nut pick -- this was a very light, refreshing chardonnay with an initial taste of honey, perhaps with a touch of vanilla and citrus. I'm hoping the party store in question will find another dusty bottle to add to its closeout special shelf.
Leelanau Cellars Renaissance: I bought a bottle of this made-in-Michigan semi-dry table wine for a whopping six bucks at a local supermarket. I like my wine dry, so I'm always a bit hesitant to go the other way on the sugar continuum, but this blend has just a bit of sweetness. The flavor is quite wonderful -- it starts out with a hint of sparkling apple cider, then moves to apricot; drinking it is liking walking through an apricot orchard and enjoying the aroma of ripening fruit.