Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Grab a bag - it's wine-sale season

Ah, the holidays - all that frenzy, all those decisions. Not the Christmas holidays. I've started celebrating my own special season in January: Wine-sale season.

There are mini-wine sale seasons through the year. Stores usually have a lot of markdown at the end of summer to clear out space for the fall releases, and sometimes they run big sales for reasons I can't fathom without a marketing degree. But the one I watch for is in January, when supermarkets clear out old vintages to make space for the new stuff.

Harris Teeter is always a big player, although I've also celebrated the season at other stores. Earth Fare usually is a good hunting ground, too. But I know it's wine-sale season when I see those big blue tags hanging off the Teeter shelves. I make a point to start bringing my bottle-bag into the store and warn my grocery haulers at home that I'll be bringing home extra bottles for a few weeks.

Think of it like an Easter egg hunt for grownups: I troll the tags, looking for the big numbers. Forget $2 or $3 off. I fish for $5 off or higher, I always stop at $7-off and $9-off is my personal "cha-CHING." I don't always bite, though. $10 off on a $50 wine is still out of my league. But $10 off on a $20 bottle is 50% off - very enticing.

I generally stick to wines, regions and labels I know, but when a $25 wine comes down to $15, I'm willing to take chances. I've been burned occasionally, but never badly. This weekend, I scored two cabernets and a zinfandel. The zin was a little oxidized, a bit brown around the edges, but it still had plenty of fruit. I'm not looking for wines to impress, just stuff in a comfortable price range for weeknights, a glass of red to go with a plate of pasta or something from the slow cooker.

Maybe it's not everybody's idea of a season to celebrate, and I certainly get even more excited about asparagus season. But in January, it's the little things that count off.


Feminine Wiles said...

In many ways, the "hap, happiest time of the year"! Thanks for the reminder!