Drinks

Booze to ease your tax day blues (or help you toast your refund)

April 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM ET

The tax man has come and gone. This week you’re either toasting your refund or drowning your sorrows after writing that check. Wine expert Leslie Sbrocco shares some of her favorite picks from steals to splurges.

Steal sips:

Chandon Rose, California $7 (187 ml)

Forget beer with burritos, these single-serve bottles of bubbly make Wednesday night with take out a breeze. Deep pink with a mouth-filling wallop of fruit flavors, this sparkler will make all who sip it happy.

2011 Villa Antinori Bianco, Toscana, Italy $12

Most of us think of drinking reds from Italy, but it’s actually home to delicious – and affordable – white choices from around the country. This version hailing from Tuscany is a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia with a dash of Pinot Blanc. Refreshing and easy to sip, it’s one to buy by the case for everyday drinking.

2010 Mouton Cadet Rose, Bordeaux, France $10

When spring hits, there’s no better wine to sip than pink. Made with the red grapes of Bordeaux, this hearty, spicy, dry-style rose will make converts of those who don’t think they like to drink pink.

Herding Cats Merlot/Pinotage, South Africa $24 for 3 liter box (equals four bottles)

With an average price of around $1 a glass, this octagonal-shaped box holds four bottles. This is value! Plush and easy drinking, this wine shows that bigger is better…especially when you want to save some cash.

Splurge sips:

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne, France $90

Kicking off with the most expensive wine of the lot, this is one of my absolute favorite wines in the world. Made with Pinot Noir, it’s an elegant, delicate bubbly but still has layers of complexity. You can enjoy it all day – and all night –as its ability to sip alone and pair with food of all types is unrivaled.

2010 Shafer “Red Shoulder Ranch” Chardonnay, Carneros, California $48

I find myself craving chardonnay, particularly the Red Shoulder Ranch from cool Carneros. For those who don’t think they like the country’s most popular wine, give this beauty a try. It’s loaded with tropical richness but balanced that with crisp, vibrant acidity and a perfect balance of fruit and oak.

2010 The Chocolate Block by Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Franschoek, South Africa $30

The name doesn’t refer to the wine being sweet; on the contrary, this red blend is dry, earthy and just as delicious as chocolate. Made with Syrah and Grenache primarily, the supple yet edgy red is an ideal pairing for braised meats, grilled veggies and intense cheeses.

Leslie Sbrocco is the author of "The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide" and founder of ThirstyGirl.com.

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