$169,900 3501 Hamilton Avenue, Waltherson 4 bedroom(s), 2 bathroom(s)
There are plenty of bottles to brag about, lots of labels to plaster your conversation with and be annoyed by and have “Dear Diary” moments with. We’ve all heard folks boast about Cakebread and Veuve Clicquot and other famous bottles with a lot of name prestige, but they certainly have a hefty price tag attached. I love a treat bottle as much as anybody, but I really get excited to share are the best values I can find.
Often when we talk about value and wine, our first instinct is to assume it means cheap. It drove me nuts when people’s only goal in a wine store was to find the least expensive but most tolerable bottle on the shelves (common question: “Is this $6.99 bottle drinkable?”) without considering the value of the product relative to the purpose that it’s serving. “What’s the cheapest?” will lead you astray. The best question to ask may be “What wine in my price bracket will be the most worthwhile, that is, give the most worth, with my pizza/popcorn/movie night/fancy dinner/brunch/barbecue/etc.?”
There are no hard and fast rules about good value wines because that could mean so many things to different people. A “good value” Châteuneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone Valley in France is likely to still cost at least $40, but for the same money, you could get a top-of-the-line Argentinean Malbec. But if you’re looking for a braggable, “I-paid-minimally-for-this-killer-wine” kind of bottle, there are a few geographic locations where the odds are stacked more in your favor than from other places. Keep in mind these are general ideas, but hopefully they will steer you in the right direction.
Pardon me, my bias is showing. I love Chilean wine. And a lot of that may come from the fact that it’s relatively short history made it more conquerable than other regions, but regardless, Chilean wine has a rusticity and charm that oozes the wild, rugged terrain it comes from. Dried herbs, subtle smoke, and ripe, dense fruit play in different proportions in many of Chilean reds, while whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are dappled with tropical fruit, citrus, and flowers. It’s the wild frontier as far as the viticultural world is concerned and offers some of the best bang for the buck in the market.
Welcome to our new occasional series “15 Under $15” by wine enthusiast and restaurateur Tony Foreman (who knows a thing or two about wine). Tony owns wine shop Bin 604 in Harbor East and is a partner in Foreman Wolf, which owns and operates restaurants Charleston, Cinghiale, Pazo, Petit Louis and Johnny’s.
The priorities in assembling the below list were first and foremost flavor (as in a lot of it for the price) and secondly, versatility with food and typicity of place. –Tony Foreman
Nuances of tree fruits and soft toasty brioche, perfect for soft bloomy rind cheeses.
Every list has its own spin, from US News’ complicated overall rankings to sillier “best cafeteria” lists. Kiplinger’s particular specialty is assessing various public colleges and universities in terms of value — that is, good schools for not-too-much money. And with five colleges ranking in the 100-long list, Maryland’s not a shabby state to pay your taxes in, if you’re hoping for quality tuition at in-state prices.
Kiplinger’s declared the University of Maryland, College Park the eighth-best value in the nation. Other schools making the cut included Towson University (#76), Salisbury University (#71), St. Mary’s College of Maryland (#42) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (#84). (All those rankings are for in-state students; for everyone else, the rankings were 10, 81, 53, 35, and 63, respectively.)
And though Maryland has a lot to be proud of in this list, we’re still facing heavy competition from our neighbors to the south. Virginia had two schools in the top five (UVA and William and Mary), and seven schools in the top 100. The top-value college in the U.S.? The University of North Carolina. Hard to argue with that.