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Sep 2, 2010 12:35 PM

small town wine recommendations

I've been surfing around the internet and this seems like a good place to ask for wine recommendations. I want to buy a nice bottle of wine for a friend of mine as a birthday present. The problem is this - I live in a small town (edit: in rural New Mexico) and unless I drive 3 hours to the city, the only places to buy wine are Albertsons, Walmart, and a local hispanic grocery store. So I'm hoping you all can help give me some recommendations as to good wine that I may actually be able to find here.

I'm aiming for something in the $15-$40 range, and I know that she regularly drinks Riesling and Gewurztraminer. I've made a list of favorites from other posts that I've read here and I plan on taking it to the store with me to see if I can find anything on the list.

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  1. I have definitely been in your situation before and can totally commiserate. I am typically a red wine drinker so can't give you any specific recommendations on Gewürztraminer or Riesling that you might find at Walmart or Albertsons. What I have done in this situation is I looked up to the top shelf and look for large distributors or wineries and stick with what you know. It is interesting that sometimes in the more remote places you can find unexpected wines because the larger distributors have access to more wine and a longer reach. Another suggestion is to go onto a site like where you can find wines that are distributed to your state, this can at least give you some idea of what wineries may be available in your area. If you have time you could also talk to the wine buyer at your local Albertsons or Walmart and see if they can get a transfer of something special from a larger store, or a special order from the distributor.

    I hope this helps. good luck.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pairswellwithwine

      Regarding Albertson's and wine, I think you should visit the Albertson's in Paso Robles or Atascadero before you bash all Albertson's wine selections. The one in Paso Robles sells wine like a Costco.
      And I think you're referring to to check. The free version shows only one wine store, La Casa Sena in Santa Fe, and there's not much in his price range.

      1. re: SteveTimko

        A friend of mine lives in Paso Robles and after touring his favorite wineries, he often pulls into Albertson's to buy wine at lower prices than at the wineries.

        1. re: Tripeler

          This is true in California. Safeway, Albertson’s and Raley’s often have fantastic, local wine sections in the stores within or adjacent to the various wine producing areas. I always shop at these stores in Jackson and Lodi when tasting in those areas. However, these stores in the rest of the state carry an amazing selection of nearly undrinkable wines. It takes a lot of effort to find an even passable wine in most. It always amazes me that there is so much really mediocre or worse wine available, as I look down the aisle at a regular Albertsons, etc. Shopping at a decent wine store is so much less effort. Sometimes in a really rural area, a local restaurant can get you something good if the owner knows wine.

          1. re: Tripeler

            The prices at Albertson's are going to be no higher than the winery and if you buy six you get either 10 percent or 20 percent off. Plus they end up with a lot of older inventory when the wineries need to dump some inventory for quick cash.
            I don't see the selections they have at Albertson's at other supermarkets in Wine Country.

        1. re: invinotheresverde

          Upon investigation, it seems NM is a limited ship state, with some restrictions, but I bet the OP can find exactly what he's looking for online.

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            Will someone bother with shipping one bottle of $25 wine?

              1. re: SteveTimko

                <Will someone bother with shipping one bottle of $25 wine?>

                They sure will.

                Can ship to New Mexico? That's where I'd go for on-line satisfaction.

                1. re: SteveTimko

                  Agreed. Most online sites will ship whatever quantity you're willing to pay the cost for.

            1. At the very least... (I, too, have been in a similar situation)... A great budget Gewurtztraminer is Husch, out of Anderson Valley ($11)... great acid, great deal. Should be at Albertsons. Beyond that... hmmm... could be crapshoot on whites; err towards anything French or Aussie (as large Cali whites tend to be iffy, less crisp, dash or two of 'oak')... Also, in case... for a red, Garry Farrell makes a great Pinot Noir, and as of last year can be found in the big stores ($40)... great stuff, for a big market wine.... Good luck!

              1. Aren't there a good number of wineries in New Mexico? I had a good bottle of sparkling wine from there years ago. Remember it being good.

                1 Reply
                1. If you know a decent bottle when you see one, don't rule out Albertson's until you check. Walmart is an automatic "no". I don't know how rural you're talking, but most of the chain markets in SoCal now have lockable wine rooms and carry 'better' wine in them. This is usually nothing esoteric, but well-known higher-priced bottles.

                  If you don't want to try the net, your idea of taking that list to Albertson's is OK. Another suggestion is to post a list of the wines you find there at the upper end of your price range and ask for comments. As someone said here, their pricing will likely be no higher than the winery (usually) so it's fair. What's likely to be harder than finding a decent wine is finding a good riesling or gewurz in the mix.