Odds are pretty good that while in your wine shop you’ve seen wine labeled as table wine. What does that mean though? Is it a generic term or are there requirements? What’s a good use of table wines and how do you pick one out? Can things not labeled as “table wine” be used for the purpose?
What Is Table Wine?
Depending on where you live table wine can mean a lot of different things. Here in the United States it’s a wine made from grapes with a maximum alcohol by volume content of 14%. Other than that there’s not much that determines what is or isn’t a table wine and it’s somewhat left up to the vineyard or winery to determine whether or not they want to label their wine as a table wine.
In Europe the standards are a bit more stringent with different categories of table wine existing within the overall “table wine” genre.
Picking Out Table Wines
Regardless of the standards for what can or can’t be labeled as a “table wine”, for most of us it’s a wine that we keep around the house to go with everything from pizza and pasta to chicken and munchies. Be it red or white, for many of us a table wine is an inexpensive wine that we pick up at the store that won’t set the world on fire, won’t change the way you feel about a grape or varietal, but instead goes with a wide range of foods or no foods at all.
While only you can determine what your personal standard for a table wine is, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t at least share what I look for in a table wine for my wife and I. There’s not a particular grape that I look for, though I do find myself gravitating to pinot noir and malbec as of late for reds and sauvignon blanc for whites, especially those from Chile.
I don’t have a set price, and every person’s budget will dictate what’s an “affordable” wine for them, but I do attempt to keep it under $20 a bottle. Lately I’ve even found bottles at my local grocery store for under $10 that are enjoyable and are perfect for a Sunday afternoon while watching football on the couch.
It’s Your Choice
The only opinion that matters when it comes to picking out a table wine is your own. If you enjoy the bottle pick up several bottles of it, keep it around your house, and enjoy a glass or two with a quick dinner, after a hard day at work, or because…wine is awesome. The most important part is that even after you’ve found a table wine that you like, to be open to trying new ones since a little variety certainly never hurts.