June 17, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Casual Drinking
Wine drinking is often made to feel like an activity. And it’s an activity that many of us love deeply. It’s like playing a puzzle game – complex viticultural beverages challenge you to stretch your senses and experience and honor all contributing elements that placed such a beautiful array of flavors and textures into your goblet (or flute, or tumbler, or coupe, or snifter…)
The question of food pairing adds an extra layer to the problem, and whole careers in the wine world are based on which white white goes with what pasta dish depending on the minute differences in preparation exercised by various regional culinary traditions. And we love that.
But sometimes (read: often) we’d like to forget all of this and just enjoy a bottle of wine with a bowl of popcorn and our favorite rom-com, without all the pretense and intellectual tasting practices. And some bottles are better suited to this side of the wine world than others.
What makes for an informal imbibable?
The concept of “casual” means different things to different people. In some offices, Casual Friday is rung in by a flood of cargo shorts, Crocs and hibiscus-print tees. In others, you wear your Italian blazer over a crisp, white shirt that has one less button done up.
In wine terms, that looks like this: some oenophiles might push their own comfort zones by swirling their 2018 Francophone Merlot clockwise instead of counter before they sniff. Others might choose to drink their 2-Buck Chuck out of a coffee mug with “World’s Best Grandma” printed on the side.
We’re going to assume a midground for the purposes of this piece. For us, a casual wine will sit at the intersection of deliciousness and affordability, and will pair nicely with our takeout order of cheesy garlic fries and a Downton Abbey binge sesh. It should not break the bank – whatever that means to you – and it should not require a chef-prepared steak tartare to bring out its better side. It should be delicious, and something you know you will continue to enjoy.
Here are some of our favorites from the Argaux collection.
Best wine for casual drinking
- 2020 Les Athlètes du Vin Touraine Pinot Noir – $25
This is the one we like to sip on while preparing an early dinner on weeknights. Energetic, fruity, with a smooth and unchallenging texture, the Les Athletes Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with casual fare like street tacos, frozen pepperoni pizza, and your lazy Wednesday ham-and-cheddar charcuterie board.
Put this one briefly on ice before serving for a cool and utterly drinkable experience.
- 2020 Chateau Barbebelle Aix-en-Provence ‘Héritage’ Rosé
The shape of this bottle makes you feel like royalty while at the same time allowing you to chill and put your feet up at every sit. Think Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette surrounded by cakes – you know the scene.
This is an incredibly food-friendly wine that can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion. Pair with squid ink risotto on a first date, and chicken strips with ranch on a fifteenth.
- Topa Topa Level Line Pale Ale 6-Pack – $12
No white tablecloths, appetizer forks, or decanters to be found when you’re standing waist-deep in the rushing waters of a fish-filled river. No matter your proximity to moving water, this delicious lemongrass-and-tangerine-forward pale ale gives you permission to relax and unwind, whether lakeside, couchside, or at a bestie’s backyard barbecue.
- 2019 Casa Vinicola Triacca ‘Gaux Dopo’ Nebbiolo – $22
A beautiful, deep wine with a complex fermentation process that is oh-so easy to drink. Light, floral, fruity with a crispness unusual to reds, the Gaux Dopo is fermented in mono-temp steel tanks that maintain the brightness of the grape’s original flavor. What we’re saying is, this one can be drunk like juice. Super casual.
- 2020 Par Fore the Course New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – $17
An athletic wine that makes no demands on how, when or where it should be enjoyed. Every sip packs a tropical punch with notes of guava, fresh grass, and pineapple on the tongue. Great for a day on the green with your mates, we recommend pairing with grilled cheese sammies, or croque monsieurs if you can be persuaded to dress up your dockers just a little bit.
- 2018 Poco a Poco Mendocino County Chardonnay – $25
This wine pays tribute, both through its title and its creation, to the slow but steady process of farming, harvesting, juicing, and fermenting grapes to create beautiful and delectable wines. Even the cheaper wines on the market deserve to be sipped and savored. But as long as you’re enjoying them, you can enjoy them however you like.
Little By Little is a classic Chardonnay that feels like drinking a French bakery from the inside out, with notes of buttery pastry and lemon custard. Enjoy alongside whatever you’d like – you’ve earned it.
Argaux has what you need
If none of our recommendations quite hit the mark for your chilled-out drinking experience, allow us to make a few more.
Argaux’s pocket somm app allows you to connect with our team wine experts, who can help you to find a delicious bottle from the collection that meets all of your needs – from tastes, to pricing, to food pairings, to even regional preferences. Simply text or call to get set up, and receive a personalized wine recommendation sure to suit your preferences.
Ready to level up? Try exploring more of what the world of wine has to offer with an Argaux tasting kit. Learn how to discern varietals with our blind tasting basket. Sail to old-world wine countries with our ‘Gaux To collections. Or have your feminism in a glass with our Women in Wine tasting set.