(Family Features) - Everyone is feeling the pinch in this difficult economy, yet people continue to drink -and buy - wine. "Consumers are trading down to less expensive wines they consider values," noted Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson and Associates, a wine industry consulting firm.
Savvy, budget-conscious choices are vital to maintaining your lifestyle. However, with so many wines on the market, how do you know which ones to choose? Look for high-quality, affordable wines such as Chianti red wines from Italy. Italian wine producer, Ruffino, forecasts that Chianti will become increasingly popular and that the "Chianti Index" will actually prove a worthy economic indicator much like the Lipstick Index- a gauge based on the theory that consumers turn to less expensive indulgences, such as lipstick, when feeling uneasy about their financial future.
"Chianti wines are easy to recommend since they offer consistent quality at a great price," says Alberto Taddei, General Manager and Sommelier at Falai restaurants in New York City, "Chianti wines also pair well with almost any kind of food, from pasta to hamburgers."
Chianti wines are made from Sangiovese grapes grown in the hills of Tuscany, in the Chianti region, which is nestled between Florence and Siena. The wines are medium-bodied and have aromas and flavors of cherries with a touch of spice. They are widely available at retailers and on restaurant wine lists across the country.
In today's thorny economic times, look for products that provide affordable luxury and comfort. More and more Americans are rediscovering the simple pleasures that Italians have been enjoying for ages - sharing Chianti, the quintessential Italian wine, with friends and family around the dinner table.
Ruffino, passionate about Tuscany and Sangiovese for more than 130 years, offers a collection of Chianti wines that are easy on the wallet and range from $9 to $24 a bottle. For more information on Chianti Italian wines from Ruffino, visit www.ruffino.com.