One of the most difficult things about buying wine, especially for anyone who doesn’t do it regularly, is that there is almost too much to choose from. Even liquor stores with a limited selection may have hundreds of bottles, and the largest stores have thousands of bottle from all over the world.

What are you supposed to do if all you want is a bottle of wine for dinner?

Never fear. Keep these tips in mind:

JUG WINES. This is the stuff in the bigger, 1.5 liter bottles. The best jug wine is inexpensive, about $10, and is perfectly acceptable for a Tuesday night dinner that has been thawed in the microwave or ordered from the neighborhood Chinese place. Among the most dependable are California whites, especially from Glen Ellen (and serve them well-chilled).

A BASIC FUME OR SAUVIGNON BLANC. of which there are dozen for less than $10 a bottle. One especially night choice is Nobilo sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, a country that has become very trendy in the wine world. This wine isn’t – it’s very fruity and citrusy, and was made to drink the day you buy it (also serve well-chilled).

A BASIC CHARDONNAY, which is a bit harder to find. That’s because the largest California wineries today mass market chardonnay, which raises the price without improving the quality. You don’t have to avoid wine that’s advertised on TV or carries a fancy “coastal” label – just be aware the bottle next to it that’s the same price, say from Bogle or Hogue, is probably a better value.

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