Re: Minus Size Winter Wheels
You're assumptions are correct. Steel wheels are much less expensive and, generally, more available. By going minus 1 or 2 you pick up more sidewall which is not a bad thing.
I think most people are less concerned with aesthetics in the winter and accept the look of a plain wheel as just a temporary issue needed to improve winter handling.
For what it's worth, I've had 2 sets of Blizzacks and had great luck with them. My guess is that any good winter tire will serve you well, especially when you get 4 of them.