Category Wines under $10

A Crazy Cheap (and Good) Bubbly for the Holidays – $5.99

November 7, 2012 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

Cristalino Brut CavaIf you're anything like me, you love to serve wine to guests, but unless they are real "wine people" you don't want to break the bank.  Such was the case recently when my wife was hosting a wedding shower and her loving husband (your's truly) was tasked with acquiring the libations for the event.  No self-respecting wine guy would serve Asti Spumante to guests no matter how elementary their wine knowledge, so you know I did the research.  After all, I was later announced as Mason "The Wino" Hewitt at the wedding reception!

Whether it's a bridal shower, Thanksgiving or just plain Tuesday, everyone's budget bubbly should be Cristalino Brut Cava.  At $5.99 per bottle, you can afford to have a case of this sitting around for whatever occasion might arise.  The reviews from the wedding

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A Great Summer Sauvignon Blanc Under $10

June 20, 2012 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

2011 Infamous Goose Sauv BlancSometimes it's difficult to write up all the great New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs I drink because, eventually I would sound like a broken record: Bright tropical fruit flavors, crisp green apple, etc., etc.  That isn't a criticism, but rather a testament to the consistency and quality of NZ's signature wine, which is, for me, the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world.  It also remains a good value although I have noticed some price creep in the better known labels.

So, when the time came for a refreshing beverage on a warm Chicago evening this week, we headed to the roof deck with a bottle of 2011 Wild Rock "The Infamous Goose" Sauvignon Blanc.  So how is it?  It's the perfect summer Sauvignon Blanc.  Light, pale green and fruity with, well, bright tropical fruit flavors, crisp green apple,

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A 90 Point Cabernet under $10 – Columbia Crest H3

November 28, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I just got back from a vacation in St. Thomas where everything, including wine, is obscenely expensive.  As I was standing in the  aisle of the local supermarket, Food Center, the wine I picked without hesitation was a Columbia Crest Chardonnay.  Sure, it was 150% the cost of the same wine here in the U.S. but even at that price it was still absolutely a great value.

Such is the case with nearly all of Columbia Crest's wines and year after year the Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills, labeled "H3" is a standout among standouts.  Napa needs to watch its back because a trojan horse (or rabbit), called Washington's Columbia Valley, is making wines that are every bit as good, though different, and much less expensive.

The 2009 Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet is one of those incredible

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Pinot Magic Under $10 – Hahn Monterey County

November 3, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  3 comments

Regular readers of this blog probably know I don't drink a lot of Pinot. I find the cheap stuff wimpy and the expensive stuff, well, too expensive. But Steve at LA Wine Co. was raving about this one so I had to try it.

This is a very serious Pinot Noir at an unbelievable price. Hahn is one of the premier value producers in the country and I'm a huge fan of their Meritage, Chardonnay and now this Pinot.  As America's favorite trendy varietal (hopefully Syrah is next), Pinot Noir prices are obscenely high and show no signs of decline even though the movie Sideways came out in 2004.

Having lived 2 hours from the famed Santa Barbara Pinot Noir appellation, I've tasted my fair share of this varietal and I can honestly say this competes with many $50 bottles I've tasted.  A bright, earthy

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88 Point Rioja Under $10 – Luberri Joven Orlegi 2010

September 30, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

From now on, the following note goes at the top of every Spanish wine post.  Disclaimer: Spain has, by far, the best wine values in the world.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the latest value.  Any Rioja under $10 is likely a good deal, since Rioja is arguably the most prestigious region in Spain.  So when I came across this 88 pointer for $9.95, I had to try it.  What's the worst that could happen?  I'm out $10?  Well, for me, not quite actually.  You see every wine I drink has an opportunity cost.  What's the opportunity?  A better wine of course.  I can only drink so much wine and could never hope to taste every wine in the world, so a crappy bottle isn't just a waste of money, it's a waste of the experience of drinking another, better wine.

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The Next San Simeon? ’09 Maddalena Chardonnay $9.95

September 27, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

Loyal readers probably remember the incredible San Simeon Chardonnay.   It was one of the first wines I wrote up and LA Wine Co. sold literally thousands of bottles of it.  Maddalena has produced a Chardonnay in a similar style at an equally amazing value.

If you are looking for Chardonnay values, look outside of Napa and Sonoma and toward the south.  Monterey's cool climate is perfect for growing Chardonnay grapes and with less name prestige than its neighbor to the north (Napa, not Canada), the prices are considerably lower.

The 2009 Maddalena Chardonnay pours a golden straw color and has a beautiful nose of smoke and honey.  The honey texture continues on the palate with a smooth, caramely, melt-in-your-mouth warmth accented by smoky oak and balanced acid.  It's the perfect wine

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Another Under $10 Steal from MSH – Yountville Sauvignon Blanc

September 22, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

MSH Sauvignon Blanc LabelLately, I've found myself shying away from Asian food because it doesn't pair well with wine.  Seriously.  Now that I put it in writing, it actually sounds kind of pathetic.  Well last night's fried rice doused in Sriracha called for something white, crisp and cool, so I grabbed a bottle of MSH Yountville Sauvignon Blanc from the cooler.  I already wrote about the insanely good Rutherford Merlot from MSH and the Sauvignon Blanc also delivers in a big way.

This wine has crisp acid but also maintains a round mouthfeel that lets you know it's from Napa vs. Marlborough.  Yountville is one of Napa Valley's cooler appellations due to its proximity to San Palo Bay, so it's a great place to grow Sauvignon Blanc.  But any grape from Yountville usually gets a premium price.  Somehow MSH has

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The Best Merlot Ever under $10 – And it’s from Rutherford!

September 14, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

Rutherford is arguably Napa Valley's most prestigious wine growing appellation.  Ever heard of Scarecrow?  It's $1500 per bottle and is grown and produced in Rutherford.  How about Quintessa, B.V. Georges de Latour, Caymus, Staglin or Rubicon Estate?  Tired of me asking you questions?  Trick.  That was another question.  Okay, here's a statement: Those wines all hail from Rutherford and their price tag shows.  Of the wines I listed, Caymus is the cheapest at $60.  Needless to say, when a Rutherford Merlot came along at $7.99, I had to try it.

MSH is a value-focused project of Tom Gamble, owner of some of Napa's best vineyards.  He teamed up with other high-end wine growers and took surplus grapes from top-notch vineyards to create incredible tasting wines for Yellow Tail prices.

The

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If You See This Logo, Buy This Wine: Jorge Ordonez Selections

August 31, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

This guy is THE MAN.  I've written extensively on these pages about the incredible values Spain puts out year after year, and recently I've come to realize that this guy, Jorge Ordonez, might be singlehandedly responsible.  Jorge is a Spanish importer who specializes in epic values between $6 and $60.  Recently, I started to notice this logo on many of my Spanish wines and quickly realized that all of my favorites had something in common: they were imported by Jorge Ordonez.

Volver?  That's Jorge.  Alto Moncayo Veraton?  Check.  Tres Picos?  Check-a-roo.  Juan Gil?  Protocolo? Okay you get the picture.  The list goes on and covers some of my very favorite high-end wines as well as the value priced steals.

Tonight I'm drinking a Spanish white - a grape I've never had called Albarino

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Hedges C.M.S. Red Blend. Another Washington value under $10

August 22, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

First, let me clear something up.  In this case,  C.M.S. does not stand for the Centers for Medicare Services as some might have thought. It actually stands for the grapes that make up this Washington red blend - Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah.  And what a fantastic blend it is!

Washington wines are finally hitting many enthusiasts' radars and for good reason.  The quality is outstanding and the values are abundant.  Furthermore, a perfect wine growing climate means incredible consistency - even more than the very consistent north coast of California.

This wine should really be called M.C.S. this year, because it's dominated, both in taste and volume by 45% Merlot.  39% Cabernet and 16% Syrah round out a nice blend that stresses round fruit over tannin and oak.  The finish is nice and

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