10 Great Wines Under 10 Dollars

by Ashley Watson on 8 June 2011 11 comments
Photo: Alaskan Dude

You don't have to be a wine connoisseur to know that a $50 bottle of wine is less likely to taste like vinegar than the Two Buck Chuck. But that doesn't mean that every expensive bottle is worth the money, or that you can't buy a decent bottle of wine for less than $10. (See also: Make Bad Wine Better)

Whether you're a Merlot or Chardonnay fan, there are plenty of highly drinkable and food-friendly wines that won't cost you a day's wages. Prices may vary in some areas, but for the most part, these wines are consistently priced for people on a budget.

1. Bloom Riesling 2007 (Germany)

Personally I prefer reds, but if I'm going to drink white, I usually go for a Riesling, and the drier the better. Although slightly sweet, this wine has just the right amount of dryness to balance the fruit flavors. Bring a bottle to your favorite Thai or Vietnamese BYOB restaurant and order the spiciest item on the menu. If you don't like spice, this wine pairs well with turkey or fish, or served chilled on its own.

Average price: $8.99

2. Agua de Piedra Reserva Malbec 2010 (Argentina)

Spicy yet smooth, this Malbec goes well with just about anything. I like to keep a few bottles on hand for those nights I want to relax by the fire, or when I want to share a bottle with friends over appetizers or dessert. The earthy tones and rich tannins are a perfect match for goat cheese, sharp cheddar, or a simple Bruschetta. For the chocolate lover, this is your wine. It's also a nice compliment to meat or pasta dishes.

Average price: $6.99

3. Due Torri Pinot Noir 2009 (Italy)

Don't be fooled by the screw top; this wine can compete with any of its corked counterparts. Dry and soft, this wine loves pesto or a rare steak. It has a velvety texture and an oaky finish that is perfectly balanced and easy going down. Though slightly higher in price, this wine is well worth the money.

Average price: $9.99

4. Luzon Verde 2008 (Spain)

Like the Due Torri Pinot, this red is also oaky, but with some strong fruit flavors to complete the tannins. Hints of cherry and blueberry give this wine a distinct earthy flavor at the end. But what I like most about it is the overall peppery character — a perfect match for pasta dishes with tons of garlic. I also like to serve it with olives and strong cheeses. Try it with an herbed goat cheese appetizer or a Kalamata olive tapenade. This vineyard also makes a nice white at around the same price.

Average price: $8.99

5. Recanati Yasmin White 2010 (Israel)

Move over Manischewitz! This Kosher wine is versatile, light, and best of all, affordable. Perfect for Passover or Shabbat dinner, you can enjoy this with the standard food pairings for a white — fish, poultry, and vegetables — or on its own; either way, it is best served chilled. The blend of three different grapes creates a nice balance of fruit and spice. It is a bit on the dry side, and a great choice if you want a Kosher wine that doesn’t taste like syrup. But you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy a great wine at a great price.

Average price: $9.99

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6. Ipsum White 2008 (Spain)

I confess — I chose this wine because of the label. I’m a sucker for anything with a bike on it or that pulls off that “European” look, which is why I was pleasantly surprised once I took the first sip. It’s a complex wine that, at first, has a buttery flavor similar to a Chardonnay, and then finishes with hints of apple and pear. It is dry and very food-friendly. I served it with lamb the first time I tried it, but this is a white that can be served with anything. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t prefer whites or dry wines. Although most whites are best served chilled, this one is better if you take it out of the fridge for thirty minutes and serve it closer to room temperature.

Average price: $9.99

7. Lunetta Prosecco Sparkling Wine 2010 (Italy)

If you are looking for a wine to help celebrate a special occasion or something to serve in your mimosa, this moderately priced bubbly is a well-rounded sparkling wine. Refreshing, crisp, and medium dry, it is a delightful substitute for the much higher priced Champagne. You can also serve it with light pasta, appetizers, or seafood. I highly recommend serving it as chilled as possible. As it starts to warm up, it loses its crispness and flavor. Try putting it in the freezer for thirty minutes to an hour before serving, and serve in a chilled glass if possible.

Average price: $7.99

8. Hey Mambo Sultry Red 2008 (California)

This is another versatile red that is both deep in color and flavor. You can taste the pepper almost immediately, and if you let it sit on the tongue for a second, the oak and array of fruits — from raspberry to plum — finish it off. Dry and light, you can serve it with rich desserts, such as cheesecake and dark chocolates, but it is a great food wine because of its balance and complexity. I like it with spicy Italian dishes, but you could serve it with a nice steak or exotic meats, such as venison, goat, or lamb.

Average price: $8.99

9. La Vielle Ferme Blanc — Blended White 2010 (France)

This is also known as “The Chicken Wine,” because of the chicken on the label. You can even find it on Facebook, where it claims that it is one of the best values for a French wine. I would have to agree, and the La Vielle red is a nice wine as well. The blanc is best served with light meat dishes. Try it with seared salmon or tuna, but if you want something different it can also accompany yellowtail or the more moderately priced tilapia. I’ve also served it with creamy pasta and vegetables. It’s really up to you and your taste buds, but you can’t beat that price for a decent French wine.

Average price: $9.99

10. Broke Ass Red Wine 2010 (Argentina)

I’ve saved the best for last, at least the best price. It isn’t as food-friendly as the other wines on the list, but you can certainly serve it with a light meal. If you like reds but not something too oaky or acidic, this wine is a great sipping wine, especially for the price. Starting at five dollars in some stores, this is a great everyday red to have on your rack when you just want to pop a cork and relax. The name says it all.

Average Price: $6.99

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Meg Favreau's picture

There are so many wines on this list that I'm excited to try.

Does anybody have other under $10 favorites? One of mine is El Coto's 2007 Rioja -- I've seen it just over $10 at some stores, but it's pretty easy to find on sale for around $8.99.

Camilla Cheung's picture

My favorite budget wine is KONO Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - it has crisp acidity and pronounced citrus and grapefruit flavors. And it's just $7.99 at Trader Joe's (when they have it in stock)!

Meg Favreau's picture

I love Sauvignon Blanc! I'll definitely have to check that out.

Ashley Watson's picture

I love Vermont, but I do miss Trader Joe's!

Ashley Watson's picture

I love Vermont, but I do miss Trader Joe's!

Guest's picture
Jared

Rieslings are amazing!

Guest's picture
Guest

Hey guys, it's all about the box. Bag-in-box wines are proliferating. They are cheaper and easier to ship. More and more wineries are choosing this container, and the consumer enjoys the savings! I got Barrel Box cabernet sauvignon at my local Sam's for $9.98. That's the equivalent of 4 750-mL wine bottles, so about $2.50 per bottle if it were sold separately. There is another 3 liter box wine called Oak Leaf at Wal-Mart, also at $9.98. Even the more premium Target Wine Cube or Black Box brand retails around $18-$20, so less than $5 per 750 mL. The bag of wine excludes air, so it keeps longer than an opened wine bottle (if you are the only wine drinker in the house). Peace!

Guest's picture
Pat Miller

Where can I find these wines?

Ashley Watson's picture

I found all of them at my local co-op, so I'm sure you can get them at most liquor stores or your local grocery store if it carries wine. You can also find them online, but just be aware that you can't ship wine to some states. Check with your state laws or the wine distributor. Good luck!

Guest's picture
Purple teeth

Agua de Piedra 2010 Malbec is foul juice. Only tart plum flavors, acidic, thin with no mid palete and definitely no decent finish . . . a complete waste at any price.

Ashley Watson's picture

Thank you for your comment.