Over the years, we’ve defined wines most often by appellation, occasionally by grape and, once in a while, by popularity.
But many readers have suggested that we look at wines by price. Essentially, this group resists all but the cheapest bottles possible.
Most of the time for Wine School, that’s not practical. If you want to explore the world of wine, to really get to know it, you have to be willing to spend some money. You do not get to know Bordeaux, say, or Napa Valley, or anywhere else, really, by chasing the cheapest options. But I do try to avoid excessively costly bottles and to seek value in my suggestions.
So what is available at the low end of the price spectrum? Where do the wines come from and what do you get for the price? This month we’re going to explore red wines that are under $10 a bottle. Here are the three bottles I recommend:
La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Red 2019 (Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, Ala.) $8
Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 (Vintus, Pleasantville, N.Y.) $9
Los Vascos Colchagua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, Fla.) $9
Now, I know someone, somewhere, is saying: “$9 for a bottle of wine? Nobody has to spend more than $5!”
For $5, you will most likely get some pretty bad wine that has been heavily manipulated, farmed industrially or perhaps sold extremely cheaply on the bulk market for some other reason.
I’m very curious about these three $10 wines. For years my position has been that the best values in wine are between $15 and $25. Good wines in that range cost enough (barely) to finance conscientious farming and non-manipulative winemaking. Once you get below $10, compromises are inevitable.
I expect that will continue to be my position after this month. Nonetheless, I hope that these wines will all be honest expressions, even if they turn out to be not the most complex bottles and are unable to articulate a sense of place. They ought to be relatively simple and satisfying, nonetheless.
Each of these bottles is well distributed. But if you can’t find one of them, the solution is easy. Pick a red wine that’s equally inexpensive.
Enjoy — and no complaints about the prices.
Join the Discussion
Eric Asimov, The New York Times wine critic, is discussing wines that are under $10 a bottle. Sample wines, and as you sip, ask yourself these questions. Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts in the comments of this article.
How do these wines compare with others we’ve tried?
What do you think makes them so inexpensive?
Bang for the Buck
Do you think these wines are good values?
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