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A Good Bottle of Wine for $10?

For red wines that’s pretty easy to answer. Malbec from Argentina and Merlot from Chile are the best quality wines on the market that I’ve tasted for under $10. In fact, I’ve often found them to be as good as wines priced at $15-$20 from a host of other countries. The reason that these are such a good deal is because land and labour cost a fraction of what they do in most other countries, and the weather is pretty reliable enabling producers to get the grapes nice and ripe almost every year. If you’re looking for a European wine, I find that Portugal can offer amazing value, although the wines often seem to be much tougher, more rustic, and need some food to soften them up.

When it comes to white wines, it really depends on what type of grape or wine style you like. There are some good German Rieslings on the market for around $10, although these often have some sweetness. Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is the best value for a clean, crisp, snappy white that you can sip by itself. Australian Chardonnay has changed in style and is not as oaky as it used to be, and frankly most people have a tough time telling them apart from a $60 white Burgundy.

The bottom line is that there are some pretty decent wines on the market for less than $10. To put things in perspective, when someone pays over $100 for a bottle they are, at least in part, paying for a dream, an image, or a notion that they want to associate themselves with. Buying luxury goods can make you feel good, and some wineries like to be priced in a zone that is “reassuringly expensive”. Obviously expensive wines can be much better quality than your sub $10 bottle, but sometimes I wonder if the factor of price to quality can be justified.