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Category Archives: $10 wine

Wine of the week: Argento Malbec 2014

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argento malbecThe Wine Curmudgeon can think of no higher praise for the Argento Malbec: I don’t like malbec, and I would not only buy it, but serve it to my friends.

That’s because the Argento Malbec ($8, sample, 13.5%), an Argentine red, is everything most grocery store wine isn’t: It’s not cloying, it’s not too soft, and it’s not smooth in that mindless way that so much wine in supermarkets is. In fact, grocery store wine has no right to be this well made, based on how much junk I taste every year, and part of me still doesn’t believe it was this good. But sometimes, Big Wine (Argento may be near 1 million cases a year) gets it right.

Look for fresh black fruit, a little spice, and the soft tannins that separate malbec from merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Plus, the almost cherry aroma wasn’t like the Jolly Rancher cherry smell that makes me want to dump other wines down the drain. Pair the Argento malbec with any red meat, and especially a hearty winter stew, as well as sausages with red sauce. Highly recommended, and the perfect wine of the week for the introduction of the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame on Friday.

2016 $10 Hall of Fame coming Jan. 8

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2016 $10 Hall of FameWhich means this is your opportunity to nominate a $10 wine for the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame. Leave your suggestion in the comments to this post or click on the link to send me an email. Know that the wine needs to cost around $10 (and I might be a bit more flexible about price this year) in much of the country and can’t be a private label like Two-buck Chuck; complete eligibility rules are here.

This year, we’ll feature $10 wine information much of the first week of January, including the third annual Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions. And, because so many have requested it, you’ll be able to print the new $10 Hall of Fame — in a PDF — and take the list with you to the wine shop.

This is the ninth annual $10 Hall of Fame, so I’ll have to come up with something terrific to celebrate a decade of great cheap wine in 2017.

Bogle wins 2015 cheap wine poll

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cheap wine poll 2015

Bogle wins the cheap wine poll for the second time in three years.

And it wasn’t even close, with Bogle more than doubling second place Falesco Vitiano to win the 2015 cheap wine poll. This is Bogle’s second consecutive victory, and its second in the poll’s three-year history.

That Bogle did so well again speaks to not only the company’s commitment to quality, but to its availability. Bogle combines value with a huge retail presence — as one commenter wrote, “it may be the best wine one can buy in gas stations in Mineola, Texas, as well as Princeton, Maine.” Most cheap wines do only one or the other, and some don’t even do that.

Which, apparently, is the case with Two-buck Chuck. The Trader Joe’s brand has finished last every year, but I guess that it has sold more 600 million cases over the past decade is some consolation to the retailer.

The biggest surprise? That Barefoot did so poorly, finishing seventh after coming in second last year. In addition, given how many people Google sends to the blog to read about Barefoot, that the brand didn’t pick up any of those votes this year makes its performance even more shocking. Barefoot overload, perhaps?

Not surprising? That Yellow Tail and Cupcake finished eighth and ninth. I added them this year not because I thought they would do well, but to include more well-known brands. That they did so poorly speaks to why they sell — the former is cheap, and the latter is cute. Quality doesn’t have much to do with it.

This year’s results are below, and you can find the 2014 and 2013 polls here and here. The 2016 poll will return next year at this time, and I’ll include a couple of suggestions from the comments. And is it time to retire Bogle and let someone else win?
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