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What’s the best cheap wine brand 2014?

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best cheap wineWelcome to the Wine Curmudgeon’s second annual cheap wine poll, which runs today through Dec. 16. I’ll post the results on Dec. 18.

You can vote for the brand you like the most or against a label that you don’t like — just click on the respective buttons next to each entry at the bottom of this post. You can vote here or on the Ranker site, where the poll is hosted (and thanks again to Ranker, the blog’s unofficial polling widget). If you get the blog via RSS or email, click here to vote on the blog or here to vote at Ranker.

Share the poll with your friends and fellow cheap wine drinkers by clicking on any of the social media buttons at the bottom of the poll or at end of the post. I want to beat last year’s 700 participants.

I’ve included 10 producers, including a new one from last year, based on several criteria: The wines cost around $10, they’re generally available (which means you can find them in a retailer in a decent-sized city), and they’re popular enough so that people have heard of them. Falesco Vitiano won last year and Two-buck Chuck finished last.

The Best Cheap Wine Brand 2014

Great quotes in wine history: The Prisoner

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No. 6’s reaction after being told that he has to taste each wine, in order, in the 2014 Wine Spectator Top 100. Unless he tells why he resigns.

A tip o’ the Wine Curmudgeon’s fedora to the Dedoimedo website; this post is based on his “My reaction to — ” series. The video is courtesy of The TruthWealthFreedom Foundation via YouTube, using TubeChop.

Wine of the week: Melini Chianti Borghi d’Elsa 2013

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Melini ChiantiThis summer, the Wine Curmudgeon attended a big-time Italian trade tasting, which included five Chiantis from the Melini producer. None of them cost more than $25 or $30, which is saying something for big-time Italian trade tastings.

All of which means that the 300-year-old Melini knows a thing or two about making quality cheap wine, and the Borghi d’Elsa ($7, purchased, 13%) amply demonstrates this expertise. It’s a red wine made with sangiovese from the Chianti region of Italy, and every time I taste it, I’m surprised by how well done it is. Look for berry fruit, more black than red, clean and fresh, and just enough character — some tannins and earthiness — to let you know this is wine from Italy. It’s a simple wine, but as I have noted before, simple does not have to mean stupid.

The other that impresses me about the Melini Chianti? The company doesn’t waste money on the bottle, which is lightweight and without much of a punt. Would that other cheap wine producers did the same thing.

This is winter red sauce wine, and braised pot roast wouldn’t be so bad, either. If it’s not quite a $10 Hall of Fame wine, it’s still better than most of the $10 wine on store shelves, and shows just how much great cheap wine there is in the world.

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