$10 Wine Hall of Fame 2024

10 wines entered the Hall of Fame this year, while 5 dropped out

Yes, there are terrific wines in this, the final $10 Hall of Fame. But that so few wines were were worthy of consideration — just a dozen this year — speaks to how little the wine business cares about anything costing less than $15.

Most Saturday nights, I cook and we drink wine with a first course and another with dinner. And I can’t tell you how many times last year we looked at each other and said, ”Boy, that’s crummy wine.”

In fact, the wine business’ disdain for quality cheap wine has struck my beloved rose with a vengeance: Only one rose made the Hall this year, and only a couple of others were worthy of consideration. This is a travesty; rose should be the cheap wine drinker’s friend. But no more. The focus seems to be making the next 92-pount $25 rose and the result is that too much rose — way too much rose — that doesn’t cost $25 is sweet or nasty or both.

Not surprisingly, availability was the main reason five wines dropped out — the French Le Petit Gueissard and the Chilean Tres Palacios roses; the 1-liter Azul y Garanza tempranillo from Navarre in Spain; the French Little James Basket Press white; and the French Mont Gravet carignan has, apparently, stopped being made. I should add that the Azul y Garanza also took a price increase and its quality is far from what it once was.

The Hall’s selection process and eligibility rules are here. I considered wines that cost as much as $13 to $15 to take into account price creep and regional pricing differences.

The new members of the $10 Hall of Fame 2024

The French Jadix picpoul, more subtle and less tart than others, and even a savory note — and always first-rate.

• Another French picpoul, from La Chapelle du Bastion: “Softer, rounder picpoul, so almost stone fruit in addition to the citrus.”

• France’s Domaine Bel Air Muscadet: “Layered, nuanced, and almost savory, not something easily done with Muscadet.”

• The Protocolo Blanco white blend from Spain: “A little rounder and more rich this time, less citrus and more stone fruit.”

• A long-time WC favorite, Spain’s Marques Cacera verdejo, which shows that supermarket wine doesn’t have to be gloppy: “More round and full and much less tart and one note this vintage — an amazing accomplishment.”

• South Africa’s Wolftrap white and red blends. How can the white “be so layered and fresh and only cost $10?” The red shines in its own right, with its rich, deep syrah showing off.

• California’s Shannon Ridge Vineyard Wrangler Red, “Top-notch field blend-style wine that does all it should do — fruity but not sweet, balanced, and even some herbs, maybe?”

• The Italian Jeio Bisol Prosecco Brut, a Prosecco that seems to have two or three different names. But it’s worth the confusion: “Top-notch Prosecco that is a steal at this price.”

• The only rose, France’s Paul Mas Cote Mas Aurore — and in a 1-liter bottle, no less. “Buy a case at this price — Provencal style, so barely ripe berries, stony, and crisp.”

The Hall of Fame 2024 holdovers

• California’s Rickshaw sauvignon blanc, a wine I really like and which I wish more California producers would draw inspiration from: “a stunning wine – both for quality and value.”

• The blog’s 2023 Turner Cheap Wine of the Year, California’s Matchbook cabernet sauvignon. This is one of the best California cabernets I’ve tasted in years, regardless of price.

The Gascon Musketeers. These are white blends from southwestern France, led by Domaine Tariquet. In this, almost any $10 white Gascon blend is worth buying, and quality seems to have returned after several years of indifference.

• Several French muscadet and Picpouls, including the Chesnaie Muscadet  and the Reine Juliette Picpoul, a classic example of this white wine — so yes, lip-smacking.

• The 2021 Turner Cheap Wine of the Year, the the MAN chenin blanc from South Africa. In fact, South African wine may be the world’s best values these days, given wines like the this and The Badenhorst Curator white blend.

• A Portuguese red and white from Herdade do Esporão Alandra, which offered evidence the Portuguese can make a huge contribution to cheap wine. The white is “crisp and spicy, with lots of pleasantly ripe stone fruit.”

• The Spanish Balnea verdejo: “An almost stunning wine. … somehow layered and almost nuanced – but costing nothing more than a bottle of very ordinary supermarket plonk.” In this, it looks like Spanish verdego is establishing itself as a quality cheap wine, much like Gascon blends.

• The Bernier chardonnay, which shows what the French can do with supermarket chardonnay — “round and full and with green apple and pear fruit.”

• The French Le Paradou viogner. This white shows viognier at its best — wonderfully fruity, but not sweet or stupid.

• Banfi’s Centine red and white wines and its CollePino wines. The Centine red “tastes like sangiovese from the Tuscan region of Italy, and not a winemaking-driven product from a marketing company focus group trying to figure out how to make a sort of sweet and very smooth Italian wine.”

• The Monte Antico Toscana, an Italian red blend, combines value and quality in a way too many cheap wines don’t bother with any more. It tastes Italian, but it’s not old-fashioned or full of winemaking gimmicks.

• The Santa Julia Mountain Red, which is here even though i don’t like this style. But it’s not sweet-ish and soft, and taste slike a top-notuch Argentine red.

• A vinho verde, the Aveleda Fonte, the first vinho to make the Hall. But why not? “Perhaps the best vinho verde I’ve ever tasted.”

• Tempranillo from Spain’s Rioja region remains a great value, despite the tariff. The LAN Crianza is one of the best of those values – earthy, peppery, and a hint of orange peel. Also, the El Coto Rioja crianza.

• The McManis California wines, all of which are worth drinking and some of which, like the merlot and viognier, are stunning.

• The Scaia glass closure white blend and rose, Italian wines that remind me of the greatness of $10 wine. The rose was named the blog’s 2022 Cheap Wine of the Year.

Straccali Chianti, an Italian red that is so well-made that it “embarrasses all those $15 grocery store red Italians with their cute names and shiny labels.”

Famillie Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages, a French red blend with grenache, syrah, and mouvedre that just keeps getting better with age.

• The Lamura Sicilian wines, as well as the Feudo Zirtari and the Stemmari grillo. Each recalls a time when Sicily produced some of the world’s great cheap wine.

Moulin de Gassac Guilhem, a French white made with odd grapes from a producer much better know for expensive wine. The rose is worthwhile, too.

• The La Fiera pinot grigio: “Quite possibly the perfect pinot grigio — a little lemon fruit and a restrained, quinine-like finish, three flavors, and not overdone in any way.” This is from importer Winesellers, Ltd., and most of their wines offer quality and value.

• The Spanish Ludovicus white and Zestos red, white, and rose, the Flaco tempranillo and the Gordo red blend, as well as the Cortijo rose, brought into the U.S. by Patrick Mata’s Ole & Obrigado. If you see Ole on a label, buy the wine.

• The Hall’s rose wing: The French La Vielle Ferme rose, one of the biggest surprises of my wine writing career, as well as the Bieler Sabine, the 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year; and the Charles & Charles from Washington state. Plus, Farnese, from Italy; the Provencal Pierre Rougon, complete with garrigue; the odd and intriguing Italian Li Veli, made with the negroamaro grape; the Spanish Riscal, the French Chateau Campuget; and the Italian Masciarelli, made with the montelpuciano grape.

• Assorted Spanish cavas, or sparkling wines (though they may cost as much as $15 in some parts of the country): Dibon, which Robert Parker liked as much as I did; Casteller, “tight bubbles and tart, sweet lemon fruit;” and Perelada, brut and rose, “impossibly well done for the price;” and the Naveran.

Previous $10 Wine Hall of Fames

The original $10 Hall of Fame