Picking a good wine can be a chore on its own. But picking a good wine that’s also cheap is definitely hit and miss. There are just so, so many options on the grocery store shelf. It’s overwhelming. Add in the snobbish funk that still lingers around tasting rooms and vineyard events (even though both are increasingly less snobbish these days) and you have a very hard-to-get-into alcohol.
The truth is, wine, like beer, is for everyone. It’s a simple fermentation of grape juice that’s been aged in order to mellow the flavor. That’s all. Some grapes and aging processes bring out certain flavors due to locality and terrior, but, really, there’s not any more to wine than that. And though taste is fun to cultivate, all that really matters is, “Do you dig it?” As with all things in alcohol and food, don’t let anyone tell you what to like. A true expert will help you grow your palate, not insist upon what’s good and what isn’t.
With all this in mind, we thought we’d cobble together a list of some of the best cheap wine on the market. We’re talking under ten dollars — red, white, and rose. It goes without saying that this list is not comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of American wines that cost less than a sawbuck. Add in European wines, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and so on and that number skyrockets into the thousands. But we’ll say this much: This list is 20 bottles of wine that will not disappoint, from a Netflix and chill night to a day dressed to the nines for the Catalina Wine Mixer. Let’s roll!
Gnarly Head Merlot
Gnarly Head wines are a good place to start any wine journey. Their Merlot is a straightforward, red fruit structured wine that gets the job done (it’ll get you drunk). Overall, this wine is perfect for those lazy Sundays when all the chores are done and you’re chilling in the backyard watching a few hot dogs plump up on the barbecue.
Challis Lane Old Vine Zinfandel
Sticking with good ol’ California wines, Challis Lane rarely disappoints. Their Old Vine Zin is a big, hefty red that’ll do wonders with a venison rack or bison ribeye. The wine is very jammy, as they say, with heavy fruit, chewy oak, and a slight pepper bite.
Menage a Trois Red
Where that Old Zin above was big and bold, Menage a Trois Red is subtle and small. The blend of California reds is a very easy drinking wine that has soft tart fruits driving the flavor with a crisp edge that goes down easily.
14 Hands Hot To Trot Red
Up Washington way, 14 Hands puts together great red blends. Hot To Trot is a very berry forward red with good hits of stone fruit and oakiness. Translation: it tastes good and the price is right!