Tag Archives: $10 Hall of Fame

The WC needs your help in choosing the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame

Hall of FameSend me your suggestions for the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame, so we can show the wine business we want quality cheap wine and not the plonk they want us to drink

The 2019 $10 Hall of Fame will appear in one moth – Jan. 4, 2019. And I truly need your help to find wines worthy of induction this year.

I always ask for – and appreciate – suggestions when I compile the best cheap wines of the previous year. But I’m asking earlier this year because prospects for the 2019 Hall are not good. As I wrote last year, the warning signs for 2019 appeared in 2018, and the situation has deteriorated since.

This was easily the worst year for cheap wine since I started the $10 Hall at the turn of the century for a Dallas magazine. Prices are up, quality is down, and added sugar seems to be everywhere. Too many producers don’t want to sell us wine, but alcoholic fruit juice. Even the Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier blend, once a Hall of Fame staple, has been tarted up with residual sugar.

What makes a $10 Hall of Fame wine?

• Price, of course. The wine should not cost more than $12 or $13; I’ve increased the limit over the past couple of years because of price creep.

• They should be varietally correct and without obvious flaws. In addition, they should be balanced and interesting enough to buy again. In other words, honest wines. I can’t emphasize this enough. Chardonnay should taste like chardonnay, French wine should taste like French wine, and so forth. Otherwise, what’s the point?

• A wine is not worthy of induction because it’s cheap; there’s a difference between quality cheap wine and wine that is made cheaply. We’re seeing entirely too much of the latter these days.

• Availability. No wines sold by just one retailer, like Two-buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s. My term is generally available – you should be able to buy the wine at a quality retailer in a medium-sized U.S. city.

Leave your suggestion in the comments to this post or click this link to send me an email. I start working on the Hall during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so keep that in mind if you have wines to recommend. And thanks for your help and continued support – we’ll get through this bad patch and make the wine business understand they can’t continue to foist this plonk on us.

July Fourth blog schedule changes 2018

The blog is off for the July Fourth holiday next Wednesday, and there are couple of other changes in our schedule next week:

• The wine of the week, which usually runs on Wednesday, will run on Monday. That way, you can buy it to enjoy on the Fourth.

• Our regular features return on Thursday, including Friday’s post discussing the continuing divide between what we buy and what the Winestream Media tells us we should drink.

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2014 $10 Hall of Fame coming Monday

$10halloffameThe 2014 $10 Hall of Fame will post on Monday, with several major surprises — including a $5 wine and a longtime favorite that dropped out because, sadly, it wasn’t very good.

Nevertheless, this looks to the strongest group of cheap wine ever, even more impressive than last year, which was perhaps the best Hall class in history. The Golden Age of cheap wine, where we’re drinking not only better made wine, but there are more wines of higher quality than ever before, continues with no end in sight.

This is amazing for at least two reasons: First, because the wine business is becoming increasingly desperate to raise prices, but cab;t because consumers aren’t willing to pay more (and more on that later this month). Second, because consolidation seems to dumb down wine quality, and consolidation — more bigger companies owning more brands — continues to increase.

Holiday blog schedule changes 2013

Christmas and New Year ?s Day fall on a Wednesday this season, so I ?ve had to make some adjustments to the the blog ?s schedule:

? The blog will be off Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 for the holiday. On Christmas, the annual Bruce Springsteen ?Santa Claus is Coming to Town ? video will post, while I ?ll run a wine tasting video — wine humor ! — on New Year ?s Day.

? The wine notes that usually run on Tuesday will appear on a Monday, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.

? The wine of the week, which usually runs on Wednesday, will run on a Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31.

? The 2014 $10 Hall of Fame will appear on Jan. 6. If you have any suggestions for the Hall, send me an email or use the link at the top of the page.

The 2013 $10 Hall of Fame

10hallThis was a record-setting year for the $10 Hall of Fame, with 12 wines making the cut. In some two decades of drinking cheap wine, I've never tasted so many that were so good. I came across at least one wine every week that was made me go, "Does this belong in the Hall?" That has never happened before.

Click here for the entire list, or the $10 link on the upper left of this page.

There were lots of surprises — the Mandolin syrah from California, a French picpoul from Font-Mars (picpoul is notoriously inconsistent), and even the Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red, which took $5 wine to a place I never thought it could go. The Hall's selection process and eligibility rules are here.

We're living in the Golden Age of cheap wine, and I hope everyone who reads this understands how lucky we are to be here. It's as if Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, and the Beatles were all on the same bill, all in their prime, tickets were free, and we never had to go home.

The 2011 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

$10halloffame Six wines in, four out, and an analysis of what happened with cheap wine in 2010. That's the result of the 2011 $10 Wine Hall of Fame. For all of the great wine I found last year — from Sicily, from Oregon, and even from France — this year's Hall was a bit of a disappointment. Click the previous link  to see which wines made it, or go to the upper left hand corner of the page.

No new California wines made the Hall. For the most part, the California wines I tasted (save for the old dependables like Bogle and Toad Hollow) were boring and unimpressive. California can make much better cheap wine (and it has), and I hope 2011 will show a return to form.

The ground rules for this, the fifth annual, Hall of Fame: The wines have to cost $10 or less (Dallas prices, though I will make an exception if prices seem to be higher here) and be generally available. That means no wines like Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck, which are only sold at one retailer. The final decisions are my own, and take into account what I think wine should be: varietally correct, balanced, and interesting enough to buy again.

I do take suggestions and input from dozens of people — blog visitors and wine drinkers, people I know in the wine business, and other wine writers. Thank you for your help.

Finally, two wines that almost made it:

? Barefoot merlot. I spent a lot of time on this one, and was encouraged by several people to add it, but finally decided not to. The Barefoot wines are professionally made, but I don't think they're as interesting as the wines I selected.

? Rene Barbier Mediterranean White: I love this wine, which is simple and pleasant and almost relaxing. But as much as I like it, it is, like the Barefoot, too simple. There's not just enough going on.

Coming Monday: The 2011 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

Seven wines in, four out, and an analysis of what happened with cheap wine in 2010 — that’s the 2011 $10 Wine Hall of Fame, which will post on the blog on Monday. Want to get a sneak peak? Browse to Olivia Wilder’s Art of Living Internet radio program at 8 o’clock central tonight, when Olivia and I will talk about the wines, take questions from listeners, and field queries from the show’s chat room.