Tag Archives: $10 Wine Hall of Fame

2019 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

$10 Hall of Fame 20198 wines entered the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame, but long-time standbys like Bogle and Segura Viudas dropped out

The Wine Curmudgeon never thought he would write these words: Three of my all-time favorites, wines I’ve been drinking for more than 20 years, weren’t good enough to make the 2019 $10 Hall of Fame.

Bogle’s reds (excepting the pinot noir), plus the Segura Viudas and Cristalino cavas were a shell of what they have been; none were included in this year’s hall, the 13th annual. The former were noticeably and unpleasantly sweet, and not nearly as well made as Bogle’s sweet Essential Red. The cavas tasted more like Italian Proseccos than Spanish sparkling wine, soft and sweetish and devoid of cava’s crispness.

And that was just the beginning of the bad news:

• More than a dozen wines dropped out, including two other standbys: The Gascon white blends that have been in the hall for most of its history, and the Dry Creek fume blanc. The best Gascon, Domaine du Tariquet, lost its importer and isn’t for sale in the U.S. anymore, while the Dry Creek tasted bitter and harsh, something else I never thought I would write.

• Higher prices continued to wreak havoc. The Chateau Bonnett red, white and rose, which cost $6 in Europe, can cost three times that much in the U.S. I left the wines in the hall because I can still find them for $10 or $12 in Dallas, but this may be the last year I can include them. Because, frankly, they’re not worth $16 or $18.

• The decline in quality was marked. The venerable Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier, which was once Hall of Fame quality for $10, today costs as much as $16 or $17 and isn’t worth it, either — awkward, unbalanced, and touched up with residual sugar. Consistency has become a problem, too. A wine could taste the way it’s supposed to one time, and completely different the next. This points to shortcuts in winemaking, as well as use of less expensive and inferior grapes.

• Availability continues to get worse; witness the Tariquet. Meanwhile, distributor consolidation means wineries that produce 200,000 or 300,00 cases — once enough to rank among the biggest in the country — aren’t big enough to find a national distributor. Hence, they will only be sold in parts of the country. That almost happened to McManis, another Hall of Fame standby, in 2018.

I wrote last year “this may be the last Hall of Fame for a long while where this many wines are good enough to earn induction. The quality at $10, and even $15 or $18, isn’t there, sacrificed for ‘smoothness,’ the chance to upsell consumers to equally inferior wine, and a resurgence in cute labels and marketing trickery.”

I take no pleasure in being right.

The $10 Wine Hall of Fame 2019 is here. You can also find it at the Hall of Fame link at the top of the page. The Hall’s selection process and eligibility rules are here. I considered wines that cost as much as $12 or $13 to take into account price creep and regional pricing differences.

You’ll be able to print the Hall as either a text file or a PDF. Look for the icon on the upper right hand corner of the post.

2019 $10 Hall of Fame coming Jan. 4

2017 $10 Hall of FaneThe 2019 $10 Hall of Fame will appear on the blog on Jan. 4.

The 12th annual $10 Wine Hall of Fame will appear on Jan. 4. The  2019 Cheap Wine of the Year, the second annual, will post on Jan. 3.

Thanks to everyone who left comments and sent emails with wines to add to the 2019 Hall of Fame. I wanted to include several of them, but availability reared its ugly head. Almost all of your wines aren’t sold in most of the country. Case in point: I haven’t seen a current vintage of the Pacific Rim dry riesling in Dallas in years.

And it didn’t help that several wineries and distributors failed to respond to my queries about where to find their wines. That’s both disappointing but not surprising.

Finally, about half the suggestions were private label wines sold by just one retailer or with limited distribution on the west coast. Hence, they aren’t eligible. Complete eligibility rules are here. Also, don’t be upset if your favorite grocery store wine didn’t make the Hall. The wines I pick aren’t just easy to drink or easy to find; they’re the best of the best. That’s the point of the Hall, after all.

$10 Hall of Fame 2019

2018 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

2018 $10 Hall of Fame13 wines entered the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame, but there is bad news for cheap wine on the horizon

Do not look at the 13 wines that entered the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame as a sign that all is well with cheap wine. Rather, this year’s Hall class may be the last great moment for cheap wine before we enter the dark ages of middling quality and overpriced wine.

Look past the total, and details were ominous:

• Six wines dropped out, one more than 2017, and price creep reared its ugly head. The venerable Pine Ridge chenin blanc viognier, which has been in the Hall for a decade, can cost as much as $15 now. And it’s just not worth $15.

• Just three California wines that aren’t McManis or Bogle in the Hall. That speaks volumes about how difficult it is to find quality cheap wine from California, thanks to exorbitant land prices and that most producers can’t afford to make cheap wine that’s worth buying.

• The induction total was boosted by five roses, which says more about the quality of rose than it does about cheap wine. Take out the roses, and we had a very ordinary year.

• Availability got worse this year, and it is going to get even worse. The wine business increasingly revolves around the biggest retailers like grocery stores, national chains, and the like, and the biggest retailers only want wine from the biggest producers. And most great cheap wine doesn’t come from the biggest producers.

• The weak dollar, which has lost most of its value from this time last year, will eventually force an increase in imported wine prices — and most of the value is in imported wine.

In other words, this may be the last Hall of Fame for a long while where this many wines are good enough to earn induction. The quality at $10, and even $15 or $18, isn’t there, sacrificed for “smoothness,” the chance to upsell consumers to equally inferior wine, and a resurgence in cute labels and marketing trickery.

So celebrate while we can. The $10 Wine Hall of Fame 2018, and my annual assessment on the state of cheap wine, is here. You can also find it at the Hall of Fame link at the top of the page. The Hall’s selection process and eligibility rules are here. This year, I considered wines that cost as much as $12 or $13 to take into account price creep and regional pricing differences.

Again this year, you’ll be able to print the Hall as either a text file or a PDF. Look for the icon on the upper right hand corner of the post.

2018 $10 Hall of Fame coming Jan. 5

2017 $10 Hall of FaneThe 2018 $10 Hall of Fame will appear on the blog on Jan. 5.

This year, besides, the 11th annual $10 Wine Hall of Fame, we’re adding a new feature — the 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year. It will appear on Jan. 4.

Do you have a wine I should consider for the Hall? Leave your suggestion in the comments to this post or click to . Know that the wine needs to cost no more than $12 or $13. Also, you have to be able to buy the wine in much of the country, so it can’t be a private label like Two-buck Chuck that’s sold only in one retailer. Complete eligibility rules are here.

$10 Hall of Fame 2019

2017 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

2017 $10 Hall of FameNine wines entered the 2017 $10 Hall of Fame – nuts to premiumization

The biggest surprise in the 2017 $10 Wine Hall of Fame? That nine wines entered the hall, and it could have been as many as 15. Or that four dozen wines got serious consideration, the most since the beginning of the recession and three times as many as least year.

This, after the horrors of the past couple of years, was shocking. I had expected, as late as November, to find few wines to consider and even fewer to add. But as I went through my notes and the suggestions from blog visitors, the quality and quality became apparent.

We’re not quite re-living $10 wine’s pre-recession glory days, but it’s possible to find lots of great cheap wine – just look outside the U.S. and look for something other than cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and pinot noir.

The new members of the 2017 $10 Wine Hall of Fame include two Italian Tuscan red blends, including one from Big Wine; the Angeline California sauvignon blanc; a French rose, Villa des Anges; two French reds; the Naia Spanish white; a French white, Moulin de Gassac Guilhem; and a Hungarian white, the Chateau Pajzos Furmint.

Five labels dropped out, most for availability: The Chilean Cono Sur wines; Tractor Shed Red, a California field blend; the Little James Basket Press red and white blends, availability and quality; the $5 Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red, quality; and the Hey Mambo red blend.

The $10 Wine Hall of Fame 2017, and my annual assessment on the state of cheap wine, is here. You can also find it at the Hall of Fame link at the top of the page. The Hall’s selection process and eligibility rules are here. This year, I considered wines that cost as much as $12 or $13 to take into account price creep and regional pricing differences.

Again this year, you’ll be able to print the hall as either a text file or a PDF. Look for the icon on the bottom right hand corner of the post.

2017 $10 Hall of Fame coming Jan. 6

2017 $10 Hall of FaneThe 2017 $10 Hall of Fame — the 10th annual — will appear on the blog on Jan. 6. And yes, it has been a terrific decade for great cheap wine.

Do you have a wine I should consider for the Hall? Leave your suggestion in the comments to this post or click to . Know that the wine needs to cost no more than $12; I’m raising the limit this year for the first time. Also, you have to be able to buy the wine in much of the country, so it can’t be a private label like Two-buck Chuck that’s sold only in one retailer. Complete eligibility rules are here.

Also running Hall of Fame week: the fourth annual Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions. And, because this is the 10th annual Hall, we’ll have a couple of book giveaways to celebrate.

And finally, a decade in the making — the Wine Curmudgeon e-shop will debut during Hall of Fame week.

The 2016 $10 Wine Hall of Fame

2016 $10 wineThe good news is that eight wines made the 2016 $10 Wine Hall of Fame this year, including two California sauvignon blancs, a huge shock given how little most California producers care about cheap wine quality. That’s four more wines than last year, while only three dropped out.

The bad news? That for the second year in a row, there were only a dozen or so wines that merited serious consideration, as wine prices go up and cheap wine quality continues to go down. In fact, I had to hedge on pricing this year, not so much to find new wines but to keep old favorites in the Hall. The price creep from $10 to $12 (and even $13 or $14) goes on, and sooner or later it will push wines out of the Hall. Case in point: The legendary Pine Ridge chenin blanc-viogner blend is a steal at $10 and a fine value at $12, where it seems to be priced these days. But it’s not really worth more than that.

Nevertheless, there is terrific wine in the 2016 $10 Wine Hall of Fame. My favorite new member is the Argento malbec, an $8 Argentine red that made me realize that inexpensive malbec doesn’t have to taste like Welch’s grape juice. Click here for the entire list, or click the $10 Hall of Fame link at the top of the page. The Hall’s selection process and eligibility rules are here.

This year, you’ll be able to print the Hall as either a text file or a PDF, something I added based on your requests. Look for the icon on the bottom right hand corner of the post.

The new members of the 2016 $10 Wine Hall of Fame include the Argento, the Hess and Line 39 sauvignon blancs, two roses, two Italian reds, and a cava. Dropping out is the wonderful Muga rose, a victim of price creep; the Yellow + Blue box wines, which are almost impossible to find any more; and the Louis Jadot Beaujolais, which reverted to form this vintage.

Photos courtesy of Glass Half Full, Provincetown, Mass., using a Creative Commons license