It’s Saturday night and you are staying home because you are broke, cannot find a babysitter, don’t feel like going out or none of the above. For whatever reason you are in for the night, but have the urge to pop open a bottle of wine. Yet, you are broke and need to find a bottle of decent wine for $10 or under. That, my friends, is where I come in to help you.
It is Saturday night and I am home, due to most of the above. In my need to blog more with interesting wine bits for my readers, I have decided to help my Saturday night, feeling poor, friends by tasting 4 different wines under $10 (for those needing to stay within their budgets).
The 10 dollar challenge goes as this:
Pick 4 different wines from 4 different locations, all under $10, to see if they are worthy enough to drink. I decided to focus one region – Spain was the choice tonight. I opened all bottles, knowing most of them will be thrown down the sink. I wanted to taste the differences, not to drink tonight. This is all for you my readers!
The good news is most of these wines I found in at least two stores!
#1: 2009 La Aldea : 100% Monastrell- Jumilla region Trader Joes $7.49
I was able to find a TJ’s wine expert to help me decide what wine I should choose for my challenge. Many of their Spanish wines were under $10, so I wanted to hear his expert advice on wine. He a promised full bodied, full tannin wine, with a very nice finish. The description of the wine states a ripe wine with blackberries, dark cherries, earth and wild flowers.
The verdict: bland, tart, not bold at all. There was very little flavor. I did not taste a hint of any fruit. This would be a wine to buy when you just want to get drunk. Not a sipping, enjoyable wine at all.
Sorry Trader Joe wine expert, I question your knowledge.
#2: 2009 Coto de Hayas- Garnacha/Syrah Fred Meyer $8.49
Ok, I am feeling hopeful with this challenge. First of all, I give a lot of credit to Fred Meyer (Kroger) – their wine section impressed me!! I was blown away by the selection of wines, not just Spanish, but all regions. I stood there, in shock and awe, trying to decide on a wine. The negative is that I received no help. So, I blindly chose.
The verdict: Smooth wine, with a berry finish on your tongue. Not a favorite wine by a long shot, but a decent wine for the price. A wine to take to a party. It is different enough to impress your usually non-drinking wine friends!
#3: Don Ramon Red- 75% Grenache, 25% Tempranillo Greenlake Wines $9.00 (also at Fred Meyers)
The help at Greenlake Wines was appreciated. The selection was small, so I had little hope in finding a wine under $10. However, the sales clerk showed me a couple Spanish wines within my budget. He thought this wine would impress me, so I took his advice.
The verdict: Very, very nice medium bodied wine and a great buy. I had a very hard time deciding what this wine tasted like though. The wine left a spicy dance on my tongue with some berry tones – but hard to determine which berries.
I was only tasting these 4 wines (otherwise I would not be able to write), but this bottle of wine I could sip and enjoy. It is hard to describe, but a joy to drink.
#4: 2007 Campo Viejo Rioja – Crianza Safeway $9.99
As I went stopped at my final store, Safeway, I was nervous I wouldn’t find a $10 Spanish wine. I was very happy to find a Rioja within my price range. I love Rioja’s. They have to be one of my favorite wines. So, I was excited to try my find.
The verdict: Undrinkable. I couldn’t even finish my taste. Even foods wouldn’t help this wine (in my opinion). I may try it again tomorrow, just to give it a second chance. Sadly, I was very disappointed. A wine I will steer clear from. Sorry Safeway – you scored the lowest tonight.
The final verdict is that I was not 100% sold on 3 of the 4 wines. Number 2 was decent enough to take to a non-wine drinking friends party, but Number 3 was by far the most enjoyable. For the price, it has the most fun potential. You will find it at Trader Joes, Fred Meyers and possibly small wine shops (I purchased it at Greenlake wines), which makes obtaining this wine a breeze.
Your next Saturday night in and you want to try something different, pick up a Don Ramon, you will be happy with your investment.
Enjoy your wine night in!