Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | December 31, 2010


What a fun year 2010 has been for The Cork Scrooge! More than 100,000 readers have visited the site and shared their love for value, quality red wines. As we head into the New Year I want to thank everyone who made suggestions, left comments and visited the site. I can’t wait to see (and taste!) 2011 with you all.

And now, in no particular order, here is the top ten list of reviewed red wines for under (or just at) $10 from the past year. Almost all are still on the shelves at your local wine store waiting for a spot at your New Year’s bash. Salute!


From the review…The 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley) lets you know right out of the bottle that it is ready for its close up. The deep red color signals that you are about to sink into a real, no kidding, wine country Cabernet with all of the jammy sweet tannins one would hope for in a big bad red. This bottle packs a wallop and we let it sit for a few minutes before digging in. The 2007 is a big red in every way. It has nearly 15% alcohol, lush tannins, and a dryness that grabs a hold of you and won’t let go. As much as I enjoyed this wine for the price, be forewarned: this is no wimpy budget red. If you don’t like dry, tannin filled cabs, steer clear of this bottle and head back to the kiddie wine isle for something a bit lighter and sweeter. This bottle is for grown ups only. And at $9 a bottle, I would dare say it is one of the better big red California cabs for the price available today…”


From the review…The Excelsior offers a full bodied mouthful of enticing blackcurrant and plum flavors wrapped in mildly dry tannins that make you sure you must have spent more for the bottle.  I drank my first glass moments after twisting the cap, and it was very enjoyable. It is especially critical in the summertime months to be sure to slightly chill your red wine, it will make the experience all the more enjoyable and refreshing on a summer evening…This wine tastes like a $14 to $18 bottle and continued to impress throughout our dinner of BBQ chicken and summer squash risotto. For what you’d expect to pay for a cheap glass of wine at a local restaurant, the 2007 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon (available online and at local Total Wine retailers) offers a very nice bottle at a superb super value price. This one is one of my favorite super values on the market today.”

COASTLINE 2007 SYRAH ~ $10.00

From the review…“The 2007 Coastline Paso Robles Syrah deserves a place on every wine shoppers list this weekend. You can be forgiven if you have never heard of this wine, or never knew they made a Syrah. Even the winemaker’s own website fails to mention the Syrah offering. For $8 a bottle at Total Wine, this is a safe bet for a mixed crowd of wine drinkers. The light blackberry and black cherry accents are well mixed with just a hint of vanilla and a slight, but present, spiciness that rounds out the glass nicely. As I finished my second glass I was reminded of several recent Syrah’s that I found equally enjoyable for under $10 and I came to the conclusion that this was a grape I needed to get to know better.”


From the review…“Dr. Jebediah Drinkwell’s 2007 Meritage is no snake oil filled elixir parading as a California red. This stuff is the real deal and for around six bucks a bottle, it should please just about everyone on your wine list…The 2007 Meritage is an interesting blend of Cabernet Franc (60%), Merlot (27%), Cabernet Sauvignon (11%), Malbec (1%) and Petit Verdot (1%). Straight from the bottle the lightly fruit flavored meritage offered a well balanced dryness on the backend that mellowed nicely as we poured the second glass. Dark cherry and light chocolate flavors filled the glass with a bit of a peppery kick added for intrigue…There are surely better tasting value reds available on the market today for under $15, but there are few I have found for less than half that price as well balanced as Drinkwell’s. This is an easy drinking red without any surprises that will surely be a crowd pleaser for your next large dinner party or spring BBQ. For between 5-$6, you can’t go wrong. Chill slightly and allow to breathe for 5-10 minutes and I think you too will be surprised by what Dr. Drinkwell has to offer.”

PHEBUS 2009 MMC MALBEC ~ $6.00

From the review…The 2009 MMC is a testament to this belief and offers a blended Malbec that is ruby red in color with a light fruit-filled kick that is at times not too complex while still filling the glass with an entirely enjoyable glass of wine. The 2009 is a blend of 70% Malbec, 15% Merlot and 15% Cabernet (hence the name “MMC”). Moments after corking the bottle the medium tannins grab your palette and let you know that this is still very much a young wine. 15 minutes into the tasting however the Phebus opens up nicely with red berry-jammyness filling out the glass. In the super-value price range today, few bottles are drinkable let alone enjoyable. For $6 a bottle you will be hard pressed to find a better Argentinean red than the 2009 MMC.”

ALAMOS 2008 MALBEC ~ $8.00

From the review…In my opinion, this is one of the better under $10 bottles of wine available today. It is not only drinkable, it is an entirely enjoyable bottle of wine. The 2008 Alamos Malbec is to be imbibed right out of the bottle (it does open up nicely after a few minutes but it is also a great drink straight from the bottle slightly chilled at 55 degrees). The dark red color and slight berry flavors typical of the Malbec are in abundance – balanced well with a nice nose and not too dry yet not too sweet smooth flavor. For around $8 at your local grocery store, Costco or wine merchant, the 2008 Alamos Malbec is a great starter for those looking to become more familiar with the grape as well as for those looking for a budget crowd pleaser for every day wine enjoyment.”


From the review…Chile’s Colchagua Valley has been turning out some inspiring value red wines in the past few years, and one of our favorites is the Root: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon. We opened the 2008 last night and were as pleased as we have been with past vintages. Right out of the bottle this cab has a dryness that grabs your palette and doesn’t let go until the wine slips past your tongue bringing a light, almost pinot noir-esqsue flavor. After about 3-4 minutes of breathing, the black currant and cherry flavors come forward and the wine moves from a dry jammyness to a fruit forward, yet smooth, glass of wine…”


From the review…Concannon has a rich heritage in California as one of the first wineries to pioneer Bordeaux and Rhone-styled wines and for my fellow Irishmen, the Concannon’s are also recognized as one of America’s first successful Irish vintners. They also claim to have introduced the world’s first Petite Sirah. This wine had a fine nose, a little fruit forward but after a few moments it opened up nicely and went well as a pre-dinner beverage as well as a nice accompaniment to dinner.  If you are looking for an everyday Cab for $8 (some places have it for as low at $6) this one is a safe bet.”


From the review…The 2008 Pepperwood Grove Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, from the storied Sebastiani wine making family, should be on everyone’s short list for everyday enjoyment. Right out of the bottle, this Chilean Cab makes quite an impression. For less than $7, the 2008 vintage is incredibly smooth and offers a dry, not too fruity flavor with a nice kick of blackberry. This wine is really best enjoyed slightly chilled and should be imbibed right out of the bottle. Oddly enough, the wine was actually less tasty as it had time to breathe. The lesson here: don’t savor it, drink it.”


From the review…The vibrant ruby red, almost purple color that immediately fills each glass of the 2007 Bodega Norton Reserve Malbec lets you know right away that you are in for a serious glass of wine. Aromas of dark berries and vanilla  grab your senses as the first drink reminds you that even a very good Malbec can benefit from a few minutes to breathe. As the has a few minutes to settle, this award winning 90 point rated 2007 Argentinean pops with vanilla and fig flavors that contiue to blossom into one of the finest $10 Malbecs on the market today.”



  1. I am use too drinking vinegar. Are these wines, any better?????

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