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OPINION | BOTTLE SHOTS: 5 'good enough for a weekend' wines under $15

by Seth Eli Barlow | September 29, 2021 at 1:49 a.m.

I regularly receive emails commenting on the price of the wines I write about in this column. Often, people are appreciative of my choice, but a few think any wine above $9.99 is too expensive. To them, I say don't ever change. No, really. I could buy a seat on a SpaceX rocket with the amount of money I've spent on wine.

With that in mind, I wanted today's column to feature "10 wines under $10." I studiously did my research, visiting local wine shops and looking at online retailers to find the best bottles an Arkansan could buy for $10. Unfortunately, I didn't find much to recommend. There were, of course, wines in that price range, but they weren't bottles that I'd want to drink myself, which means I can't suggest them to you. (For those of you who look for the cheapest wine with the highest alcohol content, I recommend switching to vodka. It has fewer calories.)

So, in lieu of 10 wines under $10, here are five wines for $15 or "wines that are cheap enough for a Tuesday, but taste good enough for a weekend."

HB Picpoul de Pinet, $11

I have a terrible habit of forgetting this wine exists for a year or two until someone brings it to a party and I'm once again reminded of how great this little bottle is. An unassuming white wine from southern France, think of this as pinot grigio with a pixie cut. Look for notes of lemon rind, wet rocks and honeydew.

Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay, $14

I can feel the judgment of wine snobs as I write this. The fact that this wine can be found in almost every store in America might garner a few upturned noses, but the fact remains that you'll be hard-pressed to find a better value chardonnay in this price range, and I think the same wine from a fancier bottle would fool a lot of people.

Domaine Rosier "Terre de Villelongue," $15

This sparkling wine from Limoux in southern France has absolutely no business being as good as it is for this price. Made from a blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc and pinot noir, it's full of bright and citrusy notes of orange blossom and lemon cream.

Los Conejos Malditos, $11

This might win the award for "cheapest and most cheerful" wine in this column. Tempranillo, the Spanish grape known for its bold and buxom fruit profile, is made here in a lighter, more carefree style. Notes of cherry and raspberry mingle with a floral perfume that's always a favorite. Pro tip: Stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes before you drink it.

Crios Malbec, $15

Word got out in the mid-90s that malbec was a good "value" wine, and while I'm not sure that's always the case some 25 years later, bottles like this prove that good wine doesn't have to cost a whole paycheck. Look for the wine's magenta color near the rim of your glass — it's a tell-tale sign of malbec.

As always, you can see what I'm drinking on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to sethebarlowwine@gmail.com

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