Life, it has been said, is too short to drink bad wine. Absolutely true. But serious wine-lovers realize something that might be lost on more casual drinkers: There is no absolute relationship between wine price and wine quality. A $100 bottle may or may not be better than a $20 one, but it almost certainly won't be five times better — and there are plenty of $10 wines that are as good as those at twice the price.
A related fact that is sometimes lost on folks reaching for a bottle in the wine shop or pointing to a number on a restaurant wine list is that whatever you're paying for your tipple, you should be paying it for what's in the bottle, not what the label says. Sometimes wineries (or grape varieties) you've never heard of have a lot to offer. At the same time, though they might not always advertise the fact, sometimes well-known producers offer low-price alternatives to their more famous bottlings.
Here, then, are 10 wines that you might be able to find for something between $6 and $10, and mostly closer to the former (though note that the prices given are approximate, and will vary from place to place).
Did the IRS hit you so hard this year that even $6 to $10 seems like a stretch? If you live in a state that allows such enterprises to sell alcohol, check the house brands at Walmart, Target, and Trader Joe's. The quality of these wines can be highly variable, but sometimes you'll find a gem for less than a six-pack of Bud.
Banrock Station Chardonnay 2014 ($6)
This bargain-price Australian offers surprisingly vivid chardonnay character in both the nose and mouth. This is a tropical-fruit-style chardonnay (think pineapple), with some lemony acidity but without too much oak.
Santa Isabel Torrontés 2013 ($7)
This aromatic, spicy wine from Argentina's noted Bodegas Nieto Senetiner is a good choice for those who like just a touch of fruity sweetness in their wine. With its mouth-filling flavor and notes of acidity, this one, like most torrontés, makes a good partner for Asian food with a bit of heat to it.