The Most Delicious Wines Under $10

You might not always be in the particular mood for a 1994 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (retail price $8,205), especially when saving for a brand new Porsche or kidney. Fortunately, I've got your back. There are some wonderful and widely available wines ripe and ready for the savoring that won't break the bank or your palate. I recently had the very good fortune of being introduced to wine professional Bobbie Lyons, who was generous with his oenological expertise and guided me to a fine selection that I whittled down to this fantastic list of wines under $10.

A note: There are certainly some widely available and famous favorites under $10, such as the ever-popular Apothic, Red Diamond, Smoking Loon, and McManus wines. These are certainly not to be sniffed at, but Lyons relayed the importance of also selecting wines from smaller vineyards and wineries he called the "mom and pop" variety. By being willing to sample from independent, lesser-known vineyards, he said, you are supporting family run businesses and can find some hidden gems. The following are some delectable wines of diverse variety, winery size and region for your sipping pleasure.

Cheers to both affordability and vinous integrity!

Crimson Thread red blend, $7.99

I've recently become a fan of red blends and this one is no exception. This Californian medium-bodied red is approachable, straight to the point and no-nonsense, much like my elementary school principal (minus the approachable part). The nose is rich and intense, dense with dark fruit flavors—cherry and blueberry—sweetened with hints of brown sugar and vanilla. If you're not sold by its flavor profile, perhaps the whimsical description on the back of its bottle will seduce you. "Crimson Thread is the path. Each winding turn reveals more intrigue, more mystery. We do not know where the thread will lead us, but the will of the unknown urges us onward. Where will the thread lead you?"

I'm not sure where the thread will lead me, but, by Jove, I'm ready for the adventure! This is a wine worth paying attention to because of its crowd-pleasing drinkability — and since its label was clearly written by the incarnation of Gandalf.

Crimson Thread's round, velvety finish makes it an excellent accompaniment to grilled halloumi or smoked gouda cheese and even roast chicken or thin slices of prosciutto. For its price value, you can't get much better than this. You just can't have any of mine.

Solnia tempranillo, $9.99

"Oh, how I love to be thrust outside my comfort zone," said no-one ever. This is a medium-bodied wine that I was suspicious of. I'm guilty of sticking to my favorite grape varieties and am not a tremendous fan of bold tannins (which are textural and are said to dry out your mouth like a wet tea-bag) or a lot of pepper or spice in a wine. To be honest, I was prepared not to like this at all. Imagine my surprise when I took a sip and enjoyed its casual and smooth balance of fruit and spice. Its woody spice kick gives it a complexity and enhances its bursting blackberry base. According to its label it "complements hearty stews and grilled meats, meals Don Quixote would have enjoyed on his travels." And who's to argue with Don Quixote?

This wine hails from a vineyard in La Mancha, Spain. Its name, Solnia, is derived from Sol, the Spanish word for sun, a perfect fit. Next time you prepare a paella, consider this lovely wine to elevate that rich rice and bold, savory flavors. And at $9.99, you'll still have a lucky penny to throw into the fountain and make the wish of your heart's desire in true quixotic fashion.

Cloud Break chardonnay, $8.99

I adore the name of this barrel-fermented wine. I must also cop to being extremely picky about chardonnay. If the wine is overtly oaky, I feel I might as well be sucking on a cork or the soles of my wedge shoes. Cloud Break, however, floats my boat. Produced by O'Neill Vintners, it tastes like a chardonnay at a much higher price point than $8.99. It's velvety rich, slippery smooth and as creamy as the butter produced by the loquacious, sunglass-clad California cows in the commercials. Cloud Break has a toasted oak base with hints of vanilla and apple and even—surprise!—a little coconut, because we all need to be reminded of the tropics as often as possible. I recommend taking this wine to a picnic, flicking that red and white checkered blanket and savoring this full-bodied chardonnay with some brie or a Manchego and your favorite crisp bread. Cloud Break would also pair beautifully with pork chops and a dollop of apple butter. It might feel weird to be chowing down on a pork chop in the middle of a picnic blanket, but I won't judge you. That sounds like an excellent idea to me. Own it.

A tip: Try warming this chardonnay slightly (to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit). This will really release its bold, buttery flavors and allow you to savor every creamy note.

Chateau Montet sauvignon blanc, $9.99

I'm partial to the sauvignon blancs from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, which have incredible acidity and sharp, mineral flavors. So, I was tremendously excited to sample the difference of a French sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux, France. Specifically, this wine hails from an area known as Entre-Deux-Mers, which translates as "between two seas" though those seas are technically the rivers Garonne and Dordogne. It's an area famous for its dry white wines. Chateau Montet sauvignon blanc is produced at Château Haut Guillebot by winemaker Marie-Christine Renier Labouille, who succeeded her mother, Eveline, in 2006. This winery has passed down through the women of seven generations from 1790. Now that's something to raise your glass to!

Chateau Montet sauvignon blanc is a delightful, light-bodied wine, both crisp and with a zesty note of citrus and grapefruit. It isn't as sharp as its Marlborough region counterparts and could be paired beautifully with seafood or, honestly, an old shoe insert, it's pretty darn drinkable.

Spier rosé, $9.99

The rosé from Western Cape, South Africa, is 60 percent chardonnay, 40 percent pinot noir and 100 percent awesome. It's worth noting that Spier, established in 1692, is one of the oldest wineries in South Africa, so they must know what they're doing. Aside from its crisp, bright flavors and the burst of strawberry this wine offers, I'm an enormous fan of the winery's practices. They pride themselves on ethical farming and finding a balance between building a business and environmental responsibility, with a focus on the health of the soil and the people they employ. The winery also boasts a hotel, an art collection, a restaurant, wedding hosting, Segway tours, a deli, eagle encounters, an artisanal bakery and an Afro-bbq smokehouse. There's also a cheetah sanctuary on its grounds, so this is clearly the greatest place on planet earth.

This rosé's gorgeous salmon pink color should help you to remember to pair it with salmon of the smoked variety. It would also complement avocado and pretty much any cheese your little heart desires. Excuse me, I have to go book a flight to South Africa with all this money I've saved on wine.

La Delizia prosecco frizzante, $8.99

We all have a go-to wine. It takes a Herculean effort to sway me from my favorite prosecco, La Marca, which teeters precariously above the $10 mark. But here is a prosecco I'd cheat on La Marca with. This wine falls under the requisite $10 price point and is fresh, light and highlighted by ripe and mellow notes of peach. It pairs beautifully with fish or as an aperitif. You also couldn't go wrong by sipping it amidst bites of prosciutto-wrapped melon or even with an Asian noodle dish of your liking. It's the perfect bottle to bring to a gathering (family, celebration, seance) since it's so fresh, fruit forward and will please most palates.

In addition to its delicious and highly quaffable nature, geniuses at the University of Reading have found that drinking prosecco can be good for you. So, drop that $8.99 and chin chin. It's for your health, after all.

A3 cabernet sauvignon, $8.49

Life is a cabernet, old chum! Cabernet sauvignon is the most planted wine grape in the world and this one is smooth as silk—palate-pleasing enough to drink any time, any place, with any one. Cherry and currant swirl together and high-five toasted vanilla high notes. It's even pleasing to the eye, its decadent velvet burgundy painting the sides of your Riedel glass or Solo cup. For reasons I can't explain, it makes me want to eat bacon or a pizza fresh from a brick oven with piping hot strings of mozzarella and a snowing of sausage — but very, very elegantly. With a fork and whilst wearing a monocle.

A3 is produced by Trinchero Family Estates near California's Napa Valley region. It's classically characteristic of cabernets from Napa, showcasing bold red fruit flavor, well integrated tannins and an exceptionally smooth and lingering finish.

You can savor every sip and can't argue with the quote on the front of their minimalist label, "Raise a glass and make the most of every moment."

Rock View riesling Columbia Valley, $8.99

Some rieslings are so cloyingly sweet that your teeth threaten to jump ship and fall out mid-cocktail party. This riesling is an off-dry, fresh and fruity choice with juicy notes of peach, apples and honeysuckle. Rock View has a lovely greenish hue and much like Gisele Bündchen, very nice legs. The wine provides a light sweetness that would take the edge off a blazing hot curry, but has enough acidity to pair with a meal of duck or bacon — there really can never be enough bacon. The grapes are sourced from Milbrandt Vineyards who boasts one of the youngest head winemakers to oversee a large winery in Emily Haynes at 33 years old. Millbrandt was also originally a potato and apple farm before it blossomed into a world-class winery.

Dream big, people. Dream big.

Barnard Griffin fumé blanc, $8.99

In the 1960s, Robert Mondavi barrel-aged his sauvignon blanc to create a drier wine and whimsically renamed it fumé blanc in a most triumphant marketing ploy. I'm very glad he did. There is a distinctive creaminess to barrel-aged sauvignon blanc. This wine is very drinkable, with a mineral essence and citrus kisses of apricot and pear. I pair this wine with seafood—in particular shellfish—feta cheese, or even a mountain of Ferrero Rocher depending on how many people were texting while driving next to me on my journey home.

A note: Many wineries oak-age their fumé blanc as Robert Mondavi did, but there are no regulations regarding this, so it's always worth asking what you're getting before purchasing a bottle if you have a preference for the barrel-aged flavor.

14 Hands Stampede red blend, $9.99

I love this red blend as well as 14 Hands's iconic chocolatey merlot. Named after the wild horses that once galloped all over the hills of eastern Washington State and who only measured 14 hands (one hand being an approximate palm width), Stampede has a lot of cedar and a little spice in the nose. The flavor, however, is bursting with cherry and a hint of oak. I would pair it happily with a mature cheese, beef or a rosemary and thyme seasoned roast chicken. It can also be chugged heartily straight from the bottle depending on how many pointless meetings you've had to endure during your work day.

The land the horses used to roam is now covered in wheat fields, wineries, vegetable farms and wind machines, but what a romantic notion to think of them proudly printing the land with their hooves. Those eastern Washington wild horses were known for their endurance, strength and tenacity. I feel this exciting and reasonably priced red blend exemplifies this, delivering a stampede of well balanced flavors with every sip.