The news for those of us who worry about inexpensive wine has not been good over the past couple of months. Consumer Reports ran a value wine story that included two wines costing more than $20 and eight wines for more than $15. Best Cellars, the wine shop that started life with no bottle for more than $10, has moved that limit to $15 at its Knox-Henderson store (and it’s not too serious about that). And something called the Wine PocketList offers ratings of 1,700 wines, setting the value boundary at $30.

So what happened to decent wine for $10 or less?

Have no fear. It’s still out there, and it’s not as difficult to find as retailers, wineries and magazines want us to think in their continuing quest to sell us up. Regular readers of this space can probably recite a dozen or so that have appeared over the years, and there are still more to be discovered. Here are several to kick off 2004:

•  Most of the entire Bogle Vineyards line. This California family-owned winery produces consistently excellent varietals such as chardonnay, petite syrah and sauvignon blanc for less than $10. It’s all worth drinking, and every winery that aspires to value wine should study Bogle’s results closely.

• Bridgeview Blue Moon Riesling 2002 ($8). This white wine from Oregon (which its winery and distributor swear is available in Dallas County) is off-dry, which means it isn’t as sweet as German riesling, but is still soft with lots of fruit. Serve well chilled, with everything from roast chicken to seafood.

• Ste. Genevieve Chardonnay 2002 ($4). This Texas white wine will never appear in a wine magazine and will never receive a high score for its Fort Stockton winery to advertise. But if you don’t want to spend much money and want something pleasant to drink before dinner or with takeout Chinese food, you can do much, much worse than this. And believe me, I have.


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