Pitchers and Catchers Report Under $10 Challenge


Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training this week. Why does this matter? It means spring is here, regardless of what the groundhog says, and that grilling season is right around the corner. The Mariners have added Cliff Lee to their pitching rotation and ‘game maker’ Milton Bradley to the outfield in the hopes to improve upon their winning season last year. Regardless of the outcome, one guarantee – I’ll be out on the deck with a glass of wine (and the occasional beer) rooting them on.

The under $10 wine challenge is an effort to field a team of 9 quality wines and a few bench players that YOU can trust. The budget wine category is the most precarious for wine selection. Finding a good quality made wine can be a challenge. With the help of my Social Media friends, we will field a team before the 2010 All Star break.

To date, 15 wines have tried out, been in the batting cages, and worked out with the trainer, and only two have made the starting line-up (Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc and Bogle Petit Sirah). Two wines are holding out in AAA ball working on their game (Dancing Bull Zinfandel and Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon)

Today’s training brings the traditionally rich Chardonnay trying out for Right Field, Riesling shooting for Second Base, and a Pinot Noir looking to gain a spot at Third Base.

For all my scouts on Twitter – I’m looking for your recommendations for Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparking, Bordeaux Blend, and Syrah). To qualify, the wine must be widely available and under $10 (on sale counts).

The NectarView

2008 Cono Sur Pinot Noir

  • The Stuff: 100% Pinot Noir from the Central Valley of Chile. Four months in 35% oak / 65% stainless; 13.4%ABV 
  • The Swirl: Elegant and delicate light purple, mostly translucent but with modest jewel tones.
  • The Sniff: Very green – like a Christmas tree – with strawberry and smoke. Slightly earthy.
  • The Sip: Very grapey Welch’s juice with hints of green twig and strawberry
  • The Score: For a $10 Pinot Noir, I score this a 3 (out of 5). This is a wine that has potential and is not embarrassing or poor.

This is the first Pinot Noir to try out for the team. I’ll send this one to AAA for the potential to be called back up. It’s missing the sweet elegance that I would expect from a Pinot.

2008 McManis Chardonnay

  • The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from the River Junction Vineyard in California; partial malolactic fermentation in stainless steel; 13.5%ABV
  • The Swirl: Pale yellow but not the rich thick of a standard Chardonnay, reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc in color
  • The Sniff: Tropical aroma of melon and pear, very faint hints of Chardonnay vanilla and butter
  • The Sip: Chardonnay characteristics on the front with strong citric and melon on the back end. This is a Chardonnay trying to come out as a Sauvignon Blanc. This is a refreshing Chardonnay that has hints of sparkling wine.
  • The Score: While this is not a great representation of a Chardonnay, I score it a 3+ (out of 5). It is a quality wine with a well balanced flavor for only $8

I’m looking for a Right Fielder, not a First Baseman. This wine is schizophrenic but well made. Not making the team as the Chardonnay, but will be back in my wine rack for parties.

2008 Chateau St. Michelle Riesling

  • The Stuff: 100% Riesling from various Columbia Valley vineyards, 12%ABV
  • The Swirl: Very light, pear in color
  • The Sniff: Mild peach, citrus, and metallic aroma
  • The Sip: Moderately sweet front end with a well balanced dry back end wine. This would be considered an off-dry Riesling. Hints of peach and lemon peel
  • The Score: For only $6 this is a 3+ (out of 5). This is a solid wine for the money.

This is the first Riesling to try out for the team and will most certainly make the squad.

Cheers and Drink.Happy!


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

29 comments on “Pitchers and Catchers Report Under $10 Challenge

  1. Mary Cressler

    No Malbec allowed on your team? You could have two all star players if you consider these two awesome value Malbecs from Argentina! Tomero and Gouguenheim Malbec. You can find both for around $10 (give or take depending on where you get them). Just sayin’. I (heart) Malbec.

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks for the recommend – will put these on my search list. Malbec could be a DH or Pinch Hitter or even a Bullpen reliever. Petite Sirah made the team but wasn’t on the original list.

  2. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  3. Ben Simons

    Another good post in this series. It makes me thirsty for some wine, and for some baseball action.

    Interested to see what ends up being the hidden superstar to emerge from your sub $10 tastings. I always love it when I find a really surprising wine in this category.

    1. drinknectar

      I agree! Finding a superstar among the mix will be fun. Do you have any recommnedations, fellow Twitter Scout?

  4. Ben Simons

    Pheasant Ridge makes a nice Chenin Blanc for less than $10, but you really can’t get that outside of Texas very easily. :) I’ll be thinking about that one though. It seems like I’ve found the most value in that price range from less well known varieties. There are some decent Malbecs under $10.

    BTW, thanks for the shout out on the video. I commented earlier before I had watched the video. I appreciate the kinds words.

  5. Joshua S. Sweeney

    Thanks for the shout-out, Josh! It’s been a blast getting involved in the social media wine community.

    I gotta second Mary’s vote for Gouguenheim… after all, my old company imports it ;-). All kidding aside, I bought a case of it myself a couple months ago. I love their Malbec. Other ones under $10 to try? Honey Moon Viognier and Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato. Great bargains for good wines.

    1. drinknectar

      Josh and Ben – thanks for the recommendations, I’ll add them to the list I carry with me when I’m shopping. Cheers!

  6. Joe

    Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier, Alamos Torrontes, Ravenswood Cali Zinfandel, Rene Barbier Catalunya Mediterranean White, Marques de Caceres (White) Rioja, Tormaresca Neprica (Apulia)…regionally, I don’t know what can be found and what might be under $10, but you may find some utility players there…

    1. drinknectar

      Time for me to go shopping! Thanks for being great scouts!

  7. Culinary Fool

    You might try d’Arenberg Stump Jump Shiraz 2008. I opened it last night and thought there was potential. Plan to check it again tonight.

    1. drinknectar

      Stump Jump, that sounds familiar – I think I’ve had it, but not reviewed it. Good suggestion!

  8. Kate

    What a great post!
    The Chateau St. Michelle is such a solid choice, and would be one of my top players on the Under $10 team.

    I havent checked to see if you have reviewed this in the past, but I’d like you to give a tryout to the Twin Fin Cabernet Sauvignon. At $7 – $10, depending on the store, its one of those wines I can count on when I’m traveling for work, or away from home and just need to find a reliable bottle of wine for cheap.

    The last time I had this wine was while I was traveling for work in Texas and found it at the local Walmart. Since I was staying at a hotel, I didn’t have access to my wine glasses, wine stoppers, etc. This wine tasted great in my dixie cups and tasted good the second day it was open. How often can you say that about your wine?

  9. Shannon Casey

    My wife loves the Chateau St Michelle Riesling. It is one of our staples (even though it isn’t a Michigan wine!)

    1. drinknectar

      Shannon, you can’t just drink Michigan wine all the time (right?)

      Kate – Thanks for stopping by and for the great recommendation. I’ve seen Twin Fin in the store, I’m pretty sure. It’s always fun to have wine in dixie cups. I’ve had it in coffee cups, Nalgene, flasks, etc.

  10. winemonologues

    I am a big fan of the Chateau St.Michelle Riesling. . a staple for sure. Have not had the other two. Thanks for the insight!

    1. drinknectar

      Do you have any recommendations to add to the list, Mike? Would love to go shopping soon!

  11. Kevin "Atlanta Wine Guy" Glowacki

    I don’t even care for baseball, but love this series. Maybe I should do football, since that is more my liking.

    You have to admire Chateau St. Michelle for their ability to keep up the quality at so many different price points.

    Suggestions (some of which I’m sure are repeats from me):

    Sparkling: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva; Segura Viudas Aria, Domaine St. Michelle
    Cabernet Sauvignon: 2007 Bogle, 2008 McManis
    Pinot Noir: Feudo Arancio (from Italy…their entire lineup is pretty good), 2008 Redtree
    Malbec: 2008 Elsa Bianchi
    Other: Garnacha del Fuego
    Sauvignon blanc: Brancott

    If you are counting the $10 limit as a per bottle limit, you might want to look at Black Box wines, which average out at around $5 per 750 ml, but come in a 3L package, so have friends.

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks Kevin – I went to the store with your previous recommendations and was able to locate the Segura Viudas Brut and two others (I think the Bogle Petite Sirah was your rec). They didn’t have the RedTree Pinot and some of these are new additions. The shopping list continues to grow!


  12. kevin - WineDudeOnline

    nice job on the post. Looks like you’re getting alot of positive feedback. You may be able to find the 2007 shiloh road cab sauv around $10 if you have a bevmo or something like it. If not, that should go on your under $20 All-Star team!
    Kevin- WineDudeOnline

  13. Chris

    Altos de la Hoya Monastrell
    Pillar Box Red
    Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Villages
    Alamos Malbec
    Strong Arms Shiraz
    Marquis Philips Shiraz

  14. Chris

    Can’t forget — Casillero del Diablo Carmenere!

  15. Seattle Wine Gal

    This price point’s getting tougher and tougher for me (unfortunately). I do feel that 14 Hands is pretty darn palate friendly. Otherwise, I often find myself going to Argentinians or Spanish reds for under $10. Great post by the way, thanks!

  16. markmye

    The CSM riesling is $5.99 at Costco. it is by FAR the best value for that money.

    But most other stuff under $10 is only good to get drunk on most of the time.

    I think if u double it, the $20 level offers many more that are tasty, and offers some level of complexity.

    1. drinknectar

      Oh, Mark believe me I know but most wine beginners I know are staying under $15, thus the challenge, to pick through the trash to find the jewels. We may not find superstars, but we’ll find some descent offerings that are worthy to be called wine. thanks for the suggestion!

  17. markmye

    I think the best thing to do with sub $15 or sub $10 is to scour the market (local and internet) for close outs.

    i.e. I’ve found $50 Bdx closed out for $19.. or $90 wines closed out for $36 etc (especially in this economy). I’ve seen $25-30 goodies closed out for $12 or $9.99 etc. those are the wines to try, and if you like, load up on.

    regular prices wine under $10 is painful usually hahaha :)

  18. Martin Espericueta

    Hey Mark, I’m a 3rd time visitor, and 1st time poster. Great site!

    I really enjoyed the Chateau St. Michelle Gewurztraminer more than their Riesling. But they are both priced under $10 at my local Savemart. VERY awesome everyday “goto white wines”.

    Thanks for what you’re doing!


    1. drinknectar


      Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t had their Gewurz yet. I think you meant (Josh – not Mark) but that’s cool – I respond to whatever

      drink happy

  19. Pingback: Nectar Monthly Honors February 2010 | Drink Nectar

Leave a Reply

hack türkiye elektrik faturası ödeme turkcell fatura ödeme doğalgaz faturası ödeme ttnet faturası ödeme iski fatura ödeme vergi borcu ödeme