Since I can't yet figure out how to do neat sidebars with categories, I figured compiling a list of the best cheap-o wines I've had since starting this blog 9 months ago would be the next best thing. (Just reds and whites, since rosé reviews from several months ago may not still be valid because of how fast rosés lose their freshness.) Here they are, with links to the reviews. As you can see, I find it easier to find good, cheap reds than good, cheap whites.
2003 Dominio de Eguren "Protocolo" (Tierra de Castilla, Spain) 87.
2004 Oxford Landing "GSM" (Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre) South Australia. 86+
2003 Château de Chatelard Beaujolais-Villages "Vieilles Vignes." 90+
2001 Zumaya Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero, Spain) 87. (under $5)
2004 Carchelo Monastrell (Jumilla, Spain) 87.
2003 "Panarroz" Monastrell (Jumilla, Spain). 88.¹
2003 Chateau Montroche Costieres de Nimes (Rhône Valley, France) 87.
2003 Patrick LeSec Côtes de Ventoux "Domaine de la Camarette (Vieille Vignes) 87.
2001 Beaumes de Venise "La Chapelle Notre Dame d'Aubune" (Côtes du Rhône Villages) 87.
2003 Messias Tinto (Setúbal, Portugal) 86.
2004 Novy "Four Mile Creek" Red (California) 87+
2003 Las Rocas Garnacha (San Alejandro, Calatayud, Spain) 90.
2003 "Cuvée de Peña" VDP Pyrenées Orientales (France) 86.
2002 Paringa Shiraz (Murray River, South Australia) 87.
2003 "Full Circle" California Zinfandel (organic) 87.
2003 "Tres Ojos" Old Vines Garnacha (Calatayud, Spain) 89.
2003 Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache (Spain) 87.
2003 DeBouef Regnie (Flower label) (Beaujolais) 90.²
2003 Villaroya de la Sierra "IA" Garnacha (Spain) 86. (under $5)
2004 Cousino-Macul Riesling "Dona Isadora" (Maipo Valley, Chile) 87.
2003 Calvet Reserve (white Bordeaux) 90.
2003 Georges DeBouef Mâcon-Villages (Flower Label) 86.²
2003 Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc) 90. (usually a little over $10, but frequently on sale for less that $10.)
¹ -- I haven't yet formally reviewed this wine, although I've had two bottles in the last couple of months, and it's full, ripe, gutsy, and balanced. Very well made, and available at pretty much all the Spec's locations.
² -- It's possible that these wines, based on their softness and lack of aging structure, may have changed and lost freshness, if not well stored, since my review.