Penny-pinchers can find good wine for about $10

Right about now your Christmas credit-card bills are arriving. You need a glass of wine badly, but can't bear to put another charge on the plastic.

Hey, I've got your back. Here's a list of OK wines for $10 and under.

These are everyday wines. Monday-through-Thursday night wines.

Don't put them away in your cellar. Drink them now — while watching American Idol or college basketball. Drink them with macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, midwinter beef stew, chicken from the supermarket rotisserie.

Take a look:

  • 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, Beaujolais (gamay): not Beaujolais Nouveau, but full-fledged Beaujolais, with more body and fruit, it's still a tender wine, with intense, red-raspberry flavors, best served chilled with deli meats, rotisserie chicken, tuna salad and such; $10.
  • Nonvintage New Age White, by Valentin Bianchi, Mendoza, Argentina. (90 percent torrontes, 10 percent sauvignon blanc): sweet and fizzy with flavors of litchi and white grapefruit, this should be served cold, even over ice, as an aperitif or with spicy food such as Thai, Tex-Mex, Chinese; $10.
  • Nonvintage Camelot Chardonnay, Calif.: hint of oak, flavors of sweet peaches, soft acids, good with seafood, chicken; $7.
  • Nonvintage Camelot Pinot Noir, Calif.: aromas and flavors of red raspberries and citrus, light-bodied, soft, a good red-wine-with-fish wine; $7.
  • Nonvintage Camelot Cabernet Sauvignon, Calif.: black-plum aromas and flavors, soft, good with burgers, meatloaf; $7.
  • 2011 Pepi Sauvignon Blanc, Calif.: light and crisp, with flavors of white grapefruit and lemons, good with light fish dishes; $10.
  • 2011 Pepi Chenin Blanc-Viognier, Calif.: soft and lightly sweet, with lively acids and aromas and flavors of ripe apricots and oranges, good as an aperitif or with spicy food; $10.
  • Nonvintage Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee Sparkling Wine, Calif. (chardonnay); crisp and dry, with big bubbles and flavors of green apples, good with fried chicken because its bubbles cut the fat; $10.
  • Nonvintage Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry Sparkling Wine, Calif. (chardonnay): in the confusing lexicon of sparkling wines, "extra dry" is one step up in sweetness from "brut," this would be great in a mimosa or bellini; $10.

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