While we are attempting to save money and cut costs as much as possible, a good bottle of wine is not something we begrudge ourselves. However, at the same time, we have decided to limit our budget and make a project out of finding good wines that don't hurt the wallet. We also try to go for organic wines as much as possible, as the whole process of making wine is dependent on the living microbiology of the soil, with the grapes forming character through the influences around the vine, which should not include pesticides and herbicides.
We had a fantastic bottle of red with the chicken cacciatore last night that was truly one of the best wines under 10 euros I have ever had, and I think it could even go toe-to-toe with bottles three times that price. We bought it from Botanic, a gardening/animal/organic food store, for €8.90. You can see on the label the little green stamp with 'AB' on it, which stands for 'Agriculture Biologique' and is France's certified organic symbol. It was also a silver medal winner in the 2009 "Challenge Millésime Bio" (Organic Wines/Vintage Competition - 'bio' is the common short way to say 'organic' in France).
The wine is from the south of France, which is a preferred region of ours for reds (as I feel the drier climate and hotter sun imparts fuller flavors to a syrah grape, but that's just my opinion): 2007 Pioch de l'Oule, Vin de Pays d'Oc*, Domaine Costeplane. It is Syrah 62 % Grenache 34% Carignan 4 %. The nose was knock-your-socks-off good (I almost could have contented myself with just smelling this wine all evening, almost...), bursting with juicy, dark red fruit, which also delivered on the palate. It was full bodied, yet extremely balanced and smooth, and tasted of the warmth of the southern sun. It was structured enough to accompany a (fairly light) meal, but it was also surprisingly light, and would be a great match for a platter of French cheeses.
* A little bit of history: for the south of France you find terms such as pays d'oc ("the country of 'oc' ") or Languedoc (=langue d'oc, "the language of 'oc' ") because long before France was 'France' or a unified country, there were many different regions with various influences and their own dialects. The main division, however, was from north to south, with the word for "yes" being "oil" then "oui" in the north (as it is in the modern French language, a story of political power determining linguistics), but "oc" in the south. Therefore Pays d'Oc or Languedoc are terms designating the area where people say "oc".