This Hogue red is not as good as the Hogue Chardonnay we reviewed earlier in the week, especially given that good $10 whites are a lot harder to find these days than $10 reds, which are abundant.
Having said that, Hogue is a pretty reliable buy if you're in a small wine store on the way to somewhere and have to pick up a value red wine that you know will work no matter what the host is serving.
By blending merlot and cabernet grapes, Washington State's Hogue winery can make a distinct wine for this price category. It is not terribly complex, but has some oaky taste backed by cherries and other berries for fruit — along with some cinnamon and spice for balance.
There are better under-$10 wines, but if you're stuck for a bottle and this one happens to be in the store, it'll do nicely. If it's white sister is on the rack, definitely bring her along to dinner.