The best $5 wine I've ever had...
Covey Run Gewurztraminer '05 (on sale now at 4.99 at BevMo!, but still a good deal at 6.99) - very crisp and good violet/lychee aromas, ever-so-slightly sweet from moscato blended in, and good for white dishes/mildly sweet desserts, and of course, at that price, for drinking alone.
Definitely not that complex a wine and not the best wine ever but, especially at this price, it just hits the sweet spot for me, so I better stock up!
Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red is mine....here in the Boston area I get it for $4.50 a bottle!
My lastest $5 favorite is Garnacha de Fuego.
Bodegas Zabrin Garnacha de Fuego Old Vines Calatayud, Spain 2005
$4.99 in this market.
"It is hard to believe a $7 wine could possess so much flavor. Sweet raspberry and cherry fruit intermixed with loamy soil and spice aromas soar from the glass of this medium-bodied, richly fruity red that has never seen a hint of wood. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89. —Robert Parker, August 2006.
The best I ever had were some of those incredible Chilean cabernets back in the 1980's before Chile became "cool". You could get reserve bottlings for 5 bucks or so back then, some of the best cab on the planet... alas, no more.
I'm a big fan of the Banrock Station wines at that price point. The syrah and chardonnay are both quite good. They also put forth some effort towards sustainable and organic farming, which I think is worthy of support.