Drinking red wines are an essential part of everyday life and a form of sustenance for many European countries like Italy. Drinking red wine has a religious component to it and offers many health benefits like antioxidants, resveratrol, and increased heart health. I also might mention that drinking wine has mental health benefits as well in moderation.
I appreciate drinking expensive wines just as much as everyone else, but I also believe it is absolutely possible to drink great and not spend a lot of money, especially in many other regions like South America, Europe and beyond. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of tasting and selecting red wines for wine lists all over the world.
I’ve probably had over 150,000 different wines at this point in my life. Through all of those experiences, I have compiled a list of red wines priced at under $20 that is by no means inclusive, but will give you a great start on saving money with wines that taste great and are perfect for sharing with friends and family. These are in no particular order.
A Malbec that hails from Chile so it gives a different expression than those from Argentina or France. While Chile is usually known for its many selections of Carmenere under $20 that are delicious, I selected this Malbec. The sale sale price in the link above make it an immediate winner! This wine has silky tannins, black plum and graphite notes with well balanced fruit to acidity ratio.
Spicy full-bodied red wine hailing from Rhone France is classic of the region and has a strong sense of terroir. It is a 100% Grenache bottling that easily exceeds on the value component. Think ripe fruits, but really easy to pair with meats, chicken and fish.
My favorite producer in Montefalco Umbria produces some of the top 100 wines in the world with Wine Spectator. He also happens to make a delicious blend of Sagrantino, Sangiovese and Barbera which is pure heaven in the glass! I recently visited Giampaolo where I tried a 2000 Rosso which blew my mind for its elegance and ageability. Think about a medium to full bodied red with grippy tannins, brught red sherry, slight orange zest and perfect balance!
This pick would easily be the star of the party at most barbecues in America with its rich dark berries, white pepper, leather and spices. It is medium-bodied, but it is a supple pairing partner for most of your backdoor barbecues. It also hails from down under in Australia.
I know this one was a smidge above $20, but it is well worth it. Mexico taxes all their wines at nearly 50% making it difficult to find some under $20. It hails from the oldest winery in all of the Americas, and is a blend of Cabernet, Cab Franc, and Syrah. It has round tannins, ripe fruit, red flowers and various spices; but super elegant! Come to understand this winery dating back to 1529 by savoring some of its delicious red wines like this.
One of my favorite Brunello producers that is extremely small, well awarded in Italy but hard to find in America. This wine has a long intense perfume with red fruits, cherries and tobacco. The acidity and long finish could pass as a Brunello to most people and for good reason! This is the perfect opportunity to try Brunello Sangiovese fruit at a fraction of the price.
Hailing from Piemonte, Italy this is a great opportunity to try the fruit of what makes Barolo/Barbaresco at a fraction of the price. This co-op winery is year in and out one of the most reliable wines to drink from the area. Explore and learn what makes Nebbiolo so special!
This red wine hails from an active volcano, Mt. Etna Sicily, and is 100 percent Nerello Mascalese which is related to Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Super elegant with a flinty minerality that pairs well with a myriad of dishes. Etna Rossos from Sicily are serious wines that can be aged as well so you don’t need to drink all of it now. Take a peek at some of this producer’s higher end bottlings as well.
This producer in the early 2000s was awarded 100 points twice by Robert Parker while his red wines made out of his parents’ garage in Spain! (Contador) This Predicador red wine pick is one of his other wines made in Rioja, Spain. The bouquet is full of crushed red cherries, balsamic and wonderful baking spices. It gives way on the palate to a spicy silky smooth elegant finish. This wine can aged or drank now; but it definitely exceeds its price point.
For those of you who want to drink Syrah from the finest producing region in the world known for it (Northern Rhone, France) this would be a producer to look for. Here we have an example that is readily available without breaking the bank! Think meaty, spicy notes with green, vegetal characteristics as well. Paul Jaboulet is one of the largest producers so be sure and try some of their other wines as well.
Dr. Laura Catena and her family have been producing some of the finest wines in the world for decades now. They were just named the number one winery in the world in 2019. This pick is one of their entry-level bottlings that is a blend of many high mountain vineyards they have of Malbec. It is juicy, fresh and easily quaffable! A great introduction to Malbec from Argentina.
This list of red wines will hopefully inspire you to get started on trying some of the world’s best wines from some of the best wineries without having to spend a lot of money, extensive searching or even shelling out a lot of dough. It is just a start as I could certainly name hundreds of incredible red wines for this list. If you would like to learn more and connect with me you can do so on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
#EatDrinkExplore: Shop for wines at the end of the month or at the end of the year. It’s usually at this time when wineshops are trying to eliminate inventory in order to close their books and you can sometimes get a discount on some great wines.