21 Best Cheap Red Wines That Taste Like A Thousand Bucks


The benefits of drinking red wine in moderation have been well documented and continue to be researched. Improvements in memory, muscle strength, and the cardiovascular system are just a few of the perks that come with enjoying the occasional glass of Merlot or Cabernet, but for those on a limited budget, red wine can be a luxury item.

If you don’t have an endless stream of money to throw into the Pinot fund, the line between gas station wine and an affordable, quality bottle of red is one that must be taken with care. Here is our list of best cheap red wines whose quality outweighs their price tag.

Best red wines under $10

  1. 2009 Bodegas Nekeas Sindoa Tempranillo

The Tempranillo grape is lauded as the basis of some of the best tasting wines of Spain and Portugal. Originating in the Navarra region of northern Spain, the grape has now been thoroughly adopted by Californian, Argentinian, and Australian growers. Thankfully, this has resulted in an abundance of affordable reds derived from the Tempranillo grape at local wine stores. This particular brand has a good reputation among wine critics, and at only $8 per bottle, it is a certified bargain. What sets this wine apart is the hint of spiciness, which gives it a certain lightness of flavor that suits a barbecue or summer picnic perfectly.

  1. 2009 Esser Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

This is another wine with a unique taste that sets it apart from its peers at similar price points. The berry-driven Cabernet is known for a slight peppery taste which is attributed to the Petite Sirah grape that is used in the production of this red. Priced at approximately $10, depending on your city and state, it is another wine that delivers more bang for your buck.

  1. 2018 Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 

You may notice a trend among these more affordable wines: unique flavors and ingredients that create a sensory experience that defies conceptions of what cheaper wines can offer the palate. This year’s Wolftrap follows this pattern, as it has a pronounced blackberry flavor that mixes well with its more-subtle dark plum and spicy undertones. This Syrah-Mourvedre red will ensure you don’t break the bank while giving a dinner gift or enjoying it for yourself.

  1. 2018 Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend

Why settle for one when you can enjoy a blend of your favorite wines in one insanely cheap but delicious red wine? Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon come together to give you a dark red wine with hints of vanilla and mocha. This rare red blend wine comes from the best vineyards of California, USA. It has an ABV of 13-14% and is best paired with lamb dishes. 

  1. 2015 Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo

Coming from Spain, Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo has soft, supple, clean lines similar to Pinot Noir but with a spicy punch. It has an intense rich flavor of ripe cherries, strawberries, vanilla, and spice. If you are in Spain or want to enjoy this red wine to the fullest then have it with grilled veggies, meat, pasta, or tapas. This wine has 13.5% alcohol and a rating of 88/100 points.

  1. 2015 Roscato Rosso Dolce Provincia di Pavia IGT

This rare blend red wine was produced in Lombardy IGTs from Lombardy, Italy. The IGT label denotes wines that were made with more freedom, introduced in 1992. This lush and balanced dessert wine has intense aromas of blackberries and wild berries and pairs well with chocolate and caramel. It also has a low ABV of 5%.

  1. Jaboulet Parallele 45 Rouge (FR)

When shopping for a quality red wine, you won’t find many quality options. The Jaboulet Parallele 45 is a wine based on the Grenache-Syrah blend that is made all year round. The major dominant flavors that go inside are cherry and blackberry. The wine has got a great balance of certain elements like citrusy, silky, and somewhat cherry-like.

Best red wine under $15

  1. 2015 M. Chapoutier Les Vignes De Bila-Haut Rouge

In our list of the best red wine under $15, we start with M.Chapoutier which comes from a village called Cotes Du Roussillon in France. This wine goes well with any lamb dish and has a red and intense texture. With an alcohol percentage between 12-14. If you have a good nose, you will be able to smell smooth, leather-like chocolate-flavored cherries from your glass. Berries dominate the smell and taste of this wine.

  1. 2014 Bogle Petite Sirah

Just a small pint and you will smell notes of tea leaf, cherry cola that along with earthy tones add to the richness and depth of the grapes. When you take the first few sips, you will be greeted with cherry-like toasty herbal tones that give a silky and smooth mouthfeel. Bogle Petite Syrah is usually aged in American oak for 12 months. This makes for a great cheap sweet red wine. The Sirah goes well with lamb and has around 13-14% alcohol content.

  1. 2014 Cline Lodi Zinfandel

Considered among the top 10% of all wines in the world. Cline Lodi Zinfandel is made from the grapes of the Lodi region in the USA. You can pair this wine with beef, lamb, or poultry. Cline Lodi Zinfandel consists of 14%. You can smell fresh and deep aromas of leather and berries. The whole wine has a very concentrated essence of vanilla and red fruits. The alcohol content of this wine is 14%.

  1. 2014 The Pinot Project California Pinot Noir

Another great option in the 10-15$ segment is Pinot project California Pinot noir that’s named after a mythical creature. The pinot is a cherry cola spice character which has been inspired by the classic Russian River wines and that too at just 1/3rd of the price. This red wine goes well with chicken and turkey. In the first glimpse, the color is very red and has a critic score of 88/100 on major wine sites.

  1. 2015 Domaine Skouras Red St. George-Cabernet Sauvignon Peloponnese

The Skouras red wine is one of the best recommendations in the 10-15$ wine range. Not only is this a cheap yet high-quality red wine but it also has Beaujolais like fresh cherry flavors. This red wine is produced by Domaine Skouras and goes well with duck, goose, and game Birds. In terms of notes, you will have a 90% indicative blend and 10% Aghiorghitiko.

  1. 2014 Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana IGT

The Bibi Graetz is made from Sangiovese which is Graetz’s entry-level red wine. Because of its price, this is a super value red wine that has plums and flavors of cherry. This wine has around 12 % alcohol. Bibi Graetz comes from Tuscany, Italy. The beer is best consumed alongside beef and venison. There are not many options that you will get in the range between 10-15%.

  1. 2015 Di Majo Norante Sangiovese Terre Degli Osci

Di Majo Norante Sangiovese is a 100% Sangiovese grown in the Ramitello and Martarosa vineyards and is hand-harvested in October. A wine like this is aged in stainless steel and also in large oak barrels for six months to get a greater taste, smoothness, and softness and also this is a wine that preserves the supple fruit like the character of Sangiovese. The color looks very red, aromas of violets and red berries.

  1. 2006 Mas Amiel Notre Terre Côtes Du Roussillon Villages

We are willing to admit that the high-brow sounding name of this wine first caught our attention, but after reviewing critic evaluations, and sampling it ourselves (in the name of science, of course), this $12 red has much to offer in the taste department. The combination of Grenache, Carignane, Syrah, and a bit of Mourvèdre blend seamlessly to give off a taste that hints of cherry and raisins.

  1. 2008 Don Sebastiani & Sons Screw Kappa Napa Merlot

We couldn’t create a list of affordable reds without including one of our favorites: merlot. This particular brand of red has a supple flavor that emanates its plum-rich base and leaves one with the impression that they are drinking a much more expensive bottle of wine than its $13 price tag would indicate. If you try any of the wines above, let us know what you think! And if you have an inexpensive favorite, share it with the class!

  1. 2016 Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec 

Formerly labeled as Tupungato, the Finca Sophenia Altosur Malbec is a red wine made in Gualtallary, Argentina. This red with violet hues wine has intense cherries, berries and plum aroma with spicy and floral hints. The wine is very graceful and pure with sweet and round tannins. All of these make this wine very bold and structured, best when had with beef and venison. This wine has 14% alcohol content and a critic score of 93/100.

Best red wine under $20

  1. Moss Roxx Reserve Zinfandel

The Moss Roxx Reserve Zinfandel comes from the grapes grown in Lodi. This region is especially known for great wines due to the quality of grapes. You can sense the notes of blackberry, pepper, and tobacco. The Moss Roxx goes well with portions of Lamb. Produced by Oak Ridge Winery this wine under 20% has around 14% alcohol. On major wine review sites, it has been rated well around ⅘.

  1. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Aged

As it's famously said, “wine and cheese age beautifully with time”. The Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is an aging red wine. Produced by Oak ridge winery, this is a red wine that is both rich and intense. This also comes from the Lodi region in California, USA. You can pair this wine with lamb. This is one of the best cheap red wines on the list and has around 14% alcoholic content.

  1. 2013 1000 Stories Bourbon-Barrel Aged Zinfandel

The 1000 stories Zinfandel comes from Mendocino County in the US. It is made from the zinfandel grapes and tastes great with lamb. When it comes to alcohol percentage, this wine has 15% alcoholic content. In the first taste, you will be able to make out the dominance of bourbon. A few more sips and the toasted barrel, black pepper, and blackberry jam can be sensed.

  1. 2017 Meiomi Pinot Noir

The Meiomi Pinot Noir is one of the finest selections in the list of best red wine under $20. With every passing year, they have been consistent with the way their wine tastes. It's admired everywhere across the globe. Pinot Noir is famous for its taste and smell, the Meiomi is no exception. You can smell the cherry-like smell and a fruitful floral hint on your palate. This red wine goes well with chicken and turkey and has around 13-14% alcohol content.

How to Add Value to Your Wine

Wine Glasses

One way to add more value to your wines is to serve them in quality glasses. Here are some of our suggested red wine glasses that won’t break your bank and your back since they are dishwasher-safe. 

One recommended glass is the Paksh Novelty Italian Red Wine Glasses, 4 glasses per set. At less than $25, this is a good investment that you won’t regret. With a 4.6-rating, this is a very good choice.

Can’t resist a good Riedel Vinum glass? A set of 2 Pinot Noir glasses may tempt you at just $50. 

The cheapest good-quality all-purpose glass we can recommend is a set of 4 Amazon Basics Wine Glasses at $19. 

Decanter/Aerator

Another way to increase the value of cheap wine is to decant or aerate it. Here’s a good list of wine decanters you can choose from. If you are not familiar with decanters, read more here

If you don’t have the patience to decant, it would do well to aerate it with these aerators. Why should you aerate wine? Read on

Conclusion

The whole reason we wrote this article was that we wanted to give you some of the best choices of red wines that are available in different price segments. We never go and buy red wines that are a thousand bucks. We often ponder on what is the best cheap red wine and so we did our research, asked users and here are our top recommendations:

  • Best Red Wine Under $10: 2009 Bodegas Nekeas Sindoa Tempranillo
  • Best Red Wine Under $15: 2014 Bogle Petite Sirah
  • Best Red Wine Under $20: 2017 Meiomi Pinot Noir

We hope you grab some chicken, turkey, and cheese. Open your favorite red wine and browse through the article to pack or gift someone a bottle of aged wine!


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