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 toed with care. Here is our list of red wines with quality that outweighs their price tags.
The $10 and Under Options
1) 2009 Bodegas Nekeas Vega 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.
2) 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 redPriced at approximately $10, depending on your city and state, it is another wine that delivers more bang for your buck.
3) The Wolftrap, 2009
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 based red will ensure you don’t break the bank while giving a dinner gift or enjoying it for yourself.
The $11-$15 Club
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 raisin.
2) 2008 SKN 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!