10 Great Wines Under $20
Wine, like many things is a subjective matter. The tastes of one man may differ greatly from those of another, but two things remain true, across the board. One, wine is fantastic, regardless of your palate. Two, there’s really no need to spend a tremendous amount of money to enjoy a great bottle of vino delicioso. $20 bucks (and a lot of times $10) or less will net you a bottle that makes the grade.
For your reading, tasting, and wallet-tightening pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of 10 great wines for $20 or less (with a pairing recommendations, to boot!). By no means is this a definitive list, nor is it scientific. After all, we’ve listed only 10 choices, yet this list of wines could easily be expanded to a series of 10 wines per category with categories per person.
Have some personal favorites of your own? Leave a comment or suggestion and let everyone know. What’s the point of an opinion if you’re not going to share it?
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On to the list – in no particular order.
1. Robert Mondavi Solaire Paso Robles 2005 (Cabernet Sauvignon, California)
Robert Mondavi name requires no introduction, nor does the year 2005 for those of you that care about wine vintages. Paso Robles Solaire has a fantastic ripeness to it without losing its full-bodied flavor. Make sure and get a bottle for your cellar to age for the coming decade as well as one for dinner – tonight.
Pair with bison burgers or prime rib (if you’re feeling frisky).
$16 @ Jericho Wine
2. Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2004 (Syrah/Grenache, France)
Syrahs are no laughing matter. They are, to some, everything a light white wine is not. Deep, full-bodied, warm, and intense, yet elegant. The 2004 vintage hailing from Southern Rhone, France, will please.
Pair this with beef stew, chili, or some wet-rub BBQ ribs, and it will please you even more.
$10-$12 @ The Wine Buyer
3. Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap 2007 (Red Varietal, South Africa)
Pronounced “excuse me, what the hell?”, Bokenhoustkloof Wolf Trap is a blend of 60% Syrah, 39% Mourvèdre, 1% Viognier. It’s best described as spicy berry and, despite its tongue-twisting name and blend, Boekenhoustkloof (which can be typed on your keyboard easier than you think) is a pretty straightforward tasting vino. A distinctive peppery taste will make this a rich (but still cheap) addition to your collection.
Pair this with lamb or with scrambled eggs for you brave breakfasters.
$7 @ Ultimate Wine Shop
4. Charles Krug 2007 (Sauvignon Blanc, California)
Sauvignon blanc grapes are best picked at night, and that’s exactly what the Charles Krug (owned by the Mondavi group) team does. Hailing from Napa Valley, this white represents California well with it’s citric and herbal flavor.
Pairs with your local BYO-Alcohol Indian buffet, grilled shrimp, or any chicken you can throw at it. KFC excluded.
$17 @ BevMo
5. Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile)
If you like berries, you’ll love this Cab from the geniuses in Chile. It’s a decidedly more challenging wine to embrace from day one, but the combination of raspberry and boysenberry with a hint of vanilla can become addicting with time. You know, kind of like that oddly hot coworker at the office.
We paired ours with beef stew… of the canned variety.
(Pardon the incorrect label, we couldn’t get a hold of the Cabernet version)
$17 @ K&L Wines
6. Chateau Greysac (Bordeaux, France)
Bordeaux is typically equal parts Cabernet and Merlot (minus Paul Giamatti’s quote in Sideways). Greysac is well known amongst wine enthusiasts (non-snobbish), but this weekend, if you and you’re buddy decide that a porterhouse and cigar are going to be your company, then you’d be well off inviting a bottle of Chateau Greysac along for the evening.
Red-meats are a Bordeaux’s (and man’s) best friend. Vegetarians need not apply.
$16 @ Fine Wine House
7. Villa Maria ‘Cellar Selection’ 2006 (Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand)
If a Swedish man and a Chinese woman were to produce a wine of love it might be something like the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc. There’s flavors of gooseberry and lychee – a most interesting combination. It finishes crisp (like IKEA furniture) and balanced. It’s a touch intense, but honestly, would you want it any other way? It’s a white wine after all.
Google research will tell you Sauvignon Blanc’s should be paired with goat cheese. This is the truth. But you should know that it also pairs well with greens, asparagus, or an omelet.
$17 @ The Jug Shop
8. Firesteed (Pinot Noir, Oregon)
With a name your sex life could only dream of, this wine is remarkable, if in a subdued way. Flavors of strawberry and vanilla make for an instant female seal of approval, and the tannins are present without being overbearing. You’ll want to take in a of couple bottles before passing judgment.
Pinot Noirs are intended by the good Lord himself to be paired with creamy sauces, but they go great with any kind of food – everything from Bonefish Grill to China Grill.
$14 @ Cork and Keg
9. Red Flyer (Red Blend, California)
For a wine that’s under $10 (you can evidently find Red Flyer at Trader Joe’s for around $5), the expectations are often low. This red table wine is an easy go-to wine for casual drinking. There’s a hint of apple and cherry in the aroma (good things), and the smokey flavor is nice, if not a bit surprising. Keep a glass of water close at hand, this one’s bound to stain.
Red Flyer pairs alone (thank you very much) and with the SCI-FI channel. Maybe even with Eureka playing on your DVR.
$8 @ America’s Wine Shop
10. Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Tawny (Port, Australia)
This is one damn tasty port. As a dessert wine, it stands alone in terms of cost to flavor ratio. You’ll find flavors like caramel, walnut, coffee, almond, orange, and deliciousness. There’s a long finish that makes Hardy’s Whiskers Blake Tawny port a perfect slow sipping wine on a cold night.
Like other ports, this one pairs with Stilton cheese, coffee, or good post-meal conversation.
$17 @ Shop Rite Liquors
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