Favorite wines under $20?
June 15, 2006 8:20 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite wines under $20?
posted by callmejay to Food & Drink (53 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
YellowTail Merlot - 12 bucks.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:24 PM on June 15, 2006

Big Tattoo Syrah 2004
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:25 PM on June 15, 2006

Becker Vineyards (Texas) "Tres Dames" Claret; $14.95 locally
Penfold's Koonunga Hills (Aussie) Cab/Shiraz; $8-$9, whole foods
Raptor Ridge Pinot [Gris/Noir] of any vintage: $15 in Oregon

TBH, I'd try to find a local winery. Nothing tastes better than local wine that hasn't gotten the crap beat out of it in shipping.
posted by SpecialK at 8:25 PM on June 15, 2006

+1 for YellowTail. I'm certainly no wine snob but I've tried almost all their reds and enjoyed them all. Definitely worth the money. The shiraz is my wife's favorite.
posted by jtfowl0 at 8:30 PM on June 15, 2006

Wild Horse Cabernet

Really, anything from that winery is great.
posted by frogan at 8:30 PM on June 15, 2006

I like Buckeley's reds. Especially the Shiraz (which is the same as Syrah). They make great labels too.

Jackaroo makes a good Syrah as well.

JP Tinto.
posted by xmutex at 8:31 PM on June 15, 2006

beringer founder's estate cabernet - $7-$12
Menage a Trois - California red table wine - $10
chateau st. michelle - Riesling $8
posted by jengineer at 8:33 PM on June 15, 2006

Here are a couple of our recent picks:

Kirkham Peak Cabernet Sauvignon (2003), $17. Good, solid cabernet; nice vanilla and fruity flavors.

Groth Sauvignon Blanc (2005), $18. Light, crisp, acidic white wine; fruity but not too sweet; great with food.

I would also check out some past threads on this topic: 1, 2.
posted by brain_drain at 8:35 PM on June 15, 2006

Taurino Salice Salentino
Any prosecco
posted by occhiblu at 8:37 PM on June 15, 2006

I love all the Coppola diamond lable wines. If you shop around, you can find lots for under $20. I just bought Coppola's Claret for $13.85 at Safeway tonight (though that was on sale from $18.99).

I'm not sure if it's widely available outside Oregon and Washington, but the Cooper Mountain vinyard has some good wines, too. They used to be over $20 a bottle, but I guess they recently decided to distinguish themselves from all the other Willamette Valley vinyards by becoming affordable. I got a bottle of Pinot Noir for $12 recently.

For cheap, I'll third Yellow Tail. It's usually $8 or $9 out here for a regular-sized bottle, and under $20 for a liter.

El Paseo Tempanillo is tasty Spanish wine, at least to my un-schooled tongue, and I recently bought a bottle for $7.

Australia, Spain, Argentina and Chile make lots of good wines for cheap.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:40 PM on June 15, 2006

Mouton-Cadet's white Bordeaux. Actually any $12 white Bordeaux is good.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:47 PM on June 15, 2006

Ravenswood has some tasty wines in the $10-15 range. I suggest their merlot and cabernet sauvignon if you are into really robust and "loud" reds.
posted by galimatias at 8:51 PM on June 15, 2006

YellowTail Merlot - 12 bucks.

I agree any one of their varietals stands up in your price range.

Also -- consider Cavit's Pinot Grigio...especially as a summer wine.
posted by ericb at 9:00 PM on June 15, 2006

Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma 2003 - Its $12.95 on this website as well as our local stores. Its not as good as their Reserve Old Vine Zin, but its still quite good and half as expensive.
posted by mmascolino at 9:04 PM on June 15, 2006

Clou du Bois Merlot, 2003. Beverages & More price is about $10.50. Sometimes it goes on sale there.
posted by 6:1 at 9:05 PM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

7 Deadly Zins

...and I've never gone wrong with Clos du Bois, Barrelstone, Columbia, Snoqualmie, etc. I love local Washington wines...
posted by noahv at 9:12 PM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Bonny Doon's Big House Red. $10-14, at most stores.
posted by pdb at 9:13 PM on June 15, 2006

Guenoc Petite Syrah.
posted by j at 9:20 PM on June 15, 2006

whitehaven sauv blanc
posted by fumbducker at 9:26 PM on June 15, 2006

Toad Hollow cabernet sauvignon was really good.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:30 PM on June 15, 2006

Fife Redhead Red 2002 now at Trader Joe's for 8.99 a bottle. It's a blend, with nice cherry, leather, tobacco and spice. Soft tannin.

Also, The Hartley Ostini winery, the winery associated with the Hitching Post Restaurant in Buellton, California (featured in Sideways) has a fantastic red for 18 bucks a bottle. Generation Red. Big, beefy with velvety tannins.

Hope that was pretentious enough for ya!
posted by generic230 at 9:32 PM on June 15, 2006

I'm partial to R H Phillips red wines, as well as the Yellowtails.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:36 PM on June 15, 2006

Brown Brothers Crouchen Reisling. Whether this is under $20 in the US, I don't know.

Also, for something at the complete opposite end of the wine spectrum, McGuigan's Black Label.
posted by Jimbob at 9:52 PM on June 15, 2006

The whole Big House Family--I'm particularly fond of the Pink as the weather gets warmer. In Northern California they're usually available for $8-10 a bottle.

I really enjoy Rosemount Estate's grenache/shiraz blend (anywhere from $4 at Trader Joes to $7-8 at a traditional grocery store), and we've been picking up Trinity Oaks zinfandel at BevMo for less than eight bucks. It's great with grilled meats.

Another zin we like is Peachy Canyon's Incredible Red, $8-9 a bottle.
posted by padraigin at 9:54 PM on June 15, 2006

In British Columbia, easily the best inexpensive red for my tastes is the Il Primitivo by Farnese. $8 SKU #619163
posted by Neiltupper at 10:01 PM on June 15, 2006

Wolf Blass Yellow Label cabernet sauvignon is surprisingly good for the price range. On a good year, it can even beat out cabernets that cost double and more.

It's about 12 bucks a bottle, these days.

Barefoot cellars used to produce a petit syrah that was tasty in the price range, too.

Electra orange muscat is good for an inexpensive dessert wine - rather sweet, and excellent in desserts. Try it in a zabaglione or mix it with some sugar and a splash of fresh sqeezed orange juice to macerate berries with.
posted by kaseijin at 11:55 PM on June 15, 2006

posted by 29 at 12:14 AM on June 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Concho Y Toro.

Oh, and Boones.
posted by sourwookie at 12:19 AM on June 16, 2006

where do you live? if it's in south australia, there are countless incredible wines under $20, due to the six different wine regions within a few hours of each other. my favourites are Yalumba Shiraz Viognier and Hardys 2001 Shiraz, both $9, both amazing.

And if you don't live here, and there are any wineries nearby, check them out. It's so much better than just buying from a liquor shop.
posted by twirlypen at 12:33 AM on June 16, 2006

It's been said, but my vote is again for the Austrailian Yellow Tail wines. For the price, it's hard to beat.
posted by blueplasticfish at 12:49 AM on June 16, 2006

Rosemount shiraz -- it's a bit more expensive than the grenache/shiraz that padraigin mentions, but it's mighty tasty, and it's still a great deal at around $10
Most of the Ravenswood zinfandels are very good, and several of them are in your price range (the cheapest being the Vintner's Blend, which is usually under $10)
posted by klausness at 3:52 AM on June 16, 2006

I'll give you a few suggestions across the grape board so you can have some selection:


Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling (Australia) - a very lovely dry white whine, wonderful with oysters or a seafood appetizer.

Penfolds Rawson's Retreat Semillon Chardonnay (Australian) - anything by the Penfold label is good, but this chardonnay is exceptionally good for the price.

Jackson Triggs Okanagan Reserve VQA Chardonnay (Canada) - normally, JT make a mid-level quality product, but their OR series have a much better quality and more character. Very versatile, too.


Inniskillin Pinot Noir VQA (Canada) - my personal favourite for this price bracket and a best-seller at the restaurant I work at.

Jackson Triggs Okanagan Reserve VQA Merlot (Canada) - a medium-bodied merlot which pairs very well with a non-spicy beef or lamb.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) - a fuller-bodied red, plenty of character and exceptional with a stunning food. Watch for sediment at the end of the bottle, though.

Deakin Estates Victoria Shiraz (Australia) - very full bodied, pair with a red meat with a cheese/fatty sauce to bring it back to where it should be. Lovely for its price.

As you can see, they're all new world wines but certainly value for their money! Pleasant Drinking!
posted by dflemingdotorg at 4:17 AM on June 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Pazo San Mauro AlbariƱo.
posted by lampoil at 4:39 AM on June 16, 2006

Folie a Deux's Menage et Trois is a nice white blend for 12-13 bucks. I think they have a rose and a red as well, but am unsure.

Seconding Bonny Doon's Big House series (red, white, rose, and one more varietal I can't remember at the moment.) as well as their Pacific Rim Reisling.

If you are lucky and on the west coast, you may be able to find my favorite wine, Conundrum, for 20 bucks or less.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:50 AM on June 16, 2006

Fourthing/Fifthing/Whatevering Yellow Tail. Best bang for the buck.
posted by educatedslacker at 5:28 AM on June 16, 2006

Bella Novello Cabernet. Usually runs around $20, and is wonderful. We bought a case after having it at a restaurant one night.

Also the Wild Horse and Ravenswood.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:30 AM on June 16, 2006

Ravenswood Zinfandel, 2003 Vintners Blend. Fantastic.
posted by gsh at 5:33 AM on June 16, 2006

If you are lucky and on the west coast, you may be able to find my favorite wine, Conundrum, for 20 bucks or less.

I can't believe I missed that; Conundrum is most definitely seconded if you can find it for that price.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 5:34 AM on June 16, 2006

Five Rivers Merlot
Mirassou Merlot
posted by junkbox at 5:53 AM on June 16, 2006

Aveleda Vinho Verde, the perfect summer white to sip all day long...and at US$6 and C$8, easy on the wallet.
posted by phoenixc at 6:04 AM on June 16, 2006

Seconding the Bonny Doon Ca Del Solo Big House Red (and the white and pink are also excellent). Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling, the Riesling for people who think they don't like Riesling. K Vintners' House Wine and K Syrah are both very good.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:34 AM on June 16, 2006

This might be of some help. You can sort through Food & Wine's database of wines by region, price, rating, type, and varietal.
posted by blim8183 at 6:59 AM on June 16, 2006

La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma 2004, $18 at my local ABC. Complex, spicy, great with red meat.
posted by kableh at 7:12 AM on June 16, 2006

Woop Woop Shiraz is great, and on sale here for $8. The 2002 and 2004 are superb (haven't tried the 2005).

My wife and I liked it and its name so much we served it at our wedding.
posted by saladpants at 7:16 AM on June 16, 2006

Thanks, all. I guess I shouldn't really mark any best answers until I start tasting. ;-)
posted by callmejay at 7:16 AM on June 16, 2006

I'm partial to Spanish wines so I'd have to say Torres Sangre de Toro and Marques de Caceres Rioja. These can easily be found in the US.
posted by JJ86 at 8:26 AM on June 16, 2006

You might also find this previous thread helpful.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:11 AM on June 16, 2006

Second Torres Sangre de Toro.

Look for the plastic bull.
posted by bradn at 9:36 AM on June 16, 2006

Hogue's Late Harvest Reisling reg price $10, often on sale for $6 here in washington.
posted by nomisxid at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2006

At the very top end of your range, Muga Reserva rioja, 2001, is a very good deal at $20 (at our local wine store, YMMV).
posted by brianogilvie at 5:19 PM on June 16, 2006

If you live near a Trader Joe's check out their Charles Shaw wine, nicknamed Two Buck Chuck because of it's $2 (or $1.99 to $3.39, depending on location) a bottle price.

Varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz. I have tried most of these and they are all excellent.

I often see people buying whole crates of this stuff at a time.
posted by concourse at 9:11 PM on June 16, 2006

Vinho verde and albariƱo are nice this time of year and fairly cheap as well.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:46 AM on June 17, 2006

I'm a big fan of the Louis M. Martini 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. It's big, fruity, and a little acidic. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the glass before you drink it.

It's $20.99 at wine.com, but you might be able to find it cheaper. I haven't tried the 2003 yet.
posted by Caviar at 3:37 PM on June 17, 2006

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