It’s time for the next update of The Reverse Wine Snob Top 10 Red Wines Under $20, in an early Fall edition! This update shows a massive re-shuffling of wine with only one carrying over from the last list (but it’s a good one). And thanks to a trio of Italians tying in the tenth spot, there are a total of 12 wines in the Top 10.
This time around our friends over at Marketview Liquor have decided to offer FREE SHIPPING (6+ bottles, mix & match, no coded needed) on every wine on the list that they carry, which means it has never been easier to try our Top 10 Reds! But act fast, this expires 9/16 at midnight EST![This deal has now expired! Be sure to subscribe to our daily email to be alerted to the next deal!]
In addition, Spanish Garnacha made a serious attempt to completely dominate this new list. In an effort to show a bit more diversity, I’ve added a special bonus section at the very end highlighting a bunch of my favorites in this variety. Every one of them is worthy of a spot in the Top 10.
As usual many of these wines were samples submitted for review, click the wine name to read the entire reviews and get all the details. So without further ado, keep reading for the Fall 2013 Edition of the Top 10 Red Wines Under $20!
10) TIE Di Majo Norante Ramitello 2009 – Majorly Good.
I love a good Italian wine and this unusual blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% Aglianico is one of my favorites. It begins with a really lovely aroma of dark berry fruit, smoke, menthol and maraschino cherry. The wine tastes delicious with the berry fruit continuing from the bouquet as well as some added flavor of dried herbs, licorice and leather. This is a smooth, silky soft wine with very nice balance. It ends dry and delicious with some lingering smoky notes. Around $12.
10) TIE 2009 Rocca dell’Olmo Barbaresco – Barbaresco on The Cheap! (Trader Joe’s Week Wine #7)
100% Nebbiolo from Piedmont, Italy. This wine is a Trader Joe’s exclusive. It’s hard to believe you can get good Barbaresco for only $10, but this wine proves it. It begins with aromas of black cherry and spice along with a little licorice and a hint of leather. This medium-bodied wine tastes soft and easy to drink with fine, dusty tannins and lots of savory red and black cherry. It also has good acidity which would help to make it a very good food wine. It ends dry, with good length and long lingering spice notes. Also be sure to check out ourTrader Joe’s Week series for many more picks from TJ’s!
This wine is only available at Trader Joe’s.
10) TIE Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2010 – $8 Italian Reds Wine #6.
80% Sangiovese and 20% Montepulciano from Rosso Piceno, Marches, Italy and made from organic grapes. This wine was part of our $8 Italian Reds series and can actually be had for as little as $7. A wonderful, inviting bouquet is followed by tons of luscious fruit that makes your mouth go “wow” with flavors of plum, dark berries, a little mint, a few earthy notes and spice. The wine tastes simply beautiful and is smooth, fruity, dry and absolutely delicious. To say that I enjoyed this easy-drinking wine would be a huge understatement — I loved it!
9) Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – Cola Lover’s Delight.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from California sourced from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Lodi, Lake County and Mendocino. For only $13 take your taste buds on an adventure featuring plum, cherry, a little leather, anise, dark chocolate, spice and a ton of cola. This smooth, medium-bodied wine has great structure with nicely integrated oak. It ends dry with more cola and rich, dark fruit plus a nice burst of spice that lingers in the mouth for a good time. Absolutely delicious!
8) Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Malbec 2011 – Smooth, Complex and Delicious.
100% Malbec from Santiago, Central Valley, Chile. Yes, this is Malbec from Chile. Why should Argentina have all the fun? This is one of those “the more you smell the more you find” kind of wines, which I love. Dark berries, spice, a little cola and licorice, a few dried herbal notes and a hint of green olive are just a few of the aromas. Tasting the wine reveals abundant dark, rich fruit, a bit of cola and chocolate. It has nice structure and is very silky smooth with soft tannins. It ends with a dry, delicious and very long finish. Fantastic and as low as $13!
7) Hermanos Malbec Tannat 2011 – Malbec With A Deep, Dark And Delicious Twist.
70% Malbec and 30% Tannat from Valle de Cafayate, Salta, Argentina. Everyone loves Malbec, right? Well get ready for Tannat. The signature grape of Uruguay is getting hot and this wine offers a tantalizing taste of what Tannat can add to your average Malbec. The first thing you’ll notice is how dark and inky it is in the glass. The wine begins with strong, dense aromas of blackberries, plums, olives and mint dark chocolate — nice! (Any wine that smells of mint dark chocolate is certainly a friend of mine.) And it only gets better from there!
6) Ridge Crest Syrah 2010 – Simply Delicious.
100% Syrah from Columbia Valley, Washington and available for as low as $8. This wine has a big, perfumed aroma that sucks you right into the glass. Blackberry, cedar, spice, vanilla and a nice touch of smoked meat highlight the beautiful bouquet. Tasting the wine reveals luscious, dark, jammy fruit followed by an explosion of peppery spice wrapped up in a smooth lush texture. Secondary notes include vanilla, chocolate and cola plus a bit of tobacco that lingers into the dry, long, fruit and spice filled finish. Simply delicious!
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.
5) The Crusher Grower’s Selection Petite Sirah 2011 – Crushes It!
76% Petite Sirah, 13% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Tinto Cao, 2% Souza and 2% Touriga Nacional from Clarksburg, California and available widely for around $12. Petite Sirah is a great variety for Reverse Wine Snobs thanks to the fact that it flies underneath the radar of a lot of wine drinkers, keeping the price down. The wine tastes smooth, silky and super easy to drink — this is definitely a wine to break out at your next party or BBQ.
4) Seleccion de Torres Celeste Crianza 2009 – Reveling in the Wine of Ribera Del Duero.
Ribera Del Duero is the land of big red wines and this 100% Tempranillo certainly fits the bill. It begins with a really lovely and expressive nose of dark fruit (blackberry, black cherry, blackcurrant) as well as some vanilla. This full-bodied wine wine tastes simply succulent with lots of juicy fruit and a smooth texture. It also has some relatively big tannins that I loved. This is a wine you can easily cellar for few years and it will only get better. It finishes dry with tart, lip-smacking fruit flavors and good length. Heavenly!
3) Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2009 – Love At First Sniff.
Predominantly Sangiovese from Chianti Rufina, Tuscany, Italy. If the lovely aroma of black currant, leather, dried herbs, menthol, cranberry and wild berries doesn’t grab your attention, I’m not sure what will. This wine has a smooth and silky texture but still retains the signature rough edge of a good Chianti. Sweet and chewy tannins leads into the very long finish and those dried herbs show up again and linger in the mouth for a long time — so much so that you can almost taste those rustic Italian dishes this wine would pair so well with! Yum!
2) Andrew Murray Vineyards Tous Les Jours Syrah 2011– Another Home Run.
Previous vintages of this wine have hit #1 on the Top 10 list, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one gets there as well, assuming it doesn’t sell out before the next update. 100% Syrah from Santa Ynez, California that can be had for as low as $13. Intoxicatingly deep aromas of dark fruit, violets, pepper, mint and oak are just the start followed by juicy blackberry and plum interlaced with wonderful peppery spice, fantastic acidity, and savory dried herbs.
1) 2007 Vina Eguia Rioja Reserva – Run, Don’t Walk To Get This Wine!
A Rioja Reserva for only $10?? Sounds too good to be true, but lucky for us it’s not. This wine is 100% Tempranillo and features strong and rich tannins, delicious mixed berry flavors, a nice dense mouthfeel and wonderful vanilla and cinnamon highlights. When I originally reviewed this wine I recommended buying it by the case and letting it sit for a year or two, but it is absolutely drinking beautifully right now! I’ve started to see the 2008 vintage roll into stores, so grab as much of the 2007 as you can before it is gone.
BONUS Spanish Garnacha!
Borsao Berola 2008 – Absolutely Fabulous.
70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from Campo de Borja, Aragon, Spain. This wine features an absolutely fabulous bouquet of beautiful blueberry, blackberry, smoked meat, vanilla, anise, violet and more. I’m a sucker for a good aroma and this is a wonderfully complex one. In fact, I’d be happy just to smell it! Of course eventually I would get thirsty but lucky for me it tastes just as good as it smells, DELICIOUS!
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.
Atteca Old Vines Garnacha 2010 – Powerfully Good Garnacha.
100% Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain. Purchased for only $11.99 as part of our recent Costco Week 2013 series and another crazy good value from the Calatayud. Powerful, fragrant aromas of ripe blackberry, licorice, spice and a little chocolate upfront followed by even more complexity in the form of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla notes upon further inspection and time in the glass. My first thought upon tasting the wine was literally, “Wow, I need to stock up on this one!” After easily and quickly finishing the bottle, I advise you to do the same.
Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2010 – Great Garnacha!
Another one from Campo de Borja, Aragon, Spain, this 100% Garnacha is available for as low as $12. So what’s so special about Campo de Borja you may ask? It’s an area so renowned for its excellent old vine Garnacha that the locals have given it the nickname “El Imperio de la Garnacha”, or “The Empire of Garnacha”. After tasting this wine, I tend to agree. Loads of rich, concentrated, juicy, savory, berry fruit with nice overtones of smoked meat, pepper, oak and spice plus fine, sweet tannins and good acidity round out this tasty and ever so succulent wine. Wonderful!
Bodegas Filon Garnacha 2011 – Crazy For The Calatayud.
100% Garnacha from another one of our favorite spots in Spain, the Calatayud. The wine tastes smooth, supple, and harmonious. The dark, rich fruit, cola, spice and mineral notes just flow together perfectly. The savory flavors continue on the long finish and are joined by some nice spicy mineral notes and a hint of smoke that lingers in the mouth for a good time. It’s hard to believe this wine is only $8!
Punto y Coma Garnacha 2009 – The Calatayud Strikes Again!
Another 100% Garnacha from Calatayud, Spain. This full-bodied wine tastes simply delicious with lots of rich and sweet fruit, wonderful spice, and a great mouthfeel. A little licorice and some mineral notes come out near the finish, which is dry and features more sweet fruit and spice that lingers in the mouth for quite a long time. Yum! Another amazing deal on a Spanish Garnacha under $10 that’ll humble wines more than twice its price. The Calatayud strikes again!
Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha 2011 – Money.
The Evodia is yet another old vine Garnacha (up to 100 years old) from the Calatayud that proves once again this is THE go to region for Reverse Wine Snobs right now. This wine ages for only 5 months in stainless steel but don’t think for a second that makes it one dimensional or less complex than other wines from the area that spend time in oak — one taste will destroy that notion pretty quick. Previous vintages of this wine have appeared on multiple Top 10 lists. My first thought after tasting this new vintage was simply that this wine is money as it once again drinks like a whole lot more than $8.
Zestos Old Vine Garnacha 2011 – Easy.
100% Garnacha from San Martin de Valdeiglesias, Vinos de Madrid, Spain. While Madrid may be the third largest city in the EU, it’s not an area associated with quality winemaking for most people. That should change. Although you may not see it on the labels, 90% of wines made here come from organically grown grapes. The region, which is less than 80 miles from Ribera Del Duero, is home to many old vine vineyards. Much of the region, and particularly the San Martin area, have great conditions for growing quality grapes — high altitudes and rocky soils. And finally, since it is little known in the wine world (the D.O. was just established in 1990) you can find tremendous value here, which is what we’re all about. This $8 example is a great wine to have on hand as it will pair equally well with a pizza as with your standard grilled fare. An easy choice!
The top 10 list is subject to change at any time as new wines are reviewed and as vintages become unavailable, but it is typically updated every three months. Many of the wines on the list were samples submitted for review, please click through the links to the full reviews for more details.Cheers!
Other recent editions of the Top 10 Under $20 lists:
- NEW! Top 10 Red Wines Under $20 – Fall 2014 Edition
- NEW! Top 10 White Wines Under $20 – Summer 2014 Edition
- Top 10 Red Wines Under $20 – Early 2014 Edition
- Top 10 Red Wines Under $20 – Fall 2013 Edition
- Top 10 White Wines Under $20 – Summer 2013 Edition
- Top 10 Red Wines Under $20 – Spring 2013 Edition
- Top 10 White Wines Under $20 – Winter 2013 Edition