The end of 2016 is fast approaching, so what better way to close out the year then by updating our annual list of the best red wines under $20! This year’s list features a ton of new bottles never before highlighted on one of our Top 10 lists. France and California once again make strong showings in this year’s edition of the best red wines under $20, but we cover everything from Argentina to Washington, with stops in Spain and South Africa along the way! With multiple price points (all under $20 of course), varying styles, and lots of different grape varieties — the 2016 Top 10 has something for every winelover.
Read on for our 2016 year-end list of the best red wines under $20!
TIE 10) Pontificis – A GSM Blend for the Masses
First up on our 2016 listing of the best red wines under $20, is one of our favorite blends, Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre. Juicy, smooth and even a little earthy, this example from the Languedoc is available exclusively at Trader Joe’s for just $7.
Next up on our best red wines under $20 list is another ultra-affordable GSM blend from France, this time from the Rhone Valley. Quite the find at only $7, this wine features dark, jammy fruit that is counterbalanced beautifully by excellent earthy notes. It even ends a bit dusty.
We’re huge fans of Garnacha from Spain here at Reverse Wine Snob and the Calatayud is one of the areas that does it best. This Trader Joe’s exclusive is amazingly balanced and offers a fantastic subtle complexity for just $7.
This innovative wine from Dave Phinney combines grapes from the Roussillon, the Rhone and Bordeaux all in one bottle! Deep, complex and very long on the finish, the fourth rendition of this wine (F4) can be found for around $15.
Red blends are all the rage and this very inexpensive ($7) example from the Columbia Valley in Washington featuring Cabernet and Merlot was one this year’s best finds. Blackberry, black cherry, baking spice, smoked meat and vanilla are just a few of things you’ll find in this smooth and flavorful wine.
And now for something completely different in our list of the best red wines under $20. How about a blend of Pinotage and Shiraz from South Africa made in the Appassimento method? You can’t help but love this sweet, silky smooth number that goes great with anything off the grill.
Succulent Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley! This has long been one of our favorite wines from one on of our favorite varieties. Available for around $15 this wine is a no-brainer for Syrah lovers.
Next up on our list of the best red wines under $20 is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Franc from Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. Smooth, lush, velvety, balanced and delightful this one might just be my favorite red blend under $10.
The surprise find of our tour of Argentina earlier this year, this 100% Pinot Noir from way down in Patagonia absolutely blew us away. A soft, smooth, fresh, wonderfully tasty wine with the perfect amount of earthiness and oak.
The next stop on our list of the best red wines under $20 goes back to California for another wine made from Syrah. Actually this one is only 76% Syrah with equal parts Petit Verdot and Malbec rounding it out. Ripe dark fruits, lots of violets, some cola and earthy notes and even a little bacon and tobacco all present themselves seamlessly in this super smooth wine.
Locations Wines makes another appearance on our list of the best red wines under $20 with the Spanish rendition, which we liked even more than the French one! An unconventional and hedonistic blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Monastrell, and Carignan from Priorat, Jumilla, Toro, Rioja and Ribera del Duero. If that alone doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not sure what will.
And finally we come to the number one wine on our list of the best red wines under $20. Once again we go to Spain, but this time for a much more conventional wine! This $10 Rioja Reserva was our find of the year at Costco. 90% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha and 5% Greciano aged for 30 months in French oak. Yum!
And that’s it for the 2016 list! You can see the 2015 winners listed below and be sure to check out our list of the Top 10 White and Rosé Wines under $20 here.
Last year’s (2015) List:
TIE 10) Honoro Vera Garnacha – A $7 Sensation