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Top 11 Best Red Wines Under $20 in 2022

Finding a balance between affordability and quality can be a tricky line to walk with red wine. If you’ve experienced (or even worse, developed a taste for) an excellent red wine, it’s tough to return to the cheap stuff. But, therein lies the question; what constitutes a quality red wine?

Some might tell you it must come from a particular wine region or country. Others will tell you to stay away from mass-produced wines. However, the bottom line is, if it tastes good to you, drink it. But, first and foremost, make sure it fits within your monthly wine budget.

Here are 11 tasty red wine varieties for $20 and under. So stock up!

Cavit Cabernet Sauvignon

A bottle of Cavit Cab Sav

When looking for a quality red that won’t hurt your wallet, why not trust the Italians? Hailing from North Italy, in Trentino, this popular wine producer uses sustainable, eco-friendly practices in the winery and the vineyard. Cavit’s Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for a year in an oak barrel to give it a smooth, oaky finish. Cavit offers a collection of affordable red wines that pair well with meats, stews, and other rich dishes.

  • Body: Medium
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Plum, cherry, and blackberries
  • Cost: From $9.99

Château Jalousie Beaulieu Bordeaux Supérieur

Chateau Jalousie Beaulieu Bordeaux Superieur

While the Italians can make a bottle of great wine, France has held the wine title belt for centuries. While red wines are known for being paired with red meat and other rich food, a good Bordeaux goes well with pork, pasta, and poultry. This Bordeaux Supérieur from Château Jalousie Beaulieu is light bodied and smooth with earthy, leathery notes.

  • Body: Light
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Leather, earth, and tobacco
  • Cost: From $12.99

Meiomi Pinot Noir

A bottle of Meomi Pinot Noir wine

If you’re a fan of fruit-forward wines that aren’t super sweet and have some depth, Meiomi is an excellent option. This winery from the Sonoma coast offers a portfolio of balanced and exceptionally smooth-drinking red wines with a complex palate of flavors. The Pinot Noir, while featuring strawberry and cherry notes, is light and dry. Able to be enjoyed room temp or chilled, this easy-sipping wine is a crowd-pleaser at intimate gatherings.

  • Body: Light
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Strawberry, cherry, and oak.
  • Cost: From $16.59

H3 Merlot

A Bottle of H3 Merlot

For those who love the full-bodied, spicy, earthy flavors of a Merlot, H3 is a great pick. H3 is named after the renowned wine-growing country in Washington known as Horse Heaven Hills. Many Sommeliers would agree that if you must purchase a mass-produced wine from the United States, choosing one from Washington state is the best way to go. That’s because Washington has some of the most strict wine-production regulations, which keep their wines purer than most other states in the nation. H3 Merlot is an excellent affordable wine that is rich yet has a smooth less-acidic finish that some Merlots tend to have.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Chocolate, vanilla, and plum
  • Cost: From $12.49

19 Crimes The Banished Dark Red

A bottle of 19 Crimes the Banished

If you’ve spent any time in the wine aisle over the past four or five years, your eye has likely been caught by this Australian vintner with a great marketing team. Each 19 Crimes wine comes with an image and story of an infamous Aussie outlaw. The brand has even done some tongue-in-cheek collaborations with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg. Marketing aside, The Banished red blend (Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache) is a well-balanced, full-bodied wine that is an excellent go-to when you’re looking for a flavorful yet affordable red.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Chocolate, blackberry, and vanilla
  • Cost: From $10.99

Decoy Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

A bottle of Decoy Zinfandel

Nothing complements a charcuterie board or perfectly cooked rack of lamb than a rich and jammy Zinfandel. Decoy is a highly-rated Sonoma Valley winery with a reputation for great wine at a great price. Decoy’s Zinfandel has deep tannins and balanced acidity that can be hard to find in an economy wine. Combined with a spicy oak finish, this wine has a level of complexity that both the wine novice and snob can appreciate.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Oak, cherry, and blueberry
  • Cost: From $17.99

Teliani Valley Kindzmarauli

A bottle of Teliani Valley Kindzmarauli

Georgian wines are all the rave right now. That’s Georgia, the country, not the state. Georgian wines are all naturally semi-sweet, so it’s worth trying if you’re a fan of sweet wine that’s not mostly syrup and sold in the cooler at a gas station. It’s a great full-bodied wine that complements spicy or bitter foods like salami or dark chocolate well.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Sweet
  • Notes: Plum, cherry, and licorice
  • Cost: From $16.99

Catena Malbec

A bottle of Catena Malbec

From one of Argentina’s oldest and most acclaimed wineries, Catena Zapata, comes this deliciously affordable Malbec. This dry yet smooth red is super dark and rich with dark, fruity, floral notes. Malbec fans will appreciate the “meaty” notes of this well-structured, red with light acidity. An excellent Malbec pairs wonderfully with almost any dish, and Catena does not disappoint.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Dark fruit, floral, and mocha
  • Cost: From $19.99

Goose Ridge G3 Cabernet Sauvignon

A bottle of G3 Cab Sav

Another Washington state winery, Goose Ridge’s G3 Cabernet Sauvignon, is an excellent oaky red with spice and tobacco notes, making it a great pairing for game or a mid-rare steak. This drinkable, straightforward Cab can easily become your go-to wine for your personal drinking needs or gifting.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Oak, tobacco, and cherry.
  • Cost: From $14.99

Pedregoso Pinot Noir Gran Reserva

A bottle of Tabali wine

If you’re looking for a unique, new-world Pinot Noir, then look no further. Pedregoso puts its Chilean spin on this wine variety. It’s fruit-forward and light yet surprisingly acidic (in a good way). A hint of fresh herbs on the back end helps pair it with almost any dish.

Body: Light

Profile: Off-dry

Notes: Red fruit, earth, and herb

Cost: From $15.99

Tait The Ball Buster

A bottle of Tait wine

We’re ending this roundup with a wine that technically shouldn’t be on this list because it’s $1 over the $20 limit, but dangit, it’s too good to ignore (on many levels). With this Australian Shiraz dominant red blend, the name says it all. Its above-average 15.5% ABV kicks things up a notch. It’s extremely bold and acidic with tasty dark fruit, leather, and chocolate notes that go great with a greasy dinner. Tait Ball Buster is an excellent wine to try if you’re looking to spice things up literally and figuratively.

  • Body: Full
  • Profile: Dry
  • Notes: Dark fruit, leather, and chocolate
  • Cost: From $20.99

Which Red is Best for You?

Let’s face it, most of us out there aren’t wine experts, and if you are, you’ve probably graduated from the $20-a-bottle class of reds. But, if you’re like most, you want something nice to sip on with a good steak or cigar. In that case, any of the above wines will do the trick. We might suggest trying a Pinot Noir first if you’re a wine beginner. They tend to be the least offensive in terms of dryness and are considered a more drinkable wine.

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