For some, a nice glass of red wine at night is the ultimate equalizer between life’s demands and the need for downtime. To find a great bottle of red doesn’t mean you need to drop a fortune — in fact, many highly-rated wines are actually quite inexpensive. We did some digging for you and came away with a list of five of the best red wines under $20, according to experts.
Long considered among the “healthier” choices of alcoholic beverages, red wine regulates cholesterol levels, keeping the heart robust. Antioxidants present in red wines called Polyphenols prevent unwanted clotting by maintaining the flexibility of blood vessels.
And that’s not all.
Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that a compound in red wine has similar health benefits to following a low-calorie diet and exercising regularly. The researchers found that the compound resveratrol is effective at preserving muscle fibers as we age, though they warned red wine only offers a minimal amount to drinkers. Resveratrol is known to have health-related benefits, with previous studies linking the compound to a reduced risk of cancer.
Added beauty in that benefit, is that it doesn’t have to come at a high price. Food & Wine notes red wine drinkers tend to spend about $3 more per bottle than white wine drinkers (an average of $40 per bottle and $37 per bottle respectively). And for those searching for vino that’s affordable even by today’s Wine Country standards, StudyFinds has narrowed the search by finding five of the best red wines under $20, according to expert reviewers. We visited nine leading reviews to see which five bottles were most frequently suggested across their reviews. Costs vary per wine seller, so the value noted should be considered an approximation. If you have your own to add to the mix, please be sure to add it into the comments section below!
List: Best Red Wines Under $20, According To Experts
1. Highlands 41 2020 Black Granite Red Blend (Paso Robles)
Don’t let the screw cap fool you. Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded this #1 Best Buy of 2022 and scored it 91 points saying “This is a rather meaty, substantial wine for a fair price. Aromas of boysenberry, elderberry, roast beef and violet lead into a thick palate of cassis, more violet and pleasant mocha touches.” Also, it’s sustainably farmed, so you can get sloshed, save money and help the environment. Cost: ~$15
2. Meiomi Pinot Noir
Meiomi fits the bill for fruit-forward fans preferring a light red that isn’t too sweet with some depth. The Manual points to its notes of strawberry, cherry, and oak giving a complex palate of flavors. This Pinot Noire with a dry profile is versatile too. It tastes just as delightful chilled or at room temp. One reviewer suggests drinking this wine via smaller, freshly poured sips or filling your wine glass up to no more than 10-15% if you want to taste more fruit. Fun fact: “Sideways,” the 2004 film set in Santa Ynez Valley’s rolling hills, made California Pinot Noir a national obsession. Meiomi launched in 2006 and sold 90,000 cases by 2010. Cost: ~$16.59
3. 2017 Fratelli Antonio & Raimondo Langhe Nebbiolo
Easy on the wallet and fabulous for backyard soirées, this isn’t a wildly complex or age-worthy wine, but has everything you need, according to Gayot. “We had this wine over Thanksgiving and it was so lovely. Refreshing, light, tasty,” one review described. Ruby red in color, it offers bright, red currant and red cherry flavors with zinging acidity. Easy drinking with its silky tannins, it’s a crowd-pleasing wine with a bit of sophistication. Cost: ~$15
4. Château de Terrefort-Quancard 2019 Bordeaux Supérieur
Various critics have given this wine from the the largest wine producing region in France good scores. Considered a “complete wine,” it offers offers balanced tannins and smoky dark fruits. Bordeaux reds tend to be lower in alcohol and are slightly lighter in body. Stylistically, they exhibit more nuanced flavors and less up-front fruit. Sophisticated and elegant, this one pairs well with game meats, roast lamb, or hearty beef stews. Acidity and spice from wood aging add to the complexity and potential. It’s “Great for the price,” one reviewer wrote. Cost: ~$17
“Fresh and vibrant Gamay, great mid-week bottle,” one fan noted. The word “elegant” also came up quite a but in reviews. The red wine from France full of perfumed floral aromas is a bright ruby color. It’s all the things, according to one review: “Fruity, perky, light. Raspberry, cherry, vanilla nose. Bursts with jammy notes on the palate, feels almost fizzy, as you would expect from a good Gamay.” Dry. Medium bodied. Soft tannins. Brisk acidity. Strawberry. Raspberry. Cherry. But also a little oak, vanilla and baking spice. It’s a “terrific expression of Gamay for fans of this varietal,” said another review. Cost: ~$14
- Food & Wine
- Food Network
- Honest Wine Reviews
- New York Times
- The Manual
- Vine Pair
- Wine Enthusiast
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.