Our Favorite Wines For $20 and Under

There’s plenty of delicious wines out there that do not break the bank.

So for our latest round of National Retailer Wine Panel reviews, we asked our panel of wine pros to rate some of their favorite bottles of wine that cost $20 or less. 

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store-to-store and market-to-market). Unless noted otherwise, the price reflects a 750-ml. bottle. If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact managing editor Kyle Swartz at kswartz@epgmediallc.comor 203-855-8499 x2225.

Recent rounds of our wine reviews have included chardonnay, pinot noir and rosé.

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

Five Star Wines:

(96) Eroica Rieslin 2016 (Washington). Such a great wine at this price. An Amazing Value. Bright and clean, with fresh tropical and citrus notes, this is both a world-class riesling, and a tremendous bargain. It’s a real buy, by the case, summer refresher, as well as an exceptional food-friendly wine for the holiday season. ($19.99)

(95) Quinta De La Rosa 2016 (Portugal). Deeply colored, with a berry, brambly nose, this outstanding example of a Douro Valley red has plenty of structure. It’s a versatile red, matching a number of dishes: meat from the grill, aged cheeses, and more. ($20)

(94) Averaen Pinot Noir 2016 (Oregon). This Willamette Valley pinot noir is a steal. Excellent structure and dark red fruits. Very expressive raspberry on the palate. ($19.99)

(94) Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (California). From an established, and well-known property in Paso Robles comes this concentrated and well-balanced cabernet sauvignon. Plenty of dark fruit and berry notes, with balanced spice on the nose and palate. ($20).

(94) Kanonkop Kadett 2015 (South Africa). A true South African blend, with a little more than half of it being pinotage, about a third cabernet sauvignon, and the balancing merlot. The dark fruit on the nose is followed by supple weighty texture, with plenty of weight and spice to add to the interest and flavor of this Stellenbosch wine. ($16.99)

(93) Soter Planet Oregon 2016 (Oregon). Fresh red berries on the nose. Raspberry flavors are braced by tangy acidity. Oregon does it again. ($18.99)

(93) El Jeffe Tempranillo 2016 (Spain). Ripe hints of raspberry jam and cassis introduce the wine’s generous and smooth structure to the palate, while brief hints of black pepper hold up against a steady stream of food-friendly acidity. ($12.99)

(93) João Portugal Ramos Loureiro 2017 (Portugal). A bright, exceptionally clean white wine. Focused acidity with hints of citrus add to the balance and contribute complexity. A lovely, elegant white wine, and a steal at this price. ($11)

(93) Kennedy Shah Cab 2015 (Washington). Rich and textured. Concentrated red fruit flavors. Firm tannins and minerality with a plush finish. ($16.99)

(93) Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvée 2016 (California). Using a well-balanced blend of Bordeaux varieties, this Sonoma County wine exhibits dark, dense color in the glass. The nose of berry and cherry, with touches of spice, is echoed by the taste, with a lingering finish. ($20)

(93) Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand). Crisp and racy with peach and tangy citrus fruit. Minerals and bright acidity with long and pure finish. ($12.99)

(93) Silver Totem Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Washington). From one of Washington’s up-and-coming growing areas, Horse Heaven Hills, this cabernet sauvignon possesses plenty of character, weight and outstanding cabernet flavors. Plenty of tannins to add to the rich dark fruit. ($20)

(93) Plungerhead Petite Sirah 2016 (California). A textbook, high-quality petite sirah, from Lodi, this wine checks all of the boxes. Inky dark in color, concentrated dark fruit on the nose and palate, this is a great wine to introduce you customers to an underappreciated, wonderfully flavored variety. ($14)

(93) Proemio Red Blend 2017 (Argentina). Certified organic. This malbec blend adds 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% petit verdot to create a deep ruby red with intense aromas of black fruits, cassis and spice. ($19)

(93) Grecante Grechetto 2017 (Italy). From the northeast corner of Italy (Colli Martani), this supple, attractive white has lots going for it. Good weight, with complex aromas, and a palate that keeps inviting you back for more. Very versatile as a food-matcher, pair this with any number of lighter and medium-bodied dishes. ($19)

(93) Marquis de Vargas Rioja Crianza 2015 (Spain). Complex and inviting aromas of tobacco and cherry lead to a silky, fresh and lively coating over the palate. Well-structured notes of red berries and cedar are balanced nicely through the elegant finish. ($19)

(93) Four Bears Cabernet 2016 (California). Juicy with fresh fruit and a slightly herbaceous note on the palate. Burnt sugar and nicely integrated tannins really round out this great Paso Robles cabernet. ($15.99)

(93) Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet 2016 (California). Don’t wait to order this crowd-pleasing, lip-smacking, easy-to- enjoy cabernet. Smooth and oozing with ripe cherry and raspberry. ($14)

(93) Revelry Cabernet 2015 (Washington). Bold and flavorful. This Columbia Valley cabernet has deep-red fruits and refined tannins. This cabernet out-punches its weight class. ($16.99)

(92) Les Costieres de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet 2016 (France). The color is a superb pale yellow with bright hues. The nose is elegant, with aromas of fresh fruit and citrus — especially grapefruit. Well balanced with typical focusing and zest acidity. ($9.99)

(92) Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2015 (Oregon). A balance of perfume and fruit on the nose, followed by ripe red apples that dominate the entry onto the palate. Fresh-fruit aromas of pear, Granny Smith apple and jasmine flowers. Smooth in body, this refreshing white wine has a lengthy finish that’s light, clean and tart. ($15.99)

(92) Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rosé (Italy). From one of the world’s largest sparkling wine producers, this light-pink sparkler has plenty of elegant red fruit, with subtle spice. Bright, clean and fresh, it’s a great sparkling wine for any number of occasions — before and during the meal. ($14.99)

(92) Villa Cavarena Valpolicella Ripasso 2016 (Italy). Gorgeous notes of cherry and spice pull you in, giving way to a voluptuous wine full of rich, concentrated flavors of red fruit complemented by herbs and softly rounded tannins. Beautifully balanced and structured, perfectly pairing with your favorite braised meats and roasted vegetables. ($20)

(92) Truth & Valor Zinfandel 2014 (California). Expressive and balanced, this Paso Robles zinfandel jumps out of the glass with plum and dark cherry and layered spicy oak notes with vanilla. There is power here but the balance and texture are the real treat. ($19)

(92) Dagger Leaf Pinot Noir 2016 (Oregon). A firm and tight Willamette Valley wine with notes of bright cranberry and raspberry. The lively acidity and mouthfeel makes this wine dance across your tongue and the red fruit finish just keeps going. ($19)

(92) Pine Ridge Chenin-Viognier 2016 (California). A go-to party wine. Great balance of ripe pear and apple with a touch of citrus. Easy drinking dryness without a lot of acidity. Great with apps, salads, shrimp, marinated herring and grilled asparagus. ($13)

(92) Norfolk Rise Shiraz 2016 (Australia). The 2016 shiraz shows an appealing nose of black cherry, which leads to a nicely extracted palate of cherry, spice and a hint of blackberry. ($20)

(92) Las Huertas Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Chile). From the Chilean winery of Lafite-Rothschild, the famed Bordeaux wine family, this cabernet sauvignon combines new-world fruit with French-style elegance. Opens with a nose of fresh strawberries, blended with notes of mocha and spice. Medium-bodied and well balanced, this juicy red is a perfect match for summer BBQs and burgers. ($15)

(92) Joseph Carr Red Blend Family Reserve 2015 (California). This Paso Robles wine is full of raspberry preserves, and blackberries and smooth vanilla. Smooth upfront and finishes with gripping tannins, this red blend packs a punch. ($20)

(92) Walnut Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand). A vibrant sauvignon blanc with lovely melded aromatic notes of stone fruits over a herbaceous background. The smooth, textured palate is concentrated with citrus flavors. Well-integrated acidity leaves a pure and lengthy finish. ($13.99)

(92) Tesoro della Regina Chianti Cls Rs 2014 (Italy). Intense cherry is harmoniously complemented by notes of spice, with flavors of oak rounding out this beautifully balanced and well-integrated Chianti. A must with grilled and roasted meats as well as heartier dishes. ($20)

(92) Daou Paso Robles Chardonnay 2015 (California). A beautifully balanced and delicious chardonnay. There is a buttery and savory tone that is complimented with a pop of subtle Granny Smith apple and a hint of tropical fruit. All the flavors and textures combine to form an absolutely gorgeous chardonnay experience. ($19.99)

(92) Lobetia Tempranillo/Petitite Verdot 2014 (Spain). Made with organic grapes, it is sourced from a single vineyard in Cuenca and estate-bottled. A touch of coffee and spice, plus six months in oak, gives you velvety tannins and a smooth, long finish. Try it with a lamb slider. ($12)

Red wine bottles stacked on wooden racks

Four Star Wines:

(91) Ca Del Sarto Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy). Friuli for this price? Light and fresh. Aromas of honeydew and stone fruit. ($7.99)

(91) Pindal Torrontes 2017 (Argentina). Some Torrontes can be syrupy and almost sweet. Not this jewel. Made from organic fruit at high elevation in Mendoza, it strikes a perfect balance of mineral, honeysuckle, citrus and stone fruit. Perfect for Asian dishes. ($11.95)

(91) Plungerhead Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel 2016 (California). Great balance of fruit and spice. Medium-bodied with aromas and flavors of cranberry, black cherry, and raspberry with a touch of vanilla. ($14)

(91) Francis Coppola Diamond Claret 2016 (California). A wonder ful expression of the elegance cabernet sauvignon can be. Rich-yet-not-overpowering berry fruit are surrounded with hints of cassis and cherry. Everything is tied together with the right amount of tannin and acidity. A wonderful compliment to summer time grilling. ($18.99)

(91) Blue Canyon Chardonnay 2016 (California). Beautifully balanced flavors of ripe Asian pear and lime blossom integrate nicely with subtle oak notes. This is a full-bodied Monterrey chardonnay, but the balance is so striking it feels almost weightless. ($18)

(91) Blue Canyon Cabernet 2015 (California). A powerful Monterrey cabernet, with intense aromatics. Notes of blackberry jam and boysenberry combine with subtle flavors allspice and coriander. Nicely integrated tannins lead to a smooth finish. ($19)

(91) Kudos Pinot Noir 2016 (Oregon). This Willamette Valley wine has a beautiful nose and palate notes of ripe raspberry and bing cherry. This bright and zippy wine has the acidic back-bone to hold it all together with an impressive finish. ($18)

(91) Coppola Diamond Pinot Noir 2015 (California). Bright aromas of raspberry and cherry cola are fresh in the glass, followed by a medium-bodied palate that is soft and elegant with flavors of cherry, plum, hints of vanilla and a touch of clove spice. This wine is extremely drinkable and crowd friendly. ($18)

(91) Insito Extra Brut Cava Reserva (Spain). Vibrant and refreshing, with concentrated citrus notes complemented by slight toasty spice. Focused and pure, this dry cava offers beautifully balanced flavors with crisp, racy acidity. ($16)

(91) La Delizia Prosecco NV (Italy). A crisp and refreshing sparkler, well balanced with lively notes of green apple. A dry wine that can be enjoyed by itself — yet with plenty of fresh flavors that easily can be complemented by spicy dishes. ($13)

(91) Matua Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand). Fresh tropical fruit balanced by easy acidity. Good intro into NZ sauvignon blanc. Easy to enjoy — nice long finish. ($11)

(91) Radius Cabernet Reserve 2016 (Washington). Blackberry and raspberry take over the nose and palate, accompanied by a silky-smooth texture. While the wine has a round mouth feel there is some great complexity from the tannic finish. ($17)

(91) Pinot Project Pinot Noir 2016 (California). Aromas of dark fruits and fresh flowers. Black cherry and a smooth finish round out this bargain pinot noir from the team at Michael Skurnik. ($15.99)

(91) Revelry Chardonnay 2017 (Washington State). Clean, crisp and refreshing. This high-acid, fruit-driven Columbia Valley wine is stainless-steel fermented to make it a perfect companion to a warm evening on the patio. ($14.99)

(91) Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling (Washington State). Food-friendly, dry and refreshing riesling. Clean and crisp with floral aromas. Great with oysters. ($10)

(90) Essentially Geared Bubbles NV (California). A clean and fruit-forward style, long deep citrus flavors. Great balance and bright, concentrated fruit made this quality canned wine great for every-day consumption. 375-ml. can. ($5.99)

(90) Essentially Geared Red Blend NV (California). Expressive, bright and juicy. Loads of red fruits and spice. This wine needs an out-door concert or backyard BBQ to really make it shine. 375-ml. can. ($5.99)

(90) Pinot Project Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy). Aromas of apricot, peaches and stone fruit. On the palate this Venetian wine is very crisp and clean. ($14.99)

(90) Charamba Reserva 2015 (Portugal). One of the best values you can acquire, this red blend from the Douro region is full of plump red fruit and soft, friendly tannins. Add a touch of spice and it is the perfect wine for just about anything, including just a sip on its own. ($8.95)

(90) Pinot Project Rosé 2016 (Italy). Aromas of fresh raspberry and rose petals. Dry, crisp, and well-structured rosé of Pinot Grigio. ($16.99)

(90) Tenuta Sant’Antonio 2016 (Italy). Garganega and chardonnay that never see a grain of oak bring very clean, citrus — especially grapefruit — aromas of tomato leaf, pineapple and orange. Vibrant and juicy. (12.99)

(90) Vineyard Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (California). This is a fresh, intense red fruit-dominated cabernet from Paso Robles with structure — but really the fruit is the focal point. The raw bold raspberry and cherry notes are the hook but the lengthy finish will be memorable too. ($14)

(90) Tesoro della Regina Chianti Classico 2015 (Italy). Bursting with flavor, this delicious wine offers lovely, fresh notes of cherry that are seamlessly balanced by supple tannins. Medium-bodied with silky texture, this perfectly pairs with your favorite food or is enjoyable all on its own. ($16)

(90) Saladini Pilastri Rosso Piceno 2016 (Italy). Bountiful flavors of red fruit, herbs and spice give this wine wonderful depth and personality. Fresh in style, this expression is balanced by silky tannins, bright acidity and a long, lingering finish. ($11)

(90) Dr Heidemanns Riesling QbA 2016 (Germany). Inviting aromas of tropical fruit and honey lead to a bright and fruity wine on the palate. Intense flavors of apple and peach are balanced by a slight minerality and refreshing acidity, making this a wonderful, off-dry style. ($12)

(90) Latitud 42 Rioja Ecologico 2015 (Spain). Fresh in style, this wine has bright, concentrated flavors of cherry and raspberry with touches of vanilla and spice. Expressive and balanced by smooth, rounded tannins, this wine is to be enjoyed today. ($10)

(90) Reef Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand). Wonderful fruit intensity with bright, zesty acidity make this a refreshingly balanced wine. Delicious flavors of passion fruit and nectarine lead to a seamless, crisp finish. ($10)

(90) Giant Sky Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand). Melon and passionfruit burst on the palate, giving this dry and crisp wine amazing complexity. Intense yet balanced, this fresh style is marvelously complemented by bright, refreshing acidity. ($11)

(90) Barrelhouse Bourbon Red Wine 2016 (California). Rich and dense texture, with notes of vanilla, dark fruit, and molasses. Bourbon barrel aging add layers of flavors that persist on the long and intense finish. ($14)

(90) Muirwood Chardonnay Arroyo Seco 2017 (California). A classic hedonistic California chardonnay! Seamless flavors of pineapple, mango, guava, coconut, vanilla and cream are wrapped in a silky-smooth cocoon of oak. ($15)

(90) Sepal Soft Red Blend 2016 (California). A light and delicate style of red blend that’s a nice middle ground between crisp rosés and the darker red blends. Translucent, with fresh notes of strawberry, raspberry and cherry jam. ($14)

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