There are loads of delicious and affordable wines out there—if you know where to look. We asked our crew of sommeliers from around the country for their favorite bottles under $20.
'under $20' on Serious Eats
As much as we wish we could drink rosé Champagne all the time, that stuff can get pricey. Here's a bubbly pink option that's fun and straight-up delicious, and sells for about 16 bucks.
This time of year, with store shelves stocked sky high with bubbly both delicious and um...not, wine shopping can be a little overwhelming. Here's my guide to some new favorites and old standbys, all $20 or less.
I pay careful attention to the wine that disappears first at a party. When you have a mess of bottles open and one of them is emptied well in advance of the others, you know people liked it.
Which of the Rosemount wines should you grab if you're staring at the grocery store shelf and not sure what to buy? We tasted our way through the entire lineup under $10 to find out.
Lagrein has been planted in Alto Adige for over 500 years. Despite the long history and ample plantings in the region, up until the last couple of decades this dark and rustic red wasn't really ever taken seriously.
How do you know if you like high acidity? Answer these questions: Did you love Sour Patch Kids as a child? Do you prefer your lemonade more tart than sweet? If you answered "yes," you probably love acidity in your wine. (Welcome to my club. Perhaps we will make punk-rock-inspired T-shirts for ourselves.)
There's a reason this "aromatic, high-acid Greek variety" has, as Wine Grapes mentions, "seen a surge in popularity and plantings in the last twenty years": it's delicious.
Look for this bottle. When you find it, buy it. In fact, buy two. I promise it won't be long before you're crushing on Elisabetta Foradori and Teroldego, too.
I want to think that a beautifully packaged bottle from an interesting-sounding grape made in a picturesque Mediterranean region would sell like hotcakes. On the other hand, I have to wonder what Liatiko's fate would be on a wine list or store shelf if no one is there to point out what a great deal it is and how fantastic it will be with duck confit.
My parents started their membership while I spent most of my time in the wine section, and kept saying stuff like "Wow...it's so cheap!" To anyone who has ever set foot in a Costco, it was the equivalent of me saying "Wow...that ocean is so full of water!" or "OMG. Shocking news. The tortoise beat the hare." So obvious...but still so wonderful.
I'd been hiding this quirky, slender, delicious looking bottle in the fridge for a special occasion. I don't mean a fancy dinner or holiday, or even an evening with important company. I mean a special occasion... Enter: the northern California coast, where there are fresher-than-fresh oysters available just footsteps away, doled out by the bag-full with little accompaniment besides sunshine and a shucking knife.
Like summer tomatoes or fall leaves, rosé is seasonal, and once this year's vintage is out, last year's is no more. This ephemeral nature makes it all the more alluring, and it also means now that spring has fully sprung, it's time to dip into the 2012 rosés. Drink them while you can, as if you needed an excuse. There are tons of worthy pink wines out there, and I did my best to taste a lot of them. None were over $16, and while all were perfectly chuggable, especially if you happen to be sitting in the sun somewhere, these were my top six.
Today we're in the market for value rosés (under $13) that you can find in your nearby Trader Joe's. While some TJ's stores have specific selections of rosé from local vineyards, we focused on tasting wines that can be found across the country. After opening 8 bottles, we were left with 4 that we'd definitely seek out again.
I sat with a group of wine professionals, tasting a lineup of rosé wines blind, and we balked at the scarlet letter. "You've got to wonder what they were thinking when they made this," a fellow taster chided. And they hadn't even seen the label yet.
Where I live, the asparagus has arrived. It is the best time of year. The hills sprung to life overnight, transformed from dull gold to radiant green. And the season's first rosé beckons from the shelf. I must have it.
In wine, you sometimes get what you pay for. But sometimes, a winegrowing region isn't as well known as it should be, and is undervalued in the market, so you can get an especially good deal on wines that cost less than they should. What wine regions are under the radar enough to keep prices low? What wine regions have lower prices because people can't read the foreign words on the labels?
I've been wondering a lot about the following would-you-rather question: on average, if you were to spend around $15 on a bottle of wine, and you were given the option of a) randomly selected red wine or b) randomly selected white wine, which would you chose?
Learning to give a good, accurate (if rather straightforward and unsexy) tasting note can dramatically increase your chances of getting the wine you want. Let me explain.
While the convenience of buying my vino with my Honey Nut Cheerios would certainly be welcome, the same question arises when facing aisles of wine, no matter the setting: What should I buy? What are the best options in this super-convenient scenario? And are the prices competitive with better wine shops?