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As the winter approaches, many wine drinkers shift their focus from light, crisp rosés and whites to the expansive world of red wine. There are countless high-quality and inexpensive options to consider, new and old vintages hailing from every wine region in the world.
Whether you are in the mood for a complex pinot noir from New Zealand, a rich and fruity Spanish wine, or a full-bodied California cabernet sauvignon, there’s a wine at an affordable price point for you. Here are 13 of the best red wines that cost less than $50 to drink now.
Silk & Spice Red Blend 2018
This red blend comes from Portugal. Its name is a reference to the flavors unlocked by the historic Spice Route, many of which can be found in this wine. Silk & Spice comes from winemaker António Braga, who put together a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% alicante bouschet, and 30% Baga. Look for notes of ripe berries, stone fruit, and vanilla on the palate.
To buy: $11, wine.com
Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2018
This New Zealand wine comes from Cloudy Bay, a well-regarded winery in the Marlborough region. The 2018 vintage of the pinot noir is rich and fruity with a bit of spice and tannin, an excellent choice to pair with charcuterie or some creamy cheese. Enjoy this wine now, or hold onto it for a few years and save it for a special occasion.
To buy: $40, vivino.com
2016 Les Cadrans de Lassègue
Château Lassègue is an estate that dates back to the 18th century in the Saint-Émilion AOC of Bordeaux. Les Cadrans de Lassègue is predominantly comprised of merlot with a small percentage of cabernet franc. The flavor develops as you drink with notes of flowers, ripe cherry, dark berries, and a bit of tannin and oak.
To buy: $30, wine.com
2015 Tenuta Sant’Antonio “Antonio Castagnedi” Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Antonio Castagnedi, from Italy’s Tenuta Sant-Antonio, was named after the father of the four brothers who run the winery. The 2015 vintage is made using grapes from various vineyards that are dried for three months using the traditional appassimento method—a process of natural partial dehydration to concentrate flavors. The result is fruity and soft, with notes of licorice, spicy black pepper, and a bit of dark chocolate.
To buy: $47, vivino.com
Diamond Collection Golden Tier Claret
This is one of the best-selling wines in Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Diamond Collection, and for good reason. According to the winery, this cabernet sauvignon-based wine is blended in the Bordeaux style with three other types of grapes. It spends 15 months in French oak, resulting in a flavorful palate bursting with stone fruit, blackberries, and a touch of licorice.
To buy: $21, vivino.com
Argiano 2018 Rosso di Montalcino DOC
Argiano is a very old winemaking estate in the Montalcino region of Italy, dating back to the 16th century. This wine is made from 100 percent sangiovese grapes, and aged for a few months in both French and Slovakian oak. The flavor evolves with notes of syrupy cherry, fresh strawberries, and a hint of earthiness that complements the soft sweetness.
To buy: $35, wine.com
Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon
California’s Joel Gott Wines has a wide range of affordable bottles. Try the 2017 815 Cabernet Sauvignon (the number is a reference to Gott’s daughter’s birthday). The grapes come from vineyards located in various appellations in the region, and the wine is well balanced and fragrant with notes of vanilla, berries, fig, and dark fruit on the palate.
To buy: $17, wine.com
2018 Halcyon Camino Alto Vineyard Cabernet Franc
California’s Halcyon Wines focuses on cabernet franc, sourcing grapes from different vineyards throughout the region. This 2018 vintage is made using grapes from Camino Alto in El Dorado County, a vineyard run by a father-son team. You’ll find some herbal notes here, along with pepper, dark plum, and juicy berry flavors.
To buy: $35, halcyonwines.com
Domino Fournier Crianza 2016
Domino Fournier is located in the Ribera del Duero of Spain. This 2016 vintage is made from 100 percent tinta del pais grapes and aged in French oak for at least a year. The wine is full-bodied yet delicate, with a combination of vanilla, oak, and berry notes that start on the palate and linger on the finish.
To buy: $30, vivino.com
2018 Alexander Valley Zinfandel
This wine from Bricoleur Vineyards stands out in that it's the only one in the portfolio that comes from a vineyard outside the Russian River Valley. Just over 300 cases were released, so it’s a bit of a limited offering. But expect notes of black currant, boysenberry, and dark chocolate when you do find a bottle to open.
To buy: $42, bricoleurvineyards.com
Tenuta di Arceno il Fauno 2017
This Tuscan blend from Tenuta di Arceno is comprised of merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot from different blocks on the estate. Bold cherry and vanilla on the nose begin your tasting journey, followed by wild berries, white pepper, and even a bit of cotton candy on the palate.
To buy: $35, wine-searcher.com
2017 Charles Krug Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
This 2017 vintage was the product of a particularly rainy winter and a very hot summer in Napa, according to the folks at Charles Krug. The wine was aged between 14 and 18 months in French oak, yielding a palate that is ripe with berries of all kinds, along with brown sugar and some toasted oak on the finish.
To buy: $39, vivino.com
2017 Lake Anna Winery Tannat
This Virginia wine from Lake Anna Winery was a winner at this year’s Virginia’s Governor’s Cup Case. It’s made from 100 percent tannat grapes and aged for 25 months in neutral barrels. The winemaker’s tasting notes describe this as being a full-bodied wine with notes of berry and plum that work to soften the tannins that are intrinsic to this type of grape.
To buy: $42, lawinery.net