Awesome (Red) Wines Under $20

10 awesome red wines under $20

10 awesome red wines under $20 Heyyyoo! It’s Trey’s sister again, Katherine, and we met a couple months ago when I shared some of my favorite white wines. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to tell y’all about some delicious and reasonably priced reds!

Katherine MontgomeryThere are some fun sniffing and swirling facts about drinking reds that I want to share with y’all first. Have you ever noticed people taking extra time to sniff and swirl their wine before they take the first sip? I used to think it was unnecessary roughness, but there is some legit fun to be had in partaking in these exercises.

If someone has just poured you a full glass of wine, I would encourage you to take a minute to get your sniff on. Most folks that I’ve seen sniff will stick their nose in the bottom part of the glass … but I mostly just smell alcohol when I do that.

How to sniff red wineI’ve actually found that the good stuff can be experienced by sniffing the top of the glass. This is where I look for the smells that folks offer in descriptions. Smell your wine for the different fruits, chocolate, and other random things (like tar or leather!) that they describe, and see what you can come up with!

How to sniff red wine Have you ever heard someone say, “Look at the legs on that one!” in referring to a glass of wine? Something fun you can do is take a glass with a small amount of wine in it, swirl it around to coat half of the glass, and then wait for the “legs” to appear. This will give you an idea about the body of the wine. Thicker legs can often be seen with fuller bodied wines (like the ones toward the end of this list below). Lighter bodied reds, like a Pinot Noir, will have lighter legs.

Red wine legsYou may also see folks swirling a full glass of wine (bee tee dubs—only do this if you have a nice big wine glass with plenty of room to swirl! Otherwise, you may have a little mess on your hands.) This will oxygenate (throw this word out at your next party—you’ll sound super fancy!) your wine. Adding oxygen to wine helps to round out and soften reds, and it will make your wine shine! There are two other ways you can oxygenate wine: 1) open your bottle of red a couple of hours before serving it, or 2) you can purchase a number of tools (decanter/aerator) from a local wine store or online.

10 awesome red wines under $20 My hubs actually bought me an aerator for Christmas a couple of years ago … and we did a blind tasting with a bottle that we had opened two weeks prior. One glass went through the aerator, and one did not. The difference was crazy noticeable!!

Okay … time to get down to business. Below are some fabulous reds under $20. They are listed from sweetest and light, to full-bodied.

RosaThe Banfi Rosa Regale is a great sweet bubbly red. This wine comes in a super sexy bottle and is generally referred to as a dessert wine. It pairs wonderfully with dark chocolate desserts. I love to serve it with chocolate soufflé and fresh raspberries. For those newer to wine, this is great to drink on its own in a champagne glass.

Price: $19.99

Pinot NoirThe 2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Meiomii is a fabulous pinot! It is fuller-bodied and a little more complex than most pinot noirs. This versatile wine will pair nicely with a variety of dishes, such as turkey, salmon, or red meats.

Price: $19.99

FantiniThe 2012 Farnese Fantini Sangiovese is a great wine for the price! It has a nice round texture with some fun, complex flavors. This wine would be great for sipping on a weeknight or serving at a dinner party on the weekend! Pair with red sauce dishes, pizza, or aged cheeses.

Price: $14.09

The Stump JumpThis next wine ended up being a unique party favorite. In fact, this is Emma’s favorite of all of the wines. The 2011 Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre is a red blend that has more feisty personality than many wines that I’ve tasted. It is a very herbaceous and peppery glass of yum!  Pair this with an arugula and steak salad.

Price: $7.99

F wineThe 2012 Locations F2 is a really yummy glass of red from France. This rich and soft red blend (Grenache, Syrah, and Bordeaux blends) is very easy to drink. Enjoy the F2 with a lamb dish or spicy Asian cuisine.

Price: $19.99

The ZinThe 2011 Consentino Winery “THE ZIN” happens to be my favorite of this group. I was originally not going to post a red zin, because the good ones are pretty pricey … and then I found this beauty. Holy moly. It brings everything that I love in a glass of red—round, complex, a little earthy, with a nice lingering finish. Hey. O. to  this one! This would pair wonderfully with beef tenderloin, flank steak salad, or a portobello mushroom dish. Or, if you’re me, you pair it with a wine glass and drink up! 😉

Price: $12.99

RiojaThe Vina Eguia Reserva is a wonderful bang-for-your-buck red! This earthy Rioja received a 92 rating and is ready to impress! Although online prices seem to be a little higher, I was able to grab this wine for around $10 at our local wine store in St. Louis. I’ve served it at several parties, and folks always love it! Enjoy this with a range of grilled or roasted meats.

Price: $17.49

A great cab wineIf you like earthy wines, the 2011 Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon is for you! I love a good Chillan wine, because they are characterized by an earthy, dirt-like flavor. I know dirt and wine sounds kind of gross … but just give it a try and you will see what I mean—and you will see how yummy dirt can be!!

Price: $9.99

PortoNo red wine list would be complete without a port. The Quinta Noval Black Port has received 90+ ratings for several years from experts.  It is very yummy and deserves the attention it has received! Different from a glass of the above reds, ports are served in a small glass, sipped like a scotch, and are often a replacement for dessert.

Price: $19.49

Katherine Montgomery

10 awesome red wines under $20 Hope y’all enjoy!!! xo. Katherine

PS – You can see Katherine’s favorite white wines under $20 here.

Credits // Author: Katherine Montgomery, Photography by: Sarah Rhodes and Emma Chapman. Photos edited using Celeste from Fresh.

  • Really Love a good red wine! There are always great wine finds under $20 – thanks for sharing!!

  • Hey,I love Justin cab, but I would never be able to find it for under $20 here. I enjoy Meomi too. Shipping prices are quite the bummer.

  • I love the Beringer Merlot from the California Collection! I also love Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sav and Pinot Noir

  • I don’t know how I missed this post before – thank you for re-linking to it! What a great tour of red wine under $20 – I have a few new ones on my list now to try. I even tried her sniff test at dinner and it was a totally different experience. Portland has such great wine but I never know how to navigate them and this will help. Thanks for the tips!


  • My husband’s company Quintessential Wines imports Eguia, and he is a St Louis boy, and went to school in Springfield! We are currently living in Napa, Ca- thanks for the great review!

  • As a big red zin fan, I can add a few affordable one’s not to be missed – Pedroncelli old vine zinfandel – about 11.99 a bottle; Bogle old vine zin – 8.49 a bottle at Sam’s; and my fav – Cline old vine zinfandel – about $11.49 at Sam’s also. All of them are big old fruity spicy wines exploding with ripe berries, cherry and huge spice. Your palette will thank you gladly.

  • Grate wine list and very helpful 🙂

    I like a lot Quinta Noval Black Porto!

  • This post was perfect timing for me! I have been trying some reds lately and haven’t loved a single one. I’m going to grab a couple of these tonight!

  • Stacia – try Apothic Red! Its seriously great and a very sweet red wine!

  • The Stump Jump rules!

    If you like it, you guys should check out the Charles Smith Wines like Boom Boom! and The Velvet Devil! (plus their label desires are amazing!).

    ALSO! The Magnificent Wine Company (Original House Wine) makes awesome (and cheap!) wine! Check them out here:

    Maynard from Tool (the band) makes wines that are AMAZING! Check them out here: (some are a little over $20 but not much).

    And LASTLY!
    For a cheap, full-bodied, rich, and fruity wine (it’s awesome for red-wine beginners ) check out Apothic Red!

    Happy Drinking!

  • I love trying out new wines, but I’ve never known why people do weird things (like sniff and swirl) so that’s super fun information! I’ll have to try it out next time.


  • I love a good red wine! There are always great wine finds under $20 – thanks for sharing!!
    Anisa – The Macadames. xx

  • Wow, it’s crazy to see the price difference from Maui. I love Justin cab, but I would never be able to find it for under $20 here. I enjoy Meomi too. Shipping prices are quite the bummer.

  • What a great idea! Have you tried a malbec? Or Sassy Pants?

  • You have to try Layer Cake Primitivo. It’s also under $20 and really great!

  • I love red wine! This montepulciano wine is currently my favorite! I’m obsessed with it. I even drove a half-hour across town to world market because my local one ran out. Try it! So good.

    (this one -> )

  • I actually started enjoying reds by drinking it with ice. I feel it lulls the full body smack some of them have and I was able to enjoy learning while still squiring my taste. And eating Brie cheese helped too!

  • I am a red wine lover I am going to look out for these in Australia! (I probably won’t find any, tear)

    Great post!

  • Hey Bonnie! My two go-to shops are The Wine Merchant in Clayton and the Wine and Cheese Place on Forsyth. I find that both places have a great selection, and the staff are very knowledgeable!

  • This is a wonderful list! Justin Cabernet is lovely and Banfi Rosa Regale tastes like a Shirley Temple (to me anyway; I do love me a good Shirley Temple!)

  • This is great! Katherine, we’re from the STL area as well. Do you mind sharing some of your favorite wine shops?

  • I love eating with a good wine! There are many wine bottles that taste very good and they aren’t much expensive. Thanks for your suggestions!

  • Hi Julia! So when I have a bottle that I don’t finish, I will keep it in my kitchen for cooking purposes. We played with the 2 week old wine as an experiment, and I was shocked at the result! I’m not suggesting that it tasted amazing… but there was a very noticeable difference. =)

  • You drank a bottle of wine that had been opened for two weeks? Was it not vinegar by then?

  • They actually have a type of red called “sweet red” it’s a starting point!

  • you turned a man theme into something sexy!

    I will make an impression next time.

    and thank you for posting the best port wine: a portuguese one, of course!

  • Hey girl!! Thanks for the sweet comment! And glad to hear that you enjoyed your red zin and steak pairing. Love that you got to go to Flame… you definitely did your trip to Spfld right! Have a great week… and hopefully I’ll see you and your awesome purple hair sometime again soon!! XO

  • Hey Stacia! I can totally relate… I started out with sweet whites, too! I have a couple recommendations. Perhaps you could go to your nearest wine shop and ask for a nice light and smooth Pinot Noir or something similar. Let them know where you’re coming from and that you would like to learn how to enjoy reds. I would suggest taking time to look up the description of the wine and having some fun with the sniffing and swirling. I remember how much I enjoyed being able to identify the descriptions in the beginning… and it seemed like my love for red came quickly thereafter. A second suggestion is to ask someone at the wine shop help you pick out a great red to go with one of your favorite dishes. Ask them questions about why the pairing goes so nicely together, and take some time to see what happens on your palate as you enjoy the wine and the food together. When I begin to approach wine in this way, it really helped me to appreciate many other types of wine! Happy playing!!

  • Rebekah,

    We like to keep the writing style on our site casual, as if we were talking to you in real life. I can assure you that Katherine is not a teenager. Probably wouldn’t be able to purchase much wine if she were. She actually holds a Ph.D in social work. So, in my opinion, if Dr. Montgomery would like to say “bee tee dubs” I think that’s ok. 🙂


  • What a small world!

    And yes, a regional round up could be really fun. Great suggestion.


  • Love that idea. Always love good suggestions from you all!


  • I’ll have to try that one. I’m all for a (good) cheap wine. 🙂


  • (un)fortunatly?? it is a bit more complex than that.. We can tell people whatever they want about wine, but if they don’t know the difference between a Chateauneuf-du-pape and vinegar .. It won’t make a difference. I have learned a lot about wine in the past five years (since I am with the Frenchman-recall to ‘the Russian’ from SATC) I drank a lot of crappy wine before. But after years of dinner parties I can now finally recognize when a wine is corked or oxygenated in the bottle (yes folks, that’s a bad thing! It’s often the result of the bottle standing up too long in the shop so oxygen got past the cork and made the wine go bad, that’s why we should store all bottles horizontal).
    Now I can tell my dutch friends and family anything I want to try to teach them about wine but they will still drink the vinegar and say “This wine is so good” lol

  • I might actually take these wine suggestions seriously if I didn’t think the post was written by a teenager. Bee Tee Dubs, y’all are adults. Start writing like it.

  • I’m thrilled to see a Mourvedre blend on the list! I work at a winery here in North Carolina, and our owners are both former art teachers who fell in love with Rhone Valley wines while on their honeymoon in the south of France. Mourvedre is such an underestimated varietal on its own – wonderful in blends (as with the Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre you’ve listed), but so distinctive and lovely on its own too.

    I’d love to see regional (under $20!) wine features on the blog – regions all around the country are rich with wonderful wines, including North Carolina 🙂

  • ah, i love these posts! red wine is my fave and i’ll definitely have to try some of these!


  • Kat, I love your posts! Now that I’ve met you (albeit, briefly) I can hear you speaking in the post! Love that.
    I’ve always been a white wine gal, but more recently ventured out into reds, mostly sweet reds, but I tried a red zin with beef tenderloin at Flame in Springfield last week, and I’m happy to read that what you would suggest! I found it paired really well. I’ve heard servers ask if I want my glass to “breathe” before the meal comes, and I didn’t really know why, so thanks for your explanation on the “oxygenation”. I’m totally going to smell and swirl from now on, too. Thanks, Kat!! XO

  • Mm, the Stump Jump sounds delicious! I normally look for Cabernet Sauvignon with a hint of strawberry, but some of these would be a nice change from my routine. Thanks for sharing! I also had no idea about smelling at the top versus the bottom of the glass!

  • After a trip to Napa I was interested in improving my wine tasting and broadening my wine selections. But after buying and testing a couple bottles, I decided craft beer tasting was more up my alley 😉 Not to say I dont still enjoy a glass every now and then.

  • Excellent list and sommelier tips! Love the aerating info. My fave “thrifty” wine is Bogle’s Cab. MMM. I want to try all of these! Maybe a sip at a time since I’m pregnant.

  • What about transitioning from loving sweet white wines to acquiring a taste for reds? Any suggestions for making that transition? I love the smell of red wine, but find most of them too bitter or strong for me right now.

  • I loved your first post featuring great white wines! I don’t normally drink a red unless I’m out with friends and they happen to order it with dinner considering I don’t know a lot about them. So after reading about these recommendations, I look forward to trying some of these! Thank you!

  • Justin wines is one of my favorites! I use to live near their winery and it’s a really great place to go tasting. They have a beautiful cafe and patios to enjoy after your tasting and you get a Justin wine glass as a fun souvenir too! If you are ever on the Central CA coast I highly recommend a visit! My go to red is Apothic Red Wine. A great CA blend and usually around $12/bottle. Yummy!

  • I’m more of a white wine fan. But, whenever I do buy red, I’m completely clueless. This is definitely helpful! Thank you!


  • Great suggestions! These wines look fab!

  • I need to add more colour in my life…as my tipple of choice tends to be vodka!

  • This was such a fun post! I loved learning about how to smell your wine properly and why people swirl it around in their glass – so interesting! xxx

  • I love Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon (California Collection) it goes for $9.95 in Canada (so it’s probably cheaper in the US) and it’s reaaally good! You can’t tell it’s sort of cheap.

  • Just spent a weekend in Pasa Robles. The Justin tasting room is fantastic!

  • I love meiomi! I’ll have to find some of these others.

  • Loved both of your wine posts. Was especially happy to see a Lodi Zin on the list, as I live here in Lodi. This place is the capital of zins (truly the largest zinfandel growing area in the US) and the wines here are superb! Nice job!

  • This is awesome! I just recently turned legal drinking age and my lack of experience leaves me browsing the wine section for far too long… Thanks

  • Great list! This is really helpful because although I love wine I’m definitely not an expert, and it’s nice to have a little guide to help me out when choosing a good bottle without spending too much or breaking my head!

  • This is so helpful!! $20 is always my limit for a bottle of wine, and I always just stare at the isle in the store until I give up and just pick one with a pretty label. Haha. So glad to have actual advice! Do you have any favorite Syrahs? I always love Syrahs and would love to try a new one.


  • I don’t drink but I’m happy to see a Chilean wine in the selection 😀

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