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!
There 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.
I’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!
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.
You 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.
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.
The 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.
The 2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Meiomi 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.
The 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.
This 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.
The 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.
The 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! 😉
The 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.
If 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!!
No 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.
Credits // Author: Katherine Montgomery, Photography by: Sarah Rhodes and Emma Chapman. Photos edited using Celeste from Fresh.