Entertaining season is finally here, and you might want to give a bottle of wine as a hostess gift or have some on hand to serve your guests. If you’re on a budget this holiday season, it pays to shop around for some gift-worthy bottles and stock up on a few that will keep you and your guests happy. Best of all, you can do it on the cheap without compromising on value.
Below are some of the top picks for under $20 from wine connoisseurs and well-respected wine review sites. You can buy all of these wines online or find most at area liquor stores and wine shops. Want to save even more? Many online retailers offer free shipping for larger orders and discounts if you join a wine club or membership program so you’ll save even more.
Here’s a roundup of 30 best wines under $20 that will help you stay on budget.
Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2015: $17.99
Wine Enthusiast describes this wine as one of the best value wines from Oregon. It boasts juicy apple and pear flavors along with lemon and grapefruit. Elk Cove pairs well with white meat dishes and seafood, or with a light cake for dessert. Wine Spectator gave this one 91 points.
Benton Lane Pinto Gris 2015: $18.99
Those who prefer a light and crisp wine will appreciate this varietal for the Willamette Valley. It has a screw cap for easy opening and is made with sustainable, organic practices. Even though the color is a grayish straw color, according to the winemaker’s notes on wine.com, it is still full of honeydew melon, lemon and grapefruit flavors. Wine Spectator gave this wine 91 points.
Highly rated by reviewers on wine.com, this sauvignon blanc is a light green color with floral and tropical fruit flavors. It’s a good match with seafood dishes, white meat and soft cheese. The Wine Advocate describes it as a medium-boded wine with a satiny texture and intense flavors. This light and crisp wine has aged enough to be perfect for drinking now.
This wine earned the No. 82 spot in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2012 and critics describe it as a rich wine with a nutty, honey flavor with high acidity. It’s a good match with cold meat or rich seafood dishes. It earned 93 points from Robert Parker’s ‘The Wine Advocate’ and 90 points from Wine Spectator.
A smooth and fruity wine with rich licorice and fennel seed flavors, this is a drier white wine for those who have developed a taste for acidic and dry varieties. It’s earned 90 to 95 points on the 100-point quality scale from Wine Spectator, Antonio Galloni of Vinous, Wilfred Wong of wine.com and Wine Enthusiast.
Catena Chardonnay 2014: $16.99
If you’re looking for a simple but intense white wine to accompany your poultry and seafood dishes, don’t overlook this chardonnay with honey and tropical fruit flavors. It has a fresh and balanced flavor with ‘tangy acidity’, according to the Tasting Panel. It’s a rich and creamy white wine from Mendoza, Argentina and earned a 92 rating from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.
Moet & Chandon Imperial: $15.99
When you want a lighter, sparkling wine to celebrate a special occasion, pick up a bottle of this golden wine with fruit, honey, floral and nutty flavors. This sparkling wine has a rich flavor and smooth texture. It’s a non-vintage wine that’s perfect for gift-giving and serving this holiday season — and beyond.
A riesling to add to your collection or gift to somebody this season, this is a classic white wine from Barossa, Australia. It has intense talcum, lemon lime and floral flavors, and critics have described it as a smoother and dense wine. This is good to have on hand for lunch or even brunch with lighter fare.
Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2014: $15.99
A classic Zinfandel from Sonoma County, this wine has a spicy, lush black fruit and raspberry flavor, according to the winemaker’s notes on wine.com. It’s one of the less complex Zinfandels, according to Wine Spectactor, that recommends drinking this wine now through 2022. Wine Spectator rated this big and bold wine 93 points.
If you’re looking for a vintage varietal, this zinfandel offers more complex flavors with black cherry, cranberry and dark chocolate. It’s a smooth and supple wine from Sonoma County. Critics have placed this at the top of the list during blind tastings, and its earned ratings of 90 to 93 by Wine Spectactor, The Tasting Panel and Wine Enthusiast.
Blended red wines are among the most versatile wines you can have on hand and this one is especially well-suited for lamb and red meat dishes and rich, red-sauce pasta dishes. Your palate will be treated to a mix of blackberries, fresh baked bread, stews plums and hints of blueberries, berry tart, fresh tobacco leaf and vanilla, according to the winemaker’s notes. It’s a blend of 38 percent Malbec, 36 percent Syrah, 16 percent Mourvedre and 10 percent Petite Sirah. It’s earned a 92 rating from Wine Enthusiast.
If you’re looking for a rich, deep red wine with a smooth texture, pick up a bottle of this red blend from McLaren Vale, Australia. It’s a richer cabernet sauvignon, and critics have described it as one of the best of the Wirra Wirra collection. It’s a blend of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 37 percent Shiraz and 13 percent Merlot.
This earthy and spicy red blend comes from Sicily, Itlay and has hints of vanilla and ripe fruit. It’s earned a rating of 94 on the 100-point scale from Wine Enthusiast and is also a Wine Enthusiast Editors’ Choice. It’s made with 85 percent Nerello Mascalese and 15 percent Nerello Cappuccino with fragrances of blue and red flowers, berries and cake spice.
Thistledown Thorny Devil 2013: $19.99
A smooth and supple wine from the Barossa Valley, this is a vibrant mix of wild strawberry and spice with a very silky texture. It’s the first vintage of the Thorny Devil vineyard where the wine is aged in oak barrels and has a juicy and vivid flavor, according to Wine Spectator. Wine Spectator gave it a rating of 90; Wine & Spirits gave it a rating of 92.
MooBuzz Monterey Pinot Noir 2013: $14.99
If you’re looking for an earthy pinot noir to accompany your salmon, duck, or curry dishes, pick up a bottle of this rich red wine for its big and bold flavors. The Tasting Panel gave it a rating of 92 on the 100-point quality scale and describes it as an acidic but velvety wine with the flavor of plums, baking spices, cherry tea and bitters.
Boasting a rich texture and a long and sweet finish, this is a highly concentrated wine that would pair well with steaks and zesty pasta dishes. The thicker texture sets it apart from other reds and it’s caught the eye of Wine Spectator with a 93-point rating. The 2012 bottle is ready to drink now through 2024, according to Wine Spectator.
Luigi Bosca Malbec 2013: $19.99
Another darker red wine, this is a full-bodied Malbec that pairs well with red meat and hard cheese. Critics say it has coffee bean, blackberry and mushroom aromas, and notes of dried raspberry and rose hip. It comes to us from Mendoza, Argentina, and earned a rating of 90 by Wine Spectator.
Rodano Chianti Classico 2012: $19.99
You can’t go wrong with a classic Chianti. This one happens to be a mix of strawberry and black cherry with a touch of spice. Wine Spectator has given it 93 points and describes it as a juicy and well-structured wine with a long and savory finish. It gets better with age so if you can wait until 2018 to open this one, you’ll be in for a treat.
Montes Alpha Series Syrah 2012: $19.99
A rich Syrah can be the perfect compliment to heavier meals, including red meat, tomato-based pasta dishes and even chocolate-based desserts. This wine earned the No. 37 spot of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2015 wines. It has more complex flavors with a mix of vanilla, black pepper, coffee, toffee and nutmeg.
If you’re serving up heavier meals with pasta or beef tenderloin, you’ll need a richer, full-bodied red wine to round out the dish. It has tones of currant, dried herbs and hints of pepper to balance out some of your lightly seasoned dishes. Wine Spectator gave it 91 points, and you can buy it online from the winery or at many online and offline wine stores.
This cabernet comes from the Maipo Valley in Chile, a dark violet-colored wine with black fruit and spicy aromatics. It’s been described as a full-boded wine by critic James Suckling and is best paired with lamb dishes, rich pasta dishes and even risotto. It’s earned top reviews by wine drinkers on wine.com and a 95 rating by James Suckling on the 100-point quality scale.
Big and bold flavors are in store with this classic Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of cassis, berries and cedar notes. It’s a good match with red meats and spicy, zesty sauces so be sure to serve this with some of your heavier dishes and hearty meals this season. Wine Spectator describes it as a Top Value Pick.
Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: $19.99
This bold red wine is a rich blend of blackberry, eucalyptus, spice and tobacco flavors. It’s the ideal complement to meat dishes. Australian Wine Companion describes it as a celebrated vintage with its full bodied texture and firm tannins. It earned a 94 rating by James Halliday of Australian Wine Companion.
An intense wine with notes of red fruit, gooseberries and black current, this is a rich, medium-bodied cabernet you can serve with a variety of pasta and meat dishes. Wine Spectator describes it as a powerful and pure wine with dark chocolate and mocha notes, rating it 90 on the 100-point quality scale.
Pacific Rim Framboise: $13.99
If you’re looking for a sweet dessert wine to bring out the flavors of chocolate cake, cheesecake and other rich desserts, pick up a bottle of this wine made with raspberries from Mount Vernon, Washington. It’s a very sweet wine, according to The Wine Advocate, which gave it a rating of 92 on a 100-point quality score. Wine Spectator gave it a rating of 90 and and describes it as a, “mouthful of raspberries.”
RL Buller Fine Victoria Muscat: $18.99
Don’t forget about dessert wine, especially if you plan on serving chocolate cake and other richer desserts for an upcoming event. This dessert wine has a rich raisin flavor and with a honey finish. Wine Spectator gave it a rating of 90 on the 100-point scale and Wine Enthusiast describes it as a “terrific value.” Only 5,000 cases were made so this is one you’ll want to drink now.
If you’re a wine collector looking to add a tawny port to your cellar, pick up this top-rated wine to stay within budget. The wine has intense wood, brandy, vanilla and oak flavors with a nutty caramel aftertaste. The Wine Advocate describes it as a very intense and sweet wine that makes for a great ending to a meal. It gave it a 92 rating on the 100-point quality scale.
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This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.