As we start to enter the cooler months, we find ourselves reaching for red wines to enjoy while curled up on the couch.
To help you find your new favorite bottle, we narrowed down our Top 100 Best Buys List of 2020 to 16 of our favorite reds wines from the U.S. The best part? All these selections clock in at $15 or less.
American red wines to look for
Chronic Cellars 2018 Purple Paradise Red (Paso Robles); $15, 92 points. A roasted red-plum aroma meets with savory leather and dried beef jerky on the nose of this Zin-based bottling. There’s a decent grip right away on the palate, and those tannins hold up through the roasted strawberry, cinnamon and pie crust flavors. Best Buy. —Matt Kettmann
Parducci 2017 Small Lot Petite Sirah (Mendocino County); $14, 92 points. Sleek, sophisticated and understated, this full-bodied wine is keeping plenty of concentrated blackberry and blueberry flavors in reserve for the future. Fine-grained tannins support a surprisingly supple mouthfeel. Best through 2027. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon
Bogle 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel (California); $12, 91 points. This full-bodied wine shows excellent depth of flavor and great structure. Rich blackberry and plum notes ring clear as a bell, accompanied by light shades of oaky spices. Best Buy. —J.G.
Lohr 2016 South Ridge Syrah (Paso Robles); $15, 91 points. This widely available wine carries aromas of ripe berry, plum, violet and lavender that lead into a palate loaded with flavors of black currant and purple flowers. Polished tannins and just-right acidity frame it all. Best Buy. —M.K.
Matchbook 2018 Estate Bottled Red Gravel Cabernet Sauvignon (Dunnigan Hills); $15, 91 points. This is a brawny, full-bodied and firmly tannic wine that’s nevertheless seductive, complex and layered. A dark color and impressions of tobacco, black currant and sage make it delicious to sip. Best through 2027. Best Buy. —J.G.
Hahn 2018 G-S-M (Central Coast); $14, 90 points. Aromas of dark red berry and crumpled hibiscus make for a delicious entry to the nose of this blend of 69% Grenache, 29% Syrah and 2% Mourvèdre. The palate is lively in acidity and texturally engaging, carrying flavors of dark berry, licorice and star anise. Best Buy. —M.K.
Hayes Valley 2018 Meritage (Central Coast); $12, 90 points. This is a screaming deal of a Bordeaux-style red blend. Light aromas of cherry, oregano, marjoram and black pepper lead into a complex palate of blackberry and more dried herbs. The light body rests on a pleasantly stiff frame lifted by buoyant acidity. Best Buy. —M.K.
Bookwalter NV Notebook 14NV Red (Columbia Valley); $10, 90 points. There’s a lovely sense of purity to the blue fruit aromas of this wine, which are accented by notes of herb, whole green pepper, coffee and cherry. The palate delivering more of the same, with a coffee note linger on the finish. There’s a whole lot of quality and value to be had. Best Buy. —Sean Sullivan
Kiona 2018 Estate Grown Lemberger (Red Mountain); $15, 90 points. The fruit for this wine comes from 40-year-old vines. It kicks off with fruit-forward aromas of boysenberry, blueberry and plum. The palate is soft, bringing a compelling sense of purity to the blue fruit flavors. Reminiscent of a blue-fruited Syrah, it’s thoroughly delightful and a big-time value to boot. Best Buy. —S.S.
Kirkland Signature 2016 Red (Napa Valley); $11, 90 points. This blends together 67% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. It offers a wealth of full bodied flavor and complexity within thick, dense walls of red and black currant, plum, licorice and dried herb, the oak sweet on the finish. Best Buy. —Virginie Boone
Sterling 2018 Vintner’s Collection Pinot Noir (California); $12, 90 points. This is a relatively light-bodied wine, showing great balance, a lithe texture and lip-smacking red-cherry and cranberry flavors. It would be a versatile pour at the dinner table. Best Buy. —J.G.
Waterbrook 2018 Malbec (Columbia Valley); $13, 90 points. There’s no question about the variety, with its opulent aromas of plum and blue fruits. Generous flavors follow, framed by pillowy, soft tannins, with plum, orange peel and herb notes lingering on the finish. Best Buy. —S.S.
Bota Box 2018 Nighthawk Black Red (California); $23, 89 points. This deep-colored and concentrated wine packs in ample black-fruit flavors and supports them with firm tannins. Baking spices and cedar add complexity to the core of tasty berries. Best Buy. —J.G.
Charles & Charles 2017 Post No. 35 Blend Red (Columbia Valley); $14, 89 points. This wine is a 60-40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Aromas of olive, smoke, mesquite, huckleberry and black raspberry are followed by plump, smoky blue- and red-fruit flavors, with the tannins giving a firm squeeze. They need some time to settle in, but there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had. Best Buy. —S.S.
Underwood 2018 Pinot Noir (Oregon); $14, 89 points. This wine delivers a lovely core of black cherry-candy fruit accompanied by light, refined tannins and balanced acidity. It is a perfect choice for near-term drinking. Best Buy. —P.G.
McManis 2018 Estate Grown Certified Sustainable Merlot (Lodi); $10, 88 points. Smoke and sage aromas meld with cherry and wood-smoke flavors to make a savory combination in this medium- to full-bodied wine. It shows good balance and light tannins, making it a great choice for drinking with protein-rich foods. Best Buy. —J.G.
Published: October 16, 2020