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The 12 Best Red Wines Under $20

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When shopping for good, inexpensive red wines, especially imports, the search doesn’t need to be difficult. Here, we’ve cherry-picked 12 international red wines from Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best Buys list to make it easy peasy.

These current vintages, which hail from three continents, are so good and so low-priced that they’ll please your friends and family without putting a strain on your credit card. All of these bottles, with five big servings in each, cost no more than one fancy cocktail from your local mixologist.

Another benefit to our selections is that they lack some aspects of most more-expensive, special-occasion wines. Lower-priced red wines are often lower in tannins and alcohol, not to mention lower in the lavish oak flavors that can smother your favorite day-to-day meals.

These Best Buy red wines are mostly light to medium in body and boast fresh, fruity flavors. Most omit the tooth-drying tannins of “big” wines that are meant to age. Tannin lovers, however, should aim for the Madiran and Douro wines in our selection.

All, however, have enough juicy acidity to make them mouth-watering. Whether they’re to accompany tacos, pizza or pasta, a bottle or two from this selection of Best Buy red wine imports will certainly help complete the meal.

Best Buy Reds from Argentina

Kaiken 2020 Estate Malbec (Mendoza)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Blackberry and raspberry aromas are followed by light notes of espresso and chalk. Medium firm tannins and good acidity on the smooth palate. This is a medium-bodied wine with plenty of strawberry and blackberry flavors and notes of milk chocolate. It finishes with herbal notes. Best Buy—Jesica Vargas

$11 Vivino

Alta Vista 2021 Vive Malbec (Mendoza)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

Blackberry, blueberry, and peppercorn aromas on the nose. Light to medium in weight, the palate offers concentrated black fruit flavors and subtle notes of spices alongside nice acidity. It has a medium fresh finish. It’s a great value Malbec. Best Buy—J. V.


Santa Julia 2021 [+] Malbec (Mendoza)

87 Points Wine Enthusiast

This light to medium-bodied red opens with peppercorn and blackberry aromas. Soft tannins and moderate acidity frame the sweet notes of ripe black fruit flavors on the palate. It finishes short. Best Buy—J. V.

$13 Vivino

Best Buy Red Wine from Chile

Casas del Bosque 2019 Reserva Carmenère (Rapel Valley)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Full-bodied and balanced, this red opens with aromas of rose petals, plum, and struck match. The palate features concentrated blackberry, plums and meaty flavors with just enough acidity to lift it up. It has supple tannins and a good finish with dark-chocolate notes. Best Buy—J. V.

$13 Vivino

Best Buy Red Wines from France

Boutinot 2020 Uva Non Grata Gamay (Vin de France)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

Perfumed floral aromas, this wine is elegant in the glass. Black currant, blueberries, dried thyme and cassis on the palate; complex with round medium tannins and well balanced acid. Best Buy—Jacy Topps

$14 Wine-Searcher

Château de Terrefort-Quancard 2019 (Bordeaux Supérieur)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

A complete wine, this offers balanced tannins and smoky dark fruits. Acidity and spice from wood aging add to the complexity and potential. Drink this wine from 2023. Best Buy— Roger Voss

$17 Total Wine & More

Château Viella 2019 Tradition (Madiran)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

This wine comes from an estate owned by the Bortolussi family since the 1950s. The classically rich wine has plenty of the firm Tannat tannins. These are mitigated by perfumed Cabernet Franc to give a ripe, structured wine that will age further. Drink from 2025. Best Buy—R. V.

$14 Wine-Searcher

Best Buy Red Wine from Italy

Castello di Gabbiano 2018 Cavaliere d’Oro (Chianti Classico)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

Aromas of dark-skinned fruit, cedar and underbrush emerge from the glass. The polished, easy-drinking palate offers black plum, star anise and clove alongside smooth tannins. Drink through 2025. Best Buy—Kerin O’Keefe

$12 Vivino

Best Buy Red Wines from Portugal

Rui Roboredo Madeira 2019 Castello d’Alba Reserva Red (Douro)

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

This vineyard in Douro Superior has produced fruit for a fine, full-bodied and structured wine. With its black fruits, firm tannins and concentration, the wine will age. Drink from 2024. Best Buy—R.V.

$17 Vivino

DFJ Vinhos 2019 Vega Red (Douro)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Venturing out of DFJ’s usual Lisboa region, this wine from the Douro has plenty of structure and a fine mineral undertone. Thanks to its ripe black fruits, the wine is balanced and ready to enjoy. Best Buy—R.V.

$10 Wine-Searcher

Best Buy Red Wines from South Africa

Lovely Creatures 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon (Western Cape)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Enticing aromas of ripe red plum, boysenberry and blackberry form the nose of this bright, refreshingly fruit-fueled Cab. It’s smooth and satiny on the palate, with more of those ripe and juicy fruit flavors that the nose first offered on display in the mouth that are then picked up by a delicate framework of fine tannins and ample acidity. It’s a well-balanced and easy-to-like pour. Drink now. Best Buy—Lauren Buzzeo

$18 Wine-Searcher

Warwick 2019 The First Lady Pinotage (Western Cape)

Why You Should Trust Us

All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.