16 Best Wines to Buy Right Now for $20 or Less, According to Wine Pros

Owners and operators of wine stores we love recommend the best buys from the world’s major wine regions — all of them under $20.

<p>Robby Lozano</p>

Robby Lozano

Finding great wine doesn’t need to cost a great deal. There’s a lot to love about a special occasion bottle of wine, like the First Growth Bordeaux you were gifted for your wedding, or the bottle of Champagne whose vintage is your birth year. But everyday wine, those easy-breezy bottles that you pop at a dinner party or after a long day of work, are the wines that should matter most.

It’s often wine from the most well-known regions like Napa, Burgundy, and Tuscany, that are the most tempting. These regions have recognizable appellations, brands, or familiar bottle art, but often carry a big price tag. To find the best wine deals right now (the kind of bottles you’ll want to order by the case to always have on hand) we turned to the folks who know more about buying wine than anyone else: our favorite retailers. Here are sixteen stellar wines from all over the world for $20 or less. 

2021 Sean Minor Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles ($18)

The easy screw cap closure on this wine tells you a lot about what's going on inside the bottle: drink me now. It features lush red fruit like raspberry and cherry with a backbone of savory cedar. A touch of Merlot in the blend (only 6%) adds dark, rounded fruit notes evoking dark chocolate, cassis, and even coffee. Its delicious fruit flavors are concentrated yet easy going — a fabulous barbecue wine.

Experts say: “Paso Robles fruit offers all of the warmth you want from a classic California Cabernet at a fraction of the price you pay for Napa Cabs these days,” says David Weitzenhoffer of Community Wine & Spirits in New York City. “There’s a touch of oak in this wine, but it’s subtle and not overbearing.

Related: 10 Best Paso Robles Wineries to Visit

<p>Robby Lozano</p>

Robby Lozano

2021 Barnard Griffin Rob’s Red Blend ($15)

Rob Griffin is the longest tenured winemaker in Washington State. Rob and his wife Deborah Barnard founded the winery over 40 years ago and make some of the best values in the region. Rob’s Red Blend has dark berry flavors and a touch of chocolate and coffee; the rich flavors of the 2021 vintage were in part thanks to an early spring and very, very hot summer in which black fruit ripened fast.

Experts say: “This appealingly jammy red blend has just enough acidity to keep the fruit in check, proving that Washington state red blends can be both delicious and well balanced while also offering serious bang for your buck,” says Weitzenhoffer, who grew up in Washington state.

NV Poggio Costa Prosecco Brut ($16)

This sparkling wine may be your new best friend when purchasing by the case. An easy-going sparkler with classic Prosecco aromas like golden apples and white flowers, this bottling is stellar on its own but also plays well in cocktails from a simple Mimosa to an Aperol Spritz. It’s made from 100% Glera grapes grown on coastal hillside vineyards whose cool coastal winds help preserve the grapes’ acidity.

Experts say: “This Prosecco punches far above its price point with undeniable quality and elegance,” say TJ and Hadley Douglas, the husband-and-wife team behind The Urban Grape, a warm and inviting wine shop with locations in Boston and Washington, D.C.. “At the shop, this is our go-to bottle to pour at parties and include with gifts. We recommend it over and over again to anyone who will listen, it’s truly remarkable for the price."

2021 Masseria Li Veli Orion Primitivo Salento ($20)

Located right on the heel of Italy’s boot, Salento is a region within Puglia known for its hot, dry climate and rich red grapes. While Salento is famous for its wines made from the  Negroamaro grape, Masseria’s Orion bottling shows why Primitivo from Puglia shouldn’t be ignored. There’s plenty of red plum and blackberries with a touch of pink pepper to brighten everything up.

Experts say: “Primitivo, also known as Zinfandel, takes on a spicy, structured profile when grown on the limestone cliffs of Puglia in Southern Italy,” says Simi Grewal, owner of DECANTsf an all-in-one bottle shop, wine bar, and educational tasting room in San Francisco. “Their Orion bottling carries the juicy charm of Californian Zinfandel, with the spiciness of a southern Rhône Grenache and the body of a French Cabernet Sauvignon.”

2020 Domaine Grande Bellane Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($17)

A glowing red hue in the glass, this Rhône blend is warm and inviting. Made from grapes grown in chalky soils, this wine benefits from the Rhône’s hot summers coupled with its sloped landscape to fully ripen fruit-forward Grenache and Carignan without being overly jammy. For a more structured, ageworthy red, try Domaine Grand Bellane’s Valréas bottling which is a 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. 

Experts say: “Exactly what you want from the Côtes du Rhône, this is a versatile and crowd-pleasing red from a fifth-generation family of organic vintners,” says Weizenhoffer. “A high proportion of Syrah in the blend adds the right peppery note to balance out the ripe fruit.”

Related: These Are the 14 Most Important Wine Blends To Know, and Why They Matter

2020 Masciarelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($16)

A benchmark of the Montepulciano grape and the Abruzzo region, this wine has notes of red raspberries, cherries with a pleasing touch of smoke. Masciarelli ferments and ages their wines in stainless steel, helping protect fresh fruit flavors and aromas.

Experts say: “Masciarelli is a family estate that totally over delivers in this category,” says Weitzenhoffer. “Their entry-level Montepulciano works with all of the classic red-sauce pairings from pizza to puttanesca, but offers layers of tannin and complexity not typical at this price point.”

<p>Robby Lozano</p>

Robby Lozano

2021 Folk Machine Parts & Labor Red Blend ($20)

This Grenache-dominant red blend is best enjoyed with a slight chill. The wine is one of California’s best values — it’s well made and the grapes are carefully chosen, resulting in a wine that’s juicy yet complex and savory, that even features Carignane from 100+ year-old vines.

Experts say: “Red blends are king when they taste this good,” says Douglas. “A blend of organically grown Carignane, Syrah, Grenache, and Barbera, this medium bodied wine from winemaker Kenny Likitprakong hits on all cylinders. Grapes for this wine are grown organically and the wine is made with minimal intervention as well.”

2022 Brea Central Coast Chardonnay ($20)

Since this wine sees both aging in French oak and goes through malolactic fermentation, which yields a creamy texture, winemakers Chris Brockway and Tim Elenteny pick grapes early in order to retain high levels of refreshing acidity. Expect green apple, lime zest, and mango.

Experts say: “A breath of fresh air for California Chardonnay, this wine is crisp and zingy for the racy white wine lovers but familiar enough for a white Burgundy drinker,” says Brandon Loper of Golden Age Wine, a Birmingham, Alabama-based shop that focuses on natural and low-intervention wines. “It’s not your typical California Chardonnay, and the price point is excellent to keep a few in the fridge.”

2020 La Petite Metairie #Ono Cabernet Franc ($15)

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc in Chinon, one of the Loire Valley’s primer regions for red wine, this medium-bodied red has balanced fruity and savory flavors. Thanks to its medium tannins, the #Ono could be served with a slight chill — pair its warming spiced notes with anything featuring spices, from eggplant salad to lamb meatballs.

Experts say: “From the trusted team at Domaine de la Commanderie comes this delicious and palate-friendly Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley,” says Douglas “This is a pop and pour wine that will please a whole table but won’t break the bank — which is good because you’ll definitely need more than one bottle.”

Related: Cabernet Franc — A Guide to the Basics

2021 Estézargues Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($15)

This medium-bodied Rhone blend features the region’s classic red grapes: Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. It's delicious when enjoyed young, showing off red and black fruit flavors with a peppery finish, but with a bit of age (drink it within five years) the earth and baking spices really come through.

Experts say: “[This is] made in one of the few natural wine co-ops, just twenty minutes from Châteauneuf-du-Pape,” says Loper. “Since it's produced by a co-op, you may see several labels with the same name. They will all be great, but this is a recent discovery for us, and we find it to be the perfect hamburger wine.”

<p>Robby Lozano</p>

Robby Lozano

2022 Mary Taylor Wine Anjou Blanc ($20)

Fans of classic Loire Chenin Blanc, this is the wine for you. Made from 100% Chenin, Mary Taylor’s Anjou Blanc features classic orchard fruit aromas of golden apples and green pear with bright acidity and minerality — it’s complexity could warrant double the price.

Experts say: “Mary Taylor is a négociant who seeks out small producers who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to export their wines to the U.S.,” says Grewal. “Her white wines, like this Chenin Blanc from a fourth-generation winemaker in the Loire Valley village of Saint-Jean-de-Mauvrets, are smashing, with crystalline acidity and deep complexity from regions that you might not normally venture to.”

2023 Kumusha Sauvignon Blanc ($16)

With notes of both lemons and golden apples, this South African Sauvignon Blanc leans stylistically toward Sancerre more than New Zealand. It’s zippy and bright without being overly acidic or green. The grapes are grown on ancient sandstone which could be responsible for the wine’s lovely mineral quality.

Experts say: “There is a world of high-quality wines at value prices coming out of South Africa, but no one is doing it better than sommelier-turned-winemaker Tinashe Nyamudoka,” says Douglas. “While he’s a genius with South Africa’s better known white grape, Chenin Blanc, don’t miss this vibrant, tropical-fruited Sauvignon Blanc grown biodynamically along the Breede River in the Western Cape.”

Related: How to Tell the Difference Between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio

2022 Heron Chardonnay ($18)

Fresh and fragrant, this Chardonnay has notes of lemon blossom and stone fruit like ripe white peach. Since the wine sees no oak and doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation, it’s light and crisp, pairing fabulously with a bright summer salad but with enough texture and body to stand up to a rotisserie chicken.

Experts say: “This dressed-down, zippy Chardonnay is helping to change the conversation about what ‘California Chard’ is,” says Grewal. “Laely Heron focuses on sustainably produced wines that reflect the purity of the grape variety. Heron makes varietal-driven wines, not blends, that are simply fermented to maintain the grapes’ characteristic flavors. She works with growers throughout California, and labels her sines simply as California, not a smaller appellation, which allows her to source from the best vineyards and maintain high quality while keeping costs down.”

<p>Robby Lozano</p>

Robby Lozano

2021 Vigneti Massa Terra Piemonte Rosso ($17)

Since most of winemaker’s Walter Massa’s work happens in the vineyards, it’s no surprise that one of his premier wines is called terra, meaning land in Italian. He lets the fruit lead the way when it comes to making this 100% Barbera. The grapes macerate on the skins before going through a long, slow fermentation with native yeasts with gentle lees stirring and battonage, resulting in a vibrant, fruity Barbera with a touch of spice and dried herbs.

Experts say: “This Barbera is one of the best values in the natural-wine world,” says Loper. “It’s fresh and juicy with an Italian rusticity that will elevate any dinner you pair with. It’s especially perfect for red-sauce pasta dishes and pizza.”

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Barbera Wine

2022 Filipa Pato & William Wouters Dinamica D.N.M.C. Branco ($20)

Made in Bairrada, a region along Portugal’s coastline, this smooth and refreshing white wine is made to pair with food from raw seafood to creamy shrimp cooked with lots of butter. Made from whole grape bunches that get pressed and fermented in stainless steel, 10% of the wine is aged in large French oak pipas, 500L barrels typically used in Portugal, which adds some richness and texture to the final blend.

Experts say: “There are so many great wines coming out of Portugal that are priced incredibly well,” says Grewal. “This bottling is a blend of Arinto and Bical, two indigenous Portuguese varieties that pack a zesty and minerally punch while still being generous on the palate. It has a creamy texture with a salty finish and bright grassy notes, like sweet tarragon and white tea.”

2022 Quinta de Santiago Vinho Verde ($18)

Quinta de Santiago is family-owned and has been making wine since 1899. Their Vinho Verde, which features a 50-50 blend of the region’s classic grapes, Loureiro and Arinto, has quenching citrus notes of green apple and lime, coupled with steely minerality. It’s zippy, tart quality is something we often describe as “fizzy acidity,” where acid creates an almost effervescent feel on the palate.

Experts say: “If you’re looking for a versatile bottle of white wine, then look no further,” says Loper. “I recently shared this with my family paired with some steelhead trout, sweet potatoes, and salad, and it worked well with everything on the plate.”

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