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Red Wines Under $30 That Will Definitely Impress Your Friends

It’s true, the world of wine can be as expensive as it is extensive, especially when it comes to red wines. There are thousands of varieties of wine grapes grown around the world, and prices for certain vintages and reserve bottles from prestigious wineries can cost hundreds. Some particularly rare and extraordinary wines are priced higher than a yearly mortgage, like, for instance, bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti Grand Cru, which can average more than $20,000 a pop.

But as we’ve noted in the past, enjoying top-tier vino doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend top dollar. There are plenty of bottles that land high on the quality scale and won’t cost your life savings. I’m talking wines so dynamic and interesting and delicious that no one would ever suspect how little you paid for them. Better still, they’ll walk away sure that you are a true aficionado.

Below, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 wines under $30 that taste a whole lot more expensive than they really are. All the options listed below are red wines and are accessible in retail shops throughout the U.S., as well as online. If you’re looking for fabulous white wines that are considerably low in price but high in value, we’ve got you covered there, too — just check this handy little list.

Now let’s get to these reds!

Bodegas CARO Amancaya 2017

Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite

ABV: 14%
Average Price: $22

The Wine:

When the family members of the renowned Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolás Catena wineries formed a partnership in 1999, it was for the sole purpose of producing a single wine that would showcase the best Argentina and France have to offer in grapes: Malbec and cabernet sauvignon. The wineries’ collaboration brought forth the birth of this deep ruby red blend, for a wine that is completely harmonious in softness and acidity.

Tasting Notes:

The first word that comes to mind is this: Juicy.

Aromas of cherry and fig spill from the bottle the moment you pop the cork, and the palate is splashing with ripe black fruits. But it’s not a total washout. The wine gets an edge from tingling and savory notes of spice (that’s the 33 percent cabernet kicking in) while the silky soft tannins (which give the wine some astringency) wrap up all that juicy flavor with a lean and clean, lingering finish.

Bottom Line:

This wine is quite literally a fruit bath for your mouth, and we do mean that in the most elegant, sophisticated, and complex way.

Marchesi Antinori 2018 Pèppoli

Cantina Online

ABV: 13.5%
Average Price: $25

The Wine:

Now here’s a wine that captures the true essence of Italy’s Chianti region, and it’s produced by one of the country’s most esteemed wineries, the Antinori family, who have made wine in Italy for over six centuries. This bottle is a blend of a variety of grapes grown on Antinori’s Pèppoli vineyard, which has been in production since 1985. However, Sangiovese, perhaps Chianti’s most popular grape, is predominant.

Tasting Notes:

There’s an interesting aroma of damp flowers that’s pretty indicative of the complexity that awaits in the bottle. On the palate, the medium-bodied juice is vibrant with notes of sour cherry and herbal bouquets while the finish is long with smooth but firm tannins, reminiscent of the floral earthiness represented in the fragrance.

Bottom Line:

This may be as close as you’ll get to a full-on Italian fine wine experience without actually breaking the bank.

Los Vacos Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite

ABV: 14%
Average Price: $11

The Wine:

Here’s another stunner under the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) portfolio that is the exact definition of the phrase, “bang for your buck.” Made of 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes grown on the winery’s Los Vacos estate in Chile, this wine features all the full-bodied bells and whistles cabs from the Bordeaux region of France are loved for, but maintains a seductive spicy flair you can only get from South American wine.

Tasting Notes:

A deep, dark red, this wine smells like a cauldron full of black cherries and purple plums, sprinkled with white pepper roasting over an open fire. The wine delivers a slight juiciness that’s balanced out with fresh acidity and a delightful spiciness.

The alcohol is also noticeable on the palate, as well as the grippy tannins that fade slowly during the big finish.

Bottom Line:

This wine challenges every negative notion about the quality of mass-produced wine. Sure 250,000 to 300,000 cases are produced each year, but it’s hard not to feel like this unique wine was made specifically for you when drinking it.

Comando G La Bruja de Rozas

European Cellars

ABV: 14.5
Average Price: $30

The Wine:

When besties Daniel Jimenez-Landi and Fernando Garcia founded Comando G in 2008, high up in Spain’s mountainous Sierra de Gredos, the mission was simple: Produce Spanish wines with the finesse and swagger that can rival that of, say, a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, France. They accomplished that goal with an onslaught of biodynamic wines, like this Garnacha (aka Grenache) grown and hand-harvested from the sandy granite soil vineyards of Las Rozas de Puerto Real.

Tasting Notes:

Fragrances of violets and hibiscus tea leaves on the nose mingle with a front end that is full of fruit like blackberries and cherries. But the backend of this bright red wine is like licking a stone studding the streets of Madrid. Its polished notes of slate and chalk are true standouts on the palate, while the herbaceous, fennel, and rosemary characteristics that evolve throughout the sip are not to be missed. The finish is opulent and silky with the most subtle notes of cedar, probably from the oak vats the wine is aged in.

Bottom Line:

This is an outstanding wine with lots of character and even more drinkability. You can enjoy it right away or save it for a special occasion. And while it can certainly bring out the best in roasted meats and veggies, it works just fine as a solo sipper.

Bonterra Merlot

Bonterra

ABV: 13.9%
Average Price: $16

The Wine:

The Central Coast and Lake County, California vineyards that this organic Merlot comes from saw a cooler growing season and occasional rainfall before grapes were harvested, providing just the right type of climate for the fruit to mature slowly and develop a greater flavor profile. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks and a bit of malolactic fermentation—a winemaking process that softens the wine and creates a richer, creamier texture — followed by a 12-month nap in French and American oak — resulted in a class-act of a Merlot that is as balanced in fruit flavor as it is in structure.

Tasting Notes:

With its deep mahogany hue, this wine is buzzing with ripe, fresh fruit. Fragrances of blueberry and plum jump out the bottle while the palate gets a lift from rocky, woodsy notes that may remind you of pencils and those metal sharpeners fastened to the walls in your 2nd-grade classroom.

As for the body, it’s pretty medium and features a fuzzy mouthfeel accentuated by soft tannins and a long finish.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for something that is elegant and sophisticated but by no means fussy, the drinkability of this wine makes it an easy choice for a steal of a price.

Raw Power Shiraz

White Horse Wines

ABV: 14.5%
Average Price: $15

The Wine:

This dark inky purple wine is the quintessential Australian red. Grown in the southern Adelaide Plains region, its comprised of 100 percent shiraz, Australia’s most popular and widely produced grape.

Tasting Notes:

This wine perfumes the nose with scents of blackberry jam and mushroom toast, if there was ever such a pairing. On the sip, the wine is rich and intense with its big, bold and earthy notes of dark chocolate, tobacco leaves, ground spices, and velvety tannins. The finish is long and savory.

Bottom Line:

This wine opens up over time, meaning the longer it sits in the glass the more it blossoms and softens the nuances that influence the wine’s taste. So sip this with a big meal like steak and potatoes, lamb chops, beef bourguignon, etc., and watch it evolve into better and more flavorful wine by the time you clean your plate.

Lola Pinot Noir

Lola Wines

ABV: 13.4%
Average Price: $22

The Wine:

The fruit used in this vibrant pinot noir is picked from the LOLA vineyards in Mendocino, Russian River Valley, and Monterey, California. The juxtaposing terroir (a term referring to the regional influences of a wine like climate, soil, and terrain) enhances the wine’s unique taste and structure.

Tasting Notes:

The garnet-colored wine opens up with aromas of black cherry cola that transition into a lively bundle of blueberries on the palate. The blue fruit flavors married with mineral notes and a hint of clay gives the wine some texture that makes it weighted-yet-balanced, with a dash of acidity.

Bottom Line:

This wine is a total crowd pleaser and a great example of just how exceptional California pinots can be. Drink this when you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side.

Coppola Rosso & Bianco

Wine Chateau

ABV: 13.7%
Average Price: $12

The Wine:

This shining magenta red blend produced by Francis Ford Coppola Winery is made of 26 percent cabernet sauvignon, 26 percent syrah, 24 percent zinfandel, and 24 percent petite sirah, all grown in vineyards across Lodi, California. All those varieties combined result in a medium-bodied wine swirling with distinctive, robust character.

Tasting Notes:

Whiffs of cinnamon and tobacco leaf set the tone for a big wine experience, while on the sip, the wine is complex with flavors of juicy dark fruits that blend with pepper and spices like nutmeg, clove, and cocoa, as well as a faint hint of toasted oak. Its velvety texture softens for a surprisingly smooth and delicate finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a soft sipper that will pair well with almost anything, but if you’re planning an Italian feast for friends full of cheesy pasta dishes like fettuccini alfredo and cacio e pepe, this bottle is your go-to.

2018 My Favorite Neighbor Harvey & Harriet

My Friend The Neighbor

ABV: 14.5 %
Average Price: $30

The Wine:

There are some truly incredible wines coming out of Paso Robles, California, like this enchanting red blend made of 40 percent cabernet sauvignon, 22 percent syrah, 14 percent petite sirah, 10 percent cabernet franc, 10 percent malbec, and 4 percent petit verdot. Aging in 75 percent new French oak creates a medium to full-bodied wine that is (surprisingly) silky AF.

Tasting Notes:

This wine is so deep ruby it’s nearly black, and it smells of all things purple and beautiful like violets and lilacs and cassis. On the palate, notes of blackberry jam and black currants play nicely with earthy undertones and inklings of chopped trees and piney forests. Yes, the wine certainly has some structure and depth, but it’s as elegant and seductive as a silk slip dress with a long polished finish you won’t forget.

Bottom Line:

The good folks at My Favorite Neighbor intended for this wine to be an every-day drinker and the ease and enjoyment that comes with every sip makes it a perfect wine for doing exactly that. Drink this when you’re tired of everything and in need of some luster.

Justin Vineyards 2018 Syrah

Justin Vineyards

ABV: 15%
Average Price: $30

The Wine:

Here’s another Paso Robles gem for you. It’s an exceptional dark purple Syrah that becomes quite the full-bodied wine after spending 17 months maturing in French oak. But don’t be worried by its bold demeanor—this wine is totally approachable and it has the legs to support the heartiest of meals.

Tasting Notes:

This Syrah has a smoky quality that’s noticeable from the jump. Swaths of smoked meats are in the fragrance, along with smells of cracked black pepper and dark red fruit. Those notes continue on the palate but get a little lift from a hint of graphite midway through. The finish is long with grippy tannins that convince you to take another sip.

Bottom Line:

This is a dinner wine that can take center stage at a feast without overshadowing the main course. Drink it during a special occasion with your pals, or when you’ve outdone yourself and cooked up something truly impressive like coq au vin, or on the laziest of nights when the most you can do is order a burger.

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