Wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good; there are a number of cheap and inexpensive wines that you'll be proud to serve. The list below offers some excellent affordable value wines that have received high acclaim and ratings from wine critics.
Best Cheap Red Wines Under $15
Whether you're looking for a spicy Zinfandel or a classic aromatic Burgundy, there are plenty of good inexpensive red wines under $15. And while it takes a little more work to find truly good red wines in this price range, there are plenty available.
Enrique Mendoza Alicante La Tremenda Monastrell - $11
The Enrique Mendoza Alicante La Tremenda Monastrell is a 100 percent Mourvèdre red wine from Spain. While Mourvèdre is a Spanish wine grape, it is also used in France's Rhône region. The character of Mourvèdre is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, with high tannins and dark fruit flavors. In this wine, you'll find flavors of black cherries and berries. Various vintages tend to receive ratings of 91 to 92 points; try the 2016 vintage, which Robert Parker awarded a 92-point rating.
Bodegas y Vinedos Ilurce Rio Madre Graciano - $14
Graciano is a Spanish red wine grape that produces fragrant, moderately tannic wines. The Bodegas y Vinedos Ilurce Rio Madre Graciano comes from Spain's Rioja region, and for under $14, it's a great way to try something you might not have had before. The wine typically receives ratings of around 91 points, and the 2017 was especially well-received, earning a 92 point rating from James Suckling. Here, you'll find flavors of berries and chocolate with an underlying nutty character.
Nicolas Potel Beaujolais Villages - $14
Another great place to find bargain reds is in the French appellation of Beaujolais. These wines are made with the Gamay grape, which has fresh, tart fruit flavors. Try the Nicolas Potel Beaujolais Villages, which receives critical acclaim and ratings of around 90 points. It's an easy drinking red that's a true pleasure.
Delas Côtes du Rhône St. Esprit Rouge - $15
You'll find many bargains from France's Côtes du Rhône appellation. The wines are juicy, spicy, and delicious and often feature the Syrah grape along with other approved grape varieties such as Grenache, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, and Counoise, among others. The wines are almost always a blend of these grapes. The Delas Côtes du Rhône St. Esprit Rouge is a blend of Syrah and Grenache that's bold and spicy with floral and berry notes. It's generally well-received by critics garnering ratings in the mid to low-90s. The 2016 vintage was especially well-received; Decanter awarded it 95 points, which is a monster rating for a Côtes du Rhône.
Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge - $15
This is another high-value Côtes du Rhône from respected winemaker in the Rhône region, E. Guigal. Wine critics typically rate this wine at about 91 or 92 points across vintages. In the wine, you'll find flavors of berries and spices.
Best Inexpensive Red Wines $16 to $25
Red wines tend to be more expensive than whites, but you'll find quite a few good red wines in the $16 to $25 range. Consider reds such as Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir, all which offer high value wines in an affordable price range.
La Posta Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec - $18
The La Posta Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec hails from Argentina, a place where you can find both excellent Malbecs and great bargains on wine. Critics typically rate this wine anywhere from about 90 to 93 points, and you'll find a brooding, dark Malbec with cocoa notes. Try the 2017 vintage; James Suckling rated it 93 points.
Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Cabernet Sauvignon - $18
The Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Cab is an Italian Cabernet Sauvignon that typically costs around $18, although you can find in on sale for less. It consistently receives ratings in the low 90s from wine critics such as James Suckling. Top rated recent vintages include 2014 (92 points) and 2016 (94 points), making this a true bargain. Expect dark fruits, licorice, and spice in a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon.
Garage Wine Co. País Second Salvo Ferment - $23
País is a red-wine grape from Spain often used in rosé wines. In this Chilean wine, País is featured in all its red wine glory. Garage Wine Co. País Second Salvo Ferment is fruity with balsamic notes. Robert Parker liked the 2016 vintage, awarding the wine a 91-point rating.
Planeta Frappato - $23
Frappato is an Italian red wine grape that offers fruity berry and cherry flavors. The Planeta Frappato comes from Sicily, and it's aromatic with floral, smoky notes. Try the 2016 or 2017 vintage, both which received a 92 point rating from critic James Suckling.
Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz - $23
Nobody makes Shiraz like Australia does; winemakers there produce fruity, jammy, delicious spicy Shiraz wines, and Torbreck is a well-known and well-respected winemaker. The Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz is a delightful old vines Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. It always gets great ratings from critics, ranging anywhere from about 90 points upward to about 95 points. Both the 2016 and 2017 vintages received excellent ratings from wine critics, so this is a can't miss wine.
Still Affordable Red Wines $25 to $30
When you move up into the $30 range, you'll find many affordable wines that are very good.
Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo Delle Langhe - $27
Vietti is a well-known wine producer in Piedmont, Italy, making highly rated Nebbiolo based wines including Barolo and Barbaresco. While both Barolo and Barbaresco can be quite expensive (Barolo more so than Barbaresco), it's still possible to find Nebbiolo bargains from the Piedmont region, especially when you step outside of the two best known appellations and into Langhe, which still makes top notch Nebbiolo wines without the cachet and therefore the cost of its sister regions. Nebbiolo is built to age, so expect a recent vintage of this to need some time for cellaring before it reaches its peak. The Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo delle Langhe receives ratings in the lower 90s (2016 is the top-rated most recent vintage), and you'll find flavors of strawberries and very structured tannins.
Bouchard Pere & Fils Cote de Beaune Villages - $30
Finding a classic red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) in the $30 range takes some research, but it is possible. You'll find the biggest bargains with village or regional labels, such as the Bourgogne label or this Bouchard Pere & Fils Cote de Beaune Villages. It's a classic Burgundy with balanced fruit and beautiful aromas. The 2014 and 2015 vintages are good bets, receiving ratings of 90 and 92 points, respectively.
Chateau Castera Bordeaux - $30
The Left Bank of Bordeaux produces some high-quality, expensive wine. Fortunately, you'll find plenty of less expensive wines from the area that are still delicious, well-received red wines. Such is the case of Chateau Castera, a Left Bank winery in the Médoc producing excellent quality Bordeaux wines at affordable prices. It's a Merlot-heavy blend, with 65 percent Merlot, and the remaining is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Decanter awarded the 2015 vintage a huge 97 point rating.
Erasmo Unfiltered Red Wine - $30
The Erasmo Unfiltered Red is a Bordeaux blend from Chile, where there are plenty of wine bargains still to be had. The 2009 vintage received a 91 point rating from James Suckling, and you'll find cherry and berry flavors with floral notes.
Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva - $30
Made with Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo, and Garnacha, the Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva comes from Spain's Rioja region. Expect flavors of cherries with herbal notes and structured tannins in a wine that frequently receives critics' ratings between about 92 and 95 points. The vintages 2012, 2014, and 2015 were all particularly good for this wine.
Best Bargain White Wine Under $15
You'll find an array of inexpensive white wines in the $15 and under category including Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There are plenty of value white wines that are highly rated by critics and consistently good from vintage to vintage.
Giesen Sauvignon Blanc - $10
New Zealand is an up-and-coming wine region, so you'll find loads of bargains still available. And one of the wines New Zealand does best is Sauvignon Blanc, particularly from the Marlborough region. The Giesen Sauvignon Blanc comes from Marlborough, and it's a crisp, refreshing, Sauvignon Blanc with tropical fruit and herbal notes. Ratings across vintages are consistently high in this wine, ranging from about 90 to 91 points.
Farmhouse White - $11
The Farmhouse White is a blend of Palomino, Muscat Canelli, and Roussanne with small amounts of Riesling, Marsanne, and Viognier added. It's a crisp but lightly sweet and aromatic wine. Expect flavors of pear and tropical fruits. The 2017 vintage received a 92 point rating from the Tasting Panel.
Jadix Picpoul de Pinet - $13
Picpoul de Pinet may be one of the best white wines you've never heard of. It comes from France's Languedoc-Roussillon region, and it's a crisp, refreshing clear wine with grassy and citrus aromas. The Jadix Picpoul de Pinet is a great introduction to this type of wine; James Suckling awarded the 2018 vintage 91 points. At just $13, it's well worth a try.
Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés - $13
Torrontés is an Argentinian grape that's fruity and aromatic with nice acidity. It's growing in popularity, but there are still bargains to be found including the Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés from Salta, Argentina. Expect citrus and orange peel with some herbal notes in an intense dry white. Typical critic ratings range from 90 to 92 points.
Michel Gassier Cercius Blanc - $15
Made in France's Côtes du Rhône region, this dry white is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache Blanc grapes. The Michael Gassier Cercius Blanc hints at notes of citrus and peaches with undertones of honeysuckle. Critics' ratings for this wine tend to average around 90 points.
Good Inexpensive White Wine $15 to $25
The price range of $15 to $25 is a sweet spot for white wines. You'll find many selections here of high quality.
Bodegas Ontañón Viura Vetiver Rioja Blanco - $16
The Bodegas Ontañón Viura Vetiver Rioja Blanco is a white Rioja from Spain. It is 100 percent Viura (Macabeo), a grape found not only in white Rioja wines, but also in the Spanish sparkling wine Cava. Expect a bone dry white with tropical fruit and floral notes. The 2014 vintage was named one of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2016.
Folie à Deux Russian River Chardonnay - $18
If you like Burgundy-varietal wines, you'll find wonderful examples coming from the Russian River Valley in California's Sonoma County. The Folie à Deux Russian River Chardonnay is a great entry-level wine to discover just how good a Chardonnay from this region can be. It's a lively, acidic Chardonnay with flavors of pineapple and smooth vanilla. Expect a wine that receives ratings in around the 90 point range. It's a true bargain.
Yalumba Samuel's Collection Eden Valley Viognier - $19
Viognier is an aromatic white wine grape often used in the red Rhône blend Côte-Rôtie to add aromatic character to the wine. Winemakers have been experimenting with making Viognier single varietal wines in recent years with spectacular results. The Samuel's Collection Eden Valley Viognier from respected Australian winery Yalumba shows just how good a Viognier can be. Here, you'll find zippy notes of apricots and ginger with floral aromas. Decanter liked the 2017 vintage so much, they awarded it 95 points.
Kim Crawford Signature Reserve Sauvignon Blanc - $24
The Kim Crawford Signature Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with grassy notes, tropical fruit flavors, and crisp acidity. It's a refreshing white that receives good ratings from critics in the lower 90s.
La Marea Kristy Vineyard Albariño - $25
Albariño is a Spanish white wine grape that's also grown in small pockets elsewhere in the world. The La Marea Kristy Vineyard Albariño comes from Monterey in California. It's a salty, dry, light white with crisp minerality. Critics' ratings tend to be in the low 90s. It's a great introduction to Albariño if you've never tried it before.
Best Affordable Sparkling Wine Under $25
Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling - $15
The Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling from Germany is a crisp, non-vintage sparkling wine with a fragrant nose, delightful bubbles, and flavors of apples and melon. Critics tend to rate it at around 91 points. It's a delightful, delicious alternative to Champagne.
Mercat Cava Brut Nature - $15
Cava is Spain's answer to Champagne; it's made using the same method, but you'll typically find it to be more affordable than French Champagne. The Mercat Cava Brut Nature is a non-vintage Cava made from a Macabeo and Parellada blend. Expect pear and bready notes. Critics ratings fall in a range of around 91 to 92 points.
Saracco Moscato d'Asti - $16
Moscato d'Astil is a delightful frizzante white; it has light bubbles and flavors of apricots. The Saracco Moscato d'Asti is consistently good, typically receiving ratings ranging from 92 to 94 points from critics. It's a delicious, vibrant, lightly sweet wine that is an easy drinker.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace NV Brut - $20
Crémant is sparkling wine made in France using the traditional méthode champenoise from grapes grown outside of the Champagne region. You'll often find great bargains by purchasing a Crémant; they tend to be more affordable than their Champagne counterparts. The Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace comes from France's Alsace region, and it's 100 percent Pinot Blanc. This was chosen as one of Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2018. Expect flavors of apples and cream.
Bisol Crede Prosecco Superiore - $21
Prosecco is a great affordable alternative to Champagne, as you typically find bottles for under $25 with many under $20. The Bisol Crede Prosecco Superiore vintage Prosecco tends to be highly regarded by critics, garnering ratings in the 91 to 92 point range which is quite high for a Prosecco. Expect saline and mineral flavors with a crisp backing of fruit.
Good Affordable Dessert and Fortified Wines Under $25
Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port - $16
This is a non-vintage ruby Port. The Graham's Six Grapes Reserve has aromas of cherries and plums with cocoa notes. Decanter loves it, awarding it 95 points, while other critics' ratings tend to fall around 91 points.
El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry - $19
Pedro Ximenez Sherry is a sweet dessert Sherry. The El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry is rich and sweet but has enough acidity it is also well-balanced. Ratings for the non-vintage Sherry are around 92 points.
Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat - $20
The Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat is a non-vintage tawny-port style sticky from Australia. The only word to describe this wine is delicious; expect flavors of toffee, mocha, and almonds with some zippy spices. Critics' ratings range from 91 to 94 points. It's good stuff.
Royal Tokaji Late Harvest - $22
This Hungarian dessert wine gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from Wine Enthusiast with a 94 point rating. The Royal Tokaji Late Harvest is a dessert by itself; it's rich and sweet with apricot and floral notes.
Blandy's 10 Year Madeira Rich Malmsey - $23
The Malmsey 10 Year Madeira from Blandy is rich and sweet with notes raisin and spice balanced by zippy acidity. It's a non-vintage Madeira with a minimum age of 10 years, and critics rave about it giving it ratings of between 91 and 93 points. This is a highly affordable Madeira that's a great introduction to this fortified wine style.
Value Rosé Wines Under $15
It's easy to find inexpensive rosé wines, but to find really good ones takes a bit more work. Consider these five options for affordable rosé under $15.
SeaGlass Rosé of Pinot Noir - $10
The SeaGlass Rosé of Pinot Noir from Monterey is highly affordable, and it's a delicious rosé. It presents with flavors of strawberries and rose petals, and the 2018 vintage received a 90 point rating from Wine Enthusiast.
Boschendal The Rose Garden Rosé - $13
From South Africa, this rosé is a 50-50 blend of Merlot and Pinotage. Expect flavors of berries and spice. Critic ratings average around 90 points.
CVNE Rosado - $14
The CVNE Rosado from Rioja, Spain is a rosé of Tempranillo. It's light and fruity with flavors of stone fruits. It averages around 90 point ratings across vintages.
Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois Rosé - $15
The Chateau routas Coteaux Varios Rosé is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah from Provence, France. It's light and refreshing with notes of peach and flowers, and it's always well-received by critics averaging scores of 92 to 93 points.
Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec - $15
The Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec comes from Argentina. Expect light strawberry flavors with a lingering finish. Critic scores come in at around 90 points.
Value Wines From Around the Globe
Wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good. When you start to search for value wines, you'll find them from all parts of the world. Look for wines bargains made from lesser-known grape varieties or up-and-coming regions, where the prices aren't yet sky-high. In doing so, you'll discover delicious wines that will please both your pocket book and your palate.