Unless you are a millionaire or independently wealthy, chances are you’re looking for a bargain when you go to your local wine and spirits store. We all want delicious, quality wine, but who wants (or can afford) to shell out $50 or more for one bottle of vino? If you’re an oenophile on a budget (or looking for an inexpensive bottle to bring to a party), our top 15 wines under $15 is an excellent reference. We have included a variety of different wines from all over the world, which is sure to provide plenty of options as you’re browsing through the shelves and bins at the wine and spirits store. Happy shopping!
“The Rule” Napa Valley 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
According to Curtis Dahl from Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars, “tobacco, berry, and dark fruit are hard to miss in the initial aromas of this cabernet. The palette evolves into a lush combination of red vines and black cherry. The wine has aging potential, but you can drink now…I think this is an outstanding value from Napa, which doesn’t come along too often!” Visit www.josephandcurtis.com or @josephandcurtis on Twitter to learn more.
Joseph and Curtis are manufacturers of custom wine racks and cellars and are focused on outstanding customer service and great designs. Learn more at www.josephandcurtis.com and @josephandcurtis on Twitter.
Lockhart 2012 Pinot Noir ($11)
According to Thrillist/Food & Drink, this pinot noir delivers “cherries, cola, and surprisingly great balance for a pinot on this level. Keep a case on hand for: surprise company, surprise raises, surprise blizzards, and surprise dance parties.” Lisa’s Liquor Barn describes this vino as a “boutique allotment [that is] handcrafted [and] reflect[s] absolute minimal handling with slow and long, cool ferments.” Learn more at www.lisasliquorbarn.com.
Lisa’s Liquor Barn is a New York-based wine, liquor, and spirits store. Visit www.lisasliquorbarn.com for more information.
Apothic Winemakers 2013 Red Blend ($11)
Thrillist/Food & Drink describes this wine as “California in a bottle.” Combining zinfandel, syrah, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, this wine is “juicy, chocolatey, and super drinkable [and] doesn’t want to be fussed over, it just wants to be enjoyed.” Apothic’s website describes this wine as possessing hints of black cherry, vanilla, and mocha and “inspired by the ‘Apotheca,’ a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe.” Learn more at www.thrillist.com/drink/nation, www.apothic.com, and @ApothicWine on Twitter.
Bodega Vistalba Carlos Pulenta “Corte C” 2012 Red Blend ($14)
According to Vinography, this red blend is “dark garnet in color [and] smells of mocha and boysenberries. In the mouth, cherry and boysenberry flavors have a hint of cola and tobacco to them, as they wind their way through a landscape of dusty tannin. Good acidity keeps the fruit fresh and bright through a long finish. [This wine is] a blend of 80% malbec and 20% cabernet sauvignon.” Learn more at www.vinography.com and www.bodegavistalba.com.
Vinography is a wine blog created and maintained by wine expert Alder Yarrow. Visit www.vinography.com for more information.
Morse Code 2014 Shiraz ($9)
According to Quintessential Wines’ website, this wine is “fruit-driven and made with minimal oak contact to allow the fruit flavors and regional characters to be at the forefront. With lifted floral lavender, spearmint, plum, and cherry fruit and hints of spice and licorice, this is a very aromatic wine. The palate is medium bodied and elegant, with fleshy plum fruit and cool-climate rose and lavender characters, as well as hints of spearmint, finishing with a soft and smooth tannin structure.” Learn more at www.quintessentialwines.com and @QuintWines on Twitter.
Quintessential Wines is a family owned-and-operated wine import, marketing, and sales company headquartered in Napa, California. Visit www.quintessentialwines.com or @QuintWines on Twitter to learn more.
Frankland Estate 2008 Rocky Gully Shiraz-Viognier ($15)
Wine-Searcher describes this wine as possessing a “fragrant bouquet [of] spice and polished leather aromas [and] the palate a very lively bundle of red and black fruits, Asian spices, and fine tannins. All in all, a very distinguished second label.” Food and Wine adds that the “touch of the white grape viognier adds a floral note to this fresh, blackberry-inflected red.” Learn more at www.wine-searcher.com or @WineSearcher on Twitter.
Wine-Searcher is a database and search engine that brings together over eight million wines and prices from almost 60,000 merchants around the world. Learn more at www.wine-searcher.com and @WineSearcher on Twitter.
Yaso Toro 2012 Tempranillo ($10)
Reverse Wine Snob Jon Thorsen shares that “this 100% Tempranillo (Tinta de Toro) [is] available for just $9.89 at Costco…If you buy it elsewhere, expect to pay a few dollars more, but it is still more than worth it. Hailing from the often overlooked Toro wine region in northwestern Spain, this is a big red wine [with] delightful aromas of black cherry, blackberries, violets, licorice, [and] spice [and] tastes smooth, rich, dry, and spicy with wonderful vanilla, chocolate, caramel, and licorice notes…It ends dry with good length, lots of tart fruit, and a nice balsamic edge.” Learn more at www.reversewinesnob.com or @ReverseWineSnob on Twitter.
Jon Thorsen is the creator of The Reverse Wine Snob, an excellent blog dedicated to finding great tasting but inexpensive wine. Visit www.reversewinesnob.com or @ReverseWineSnob on Twitter to learn more.
Santa Carolina 2010 Reserva Chardonnay ($11)
Food and Wine describes this vino as possessing “a nice vibrancy [of] ripe apricot and peach flavors.” Additionally, wine expert Natalie Maclean describes “the buttery richness of the Santa Carolina Chardonnay [as possessing] lip-smacking, delicious notes of toffee and vanilla that will make [food] melt in your mouth.” Learn more at www.nataliemaclean.com and @NatalieMacLean on Twitter.
Food and Wine Magazine focuses on all things food and wine, including recipes, recommendations on travel destinations, events, and a digital version of their print magazine. Learn more at www.foodandwine.com or @foodandwine on Twitter.
Lindeman’s Bin 90 2010 Moscato ($8)
According to Lindeman’s website, their Bin 90 Moscato is “pale in color with delightful fruity sweet flavors–think ripe, juicy grapes and subtle musk and tropical notes. Lifted aromas of citrus, musk, and freshly-cut grapes with vibrant musk, tropical notes, and a lingering finish.” Learn more at www.lindemans.com and www.facebook.com/LindemansNorthAmerica.
Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley 2014 Pinot Gris ($14)
The Reverse Wine Snob also recommends this delicious white: “Available for as low as $14, this pinot gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon is definitely not your mother’s pinot grigio. Full of flavor and refreshment, there’s nothing watered-down about this fantastic example of the variety. According to Ponzi Vineyard’s website, their pinot gris “is noted for aromas of vanilla bean, pear, almonds, [and] earthy flavors of fresh quince with golden apple sweetness on the finish. It continues to be our flagship white wine.” Learn more at www.ponziwines.com or @ponziwines on Twitter.
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Dry Riesling ($15)
Another one of the Reverse Wine Snob’s picks is this German dry riesling, which is grown on the “steep-sloped, slate soil vineyards of Mosel, Germany. This refreshing example of riesling offers a mineral-filled mouthful of tangerine, orange peel, green apple, and pineapple.” According to the vineyard’s website, “extensive care of [their] vineyards, combined with intentionally low yields and selective hand picking, serve as guarantors for [their] extraordinary wines and their individual and unique character.” Learn more at www.pauly-bergweiler.com or www.facebook.com/dr.pauly.bergweiler.
Le Jaja de Jau 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($10)
Food and Wine describes this vino as “tart and refreshing, with lime and grapefruit flavors.” According to the bottle, “Jaja is an old French slang word for a glass of wine, and everyday wine, a thirst-quencher. Jau is a beautifully prestigious wine estate in the South of France…this is a fresh, clean, and zesty sauvignon blanc, [and an] ideal accompaniment to fish and seafood.”
The Reverse Wine Snob explains that “the wine tastes of citrus and tropical fruit, plus some grapefruit zest…[it] is a crisp, fresh wine with good strong acidity [and] ends with strong flavors that linger a long time…a really nice sauvignon blanc that will stand up to a lot of foods.” Learn more at www.foodandwine.com and @foodandwine on Twitter.
Mapuche 2014 Sauvignon Blanc ($10)
Thrillist/Food & Drink explains that “a lot of people think almost exclusively about red wines when they think about South American regions, [but] if you’ve never tried Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, you really need to give it a go. It’s generally more restrained than the stuff from New Zealand and shows really pretty floral notes to boot.”
Amanti Vino describes this wine as “a vibrant, fresh sauvignon blanc with breezy notes of bright citrus fruit, zesty green apples, and hints of tart gooseberry. Lively and clean on the palate, with mouthwatering acidity.” Learn more at www.tedwardwines.com.
Chivite Gran Feudo 2010 Navarra Rosado ($9)
Food and Wine describes this wine as “a bright, zesty rosé made primarily with garnacha and full of graceful raspberry and cherry flavors.” The vineyard’s website describes this wine as having a “strawberry color with vivid sparkle [and a] violet rim [that is] brilliant and intense [and] fresh and fruity in the mouth [with] well-balanced acidity; [it is] fresh with [a] pleasant finish and strawberry aftertaste.” Learn more at www.granfeudo.es and @GranFeudo on Twitter.
Mulderbosch 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé ($12)
According to Food & Wine, this wine’s “soft red currant flavors and a subtle sweetness [creates] an immensely drinkable rosé.” Mulderbosch Vineyard’s website writes that this “rosé was one of the very first of its kind from South Africa. At a time when most rosés were a byproduct of red wine fermentation, Mulderbosch launched a varietal cabernet sauvignon rosé issuing from specially farmed vineyards specifically to produce rosé fruit. On arrival at the cellar, these early picked, specially selected grapes were vinified in the same manner in which an aromatic white wine would be, with the aim of producing a fresh, aromatic style of rosé. Learn more at www.mulderbosch.com and @MulderboschV on Twitter.