Category: Great Bargain Red Wines Reviewed

25 Red Wines Under $25 to Try Now!

Every year we publish our compilation our report of quality red wines we've found that are under $25.  These wines are a result of various tasting events, restaurant experiences, and sommelier suggestions we've had this year.  Some usual suspects pop up, as well as interesting bargains from under-appreciated regions such as Lirac in Southern Rhone. The Top 5 Value Wines We have identified five special wines from this group of 25 that are exceptional values and really noteworthy: Palazzo della Torre The Allegrini Family makes some seriously great wines at many price points.  This wine has always impressed us with its consistent quality and value, and it is easy to find.  Allegrini uses an innovative "ripasso" method that gives this wine a style similar to higher end Amarone wines.  Bursting with dark, dried cherries, blackberries, and hints of dates, this wine has a lasting finish bolstered with just enough tannin to make it interesting, and worthy of a few years in the cellar.  Pair with pasta, chicken, or mild sausage. Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese. (typically $17 to $20). Tua Rita Rosso The Tua Rita winery is located on the western side of Tuscany, near the sea.  They are world-renowned for [...]

Revisiting Sangiovese

We were really happy to see one of our favorite wine writers - Lettie Teague from Wall Street Journal - give some love to one of our favorite food wines that has somehow gone out of style:  Chianti (click HERE to see the article).  As our readers know, we have a long standing love affair with the Sangiovese grape in all its wonderful forms and expressions (take a look at some of our previous articles: Sangiovese Round One and Round Two).  It might be the most food-friendly grape on the plant, as long as you pick up the right bottle.  Ms. Teague mentioned that she couldn't recall the last time folks talked about Chianti - most likely because of all the bad stuff that had flooded the market.  We hope to reverse the trend a bit by first mentioning the wines from Ms. Teague's article, then by talking about some of our favorite Sangiovese bottles. The Chianti List Let's start with Lettie Teague's list, since there was quite a few familiar faces, all at reasonable prices: From WSJ 2/27/2016 You won't go wrong with any of these producers, especially if you can grab some older vintages.  But our top bottle [...]

Intriguing Wine from the Island of Sardinia

We stumbled on a very intriguing wine this week – Argiolas Costera-  and we had to immediately share it with our readers because of the high quality at an amazing value – we purchased it for $13.  We were familiar with the whites from Sardinia (mostly using the Vermentino grape), but didn’t know much about the red wines.  Now we come to find that there is more red wine produced in Sardinia than white. There are quite a few unusual native red grapes on Sardinia, such as Monica (a light, bright, berry-flavored grape), Carignano (also known as Mazuelo in Spain and Carignan in France – deep colored, very fruity grape), Bovale sardo (related to Carignano, but smaller less fruity grapes), and Cannonau (also known as Grenache).  The warm climate, and the constant air movement from Mediterranean breezes give the Cannonau grapes more concentration and more body.  It is fragrant, has good tannin to acid balance – just don’t be put off by the color.  It is not going to be the deep red you would expect from a Grenache-based wine. The Argiolas Costera for 2011 is made up of 100% Cannonau (other years, the winemaker will mix in up to […]

The Best Pizza Wine

The weekend Wall Street Journal had a great article by the brilliant Lettie Teague – she always has something new and interesting to say about wines, always brings in experts in the field, and never seems pretentious about drinking wine.

Red Wines of the Veneto: A Vapolicella Tasting

You might be ignoring Valpolicella wines - most folks see them as light, fruity red wines with little character or finesse, a wine that you might find in checkered table cloth, red sauce only Italian restaurants.  We wanted you to re-think Valpolicella, so the Serious Foodie decided to dispel some of these myths and misconceptions with a wine tasting event featuring reds from the Veneto. It's a pity that Valpolicella lost favor with the US market, mainly because of heavy advertising pressure from mass-produced versions (many of which are still light, fruity, and insipid).  Like other Italian wines, there has been winemaking renaissance in the region for Valpolicella, spurred by producers of the outstanding artisan Amarone wines such as Allegrini.  The Valpolicella wines are produced solely in the Veneto region, just west of Verona, in an area between foothills of the Alps and Lake Garda. The primary grapes used are Corvina (40-70%), Rondinella (20-40%) and Molinara (5-20%), but the vintner can also add up to 15% complementary varieties, which include Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera, Sangiovese, and the recently revived Oseleta grape (almost solely due to efforts at Allegrini).  What makes these wines so interesting is the variety of flavors and [...]

25 Fabulous Red Wines Under $25 for 2014

Each year, the Serious Foodie posts a list of the quality wines we consider bargains – and hopefully wines you can easily find.  Our red wine list gets posted every Fall, after considerable research and input from our associate tasters.  Last year we did 20 wines under $20 – we decided to expand it a bit by including five more wines, and going to the $25 level.  There were quite a few great wines that came in just above $20 that we felt it would warrant the extra few bucks for some tasty wines. There were quite a few quality bargain wines from Italy this year, and a few pinot noirs made the list.  In the past, it’s been hard to find quality bargain red wines from California, but we found a few that were outstanding. We have identified five special wines from this group of 25: The Top 5 Value Wines for 2014 Brancaia  Tre Toscana, Cambria Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Julia’s Vineyard, Domaine de Pallus Chinon Les Pensees de Pallus, Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Riserva Nipozzano, and Tolani Valdisanti. Let us know what you think of these wines, and send along the names of your favorite bargain bottles.  Here’s […]

Tuscan Reds Under $25 – Our May Tasting Event

Our May tasting event took us to the Central NJ area – specifically Ringoes, NJ – where we had the enviable task of selecting Tuscan red wines that were easy to drink, food friendly, available locally, and relatively affordable (nearly all our wine selections should be available nationwide, or via internet sales).  Proceeds from this affair went to the wonderful folks at the Princeton Festival.  If you are in the area from June 7 through June 29, or willing to travel, you would not be disappointed at the outstanding selection of jazz/opera/chamber music/etc from this award winning group (click on for more information).  I know that Serious Foodie is certainly looking forward to the A Capella Jazz concert on June 7, and Porgy & Bess on June 22 and June 29.   Roasted Tricolored Carrots As with our other events, we worked to match our wine choices with an array of foods that would match, focusing on simple Tuscan inspired dishes.  Here is the menu from this event: Proscuitto wrapped mango, with the Serious Foodie Orange & Fig Finishing Sauce Freshly made Parmesan crisps Genoa salami crisps Pesto bruschetta with home roasted tomatoes Mascarpone and pancetta stuffed crimini mushrooms […]

Marvelous Marzemino

We came across this unusual grape from the northeast region of Italy (primarily from the area around Isera in Trentino) when we were sourcing an Italian red that would match well with fish.  Marzemino wines are made in limited quantities, and are hard to find in the US.  The grapes have a long growing season, ripening late and is susceptible to many grape diseases, making it a bit finicky to grow. Our friends at the Italian Wine Merchant  had told us about the wines from the region, and suggested the Pratello Marzemino Poderi Ogaria.  We bought a case of the 2006 for our annual Feast of the Fishes party, and went through most of it – we immediately went back for another case.  Surprisingly, this wine has held up well in our cellar, showing outstanding fresh tastes of blueberry, lingonberry, and sweet herbs that has a surprising long lasting flavor.  It is light to medium bodied, with soft tannins and high acidity.  We recently opened up a few bottles of the 2006 for a pizza party we held, and it was a big hit.  We found only five bottles of the 2010 from the Virginia Wine Experience – so beware, […]

20 Fabulous Red Wines under $20

After tasting many wines under $20 (some were poured down the sink quickly), we found a nice selection to pass on.  We would like your feedback on any of the choices, and most certainly let us know if you have wines that should get on our list.  A few of these wines we separately review, providing more information (look through our postings). So, here goes…. ————————————————————  #20:  La Posta Angel:  2011 Paulucci Vineyard Malbec Argentina Malbec averaging $18.00. ————————————————————  #19:  Scala Dei:  2010 Priorat Prior Spanish (Catalonia) red made from Garnacha Tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon and  Syrah averaging $17.00 ————————————————————  #18:  Leone D’Oro:  2011 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Italian (Tuscany) red made from Prugnolo Gentile, a clone of Sangiovese, averaging $19.00. ————————————————————  #17: Angulo Innocenti:  2010 La Consulta Malbec Argentina Malbec averaging $19.00. ————————————————————  #16: Romero & Miller:  2005 Rioja Rentas  de Fincas Reserva Spanish red made from Tempranillo averaging $18.00. ————————————————————  #15: Vina Equia:  2011 Rioja Riserva Spanish red made from Tempranillo averaging $15.00. ————————————————————  #14: Seghesio:  2010 Sonoma Zinfandel California zinfandel averaging $19.00. ————————————————————  #13: Bodegas De La Marquesa:  2009 Rioja Valserrano Crianza Spanish red made from Tempranillo averaging $13.00. ————————————————————  #12: Bryn Mawr:  2011 Pinot noir Oregon pinot noir averaging $15.00. ————————————————————  #11: […]

Fattoria del Cerro – Great Tuscan Bargain

Fattoria del Cerro is a winery, restaurant, and hotel near Montepulciano, which is on the eastern end of Tuscany.  They specialize in  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vineyards, and is the largest private estate producing Vino Nobile. The grounds are beautiful, and tasting wine at this vineyard is one of life’s great pleasures.   All Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are made from the prugnolo gentile grape, which is a clone of Sangiovese.  We’ve tasted several wines from Fattoria del Cerro, and two appear on our list of 20 under $20 bargain red wines for 2013.  The regular Vino Nobile di Montepulciano D.O.C.G. can be found at $15 to $20, and often appears on restaurant wine lists at about $40.  We love the striking up-front cherry, wild herbs and spice flavors of this smooth wine, with a nice elegant finish for a wine of this price.  This wine leaves a mouthwatering impression, with a nice balance of acid and tannins. The Riserva Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva D.O.C.G., and the single vineyard selection Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Antica Chiusina” D.O.C.G. are quite a bit pricier (about $60), but does raise the bar with more intense and lingering fruit flavors. We’ve also added […]

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