Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Carignan
Get ready for a trip to the south of France, told through the eyes of Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas, and Miriam Jonas, co-owners of the uber-small production Minus Tide wines, including this Carignan. Jeffrey says that Carignan is one of the heritage varieties of Mendocino County, and their grape source at Feliz Creek Vineyard is among the oldest, with vines dating back to 1908. Florals such as rose petals and violets join thinly sliced saucisson sec, black olives, and white pepper. Soft, silken dark fruit rides along a salty finish. Pair this with cured meats and a hearty cassoulet.
Kings Carey Mourvdre Dogged Vine Vineyard Los Olivos District
Though best known for producing the highly sought-after Liquid Farm Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, James Sparks shows another gifted side of his winemaking chops under his own Kings Carey line. But even the mesmerizing artwork on the label can’t distract from the utterly delicious Mourvèdre sourced from an exciting new vineyard in Santa Barbara County called Dogged Vine, owned by Ike Zekaria and his wife, Lara. This is an unexpectedly elegant, red-berry-driven take on the typically muscular and deeply-colored style of Mourvèdre that is more common in the Central Coast and Santa Barbara. The only caveat is you have to become a wine club member, but it’s worth the modest price of admission.
What Are Red Blend Wines
SIMPLE any wine that is not made with just one varietal. It can be a blend of two or more different grape varieties.
So, most wines in the US are actually red blends. For example, to be categorized as a California Cabernet Sauvignon, only 75% of the wine needs to be Cabernet. Therefore, you may be drinking a California Cab, and you may not even know that the winery probably added some other red grape varietals into the Cab. Most likely to help balance or improve the flavor of the wine.
So, essentially, even if it says California Cabernet Sauvignon on the label, you are drinking a red wine blend.
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Birichino Besson Vineyard Old Vines Grenache 2018
This Grenache gets its notability due to its eccentricity and uniqueness making it like no other Grenache in the world. It has a low alcohol content but is subsidized with a fine elegance. Fresh aromas of strawberry and raspberry as well as minty sage, dried oranges, and hints of lavender liven the palate. Its fruity bouquet and red fruit dominance makes a lovely pairing with braised beef.
Noble Vines 181 Merlot 2017 $1200
So what makes this one of the best California Merlots under $20? Well first off, it’s the best California Merlots under $15, so that’s a good place to start.
But seriously, Merlot is one of the classic French varieties that is known for its elegance and power. You will quickly learn that this bottle lives up to that acclaim. Plan for intense aromas of ripe black cherry, raspberry, and oak. This sub $20 California red is a perfect pairing for filet mignon and also goes wonderfully with a sausage-laden pasta dish and grilled vegetables.
The downturn in Merlot consumption after the movie Sideways was a blessing in disguise because it means today it is possible to find incredible deals on this often overlooked variety. For the last ten years, you’ve been able to score high-quality California Merlots for rock bottom prices. That can’t last forever!
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Carmel Road Pinot Noir
One of Juiceflys best sellers, this highly rated wine makes a lovely pairing with grilled lamb or pork tenderloin. The Monterey Carmel Road Pinot Noir has a lively cherry scent layered with hints of strawberries and black tea. With fruit-forward black cherry flavors and notes of vanilla cola, smoky oak and well balanced tannins, this silky texture will lead you to a lasting finish.
Best Red Blend Wine Under $20 And Under $50
When people think of red blends, they often think of a cheaper one made of cheap varietals. But honestly, I believe a red blend wine allows the winemaker to showcase their skills.
So, for example, if you are fortunate enough to have a good chef cook for you, the food will be great. Similarly, if you have a great winemaker who creates a blend, youre going to enjoy some great wines!
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Stags’ Leap Investor Red
The Investor is a Napa Valley red wine blends together the wonderful flavors of Merlot, Petit Sirah, Cabernet, and Malbec, resulting in a fruit forward, rich, and easy to drink wine. A wine enthusiast will probably already know this bottle of wine, but more importantly be very pleased with this intense and delicious red wine.
Tasting Notes: Blackberry, plum, oak, vanilla, tobacco, earthy
Can You Really Find High
There are many highly-rated California red wines you can buy if you only have one twenty in your Venmo account. If youre looking for an incredible bang for your buck, this list of the best California red wines for under $20 is the perfect place to look. But don’t sleep on the great California white wines for under $15. You could buy a nice bottle and still have money left over!
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Materra Midnight Red Wine Napa Valley
The Cunat family has conjured an anomaly in Napa’s typically Cabernet-focused Oak Knoll District. This “Midnight” blend leverages Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, and is expertly crafted by an all-star winemaking team that includes Chelsea Barrett, the talented daughter of winemakers Heidi and Bo Barrett, who is working with consulting winemaker Michael Trujillo. Together, they have made diamonds out of grapes, only less angular and more redolent of spiced plums, red currants, fine tobacco, and vanilla bean. Blueberries and cherries mingle with cedar and earth to create a seamless experience.
Cass Rockin’ One Red Paso Robles
The wines of Steve Cass, co-owner of Cass Winery, are perennial favorites at the Central Coast Wine Competition, where wines are judged blind. Casswho has an uncanny resemblance to Sir Richard Bransonmanages to take home the bulk of medals year after year, cementing their status as local favorites. That success, however, means that his wines rarely travel far outside of California’s Central Coast. Your best bet is to call the winery to get your hands on his Rockin’ One, an opulent blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Petite Sirah, revealing almost brooding layers of deep dark fruit, savory smoked herbs, cherry liqueur, and a blueberry compote finish marked by toasty cedar.
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So How Do California Wineries Offer Great Red Wines For $20 Or Less
California is renowned for producing some of the best quality red wines in the world. Unlike their counterparts in Europe who must follow strict guidelines in their growing regions, California winemakers have access to a huge range of grape varieties and winemaking methods to make incredible wines. Plus, the climate in California is ideal for grape growing, with cool nights and warm days. Producers are able to take advantage of the climate, economies of scale, and institutional know-how to produce some very high-quality wines for under $20.
We’ve found that, because of the quantity and diversity of California wines, it can be a daunting task to pick a good bottle of California red wine at your local store. This is especially true if you’re not an expert.
While it’s usually a safe bet to assume that the more expensive wines will be a hit, you don’t have to break the bank every time you want to enjoy a great bottle of red wine. There are plenty of quality wines out there that are a steal for their prices, and weve done searching so you dont have to! Here are the best California red wines you can find in 2021 for under $20. Cheers!
To Our Valued Customers
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Best Overall: Lavau Rasteau 2017
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: France, Rhone, Rasteau | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Blueberry, Plum, Chocolate.
This bottle from Lavau is Frances Rhône Valley in top form: a heady marriage of grenache and syrah, two local favorites. The small town of Rasteau has become a highly sought-out tract of winemaking real estate by Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers aiming to reproduce the popular Rhône blend flavor beloved around the world. Lavau also gets a leg up from legendary wine consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, whos had a hand advising vineyards from France to California to the Middle East. This 2017 Rasteau is rich, velvety, and aromaticand to sweeten the deal, its an astounding value wine. Theres a lot to love.
Coquelicot Mon Petit Chou 2017
Hailing from Ynez Valley, Coquelicot Mon Petit Chou has an organic aroma of black plum, iodine, teriyaki, leather, and charred wood that would make a wonderful pairing with grilled chicken. Its layered chocolate and dark fruit forward flavors envelope the palate yet still has a light drinkable taste. A California red blend with a dominance of Cabernet Franc, its tannins greet the sip, open toward blackberry and dark-raspberry flavors, with herbs lightly dusted in the finish.
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Centuries Of Iconic Blends More Popular Than Ever
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The super Tuscan. That richly expressive Port. That unnerving and must-have Champagne. These are all wines you love, and justifiably so, as theyre among the more popular categories.
But there’s a secret techniqueand artthat ties those aforementioned styles and regions together: blending. It’s where red wine producers really have a chance to show their talents. The blending of different grape varieties is both a science and an art, but centuries of experimentation have yielded some iconic blends, such as syrah with grenache and merlot with cabernet sauvignon. The science is in testing grapes to see how they complement each other based on aromas and flavors that result from local climate and terroir. The art is in knowing when to push the boundaries of traditional blending science, expanding the limits of the great wine frontier to craft a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Some vintners will even go so far as to plant new varieties in older vineyards in hopes of obtaining a better blend. Mark Lyon, the former longtime winemaker for Sebastiani Vineyards, explains that in 1994, in the winerys iconic Cherryblock Vineyard, we wanted to diversify and have blending options, so they planted Merlot next to the old blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Best Portugal: Herdade Do Esporao Reserva Red 2016
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Portugal, Alentejo DOC | ABV: 15% | Tasting Notes: Blueberry, Blackberry, Black cherry, Clove.
With 750 years of wine production under its belt, the Herdade Do Esporao estate in Portugal is more than just a great winery its also a dynamo tourist destination. And if youre lucky enough to find yourself taking selfies among its historic vineyards, its 2016 Reserva Red bottle is the one to seek. Its alive with varietals distinctive of the Iberian peninsula, such as Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Trincadeira, and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon aged in both French and American oak barrels, and full of dark fruit and spice undertones.
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Austin Hope Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Stemming from Paso Robles, the classic ruby color gloriously represents this robust Austin Hope Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon. Rated an impressive score of 95 by Wine & Spirits, this wine is full bodied and smooth. It is fruit forward with undertones of an enjoyable rich smoke. Savor the tobacco, dark chocolate, and fresh black currant notes with a fillet to complement your meal.
Best Value: Bodegas Muga Reserva 2016
Courtesy of Wine.com
Region: Spain, Rioja | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Cherry, Smoke, Currant.
The flagship grape in this blend is the Iberian favorite tempranillo and clocks in at over two-thirds percentage in this cuvée. Bodegas Muga is one of the jewels of Spains north coast and the reason why is evident here in its 2016 Reserva. With a mixture of red fruit and dark fruit aromas, this wine is a natural pair with specialty meats. Its a high-quality red, but since Bodegas Muga produced an impressive supply, its also an excellent value wine.
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How Popular Are Red Blends
Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed top-selling red wine varietal in the United States, but the second-most-popular choice is far less specific.That would be red blends, now sitting at No. 2 on Nielsens measured U.S. off-premise channel numbers. However, the agency has been tracking red blends shipments as its own category only for the past few years, hinting at growing strength for these wines in the U.S. market.
Sean Thackery Pleiades Xxvi Old Vines California
A blend in many senses, this multi-vintage wine is as unconventional as it gets! Likening each vintage to a Chefs Special, Thackery changes the blend every year. While the wine will be red, the blend may include both white and red grapes, often including Barbera, Zinfandel, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Mourvèdre, and Grenache. The wine is usually aromatic and spicy, fruity yet cerebraland certainly not something you would want to get in a blind tasting!
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Best French: Ogier Gigondas Dentellis 2017
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: France, Rhone, Gigondas | ABV: 14% | Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Pepper, Blackberry, Cherry.
Once again, Frances southern Rhone region makes an appearance on this list, and maybe its because of their distinctive French grape blends. This 2017 bottle comes from Ogier, a winery in the business since 1859, and features southern Rhône favorites such as syrah, grenache, and mourvédre. Smooth, full-bodied, and aged twelve months in oak barrels, this wine does France proud.
Z Alexander Brown Uncaged Red
Surprisingly smooth with flavorful notes and even tannins. Its a complex red wine blend that leaves you a lasting impression, especially with that delectably full finish. One sip will surely get your palate satisfied but still always ready for more!
Tasting Notes: Cherry, milk chocolate, vanilla, oak
*Prices are subject to change by sellers at anytime
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How Long Do You Let A Red Blend Wine Breath
Many wines benefit from some . Red wines from the grocery store or any wines that fall into a drink now category can benefit from 15-20 minutes in the decanter before consuming. Of course, the amount of decanting time is up to personal preference.
Wines designed for aging may have much longer decanting times than drink-now wines. One could do a little online research on websites like CellarTracker to see how long other users decanted their wines as a general guideline.
How Long Can You Cellar A Red Wine Blend
Most red blend wines purchased at the grocery store will not benefit from additional cellaring. The same is true of red wines sold by independent bottle shops with a shopkeeper recommendation of can drink now.
This designation does not mean that your wine will go bad if you dont drink it in the coming weeks. In fact, if you store it for several months or a couple years in a wine refrigerator it will likely taste much like it does today.
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Belden Barns Pinot Noir Sonoma Mountain
Husband and wife Nate and Lauren Belden have created a true wine-lover’s haven at their family-friendly Santa Rosa farmstead on Sonoma Mountain. The stunning property is home to a working farm helmed by Jenny and Vince Trotter. Small production lots of still wine are crafted along with a sparkler and a cider from heirloom apple varieties. There’s even a wishing tree on-site. For “Serendipity,” nine clones of Pinot are whole-cluster fermented and aged in neutral oak, delivering a dynamic and complex wine with grippy textures and flavors of nuanced red berries, black tea, brown spices, and underbrush.
Vina Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Before we get into describing this amazing red wine priced under $20 a bottle, here is some general advice. Look outside of Napa for great California Cabs at reasonable price points. There is no denying Napa is great for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, but Paso Robles and Lodi also have world-class Cab vineyards. Because they lack the fanfare of Napa, you can save a lot of money.
Vina Robles picks some of the best Central Coast fruit from two of their estate vineyards, Huerhuero and Creston Valley. This producer is very eco-conscious all of their vineyards have been certified by SIP since 2012. You can feel good about drinking this wine!
This 2018 Cab is full-bodied and powerful with rich, silky tannins. On the nose, it has aromas of dark berries and caramel. Thanks to aging in French, American, and Hungarian oak, this wine has a beautiful cedar taste. Earning 94 points and a Platinum award from the San Diego International Wine Challenge, this wine is a steal that is sure to please!
Here is what Wine Enthusiast says about this amazing red for under $20.
Aromas of roasted black cherry, fig, caramel, and milk chocolate make for a rich and gooey entry to the nose of this appellation blend. Lavish, creamy, and smooth tannins frame the sip, where roasted plum, fig, and raisin flavors are framed by a more rigid structure toward the finish.
To Order Vina Robles Wines
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