We find ourselves in a surreal, almost science fiction-like dystopian world right now, where businesses are shuttered, schools are closed, grocery store shelves are empty and we’re being told to stay home or keep our distance if we absolutely have to go out. All of these measures seem draconian, but are absolutely necessary right now to “flatten the curve,” reduce the burden on the healthcare system, and keep those most at risk safe.
While you are stuck at home, it certainly makes the time go by much more pleasantly when you have a good stockpile of wonderful wine to enjoy! Since you shouldn’t be out browsing through your wine shop right now, you should find a store that offers delivery service or shipping. One way to do this is to check out www.Drizzly.com, which is a site where you can purchase alcohol online that will be delivered to you within one hour. Many wine shops will also offer shipping if delivery isn’t available to your location.
Stocking up on wine also means you’ll probably want affordable wines so you can buy a case or two to get you through the coming days/weeks. To that end, here are my 10 favorite bottles under $20.
Domaine Des Nouelles Rosé D’Anjou – $10
Spring is coming, so it must be time to break out the rosé! Before you reach for those bottles of very pale pink, dry rosés from Provence, France, consider picking up a rosé d’anjou instead. Rosé d’anjou is a distinct style of rosé made in Anjou district of the Loire Valley, France. It is a lightly sweet style, where fermentation is stopped early, leaving a small amount of residual sugar left in the wine. These wines are frequently made from Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes. The Domaine Des Nouelles is just a tad sweet and very refreshing with flavors of fresh strawberries.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier – $11
The Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier is fresh and juicy with pronounced aromas and ripe characters of honeysuckle, pear, jasmine, orange blossom, pineapple and green apple. The addition of a small amount of Viognier adds a bit of creaminess and floral character to the ripe, tropical fruit flavors of Chenin Blanc. This wine is delicious and a fantastic value!
La Cana Albariño – $14
Albariño is a white wine from the northwestern Atlantic coast of Spain. This is a light-bodied wine that is both fruity and floral. It has lemon, lime, peach, and nectarine characteristics with a slightly bitter finish reminiscent of grapefruit. Due to its proximity to the ocean, the sea air imparts a slightly briney character on the wine. This wine is fresh and zippy and makes an excellent pairing with seafood.
La Battagliola Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetrano DOC – $15
Lambrusco is a super fun and tasty sparkling red wine from northern Italy. For a long time, Lambrusco had a bad reputation because it was made in large volumes of overly sweet or too harsh wines. Nowadays, sensible producers are going back to quality winemaking, reducing yields and producing more complex wines in a dry style. This wine is dry with pronounced aromas of violets, strawberries, fresh plums and black cherries. It is fuller-bodied and higher in alcohol than other Lambrusco wines, it is also more tannic – Grasparossa has the highest tannin count of the Lambrusco varieties, which makes it robust enough to provide an excellent match for meats, cheeses and charcuterie.
Scarbolo Pinot Grigio Grave DOC “Il Volo” – $15
I am generally not a big fan of Pinot Grigio. I find that inexpensive examples tend to lack character and complexity. Then I tried the Scarbolo Il Volo and was blown away by how tasty it was. This wine has excellent body and structure, feeling fuller in the mouth than any other Pinot Grigio I have tried. It has nice tropical and citrus fruit flavors with a mineral backbone and vibrant acidity. To make it even better, this wine is produced from organically grown grapes. Dare I say, this is the best Pinot Grigio I have ever had!
Bodega Garzon Tannat – $17
If you are looking for big, bold red wine at an affordable price, don’t overlook this lesser known variety. Tannat is the most widely planted grape variety in Uruguay, producing wines with some of the highest levels of antioxidants. Bodega Garzon is one of the most well known and highly respected producers in Uruguay, making terrific wines at an excellent value. The Bodega Garzon Tannat is dark, rich and full-bodied, yet elegant and approachable. It is reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon, but at a much better price point. It has flavors of blackberry, plum and raspberry, with a long spicy finish.
Tikal Natural Malbec/Syrah – $17
The grapes for Tikal Natural wine are grown in one of Argentina’s most prestigious vineyard areas of Vista Flores at very high altitudes of 3,300 feet above sea level. These altitudes give the grapes high levels of sunlight for daytime ripening, followed by significant cooling overnight to retain vibrant acidity. The vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic, using natural winemaking practices. It is deep in color with fruity red cherry, raspberry and blackberry flavors with a light amount of medium-bodied tannins.
Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie of the Barossa GSM – $18
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (aka., Mouvedre) from Barossa, Australia. It is smooth, rich and delicious with ripe fruit flavors of blueberry, blackberry, red cherry, wild strawberry and vanilla with beautiful cinnamon spice undertones. A very tasty wines at an excellent value.
Shell & Shale Margarita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – $20
No top wine list would be complete without representation from one of my favorite wine regions – Paso Robles, CA. Representing Paso is the fabulous Shell & Shale Cabernet. This is a very fruit forward example of a California Cabernet. It is big, jammy and fruity with flavors of vanilla, sweet red cherry, cedar, coconut and tobacco. If you like your Cabs more fruity than tannic, this could be the wine for you.
Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County – $20
Seghesio is a one of the oldest (established in 1895), most respected and critically acclaimed Zinfandel producers in Sonoma. Their Sonoma County Zinfandel is actually a blend of 87% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 1% Syrah and 1% mixed reds, which adds a beautiful complexity of aromas and flavors. It showcases blue, red and black fruits – blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and black plum – with sweet baking spices, licorice and silky smooth tannins. It is big, ripe and full-bodied.