It’s finally Spring! We’re approaching rosé and grilling season and there are so many outstanding new wines to match the warm weather. These diverse and food friendly bottles are perfectly suited for dining alfresco and enjoying lighter meals like spring salads, as well as richer fare like barbeque.
My top picks priced at $20 or less are perfect for wine lovers seeking exciting flavors without spending an arm and a leg. Thrifty shoppers might shy away from the $20 price tag, believing that there are tons of stellar $10 and under wines out there. While this is true, wines at the $10 price point can sometimes be one dimensional, mass market, or a bit boring. That said, I have included two under $20 wines that don’t follow this rule and stand out for their quality and intrigue. All of these wines come from small producers who strive to make wines expressive of a sense of place while adhering to traditional winemaking techniques, and letting the fruit in the vineyard speak for itself.
These five bottles are rich in flavor yet low in cost. They come from five different countries, and even more regions representing a diverse array of winemaking styles.
Top 5 Wines Under $20
2012 Portas da Herdade Reserva, Alentejo, Portugal $9.99:
Full-bodied, bold, and rich, this delightful red blend of Aragonez, Syrah, and Alicante Bouschet, shows off notes of blueberry, coffee, blackberry, and cherry. This complex and layered wine drinks well above its $10 price point. Pair with grilled spare ribs and don’t forget to sprinkle some dried herbs and spices right before serving.
2016 Castello Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo, Chianti Classico, Italy $15.99:
Castello Vicchiomaggio is a small producer of internationally renowned wines. Wine has been produced at the Castle since the 14th century, and its owners, John and Paola Matta, dedicate their lives to preserving this centuries-old tradition. The Chianti Classico area is known for a hot, humid climate and “Galestro” clay soils. 100% Sangiovese, this wine offers aromas and flavors of tart cherry, crisp raspberry, and dried herbs. This is a wine to enjoy in its youth. The savory flavors with high acidity makes it an amazing food wine. It is the ideal partner with tomato sauces and homemade grilled pizza.
2015 Antoine Touton & Fredi Torres La Seleccion Montsant, Spain $19.99:
This organic and biodynamic wine is comprised of 85% Grenache, 12% Carignan, and 3% mixed whites. Fredi Torres has been steadily making a name for himself in the Montsant region and he is widely considered one of the top viticulturists there. The fruit is hand harvested from cool, windy vineyards at an altitude of 1,312 feet above sea level. Naturally fermented with 20% full clusters, this bright and fruit forward red is juicy and very easy to drink. Rich and bright with hints of red raspberry, Bing cherry, bubble gum, and fresh acidity with light tannins. This is the perfect wine to enjoy with a grilled hamburger.
2016 Broman Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California $19.99:
Broman is a family-owned and operated winery producing handcrafted, artisan wines in small lots. Known for their uncompromising and bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, this lovely white highlights their softer side. The 2016 vintage is crafted from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes sourced from a small vineyard in Rutherford. The bright and tangy citrus fruit really shines through as it was fermented in a small stainless steel tank with no malolactic fermentation or oak treatment. Only 305 cases were produced. Pair with a sugar snap pea salad with radish, and goat cheese.
2016 Bargemone Rosé Provence, France $19.99:
Made of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Rolle, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Counoise, and 5% Carignan, Bargemone is one of the foremost estates of the Coteaux d’Aix appellation of Provence. This is a delicious, dry rosé displaying classic aromas of wild strawberries, lavender, watermelon, and mouthwatering acidity. Pair with spicy tuna crudo, as it will highlight the fish without overpowering the delicate flavors.
Visit Elyse at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill (300 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002) to discover wines you’ll love.