WHAT A WINE GEEK DRINKS ON A BUDGET

By Maggie Walters

Time and time again I get asked (usually rather sheepishly) for wine recommendations under $15. I do not think that this is a request to be embarrassed about, nor does the price of the wine denote the quality of the wine.

I thought I would share a few inexpensive wines that I enjoy. These are hidden gems! I almost feel like it's a game I play with my fellow wine nerds – who can find the next delicious wine that's not very well known and doesn't break the bank? With all the hustle and bustle in life, who can prioritize their money for wine? There's no shame in being responsible adults, or having a need for delicious wine!


Wine #1

Garnacha de Fuego Old Vine Garnacha, Spain       

$9.99  – 14.5% ABV  •  100% Grenache

First, let's address the elephant in the room; yes, it is a tacky label, but don't judge a book by its cover here! This wine is SO good, and it's only $10 bucks! This old vine garnacha from Calatayud does not disappoint. On the palate you get ripe juicy fruits like raspberry, blueberry and plum; mouthwatering acidity; and a hint of star anise. There's also a nice peppery sensation from the alcohol that's very warming. Quick tidbit of wine knowledge: they've been making wine here since 200 BC. 

This wine is great for anyone who loves the big, bold and heavy Pinot Noir that one sees out of California. 

PAIRING: Any grilled food (the fruit balances well with smokey flavors) or drink on its own.


Wine #2

Domaine Laroque, Cite de Carcassonne, France

$10.99  –  13.5% ABV  •  100% Cabernet Franc

This wine has brightness, silky tannins and minerality wrapped up in a beautiful, medium-bodied wine. On the palate you will get bright red fruit like cranberries and cherries, bright acidity, black peppercorns, brambly fruits and red currant. 

Where the grenache was all heavy luscious fruit, this is bright and uplifting. 

PAIRING: Chicken & fish dishes; refreshes the palate.


Wine #3

Penya Rosé from Cotes Catalanes, France       

$11.99  –  13% ABV  •  96% Grenache Noir, 4% Syrah

Provence rosé lovers rejoice, this is a wine for you that won't cost an arm and a leg! Bright and full of acidity like rosés from the south of France should be. You'll get fresh fruits and melons on the palate like strawberry, watermelon and citrus. This is an IGP wine so the price tag does not come with it, but it is not lacking in flavor.


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Wine #4

Domaine Du Tariquet Cotes de gascogne, France     

$10.99  –  10.5% ABV  •  45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard, 10% Sauvignon, 10% Gros Manseng

What a gluggable, fruity, white wine!! Yum! This wine actually comes from Armagnac believe it or not. These grapes are usually distilled into the delicious brandy we all know and love, except for a few guys swimming against the tide, turning these grapes into wine. It is fruity, bright and lively. 

For those of you who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, this is going to be a new go to.

PAIRING: Great on its own or enjoy with small bites.


Wine #5

Segura Viudas Brut Estate Bottled Cava, Spain      

$9.99  –  12% ABV  •  Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Paralleda, and Chardonnay

Champagne lovers celebrate!!! This is a delicious sparkling wine that is amazing and oh so affordable!

Wines from Spain, in general, are so strikingly under-priced it's not even funny. This is made in the same exact method as Champagne, so there's no skimping on the vigorous bubbles. Just like there are three French grapes in Champagne, there are three Spanish grapes in Cava, and the name of the wine gets its name from the region as well.

This is a great wine to know of when it comes time to entertain. Just because you're entertaining on a budget doesn't mean you have to serve your guests bad wine.

PAIRING: Drink it alone or pair it with small bites and seafood. 


I hope this article is helpful and inspires you to try new wines. There are some amazing wines out there for every budget. Just because the name of the wine may be unfamiliar (or the label may be less than ideal) does not mean that it's not worth trying. Who knows, it could be your next hidden gem!

Happy Drinking!

All sizes and vintages are in stock at the time of publication. In the event advertised vintages sell out, substitute vintages may be offered at the same price.