A lot of you have a bone to pick with the best cheap wine and we simply can’t figure out why. Sure, that 1994 you tried on your honeymoon was good, but it didn’t blow your socks off, did it? Or, maybe you only think it was good because you were impressed by the heavy price point.
As per a new study conducted by researchers at Basel University in Switzerland, it was found that wine drinkers were more likely to favor a cheaper red wine when lied to about the price. Researchers snagged a couple of bottles ranging from £8, £25 and £50 but intentionally mislabeled their prices to deceive participants. In conclusion, participants considered the cheapest bottle to be the tastiest when placed at a higher price point. Neat, huh?
All in all, we think that most expensive wines are a fluke. Sure some are well worth the hefty number, but if you’re a casual sipper, might as well spend less for a reasonably similar taste. Why break the bank when you don’t have to?
Not only can you snag some of the world’s most inexpensive decadent reds, refreshing whites and best rosés at your local liquor store, but a lot of them are even available using one of the best wine clubs. And, we’re going to say it, some of the best cheap wine you can possibly buy comes straight from the spigot of the deemed-so-evil box of wine. Don’t knock ’em ’til you try ’em, folks.
From reds to whites and everything in between, there are a number of delicious cheap wines worth trying right now. See below for our go-to picks!
1. Gulp Hablo Garnacha
Natural wine is hard to find at an affordable price, but Gulp Hablo Garnacha makes searching an effortless deal. This is a light-bodied Grenache from La Mancha, Spain that has a dryer consistency with a brighter ruby coloration. On the nose, expect a waft of raspberries and cassis, but when sipping, take note of tart fruits, whiter pepper and terroir to finish it off. You can typically find this bottle at the liquor store for around $12, but it’s available for delivery on Wine.com for $15. Instead of the classic 750 ml bottle design, Gulp Hablo also goes for a slightly larger 1 liter instead — which means more wine for you. In addition to this surprisingly refreshing red, Gulp Hablo also has a crisp white and an orange made for warmer weather.
2. Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc
Delicious wines under $10 actually exist, we promise — and Dark Horse’s Sauvignon Blanc is one of them. This is the bright, refreshing white your wine fridge has been begging for all summer long. It’s got vibrant notes of lime, grapefruit and green characteristics typically only seen in New Zealand style wines, even though this one’s from Cali. Dark Horse is one of the best wines to buy in bulk for holiday parties and events due to that cheap price point yet expensive flavor. Expect the unexpected with this bold white, and don’t be too afraid to stock up.
3. Gancia Chianti D.O.C.G.
From the vast, wine-centric hills of Tuscany comes one of the most delicious cheap chiantis you’ll ever get the chance to taste. For just under $11, Gancia Chianti D.O.C.G. is making waves with wine lovers as a scrumptious dry red you simply want to get your hands on. The grapes are grown in a Mediterranean climate that never gets too chilly, producing grapes best produced young, which is how this bottle is made. This is a great, inexpensive wine to snag in bulk for holiday gatherings. Your guests will totally think you spent much more than you did.
4. 1924 Scotch Barrel Aged Chardonnay
Who doesn’t love a good ‘ole glass of chard — especially when it’s aged in scotch barrels? Yeah, you completely read that right. As much as we’re a sucker for the best cheap wines, we’re also way too fascinated with weirder kinds of wines, so when we heard about 1924 Scotch Barrel Aged Chardonnay, we simply had to try it for ourselves. Our e-commerce editor Tyler Schoeber was able to get his hands on a bottle and was pleasantly surprised. “It’s weird but delicious,” he says, “it definitely tastes like a classic chardonnay but almost as if it were poured into a glass that previously had whiskey and wasn’t washed. It’s a taste I’m surprised I’m into and haven’t stopped thinking about since I’ve topped off the bottle.”
5. Yes Way Rosé
Rosé season is drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye until summer 2022. Yes Way Rosé makes for the perfect affordable glass of summer water that’s easily allowed to sip on from September through May. When it comes to cheaper rosés, we find one common issue: it’s always waaaaay too sweet. Thankfully with Yes Way Rosé, that’s not the case at all. Each bottle is filled with a dry easiness to it that is unusually found in your average cheap rosé. This wine uses a number of grapes picked from the northern areas of the Vaucluse mountains to the most southern areas hitting the Mediterranean sea. Expect a scrumptious mix of ripe strawberries, citrus and stone fruit.
6. Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon
Y’all need to stop sleeping on boxed wine. We get it, the idea of boxing wine seems a tad juvenile. Almost fratty, if you will. But, you can be a full-fledged adult and still enjoy wine from a spigot. It’s totally rational. First and foremost, you get SO much wine for SUCH a small price. And, if you’re drinking from the right box, the wine is actually quite delicious. Bota Box is our go-to boxed wine brand because of how reliable they are. Every single one of their wines tastes great, making them an instant crowdpleaser. And, trust us, it doesn’t taste in any way close to Fr*nzia.
7. Apothic Red
Using a combination of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and zinfandel grapes at a price point of just under $10, it’s safe to say Apothic Red makes for one of the best cheap wine blends on the planet. This California medium-bodied blend is perfect for rainy nights in and wild nights out alike. It’s got a darkness to it that feels semi-haunting, making it perfect for pairing with nights where you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen. The blend uses notes of black cherry, vanilla and mocha with a taste you’ll simply have to try in order to understand.
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8. BABE Rosé With Bubbles
Canned wine is a recent, summer-centric trend that’s gained popularity more and more as canned seltzers became the norm in the world of alcoholic beverages. Similar to boxed wine, wine snobs are finding a bone to pick with canned wine, too. But, for what? If it’s good, it’s good. We don’t see the problem. One of our favorite cheap canned wines to consider is none other than BABE Rosé. This bubbled beauty brings the life out of your classic rosé by amping up the party with a bit of fizz. It’s the classic “take anywhere” type, so if you find yourself on a midday walk through the park and want to add a little pep in your step, start with a can of BABE.
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9. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
When looking for a cheap wine to pick up that you’re 100% sure everyone will like, you got for Josh. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles. This cab sauv is the first wine Josh Cellars has ever made and it’s held a sort of standard to the brand’s quality ever since. And, not to seem too obsessed, but they’ve been pretty much nailing it ever since. No matter what you snag from Josh, it will be delicious and cheap. A total cult favorite.
10. Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
Life’s too short without a little riesling and lucky for us, some of the best bottled come in at just $10. Yeah, ten. Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling is a crisp and bright riesling that compliments just about whatever you’ve got on the menu, from pork to pasta to curry and all of your favorite cheeses. It’s got somewhat of a velvety consistency that mimics the thickness of what you’d expect in a red but ties together lovely with lighter, tropical and pear-like flavors.
11. La Marca Prosecco
Speaking of bubbles, you didn’t think we’d forget about prosecco, did you? When most people think of sparkling wine, they automatically think of celebration. Engagements, cocktail parties, birthdays, promotions. But, it doesn’t always have to be like that. If you want to kick back and enjoy a glass of prosecco while you watch The Walking Dead in your underwear, La Marca makes for the perfect companion. This cheaply priced sparkling wine is delicate yet lively with a clean palate including flavors like green apple, juicy peach and ripe lemon. Sip on chill nights, sip on crazy nights, sip on fancy nights — the choice is up to you.
While you can normally snag a bottle under $15, most are a bit over the traditional price point right now due to a national bubbly shortage. Go figure!
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Firstleaf is America’s #1 Wine Club for a reason, people. Not only is it delicious, but tremendously affordable. But how does it work? Take a short quiz depending on your preferences and Firstleaf will select six different wines they think you might like. From here, you can mix and match any you don’t think you would like. Pick all reds, all whites or a mix of the two. And, get this — your first box starts at only $39.95 with free shipping. That’s around $6.66 per bottle. All that for not even leaving your house? Sounds like a game-changer for us.