From the perspective of an outside observer, wine culture is a lot of things — intimidating, pretentious, and even snooty. The barrier to entry can feel like a set of gold-plated gates encrusted with grapevines, guarded by two attendants asking for correct identification of flavor notes and legs. Thankfully, it’s possible to skip all that nonsense, not spend a fortune, and still drink great wine that satisfies the craving without becoming insufferable: enter Total Wine.
Total Wine is a premiere online destination for top-rated wines of all varieties and price points, but where they really come to play is in their value wine rankings. They’ve compiled a list of their top 20 highly-rated wines under $20, all of which have received a 90+ point value within their internal system.
They’ve got wines on this list for everyone: those who prefer red, white, rosé, blends and a bottle of each for different occasions. Serve one at your next dinner party or game night and no one will guess it costs less than your go-to Postmates sushi delivery.
Harvester Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
This densely-packed bottle hails from the central coast of California where its full-bodied flavor is constructed from zesty red berries, smooth tannins and plenty of dynamic spice. With tasting notes of violet and black cherry this wine would pair well with heartier meat dishes and stews.
Olema Sauvignon Blanc, Louire Valley 2021
This crisp, fresh, drinkable white comes from the Loire Valley in France and gives you the dependably satisfying white wine flavor profile with the convenience of a pretension-free screw cap. The tasting notes include citrus, orange and white peach for a summer white you’ll want to stock up on for beachside lunches and post-work unwinding.
Parcelica Chica, Monastrell, 2019
This oaky, fruity red from the Yecla region of Spain has a super flavorful finish with plenty of “chewy” tannins and bright, blue, juicy fruit. It’s a full-bodied blend with an oak-forward profile that comes through clearly. It’s a great spring wine when transitioning between seasons and with a price tag of just $15 it’s a bargain for the value.
Chateau de Camarsac, Bordeaux Superieur, 2019
This medium-bodied, dark red wine comes from the Bordeaux region of France is known for its wine, and sounds plenty fancy for a $14.99 price tag. It has plenty of stiff tannins, textured acidity and layers of black fruits that’ll pair well with a nicer dinner spread or fancy cocktail hour.
Tesoro Della Regina Prosecco
This wine is an instant transport right to the coast of Italy over a round of aperitifs, for less than the price of a plate of pasta. It’s a medium-bodied blend with flavor notes of apple and pear and is perfectly lightweight for a summer or spring afternoon.
Altaland Carbernet Sauvignon Salta by Catena Family Wines, 2020
This uniquely-flavored cabernet from the Salta region of Argentina contains notes of currant and herb and an intense mouthfeel that’s juicy and satisfying. Because of its intense flavor, it’s best paired with red meat or enjoyed on its own after dinner.
Kudos Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, 2020
Some of the best pinot noirs in the country come from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and this one is a bargain compared to the price tag of their average bottle. Like any good pinot, it’s got a medium to full body with plenty of firm tannins and notes of juicy plum. There are subtle hints of chocolate and strawberry for a delicious finish.