The Washington Post
Here are two red wines under $20 to prove — once again — that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to drink well. The first is an example of Spain’s ability to produce high-quality reds at affordable prices. The second may surprise you — a labor of love from a rising Saint-émilion winery that shows Bordeaux can make deliciously sexy, unpretentious wine that doesn’t break the bank or require an investment in futures. — Dave Mcintyre
GREAT VALUE Esteban Martín GarnachaSyrah-tempranillo 2018
Cariñena, Spain, $15
This spicy blend demonstrates Spain’s strength in value reds. It bursts with flavors of tart cherries and wild herbs, lifted by six months of aging in oak. After a few hours, it mellows and shows more crushed berries and a hint of orange peel. There’s a lot going on for the price. Vegan. Alcohol by volume: 14.5 percent. Bottle weight: 405 grams (Light). Imported by Tri-vin Imports ( tri-vin.com). Distributed locally by DMV Distributing ( dmvdist.com).
GREAT VALUE Camille de Labrie 2019
Bordeaux, France, $17
If you’ve been ignoring bordeaux, thinking it’s too expensive and too highfalutin — well, I’ve been arguing for years that bordeaux offers tremendous value that escapes notice amid talk of futures and classifications. Here’s more proof: This wine is from Axelle and Pierre Courdurié, the owners of Château Croix de Labrie, which was elevated last year to Saint-émilion Grand Cru Classé status. They don’t put that status into this wine, a “simple” bordeaux, but since they named it after their daughter and allowed her to design the label, you can figure they put a lot of love into it. It’s a blend of 80 percent merlot and 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, so I wouldn’t call it a “baby SaintÉmilion” — that would imply cabernet franc — but the majority merlot gives it a plush Right Bank savor. There’s a floral note and a hint of Bordeaux’s signature “pencil shavings” character behind rich flavors of plum, blackberry and currant. This is gorgeous wine for the price. ABV: 14 percent. BW: 565 grams (Average).
Gimported and distributed locally by Dechaunac Wine Imports.
Tenimenti Leone Capoccia Bianco 2021
Rome, Italy, $26
This organic blend of malvasia puntinata, bellone, chardonnay and verdicchio from foothills near Rome reignites my fondness for the white wines of central Italy. A saline character from sea breezes suggests seafood as a partner. Flavors of Asian pear and jasmine tea conjure up a respite in a sundrenched garden. The wine is labeled “vino biologico” for organic, and the winery website stresses a commitment to protecting the environment, so the heavy, carbon-wasteful bottle doesn’t make sense. Once in the glass, however, the wine shines. ABV: 13.5 percent. BW: 720 grams (Heavy).
Imported by Banville Wine Merchants ( banvillewine.com). Distributed locally by Banville Wine Merchants and Artisans & Vines ( artisansandvines.com).
Prices are approximate. For availability, check Wine.com, Winesearcher.com and the websites and social media feeds of the wineries, importers or distributors. You can also ask your local retailer to order wines from the distributors listed.