Best Cheap Red Wines 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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1. El Enemigo 2. Alma Negra 3. Marani
El Enemigo Cabernet Franc Best Cheap Red Wine Alma Negra M Blend Marani Kindzmarauli

Age is just a number unless we are talking about red wine—the older the wine, the better the taste and the more burden on your pocket. The best red wines are rose-colored glasses of life. They make everything better.

While expensive wines are magical and heavenly with all their class and flavors, not always an exquisite wine has to cost too much. Not all occasions call for shelling out a bucket full of cash for the perfect bottle of wine. The best cheap red wines do the job just fine.

If it is yet another “we made it through today!” kind of celebration, you don’t have to drill a hole in your savings. If you don’t have enough money to toss into the Merlot fund, you must pick the best inexpensive red wine after carefully going through the options.

No vintages would probably fall under the best affordable red wine category, but that doesn’t mean there is no quality red wine available. The best cheap red wines are made with a consistent style year after year.

Finding the best inexpensive red wine can be a daunting task because nobody wants to compromise on quality just to spare a few dollars. Don’t worry, we have got you covered. We have rounded up the top 10 best inexpensive red wines for you to choose from for your next relaxing weekend.

After skimming through the details of many affordable red wines in the market, we have come up with the 10 best affordable red wines that don’t compromise on elegance and class and don’t hit your budget too hard.

Here is a guide to the best cheap red wines:

Top 10 Best Cheap Red Wines 2021

1. El Enemigo Cabernet Franc

El Enemigo Cabernet Franc Best Cheap Red Wine

Red Wine from Mendoza, Argentina

A popular red amongst wine connoisseurs, El Enemigo Cabernet Franc, comes from Mendoza in Argentina. Known for their locally grown Cabernet Franc grapes, Mendoza is home to many wineries, including the El Enemigo Winery.

This wine has a rich ruby-red hue along with subtle violet highlights. The color looks luxurious and elegant. The nose has concentrated notes and intense aromas of ripe currants, cassis, sweet spices, tobacco, black pepper, and clove.

The rich bouquet of flavors develops with vanilla, cedar, eucalyptus, strawberry, ripe fruits, cherry, cinnamon, blackberry, and hints of chocolate and oak. The notes of leather and oak provide the blend of earthy flavors and a slight smokiness.

It is easy to observe medium acidity and medium tannins right after the wine hits the tongue. The structure is well-rounded and balanced with a persistent finish with notes of plum and berries. It is full-bodied and has freshness and depth in flavors.

The wine would taste even more wondrous if it is aged for another couple of years. Enjoy this amazing wine with grilled steaks, pork ribs with figs, and Brazilian corn couscous. With this quality at an affordable cost, this wine is a steal.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — El Enemigo
  • Grapes — Cabernet Franc
  • Region — Mendoza, Argentina
  • Alcohol content — 13.9%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

2. Alma Negra M Blend

Alma Negra M Blend

Red Wine from Mendoza, Argentina

Alma Negra Winery is a part of Ernesto Catena Vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina. This wine is a wonderful and complex blend of Malbec, which gives it a distinct flavor. The aromas are perfectly aligned with the rich flavors.

It has a glass dark ruby color, with a purple heart and signs of development at the rims. The nose is clear with a youthful intensity and has aromas of blackberry, spices, espresso, vinyl, oak, tobacco, and soft touches of vanilla.

The palate is complex yet balanced with flavors of blackberry, blueberry, blackcurrant, jam, mocha, vanilla, tobacco, chocolate, marmalade, myrtilles, licorice, ripe plum, and minerals. There is earthiness because of the strong leather and currant flavors.

The wine has balanced tannins and acidity with a persistent flavor profile. It is dry in the mouth with medium intensity. The body is full and has a high alcohol content. The structure is elegant with a silky texture.

The floral hints and notes of menthol are evident in the wine from the first sip. The finish is long and pronounced. The smokiness and richness of this wine pairs well with classic homemade meatballs. You can enjoy this wine with any red meat and also strong cheeses.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Alma Negra
  • Grapes — Bonarda
  • Region — Mendoza, Argentina
  • Alcohol content — 13.5%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

3. Marani Kindzmarauli

Marani Kindzmarauli

Red Wine from Telavi, Georgia

Marani Winery is located in Kakheti in Georgia. Kindzmarauli is known for growing Saperavi — the native grapes of Georgia with tons of acidity. This grape is used to produce the best cheap wines from the region.

A semi-sweet flavor is never bad for a bottle of wine. As you open this bottle, you dive into an intense wine aroma with a whole body. The nose has cherries, blackcurrant leaves, plum, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, blackberry, and hints of blueberry.

The palate is rich with delicious flavors of cherry morello, cherry syrup, blueberry jam, plum, chocolate, tobacco, prune, clove, vanilla, cheese cream, apricot, and soft touches of candy floss. The notes of oak, wood, and forest berries add earthiness to the taste.

The wine has a medium body and low tannins with balanced acidity. The deep purple color gives it an ethereal outlook. It is semi-sweet, making it a perfect companion with desserts and sweet dishes.

The wine has comparatively a low alcohol level. Mix it well to give a full body to this beautiful red wine. Sip this liquid brilliance with a butternut squash ground beef casserole or any other delicacy made with red meat. It makes a heavenly match with pork tenderloin.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Marani
  • Grapes — Saperavi
  • Region — Telavi, Kakheti, Georgia
  • Alcohol content — 11%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

4. Teliani Valley Kindzmarauli Red Semi-Sweet

Teliani Valley Kindzmarauli Red Semi-Sweet

Red Wine from Kindzmarauli, Georgia

Another brilliant blend from Georgia, Teliani Valley Kindzmarauli Red Semi-Sweet, is produced using the native Georgian Saperavi grapes. A 2017 bottle of this beauty ranked amongst the top 1% of all wines in the world.

A lush and velvety red wine, it is a semi-sweet wine ideal for sipping after dinner with your favorite desserts. It has a semi-opaque dark ruby red color with a mauve rim. The flavors have depth and are beautifully layered.

The nose has a medium intensity with aromas of lush dried red florals, stewed plum, dried strawberry, blackberry pie, violet, blueberry, vanilla, cedar, and a hint of cured meat with a slight earthiness from leather.

It has a medium-dry acidity with balanced tannins. The palate is composed of ripe plum, smooth black coffee, juicy concord grape, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, jam, cherry, honeycomb, with hints of spices.

This is a sweeter wine with tons of flavors and aromas. It has a beautiful structure with great balance. This wine is meant to be enjoyed after dinner with desserts due to the sweetness. You can also pair it with strong cheese, spicy food, and tart delicacies.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Teliani Valley
  • Grapes — Saperavi
  • Region — Kindzmarauli, Kakheti, Georgia
  • Alcohol content — 12.5%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

5. Foppiano Vineyards Petite Sirah

Foppiano Vineyards Petite Sirah

Red Wine from Russian River Valley, United States

Like Malbec, Petite Sirah is also a native of France but found its home away from home in warmer and drier countries like Australia, Israel, and the United States. The grape is highly tannic and acidic, which helped it establish its name as a blending grape due to the body and depth that it provides.

This wine from Foppiano Winery is a popular blend. It has a velvety mouthfeel with a bagful of flavors and aromas. The dark purple-ruby hue gives it a luxurious outlook. It has a full body and supple, smooth tannins.

The nose is formed by aromas of blackberry, blueberry, baked goods, vanilla, dark chocolate, licorice, peppers, cinnamon, and earthy notes from the oak. The structure is well-balanced and loaded with fruity flavors.

The palate is rich and has a rainbow of flavors from blackberry, plum sauce, blueberry, cherry, licorice, cassis, smoke, cocoa, spices, cinnamon, leather, other black fruits, and ribbons of caramel in the background.

It is so lush that you can chew on it. At the same time, the texture is smooth and rich. This red wine can be sipped with a variety of delicacies, including smoked ribs, beef, lamb, game meats, and other red proteins. It also makes a heavenly combo with chocolate-coated blueberries.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Foppiano Vineyards
  • Grapes — Petite Sirah
  • Region — Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, California, United States
  • Wine style — Californian Petite Sirah
  • Alcohol content — 14.9%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

6. La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva

La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva

Red Wine from Rioja, Spain

Rioja is one of the top wine-producing regions of Spain. The two common varieties of grapes used are — Tempranillo and Garnacha. Most red wines from Rioja are costly, but still, Spanish wines offer value for money.

These wines make excellent companions with a variety of delicacies and are suitable to drink while young. La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva is tannic, old, and strong. The dark ruby color looks ethereal and classic.

The nose is made with scents of vanilla, red fruit, coconut, tobacco, dill, strawberry, cherry, chocolate, cola, spices, dried herbs, and earthy notes of oak, leather, clove, and wood. The essence of plum is the highlight.

The palate is beautifully structured with an array of flavors of cherry, strawberry, red fruit, black fruit, chocolate, licorice, toast, clove, coconut, plum, milk chocolate malo, raspberry, jam, and cranberry. Cedar with green herbs adds to the long finish.

The wine is well-balanced, savory, and rounded. The tempranillo is delightful and rich, giving it a creamy texture. The wine pairs well with red meats like beef, lamb, and veal. It also matches beautifully with poultry food as well.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — La Rioja Alta
  • Grapes — 100% Tempranillo
  • Region — Roja, Spain
  • Wine content — Spanish Rioja Red
  • Alcohol content — 12.6%
  • Allergens — Egg allergens, sulfites, and milk allergens

7. Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère (Apalta Vineyard)

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère (Apalta Vineyard)

Red Wine from Colchagua Valley, Chile

Chilean Carménère is originally from Southwest Bordeaux in France but found a more hospitable home in Central Chile. It is similar to Merlot but still a lesser-known variety. If you are fond of collecting, then you must know that the best of Chilian Carménère can be enjoyed during the first two years of bottling.

It has an opaque dark violet-ruby color that looks luxurious and elegant. The nose is intense and extremely rich with scents of earth, leather, baked fruit, cassis, spices, dark fruit, oak, pepper, and vanilla dominating the show.

The palate is fully-loaded with vibrant flavors of beautiful Carmenere, blackcurrant, blackberry, eucalyptus, dark chocolate, tobacco, toast, baking spice, coffee, nutmeg, sage, cigar, and red cherry.

The flavor reminds you of the holidays instantly. It is a full-bodied red wine with high acidity and persistent tannins. Muted undertones of vanilla, caramel, and dark chocolate highlight the long and lingering finish.

The wine pairs beautifully with menus containing savory and spicy dishes. It matches well with cured meats such as beef and lamb. It can also be enjoyed with poultry food. Try sipping it with red-sauce pasta, steak, or seafood, and you would not regret it.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Lapostolle
  • Grapes — Carménère
  • Region — Colchagua Valley, Central Chile
  • Wine style — Chilean Carménère
  • Allergens — Sulfites

8. Atalaya La Atalaya del Camino

Atalaya La Atalaya del Camino

Red Wine from Almansa, Spain

Spanish Reds are complex and have a lot of depth and character. They are somewhere in between the French Pinot Noir and Californian Cabernet in terms of richness and fullness. The most commonly used grapes are Tempranillo and Garnacha.

Atalaya La Atalaya del Camino has a dark blackberry hue that gives it a classic look. The nose has a medium intensity with toasted aromas of mahogany, vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, strawberry jam, nutmeg, and sweet spice with notes of pepper.

The palate is vibrant and has plenty of fruity flavors, particularly from blackberry, dark fruit, tobacco, coffee, cherry, prune, plum, balsamic cherry cream, damson, raspberry, violet, along with smoked brisket notes.

It has a full body with ripe tannins and high levels of spirit. The acidity is high, and the flavors are youthful, well-rounded, and balanced. The finish is long and flavorful with notes of mocha, damson, coffee, chocolate, and vanilla cream. Oak, leather, and wood add earthiness to the structure.

The overall texture of this wine is creamy right from start to finish. This creaminess pairs well with proteins such as beef and veal. You can also sip it with poultry food. It makes a heavenly match with pasta too.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Atalaya
  • Grapes — 100% Grenache
  • Region — Almansa, Castilla, Spain
  • Wine style — Spanish Red
  • Alcohol content — 15.5%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

9. Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

Red Wine from California, United States

Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the king of red wine grapes and receives as much respect in California as it receives in its native home in Bordeaux, France. It is one of the costliest grape variety and is used by luxury brands across the United States.

Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon’s 2016 vintage is ranked amongst the top 1% of all wines in the world. The wine has a deep ruby-purple hue. The flavors are powerful and intense yet smooth and balanced.

The nose is composed of rich aromas of vanilla, cedar, pipe tobacco, blackberry jam, blueberry, black cherry, nutmeg, and cocoa, along with leather, oak, and smoky anise that add to the earthiness of the wine.

The palate has intense flavors of smoke, leather, vanilla, nutmeg, plum, black cherry, raspberry jam, strawberry, orange peel, baking spices, and subtle notes of blackberry and caramel. The fruity flavor is similar to Zinfandel, but the texture is smoother.

The wine is rich and earthy, bold, and dry with low tannins. The finish is long and velvety with strong oaky notes. This wine makes a great combo with beef, lamb, and game meats. It also goes well with poultry food. Try sipping it with dark chocolate-dipped walnuts, and thank us later.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Juggernaut
  • Grapes — Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Region — California, United States
  • Wine style — Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Alcohol content — 14.5%
  • Allergens — Sulfites

10. Barista Pinotage

Barista Pinotage

Red Wine from Western Cape, South Africa

Pinotage is created by a genetic cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The wine has a deep and inky color. The wine has characteristics of Shiraz with deep fruits and tobacco. If you want to expand your viticulture and wine-tasting horizons, then this is the wine to dwell on. It is an interesting wine in all regards.

Barista Pinotage’s 2019 bottle is ranked amongst the top 1% wines in the world. The nose starts with aromas of strong plum, coffee, chocolate, smoke, tobacco, and hints of cherry. The aroma is intense and reminds you of a local coffee shop.

The flavors are no different as they remind you of a sip of your favorite coffee. The palate has flavors of vanilla, roasted coffee beans, chocolate, maraschino cherry, dark fruit, mocha, roasted pecan, and hints of mulberry. Smoky notes of oak add earthiness to the wine.

The wine has a slight spiciness with medium acidity and tannins. It is medium-bodied with medium alcohol content. The dark magenta-purple color gives it an ethereal look and feel. The finish is lined with long and lingering flavors of red tart, cherry, and subtle hints of pomegranate.

It tastes like Diemersfontein but is much cheaper. The flavors of this wine pair perfectly with Korean cuisine as well as beef, lamb, and game meats like deer and venison. You can try sipping this wine with barbecue food, and you will love the experience.

Wine Facts

  • Winery — Barista
  • Grapes — 100% Pinotage
  • Region — Western Cape, South Africa
  • Wine style — South African Pinotage
  • Alcohol content — 13%
  • Allergens — Sulfites


Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad quality. Many of us look around for the best affordable red wine that would not blow our budgets and end up believing that we would have to compromise on the quality to achieve that.

Of course, it is hard to deliver top-notch quality red wine on a limited budget considering all the economics involved in the entire process of wine-making. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist at all.

If you are looking for the best cheap red wine with a red grape that delivers exquisite results for a modicum of cash, you can explore Southern French, Spanish, and Italian red wines or other varieties that use locally-grown good-quality native grapes. They are cheaper as compared to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The flavors at these costs are going to be unique, tasty and would definitely expand your wine-tasting horizons with the brilliant variety available. The best inexpensive red wines deliver enough quality for every dollar spent.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your corkscrew and a couple of wine glasses and pop open the best cheap red wine at the end of another exhausting day. You would not have to worry about drilling a hole in your pocket this time.

Bon appétit!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Does Cheap Wine Go Bad Easily?

All wines do expire after a while, but it mostly depends on the quality of the wine. Cheap and inexpensive red wines, on the other hand, should mandatorily be used within a few years of production.

Once the bottle is opened, chances are it will have to be used within a week as it will go bad fairly quickly, and the taste would be spoiled after a week. That too, though, depends from brand to brand and bottle to bottle.

Q2. Where Are The Best Affordable Red Wines Coming From These Days?

The best cheap red wines come from the following places:

1. Chile — Cabernet Sauvignon
2. Argentina — Malbec
3. New Zealand — Cabernet Sauvignon
4. South Africa — Pinotage
5. Southern France — Syrah
6. Spain — Grenache
7. Georgia — Saperavi

Q3. Do Expensive Red Wines Taste Better Than Cheap Red Wines?

The price of a bottle of classic red wine depends on a lot of factors. The most important one of those is age. More often than not, expensive red wines are enjoyed more by wine enthusiasts due to the depth in flavors and the intense character of the layers.

However, the fact to be noted here is that such aged and vintage wines are enjoyed less by people who are non-enthusiasts. This is because age takes away all sweetness, and the wine becomes very dry and bold, which is not appreciated by many.

Q4. Do Cheap Wines Contain More Allergens Than Expensive Ones?

No, that does not happen. Allergens come along with the most basic wine ingredients as well, which are included in both expensive wines and affordable ones. There are no specific criteria to list down which wines would contain more allergens.

Q5. How Long Can You Store A Sealed Bottle Of Cheap Red Wine?

You can safely store such a bottle without opening it for a couple of years. But make sure to drink it within these two years as cheap wines are not made to age for longer durations. The taste goes all over the place with too much acidity after the two years have passed, even if it is sealed.

Once opened, it must be consumed fully within the week. However, it would vary from brand to brand for any bottle of red wine.

Q6. Is Cheap Red Wine Bad For Health?

Wines contain a chemical compound called arsenic, which is harmful to our health. To put it simply, the lower the cost of the wine on a per-liter basis, the higher is the concentration of arsenic in the blend.

Q7. Can Cheap Red Wine Make You Sick?

Affordable red wines are often sweeter than the regular ones. The producer usually adds Potassium Sorbate to the blend to make sure it does not begin fermenting. This chemical inhibits yeast from doing what it usually does — ferment sugar.

Some people might be Allergic to Potassium Sorbate and sipping wine from a bottle containing the chemical might make them feel sick.

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