Best Sweet Red Wines Under $20: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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1. Jam Jar 2. Leonard Kreusch 3. Kourtaki
Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz Best Sweet Red Wines Under 20 Leonard Kreusch Sweet Dornfelder Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras

There is nothing like discovering a good quality sweet red wine that tickles your tastebuds and offers good value for money.

Best sweet red wines under $20 are a versatile bunch. You can enjoy them with a variety of food or as an aperitif, enjoy them chilled or at room temperature. Winemakers of the best do not take any shortcuts; they bestow their reds with their sweet personalities through skill in the vineyards and winery. Best of all, so many sweet reds are of exceptional value making them taste even better.

Such wines are more plentiful than you might think. Sometimes, all it takes is looking in new places for lesser-known varietals. Other times, it is a matter of seeking out wineries that put their heart, soul, and pride into making good sweet wines.

Read on and open your eyes to just how good sweet reds can be – and at sweet prices too!

Top 4 Best Sweet Red Wines Under $20

1. Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz


What is it about a red wine that has a refined balance of sweetness and acidity that makes you want to raise your glass to the first person who had the bright idea of fermenting grapes? Getting perfect harmony between these two opposite wine features is a sign of skilled winemaking. The fact that Jam Jar does this without adding any sugar anywhere along the lines is a kind of mastery.

Jam Jar is loud and proud about its top-quality sweet wines made from fruit grown in South Africa’s Paarl region just north of Stellenbosch. Far from the cooling Atlantic, fruit grows in glorious heat, enabling ripening of sugar-rich grapes but night-time coolness allows a balance of acidity to develop in the fruit.

Bold, bright, and clean, this off-dry Shiraz offers fresh, ripe notes of juicy berries anchored in a thick seam of luscious dark chocolate. Balanced, refreshing, and round, Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz is super food-friendly matching dishes rich in tomato sauces and smoky BBQ dishes. It also does well with anything with a bit of hot spice and dark chocolate desserts. This Shiraz loves a light chill so leave it in the fridge for a few minutes before serving.


2. Leonard Kreusch Sweet Dornfelder

Leonard Kreusch Sweet Dornfelder

Never heard of Dornfelder? Well, it is about time you did because this sumptuous red grape from Germany has plenty to offer wine lovers. It is rich, concentrated, and broody dark plus made in a range of classic styles.

In recent decades, Dornfelder has become one of the most widely planted varietals in Germany and has spread to other European countries and North America. Made from fruit cultivated in steep, sloping vineyards along the Rhine river in Germany’s largest wine region, Rheinhessen, Leonard Kreusch Sweet Dornfelder benefits from loam and limestone soil. This, along with the abundant sunshine of the region, makes a sweet complex wine with good minerality.

The sweet Dornfelder is deep purple, intense, and velvety courtesy of attentive winemaking from pressing to bottling. It displays rich blackberry and plum that shines through light tannins with a touch of spice from nose to finish. The mouth is full, elegantly sweet, and smoothly textured.

Pair this classic German red with grilled meats like lamb and pork or exotic spicy dishes such as chicken tagine. Its sweet notes make it a good match for the chili heat, ginger, and dried fruits. It is also a good partner to tart, spicy, fruity desserts.


3. Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras

Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras

You have just got to love the winemaking in Greece. You can find diverse finely-made wines made from characterful indigenous grapes, and their good value for money makes you swoon.

This Kourtaki Mavrodaphne of Patras is no exception. A sweet dessert wine traditionally made with Mavrodaphne and Korinthiaki grapes, it hails from the coastal town of Patras in the Peloponnese where it soaks up the sun for rich ripening and intense alcoholic wines. After harvest, the fruit is typically sun-dried for even more concentrated flavor before going to the winery.

The beauty of this excellent value wine is its perfect balance of sweetness and acidity framing a nose of figs, soy sauce, and raisins and a generous palate of plums, treacle, chocolate, and tobacco. Punchy yet gentle with a silky mouthfeel, this luscious Mavrodaphne benefits from oak aging which is displayed in its long finish.

With the intensity of port but a sweeter backbone, pair with a blue cheese like Stilton or Gorgonzola. Do not hold back on a rich chocolate dessert either. This is one of those rare wines that matches this sweet to perfection. It is also just a great sipper for that seat by the fire on a cold day. Yiamas!


4. Sweet Bliss Sweet Red Wine

Sweet Bliss Sweet Red Wine

Just look at the list of grape varietals in this vino and you know you are in for a deliciously off-dry red. Fruity Shiraz, acidic Sangiovese with its tight tannins, juicy Barbera, and bold, smoky Carignan each play a role in this heady blend from Washington State.

This wine producing region has diverse terroirs and growing conditions encompassing hot and dry plus cool and wet. It makes for bold and exciting winemaking as Sweet Bliss Winery shows in its simple, punchy range of off-dry wines that caress your palate with their complexity and character.

Sweet Bliss Sweet Red Wine is ideal for wine lovers who enjoy a richly-textured red wine with layers of fruit and gentle tannins. Fruit forward with deep cherry, toasty oak, and a smooth, silky chocolate mouth, it has that winning formula of being interesting but approachable. Its off-dry nature makes it utterly quaffable.

This red blend is great as an aperitif and is versatile enough to match a range of cuisine. Pair it with BBQ grub, grilled burgers or pizzas loaded with plenty of cheese and tomato plus your favorite toppings. It also comes as no surprise that it is a good match for a variety of desserts. Its tart notes complement the creaminess of a cheesecake and fruit cobbler. As for anything with chocolate in it – bring it on!

That just leaves you with the fun job of digging out the perfect dessert recipe to make these sweet reds shine!

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