5 Wines I Love for Under $25
BY JACQUELYN DUGGAN
Let’s talk about wine.
Particularly, good wine.
What comes to mind for you when you hear that – good wine?
Do you think of a bottle you had at a local winery on a warm summer day? One you celebrated with on a special occasion at your favorite restaurant?
I’ve learned that good wine doesn’t just have to come in the form of celebration.
It can be an everyday thing.
And everyday is worth celebrating!
The best part? Good wine doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to shop for.
Here are a few rules I live by when I’m shopping for good wine:
Talk to the Experts
Not sure what you’re looking for? Need advice? Trying to decide between two? Ask the experts at your local wine shop or grocery store! 9 times out of 10, the bottles I buy are on recommendation from the lovely folks at my local Richmond Bottleworks in Bon Air, Barrel Thief at Libbe & Grove, or my favorite: Dennis at my local Wegman’s. The experts are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and share what you’re looking for. Take your time and enjoy the experience of shopping for wine!
Read the Labels
Like nutrition labels on the food we buy, wine bottles are printed with labels too. Be sure you read the bottle’s label, or the description card on the shelf: noticing where it came from, tasting notes, or if it leans dry, sweet, smooth, oaky, etc. This will help you choose the right bottle for you!
Know How Much You Want to Spend
While I’m a firm believer that wine doesn’t need to be expensive, you really can spend however much you want on wine! And truly, there are incredible bottles that cost over $100, so when you’re planning to shop, know what your budget is.
Lastly, don’t take it so seriously!
Wine is meant to be savored. Worst case – you buy a bottle you don’t like. You learn from what you didn’t love about it, and then move on to new ones that will become your go-to favorite.
Here’s my round-up 5 wines I love (and often keep on hand) for under $25
*As a note – this is not an all-inclusive list! To be honest, I had a hard time picking just 5, but for brevity, these are my current go-to’s. Also, if it’s helpful: I tend to lean towards drier reds and crisper whites and this list reflects those preferences.
Let’s dive in!
Knuttel Family 2018 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
If you love a bold red, this one’s for you! It’s smooth, yet has a burst of peppery delight that I totally fell in love with. It’s super versatile, making it an easy sip over happy hour or paired with red meat at dinnertime.
*Note: If you can make a day trip to Middleburg, VA I HIGHLY suggest you stop in at Knead Wine. The owner, who is also a master sommelier, opened the shop in 2020. His hope was to build a storefront with incredible wines for just $20 or $40 with homemade specialty pizzas. Let me tell you: it’s worth the trip! My dear friend and I had the best afternoon shopping there, and we definitely didn’t leave empty-handed!
Troublemaker Red Wine
I first had Troublemaker at a local restaurant for my mom’s birthday – we took a chance on it, simply because of the name, and it did not disappoint! I love this red for a splurge of flavor: it has a depth and complexity that’s hard to pinpoint. I have found that it pairs perfectly with most pasta dishes!
Cost: You can find this one at Wegman’s, Kroger and also online at Total Wine for $15.
Haut Bessac Blanc 2019
This has become my go-to “house wine” – I always keep it on hand! It’s primarily Sauvignon Blanc, which makes it crisp and bright, but not too sweet. It’s the perfect glass with a light cheese and crackers. And for the price, you really can’t beat it!
Cost: If you have a Wegman’s local to you, you can find it for $12.
Il Casato Pinot Grigio Valdadige 2019
I took a chance on this one this past Mother’s Day. I had planned a dinner of grilled chicken with rosemary & thyme, and a light pasta with tarragon & dandelion greens, so I needed something that was light and airy. This one paired perfectly, and I’ve bought 3 more bottles since! This isn’t your typical pinot grigio – it’s light and clean and a must-have on your shelf.
Early Mountain 2020 Rose
I am drinking this one as I write this post! It is my go-to favorite rose. I first had it on a girl’s trip to Charlottesville, VA a few years ago, and ever since: whenever I see it, I buy it! If you love a rose, you need to try this one. It’s just barely sweet, has a beautiful pink color, and leaves a tart finish that makes you want to keep sipping!
Cost: I purchase it from my local wine shop, but you can also order online directly from Early Mountain for $25.