This season’s best selection of red wines for under USD$16

Feeling like a glass of wine this holiday? Who says only expensive wines taste good on the palate? Our resident food and wine expert Richard Coates handpicks some of his favourite reds from around the world that will give you bang for your buck.

Please note that prices are national averages from and are accurate at time of writing.

1. 2006 Monte Antico Toscana IGT (Italy)

Availability: Good. 2007 vintage now more common.

Price: USD$11

Comments: Beautiful deep crimson color with a nice fading at the edge, showing a little bottle age. On the nose, the oaky characteristics seem at the forefront, with dark berry fruit and some vegetal aromas in the background. On the palate, the mouthfeel is light bodied, with notes of prunes, plums and candied cherries. The tannins are a bit astringent, making the finish short.

2. 2007 Waterbrook Mélange Noir (Washington)

Availability: Decent.

Price: USD$14

Comments: Full bodied, moderate acidity.  Supple notes of plummy fruit, dark cherry, and a silky finish that throws in a mild smokiness. I do think this wine exhibits a little of that muddiness that multi-grape blends can show but I’ve tasted muddier.  For a wine that could be enjoyed sitting around the backyard fire pit, you may be hard pressed to find anything better.

3. 2009 Perrin et Fils Côtes du Rhône Villages (France)

Availability: Widespread.

Price: USD$12

Comments: This slightly opaque dark purple colored Rhone blend opens with a mild blueberry and boysenberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, smooth, and very easy to drink. The flavor profile is a mild black currant with notes of mineral and old oak. There was also a hint of black olive and a touch of fig mixed in as well. The finish is dry and its very mild tannins make it quite food friendly.

4. 2007 Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec (Argentina)

Availability: Good.

Price: USD$16

Comments: Very ripe and primal still, delivering a large core of velvety textured raspberry, fig and boysenberry fruit that is liberally laced with dark toast, pastis and roasted vanilla. Should settle in nicely with modest cellaring, as the structure is dense, but polished and integrated.

5. 2008 Bodegas Borsao Borsao Red (Spain)

Availability: Good. 2009 Vintage now more common.

Price: USD$8

Comments: This was surprisingly enjoyable. It had an even, smooth taste that was a little dry but not too dry. It would pair perfect with red meat or pizza. It’s fairly average as red table wines go, fine with dinner and that’s about it.


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5 thoughts on “Great wines at great prices!”

  1. Great wine picks though these wines are hard to score locally. For cheap yet great tasting alternatives, i would recommend going for chilean wines. They are affordable and perform well on blind tasting tests.

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