Traditional recipes

9 Italian Red Wines — 6 at $20 or Less

9 Italian Red Wines — 6 at $20 or Less

It is well-known that Italy is geographically shaped like a hip boot, which perhaps helps explain Italian fashion artistry with assorted footwear.

With this collection of red wines, we start at the top of this boot and sip our way down until the toe is empty.

2011 Elena Walch Alto Adige lagrein ($20). Lagrein is the Alto Adige’s class red indigenous grape, and this wine has rounded, dark cherry fruit, moderate body, and a typical shot of cleaning acidity. There are nice notes of smoke and balsamic.

2011 Castel Sallegg Alto Adige "Bischofsleiten" Lago di Caldaro classico ($19). This one features the region's other classic grape — the much more forthcoming schiava — with sweet cherry tastes and a hint of pinot noir-ish finishing pungency. Light and delightful.

2012 Cantina de Soave "ReMidas" Veneto IGT corvina ($10). Blueberry and elderberry aromas followed by a good fruitiness, mainly black raspberries, a light body, and light tannins. A good wine for everyday drinking.

2010 Corte Rugolin Valpolicella ripasso classic superior ($21) A smooth and silky wine — not too serious — with dark fruit flavors, some tannins, and a little balsamic.

2012 Salchetto "Obvius" rosso di Montepulciano ($19). Nice. Simple. Cherry flavors. A good pasta wine.

2007 Salchetto Salco Toscana vino nobile di Montepulciano ($50). A very nice wine that should be better — the ingredients are there, but the complexity is lacking. Nevertheless, it has classic flavors of dark black fruits, medium body, citrusy acidity, and the ability to match food well.

NV Angelini Marche pergola rosso ($14). Here, "pergola" refers to the grape and not the trellis method. It’s soft and fragrant — muscat-like flavors combined with red raspberry — with some savory notes mixed in.

2007 Angelini Colli Pesaresi sangiovese riserva ($22) Pungent aromas with ripe sangiovese flavors of dark cherry and a tangy finish with modern tannins. Easy drinking.

2012 Tascante "Buonara" Sicilian IGT ($20). Although there is a mulberry-like fruitiness in the foreground, this finish is more like an earthy pinot noir — the grape variety is carricante — with good acidity and notes of salinity and chalkiness.

20 Wines for $10 or Less

A distinctive varietal, Torrontés is characterized by intense fruity-floral aromas.

Columbia Crest 2007 Grand Estates Chardonnay

An elegant wine, rich with apple, pear, and a hint of oak.

Fish Eye 2007 Pinot Grigio

Tropical fruit and intense citrus dominate in this dry, food-friendly Pinot Grigio.

Domaine de Bernier 2006 Chardonnay

This excellent Chardonnay from the Loire Valley is rich with grapefruit and lemon.

Veramonte 2007 "Reserva" Sauvignon Blancv

Fruity and zesty, this has melon and lemony flavors with herbal notes and bright acidity.

Brancott 2008 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Grapefruit, tropical fruit, and grassy flavors accent this wine from the Marlborough region.

Domaine La Hitaire 2007 "Les Tours"

This crisp, dry vin de pays ("country wine") from Gascony is a blend of less-familiar varietals, such as Ugni Blanc.

Ponte de Lima 2007 "Adamado" Vinho Verde

This young white is fresh with lime flavors and herbal aromas.

Tintero 2007 Moscato dɺsti

This sweet, low-alcohol wine from Piedmont has citrus zest, pear, and apricot flavors.

Wolfgang 2007 "Concerto" Grüner Veltliner

In this versatile wine, ripe citrus flavors carry a hit of peppery spice.

Archeo 2006 Nero dɺvola

A favorite from Trader Joe's, this rich, earthy red with dark fruit has an oaky finish.

Banrock Station 2006 Shiraz

Big flavors and a low price tag are a winning combination in this fine red with ripe plum and black-cherry flavors.

Bianchi 2007 "Elsa" Malbec

Argentina has become known for its big-value Malbecs: Here, blackberry and plum flavors are matched by a spicy finish.

Budini 2008 Malbec

This big wine is characterized by black cherries, blackberries, and spice.

McManis Family Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Blueberry, blackberry, and chocolate flavors balance this Cabernet's spicy notes.

Monterra 2005 Merlot

A rich Merlot with a hint of chocolate.

Di Majo Norante 2007 Sangiovese

Blackberries and spice with violet aromas make this an appealing wine to pair with the robust flavors of this time of year.

Eguren 2006 Tempranillo

From the Castilla y León region, this full-bodied red is loaded with raspberry fruit.

Goats Do Roam 2006 Red

This Rhône-style red has soft tannins, black-cherry fruit, and a spicy finish.

Vigne & Vini 2005 "Schiaccianoci" Negroamaro del Salento

This rustic red from Puglia shows concentrated, earthy flavors that are balanced by aromas of spice.

Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.

© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement and Your California Privacy Rights. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices

Nutrition per 5 fl. oz: 91 calories, 12% ABV

Even though the name Blanc de Blanc isn't as well-known, the famous French style is simply sparkling Chardonnay—which is created with one of the main grapes used for producing traditional Champagne. Schramsberg's take is a well-priced way to get to know this sparkling alternative.

3. If you like Merlot, try Nerello Mascalese.

Nerello Mascalese, a red wine grape native to Sicily, is a people-pleasing grape. It is elegant and easy to drink, but it is a bit more structured and heartier than a Pinot Noir.

Like Merlot, it has both acidity and tannins. Look for wines labeled "Etna Rosso," which is a Sicilian region where the wines are made of Nerello Mascalese. Because they're grown on volcanic soil, these wines are often a delicious mix of bold, earthy, and fruity.

9 Italian Red Wines — 6 at $20 or Less - Recipes

The best way to make sense of Italian red wines is to simply start tasting them. Italy offers the perfect red wine for every occasion—from pizza on Monday, to roast beef with the in-laws on Sunday, and everything between.

Many of Italy’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, often in combination with the grape variety. If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an Italian wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice.

Three Italian red wines to buy for special occasions

1. Barolo & Barbaresco

Piedmont’s Barolo is the undoubtedly the king of Italian red wines. Made from Nebbiolo, the wines of this small appellation in Italy’s northwest are among the most ageable in the world. Whether it is saved for next year, five years, ten or twenty years, this is one Italian red that showcases the benefits of aging wine.

Also a Piedmontese wine made with Nebbiolo, Barbaresco is the queen to Barolo’s king. Renowned for finesse and perfume, the wines of Barbaresco are among Italy’s best.

2. Brunello

Brunello di Montalcino is the king of wines made with Sangiovese. This Tuscan red wine gets its name from the local name for Sangiovese (Brunello) and Montalcino, a small medieval hill town overlooking the Tuscan countryside. These are complex wines with incredible aging potential.

3. Amarone

Amarone is a powerful and concentrated dry red wine made with dried grapes in Italy’s Veneto region. Made from native Italian grapes, Amarone is a wine that dazzles and impresses.

Three Italian red wines to buy for next year

4. Gattinara

Gattinara is a delicious and often over-looked Nebbiolo-based wine from Piedmont. Perfect with stews and braises, these are the wines to drink while waiting for Barolo and Barbaresco to mature.

5. Rosso di Montalcino

Rosso di Montalcino is often referred to as “baby Brunello.” Made with Sangiovese grown in the same area, this wine is released to market the year after harvest, while Brunello continues to slumber in the cellars of winemakers.

6. Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico refers to the classic, historic growing area of this iconic Italian red wine. Produced with slightly stricter regulations than regular Chianti, these wines pair easily with a multitude of meals.

Two Italian red wines to buy for next week

7. Barbera d’Asti

The Italian red grape Barbera makes delicious wines with bright acidity and soft tannin. Hailing from Piedmont, these delightful red wines are crowd-pleasers.

8. Dolcetto d’Alba

Dolcetto is another red wine from Piedmont. With more noticeable tannin than Barbera, but not quite as much as Nebbiolo, wines from Dolcetto strike a nice balance.

Two Italian red wines to buy for tonight

9. Lambrusco

Ask your local wine merchant for a dry Lambrusco from Emilia Romagna to pair with your next antipasti. Slightly fizzy with a pleasing bitterness, these red wines are delicious on a hot summer day.

10. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Montepulciano is Abruzzo’s answer to Piedmont’s Barbera. Showcasing juicy, grapey flavors with soft, supple tannin, this is Italy’s quintessential pizza wine. Be sure not to confuse the grape Montepulciano with Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is a Sangiovese-based wine made near the town of Montepulciano.

22 great lower alcohol wines for summer

Ellie Douglas May 11, 2021

Credit: Unsplash / Matthieu Joannon

If you’re looking to reduce your alcohol intake this summer – without going completely ‘dry’ – it’s worth taking a look at some lower alcohol wine options.

These typically run from 6%-11% and include wines both naturally low in alcohol as well as those that have had their ABV reduced. These lighter styles can also be a refreshing choice in the sunshine and while al-fresco dining.

Depending on style and grape variety, wines tend to have between 12-14% alcohol, however in recent years levels have been creeping up, partly because of climate change and also due to the growing trend for softer, more ripe wines.

‘The real challenge of making low- and no-alcohol wine is about how to remove the alcohol from a fermented juice (which can typically be 13%-14% alcohol by volume) without impairing mouthfeel, balance, typicity and quality,’ wrote Peter Richards MW.

Some of the wines below have been deliberately made as lower-alcohol options – such as Forrest, The Doctors’ Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2019, at 9% abv and the Brancott Estate, Flight Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2019.

Others are able to maintain a lower abv because of the region, or style of wine.

Finding red wines below 12% can be tricky but not impossible with classic sources being cooler climate regions around the world – below we’ve included ones from Oregon and England.

For white wines Germany, and in particular the Mosel, is a good starting point. Wines with less than 10% abv are likely going to have an element of sweetness having had the fermentation stopped leaving the natural sweetness of the grapes in the resulting wine. Thanks to the cooler climate, English wines also provide some options – including some bottles below that are produced in urban wineries.

Rose wines can also be good for finding lower alcohol options, as well as ideal for summer drinking. The Marks & Spencer, Found Rosé, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2020 has ‘a slight spritz, light alcohol and just-dry flavours of pear juice, pink grapefruit and strawberry-and-cream sweets.’

Sparkling wines feature heavily on the list below – from Italy, England and the Rhône – as it’s easier to keep alcohol levels lower on these styles, without losing out on flavour.

4 Low-Carb Sparkling Wines

1. J. Lassalle Preference Brut Champagne Premier Cru

Crisp and tropical, this fancy French sparkling wine has enough acidity and minerality to stand up to rich or fattier foods. (We see you, charcuterie board.)

2. Amelia Brut Rosé Cremant de Bordeaux

Go ahead and say, "yes way!" to rosé. It's often just as dry—or only a touch sweeter—than its white wine relatives. At 12.5 percent ABV, this fresh French sparkling wine tastes like summer's best strawberries.

3. Avinyo Cava Brut

Citrus, honey, and toasted bread (compliments of the yeast that's used in fermentation) prevail as the triple-play of flavor elements in this 11.5 percent ABV sparkler from Spain.

4. 2018 Finke's Barrel-Aged Sparkling Chardonnay

California can make sparkling wine that stands up to what you'll find in France. This bright, toast-flavored vino is aged in French oak barrels, lending the rich yeasty flavors you're used to savoring in Champagne made via the traditional method.

Best Red Wines You Should Buy in 2021 (Includes Price and Taste)

What is the best red wine to drink?

Here’s a selection of delicious red wines from different parts of the globe.

1. Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (US)

Screaming Eagle is made in tiny quantities at a small, prestigious vineyard in Napa's Oakville appellation. This Cabernet Sauvignon is one of America's most expensive wines.

Taste: The 2006 vintage is pliant and sweet, with aromas of red berries, brown spices, minerals, menthol and tobacco leaf, with a very long end.

Average price of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: $3,100+

2. DRC Romanee Conti 2015 (France)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) of Burgundy produces some of the most collectible, but also least accessible, wines in the world. The Domaine produces wines from eight different grand cru vineyards spanning the Côte d'Or.

Taste: This intensely flavored 2015 vintage is distinctly creamy and harmonious. It features notes of succulent cherry, sandalwood, oak spice and cinnamon.

Average price of DRC Romanee Conti 2015: $21,000+

3. Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2017 (Australia)

The Penfolds estate in Australia is best known for its iconic Penfolds Grange wine. This Penfolds Bin 389 is a combo of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, and is often referred to as “Baby Grange.”

Taste: The 2017 vintage offers a nose of blackcurrant, cassis, chive, mustard spice, beeswax, lemon and honey tea. Its palate is rich, with flavors of charcuterie meats, pastrami, cranberry, vanilla and licorice.

Average price of Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2017: $60+

4. Achaval-Ferrer Quimera 2014 (Argentina)

This Argentinian wine estate based in the Uco Valley, Mendoza is popular for its high-quality wines made mainly of Malbec (typically as a blend with other classic Bordeaux varietals.)

Taste: The 2014 vintage is intensely concentrated with blackberry fruits, salted dark chocolate, cedar spices along with vanilla and clove.

Average price of Achaval-Ferrer Quimera 2014: $30+

5. Vega Sicilia Unico 2009 (Spain)

Vega Sicilia winery’s Ribera del Duero estate is known for its complex wines made primarily from Tempranillo. Unico, a Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon red blend, is one of Spain’s most sought-after wines.

Taste: The 2009 vintage features beautiful flavors of ripe cherries and spiced plum, while the palate wavers between deep forest underbrush, muddled blueberries and cigar box.

Average price of Vega Sicilia Unico 2009: $300+

6. Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac 2018 (France)

Château Lafite Rothschild is located in the Pauillac region of Medoc. The Lafite Rothschild is one of the most expensive and sought-after red wines in the world. It’s popular for its perfume, elegance and harmony, and the remarkable ability to age 50 years or more.

Taste: The 2018 vintage holds beautiful notes of creme de cassis, tobacco, cedar, graphite and lead pencil shavings. This is a balanced and full-bodied wine with flavors of dark fruity blackberries, licorice and spices.

Average price of Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac 2018: $700+

7. Gaja Barbaresco, Piedmont 2006 (Italy)

Gaja is located in Barbaresco, Piedmont, and is one of Italy’s most iconic winemakers. The wine estate is well-known for their Nebbiolo-based wines, like this Barbaresco, which is 100% Nebbiolo.

Taste: The 2006 Italian vintage has a bright, intense and ripe berry nose. Flavors are deep, rich, with notes of cherry liqueur, vanilla spice and leather. It has high alcohol, soft tannins and a long finish.

(To read more about some of the best Barbaresco wines you can buy, read this informative article.)

Average price Gaja Barbaresco, Piedmont 2006: $300+

8. Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT 2015 (Italy)

The famous Tuscan winemaker Antinori produces renowned wines like Solaia, Tignanello and Guado al Tasso.

Taste: The 2015 vintage has a rich, intense, sweet nose and flavors of anise, blackberries, vanilla, dark fruits, spices and licorice. This is a layered wine with fresh acidity, ripe tannins and long finish.

Average price Marchesi Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT 2015: $300+

9. Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve 2008 (France)

Chateau Rayas owns 12 hectares of vines in Chateauneuf du Pape. It’s well-known for its powerful, full bodied wines made predominantly from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.

Taste: The 2008 vintage is stony on the nose with minerals and offers plenty of acidity. Flavors feature sarsaparilla soda, red fruits, with a herbal and green olive tone. It’s a medium-bodied, dry red wine with a long finish.

Average price Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve 2008: $600+

For further reading, check out some of the best wine brands in the world, and some of the best French wines you should get hold of.

History of wine in Italy

Italy has a climate suitable for viticulture and wine history dates back to more than 4,000 years. One of the most diverse winemaking countries in the world, Italy is also known as Oenotria, meaning the land of wine. Grapes are easily cultivated here and this makes wine production easy and convenient.

The Greeks began wine cultivation and were followed by Romans who took an interest in the skills. With a rise in Catholicism and the increasing importance of wine, Italy continues to refine winemaking techniques and has cemented a strong reputation across the world for making excellent quality wines.

Take a look at the Italian wine map and you will realize how prominent wine is in the food and culture of Italy. One cannot think of Italy without thinking about its wine.

By the nineteenth century, Italy had gained global recognition for inexpensive table wines and in the 1960s, laws were passed to control wine quality.

This is when the modern era of wine production started. Today, wines are more popular and varied than ever. You will find a wide range of white, sparkling, and red wines made in different styles for consumers around the world.

Map of Italian Wine Regions

Before we hope into the exact specifics of each wine region in Italy, let’s take a look at a visual snapshot of the wine regions via our map.

This Italian wine region map will help you discern the differences of each location as well as get a feel of where each wine region is located in Italy.

21 Wines That Are Cheap in Price, Not in Taste

Because delicious and inexpensive bottles of red, white, brut, and rosé do exist.

A good bottle of wine doesn't always come with a big price tag. In fact, our editors and the experts in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen have a long list of great wine brands that are cheap in price, but never in taste. And trust us when we say we've got an inexpensive bottle for every wine lover out there. We're talking delicious red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines that cost no more than $20. But if we're being really honest, most of the brands we selected are under $15. We've even thrown in some top picks under $10 because we truly believe good wine can fit any budget.

So the next time you're looking for a great bottle at a great price point, don't forget this list of the best cheap wine brands on the market.

We love this bold red wine that combines malbec, zinfandel, and petite sirah grapes. Beef, lamb, veal, and chicken are ideal food pairings, but this also makes a perfect sipping wine on its own.

This dry unoaked Oregon chardonnay offers full bodied notes of apple, apricot, melon, peach, and pear. It pairs delightfully with pasta, salads, chicken, or fish.

Full bodied and spicy, this wine comes from Spain and offers a great taste at a great price. It's light and smooth with the perfect acidity. It's best with beef, chicken, lamb, or pasta.

Although they come from the same grape, a pinot gris is different than a pinot grigio wine. With this pinot gris, you'll get citrus and white floral notes. It's crisp and refreshing, and pairs best with chicken or fish.

A newly released wine that's perfect for sipping on a spring or summer night. It has all the bubbles you want from a prosecco and all the berry and peach flavor you love of rosé.

An organic wine under $15? Yep! The Argentinean wine is fruity, medium bodied, and well balanced. Serve it with pork to enhance the flavor.

From the Cava, Spain region, this brut is traditional in its fruity and citrus flavor. The notes of lime and pineapple are delightful, making this cava particularly good to sip.

Our Chief Food Director absolutely loves this rosé. Straight from Vin de Pays, France, it has everything you want: a crisp flavor, dry finish, and a touch of sweetness.

The Californian pinot noir is the perfect everyday wine. It's light with hints of plum and berry flavors, and is offered at an incredible price.

Prosecco is sparkling white wine from Italy, and few brands make it as well as Lamarca. While sipping, you'll notice the fresh flavor of green apple, lemon, and a hint of honey.

Red fruit and cherries are revealed in this rosé from France. It's ideal for drinking or serving with a cold meal.

You'll taste cherry, vanilla, and a hint of coffee. It's smooth and balanced, and perfect to drink when you're serving lamb or beef.

Josh Cellars was started in 2007, and has quickly become a favorite among wine lovers. The sauvignon blanc in particular is light, dry, and has notes of tropical fruit and peach.

Another favorite of ours is Mionetto, which was founded in 1887. The brut is well-balanced, rich in fruity flavors, and perfectly dry.

Brought to you by Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power, Avaline rose is made from a blend of organic cinsault, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and caladoc grapes. Its notes include melon and citrus zest.

Wake up your tastes buds with this one-of-a-kind rosé, which is filled with flavors of wild strawberry, watermelon rind, and a hint of kiwi.

Made from 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah grapes, its intense flavor includes blackberry and plum. It's best served with lamb and duck.

As a top-rated pick that has a true earthy flavor, reviewers say you'll be hard pressed to find another wine that is bold and flavorful under $10.

This light bodied riesling starts off spicy with the first sip and then leads to citrus and peach flavors.

What makes this sauvignon blanc stand out is the taste of crushed herbs that complement the grapefruit and lemon notes. It's the perfect combo of acidic and sweet.

One of the more tannic wines on our list, you'll taste blueberries, brown sugar, and cocoa. Ideal for pairing with short ribs or lamb shoulder.