It’s that time again! A new season and the chance to explore the best values from across the globe. I love the creating the 20 under $20 lists because they provide me with the chance to re-discover some terrific favorites, and focus on wines that offer tremendous value.
There are a lot of boring $10 wines out there, but a $10 wine that really captures a sense of terroir, (the place in which the grapes are grown), is harder to find. At Schneider’s we search high and low for complex, expressive wines that offer something really special. We strive to ensure that the wines on our shelves exhibit depth and richness, adding something interesting to elevate the food on your table. These value wines make excellent weeknight drinkers and are ideal to have on hand for impromptu gatherings, and to help you relax after a long day at the office.
Here are my selections for the 20 best wines under $20 suitable for heartier fall cuisines like roasted Brussels sprouts, stews, or roasts. Just because the weather gets a little cooler does not mean that you should abandon white wines. In fact, the whites on this list like Viognier, Roussanne, and Müller-Thurgau all offer a rounder, weightier, fuller texture making them the perfect match for autumnal flavors. Syrah and Grenache-based reds along with Pinot Noir, and Beaujolais are wonderful for fall evenings. These reds are all light-to-medium-bodied and offer spicy flavors that also pair well with autumn fare. This list includes selections from Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and France. The mix of Old and New World wines offers something for everyone’s tastes.
20 Outstanding Wines Under $20
- 2015 Alfredo Roca Chenin Blanc – Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina ($9.99)
Notes of peach and a waxy texture typical of the Chenin Blanc varietal, are coupled with the rich lemon, apple, and pear character of the Chardonnay to create well-balanced acidity and depth.
- 2015 Cuvee de Penya Viognier, Côtes Catalanes, France ($9.99)
This $10 white packs a wallop. It offers an exotic nose of citrus, pineapple, mango and peach, with light floral hints. Lively acidity makes it very refreshing on the palate. Serve with scallops or spicy Asian foods.
- 2016 d’Arenberg Stump Jump White RMS, McLaren Vale, Australia ($11.99)
A blend of Riesling (60%), Sauvignon Blanc (20%), Marsanne (11%), and Roussanne (9%) the complexity of this blend shines through in the exotic tropical aromas. Citrus, white peach, and pineapple are followed by a rich creamy texture. The almondy finish and bright acidity creates a refreshing wine with lots of complexity that keeps you coming back to your glass to discover more and more.
- 2016 Antoine Simoneau Sauvignon Blanc Toraine, Loire Valley, Franec ($12.99)
Soft citrus aromas, white peach, and green melon make this a very attractive little wine. Refreshing acidity and a hint of apple blossom shine through on the finish.
- Fritz Müller Secco Müller-Thurgau Trocken, Rheinhessenn, Germany ($13.99)
This lightly sparkling wine is the German version of Champagne. It’s light straw in color with fruity tones of pear, apple and grapefruit on the nose and palate. It’s bone dry with an interesting earthy layer of damp leaves.
- 2015 Albert Bichot Chablis Domaine Long-Depaquit, Burgundy, France ($19.99)
2015 has proven to be a stand out vintage in Burgundy. This outstanding bargain Chablis offers citrus and white flower aromas with stony minerality and some refreshing salinity.
- 2010 Schloss Schonborn Riesling Estate Kabinett, Rheingau, Germany ($19.99)
Bright and decedent, this Kabinett offers luscious notes of honey, green apples, ginger, pear, and orange blossom. The hint of sweetness on the palate is perfectly balanced by bright acidity.
- 2012 Chateau Lamy Corbieres, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($9.99)
This Corbières is a classic Languedoc red. It is robust, earthy and full-bodied. Ripe and juicy, it shows off dark fruits like blackberry along with dried herbs, and even a hint of dark chocolate on the finish.
- 2014 Scarpetta Barbera Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy ($9.99)
Scarpetta is the brain child of Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson of the famed Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, CO. They work with Fabrizio Iuli in Monferrato, Piemonte to create this beautifully soft Barbera. This lovely and fresh red offers notes of raspberry, red currant, and plum with a little earthiness. Low tannins and bright zippy acidity makes it very food-friendly and versatile. Pair with pizza or homemade pasta.
- 2015 Bichot Chateau De Jarnioux Beaujolais, France ($11.99)
Known for producing outstanding value wines, Beaujolais is best-known for its nouveau wines, fermented for just a few weeks before being released on the third Thursday of November. The fun banana, and bubblegum character of nouveau should not sway your opinion of the wonderful and complex wines from the region. This light red wine made with Gamay grapes offers notes of raspberry, tart cherry strawberry, candy, and spice.
- 2012 Don Tomasi Nero D’Avola, Sicily, Italy ($11.99)
Light and polished with notes of black cherries blueberries, black pepper, smooth tannins, and medium body.
- 2016 Disco, Ribera del Duero, Spain ($14.99)
Made by Neo winery, this red offers expressive aromas of ripe red cherry, sweet spices, and vanilla. It’s toasty and fresh with smooth tannins.
- 2010 Desclau Bordeaux Superieur, Bordeaux, France ($15.99)
The nose exhibits aromas of ripe black fruits, baking spices, and anise. Firm tannins, good structure and balance make this wine a steal. Pair with grilled meats and strong cheeses like Manchego or Pecorino.
- 2013 Cascina Adelaide Barbera Mie Donne, Piedmont, Italy ($15.99)
This is a wonderful example of young Barbera. It’s bright, juicy with piercing acidity, and lovely rich tart cherry and raspberry fruits.
- 2013 Oliver Hill Red Silk Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia ($19.99)
Full-bodied, and bursting with notes of black plums, ripe blackberries, and spice. There are subtle notes of black pepper and savory spice as well. Bright and delicious, this wine will pair well with slow cooked lamb.
- 2015 Barrique Cellars Grenache, Paso Robles, California ($19.99)
Bold, bright with fresh red raspberry fruit and notes of clove and white pepper spice. An ideal wine to serve autumn, it features soft tannins and rich, ample red berry fruit. Our Grenache pairs beautifully with salmon, pizza, and macaroni & cheese.
- 2011 Cote Ouest La Clape, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($19.99)
Medium bodied with aromas of cherry and licorice on the nose and palate. The Grenache in the blend comes through with a hint of eucalyptus, dark chocolate, and juicy red berries.
- 2015 Apolloni Pinot Noir Capitol Hill Cuvee, Willamette Valley, Oregon ($19.99)
This is an incredible value bottled exclusively for Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. A hidden gem from Oregon with delicate red fruit and a long, smooth, velvety finish. Bright notes of cranberries, and red cherries followed by the classic Willamette Valley rustic character and hints of earth.
- 2015 Bichot Fleurie La Madone, Beaujolais, France ($19.99)
The Fleurie cru is nicknamed, the “Queen of Beaujolais,” as these wines are considered to be the most “feminine” of the crus. Delightful raspberry notes and rich baking spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and even purple violets.
- 2014 Cascina Adelaide Dolcetto Di Diano d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy ($19.99)
Dolcetto is loved for it’s softness and much lower acidity, compared to Barbera. Red cherry and red currant are delightful on the nose. Soft, ripe plums, blackberries and a touch of green herbs linger on the finish.
Visit Elyse Genderson at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill to discover wines you love.