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Cheap but not Swill - Wines Under $15

By Edited Jul 13, 2015 0 0

There are hundreds of thousands of wines in the world. Some come in adult juice boxes, some cost $1000 dollars a bottle. Some people splurge on wine for a special occasion, but for those that like to sit back with a bottle every week they need something cheap but good. Snobs turn their noses up at cheap wine, but there are a lot of great options out there in an affordable price range. There is always Arbor Mist, Franzia box wine, or the infamous Two Buck Chuck (Wines by Charles Shaw) but those are absolute swill. I have tasted my way around the liquor store to find tasty and affordable bottles for those on a budget.

alice white

Alice White Chardonnay

Alice White Chardonnay is a white  from Australia, at the nice affordable price for around $7 dollars. Like most Chardonnays, it is a dry wine that has a nice acidity with a base in the nutty flavors that are near trademark to the grape. However, this wine has really unusual fruit flavors, I personally think that it may have been mixed with something (as chardonnays are not usually fruity), but I have found nothing to support this. Regardless, there is a hint of tropical fruits in there that pair well with the natural nutty vanilla flavor of a traditional chardonnay.

Marques de Caceres Rioja

Marques de Caceres Rioja is a white wine from Spain. You can pick up a bottle of this for around $10 dollars. While the Rioja is a great white wine, the Marques de Caceres winery makes a variety of cheap and fantastic tasting wines in all colors and flavors. This particular one is made with the Viura grape, which is popular in Spanish wine. It makes for a dry and moderately acidic wine. The Rioja has wonderful tropical flavors including banana, which is not something I have encountered in wine much. It adds a bit of sweetness to the dryness which I especially love, but then again I prefer sweet flavors.


Samos Muscat

Samos Muscat is a white wine from Greece. Wine fans can pick this beauty up for $10 dollars. I have not had much experience with Greek wines, but if they are anything like this little gem, I am sold. The beautiful golden color reminds a little bit of a glass of beer, but this tastes nothing like beer. The Samos Muscat is a symphony of different flavors. You taste the sweet honey, earthy apricots, and just a hint of sour with some apple. Like the aforementioned Rioja, it is a dry drink, but with a deep sweetness hidden in there. It has a relatively high acidity, but it only serves in making your mouth water for more.

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine from Napa Valley, California. It is slightly more expensive than the previous wines at $14 dollars a bottle, but well worth it. Like most Cabernet Sauvignons, this wine is dry with high acidity, but it really has quite a bit of sweetness from the natural flavors of cherry. This is a great pair with a nice bloody steak or with a bit of dark chocolate, as there are is a baffling flavors similar to bitter chocolate in this one.

mark west

Mark West Pinot Noir

Mark West Pinot Noir is a red wine that is grown in various regions in California  country. You can pick up a bottle of this wine for around $11 dollars. Pinot Noir is a tricky grape to grow, but it does well in California. When it is done right it can yield a complexity of flavors. Mark West's Pinot Noir s not the most complex Noir I have tasted, but it is by no means bad. It has a very strong aroma and flavor of cherries with more delicate hints of strawberries and spice.  For the price, it is an excellent Pinot Noir.

Osborne Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon

Osborne Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine from Spain. Wine lovers can pick up this hearty red for around $9 dollars. This one combines the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for a really robust red. This is by no means a delicate affair. It is rich with a full-body that pairs well with rich flavors. This is honestly my wine of choice to drink with a flavorful beef stew, maybe even toss a little into the beef stew while it is cooking. It has deep flavors of blackberries and cherries, but there is also the unmistakable flavor of Christmasy spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

osborne solaz
cono sur

Cono Sur Pinot Noir

Cono Sur Pinot Noir is red wine from Chile. Folks can pick this bottle up for around $10 dollars. I wasn't too sure about this wine, as a generally rule I try to avoid wines with silly or punny names, but I had never tried a Chilean wine and I do love a Pinot Noir. Cono Sur has a high acidity, but it is complemented heavily by the unique strawberry (and probably other berry) flavors. It wasn't as complex as the other Pinot Noir on this list and I was frankly a bit disappointed, but it was a decent wine. It weirdly reminded me of Arbor Mist's Strawberry Zinfandel with the sweetness, acidity, and strange thinness. It is a great tasting drink, but probably will not impress a seasoned palate.

Lorikeet Brut

Lorikeet Brut is a sparkling wine from Austrailia. A bottle of this featches around $9 dollars for anyone interested. It is made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes giving it a really explosive flavor. I am not a big fan of sparkling wines, especially Bruts, which are the driest kind of sparkling. It is a bias people will notice whenever I talk of the drink. However, this wine has grown on me over the years, as it keeps popping up at special occasions. While dry, it has a brisk flavor of cherry and other fruits. It is excellent for toasts and because of the unique sweetness, it is a great sparkling wine for people who are not particularly fond of sparkling.



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