Between the sugar hangover and the bloated belly, I can’t bring myself to drink sweet whites or really any white wines for that matter. Since my Chardonnay days ended towards the end of college, I’ve become more of a dry-full-bodied-red-wine-with-an-oaky-base kind of gal. So if you like sweet Pinots, this post isn’t for you.
I am all about finding a nice & affordable, yet delicious full-bodied red. People say there’s a huge difference between expensive wine and cheap wine. Maybe if you can afford a $70 bottle of Caymus Collection for a 2 glass Friday night, then there’s a difference. But $30 vs. $15? I beg to differ.
Matt and I started taking notes on every bottle we drink because we always seem to forget which ones were just “eh”, especially if they have a cool label. I included some of our notes below.
Here are my top choices for bargain reds, so you can afford to split a bottle…or even 3 on a good night…without breaking the bank. P.S. Some of these are usually priced higher, but I get them at a lower rate by buying 6 bottles at a time at places like Ralphs.
1. Trader Joes Coastal Merlot – $4.49
I’ve tried the Cab Sav in this collection and I’m not a fan. But WOAH MERLOT. TJs, you win with your new-age $2 buck chuck.
2. Trader Joes Growers Reserve Merlot – $4.99
We note this one as “smooth & dry AF”.
3. Arrow Creek Merlot – $4.99
“Warm & full-bodied”.
4. La Finca Tempranillo – $3.99
Getting out of our cab/merlot comfort zone with this one. “Spicy and unique”.
5. The Original Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon – $8.99
Matt calls this one “slutty”.
6. Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon – $8.99
I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t like this signature cab.
7. Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon – $9.99
8. 7 Moons Red Blend – $9.99
“Easy drinkin. Medium-bodied, with a smooth after taste.” Table wine for any occasion.
9. Robert Mondavi Merlot – $8.99
“Delicious” – 5/5
10. Josh Cabernet Sauvignon – $11.99
Oh, how I love Josh. He’s a constant in my life and every time he’s around, I’m overcome with delight. Don’t try to find him at a commercial grocery store or he’ll be over $20. Trader Joes sells him at a casual $11.99 and my heart is happy.
11. Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon
Hands down favorite. My mouth waters just thinking about it. You can get it for a good deal at Ralphs when it’s on the buy 6 bottles sale.
12. Raymond Merlot – $13.99
Dry, smoky and extremely delicious.
13. Gnarly Head Merlot – $11.99
“Bold, sophisticated, & smooth.”
14. Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon – $14.99
Pretty much have realized we like any red wine that has a man’s name in it. I’m not sure how it’s worked out like that, but it has.
15. Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon – $14.99
16. Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon – $13.99
Classic favorite of ours. “Warm, smooth, no after taste”.
Have a favorite I’m missing? Comment below – I’d love to try it!