Not-your-everyday Vinos under $20!
Alright guys, the holidays are creeping up and that means lots of parties and trying to impress family and friends with fun gifts, amirite? And let’s be honest, what better gift than a good booze? I have compiled a list of awesome, unique, colder-weather wines, either to drink by yourself at home, OR you can be less alcoholic-y and give it as a gift! Your friends will never know that all of these wines are under $20 (ish..) because they taste THAT good. (Trust me, I tried every single one of them…over the course of time, not in a day’s sitting, I promise).
The one kicker….these are not your average basic bitch wines (will do a separate blog post on those) that you can find at the grocery store up the street. You may have to haul ass to Total Wine, purchase online or visit a boutique wine shop (Arrowine, Dominion, Swirl & Sip are great local shops) to find them, but I wanted to find wines that were slightly different, that way you can pretend like you know good wine when you take it to your in-laws for Thanksgiving! - You’re welcome.
To kick this off, let me just say that I am primarily a red wine drinker, even in the summer, but I definitely enjoy a nice white on occasion (mostly Chardonnay). But trust me when I say that this Riesling is one of the better whites I’ve had. When you think of Rieslings you probably think, “Oh this is going to be so sweet”- well my friend, that is the opposite of true for this wine because it’s extremely dry and pairs amazingly (is that a word?) with spicy foods such as Thai. I can imagine that it is also very tasty paired with seafood. Buy this wine here
This is by far one of my favorite Syrah’s I’ve tasted. Syrah is a grape that tends to produce big, full-bodied wines, so if that’s up your alley, give this one a try! This wine has aromas of blueberry, plum, and spices with a tobacco-like finish. I think this goes well with barbecue, lamb or even on its own! Buy this wine here
For the value, this wine is bomb. It has strong aromas of raspberry and strawberry, and then holy jam-ness on the flavor. Imagine a big juicy nose, followed by a big juicy taste. I would drink this by itself, or pair it with grilled meats or a charcuterie plate! This is perfect to take to a dinner party and sip on it while having some apps! Buy this wine here
There are several ups to this wine- #1 It’s local. Viognier is the declared white wine of Virginia so that’s pretty cool. You can buy this at Total Wine, online, or visit their tasting room in Afton, about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville. The winery is very close to the Shenandoah so if you’re up for a hiking day followed by a wine tasting, then this one is for you! #2, It’s really freaking delicious and pairs well with a variety of foods. When I pair a Viognier, I think similarly to pairing a Chardonnay: creamy white sauce pastas, fish and shellfish. If you really want to impress your dinner guests, try this wine. They will love that it’s local, and it’s unique because its way less common than a chard or a pinot grigio! I made a fancy lobster cream sauce shrimp scampi a few weeks ago, and this wine was PERFECT with it! Buy this wine here
I was looking specifically for an Australian Shiraz for this blog post, and tbh I picked this one because of the cool label. I’m very glad that I did because I absolutely loved this wine! It’s a steal for the price, and super delicious. This is a rich, bold wine with flavors of blackberry, blueberry and spice. I would drink this on its own, or pair it with a burger or a hearty pasta. Buy this wine here
The only reason that I added this Cab (blend) to this unique wines list is because it’s from Argentina so it makes it different than a typical Cali Cab. OH- AND ITS FREAKING DELICIOUS. Let me just say, if I had an extra $500 laying around and I didn’t feel bad about spending it on booze in one sitting, I would run to Total Wine and buy a case of this. Notes of blackberry, plum, currant, vanilla with a peppery and smoky finish. You’re looking for a perfect wine to pair with your filet mignon tonight? Go out and get this wine STAT. This is such a great gift idea for the holidays too, and considering it’s a bit pricier than my other wines on here, it is SO worth the money! Your friends and family will be 100% impressed if you roll up to a function with this in tow. Buy this wine here
This wine is my favorite Pinot Noir OF ALL TIME. I’m not adding it here because it’s super unique, but I’m adding it because it’s just that good. I’ve only been able to find it at Total Wine and half the time they’re sold out of it, so I make sure to stock up. I prefer an Oregon Pinot Noir to a California one any day, and this wine to me is the epitome of what a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir should taste like. This sounds super lame but when I have a sip of it, I feel like I’m curled in a blanket by the fire. It is round, soft and has a full mouthfeel with notes of cherry, raspberry and vanilla on the palate. I absolutely drink this wine on its own, but it pairs wonderfully with salmon! Buy this wine here
Alright, so that’s it for now!! Hope you guys find this useful and let me know what you think in the comments below! I will be posting a follow-up to this post, and it will be a list of your everyday basic bitch wines that we all love and chug! STAY TUNED!!