13 of the Best Bargain Wines for $20 or Less

13 of the Best Bargain Wines for $20 or Less

A blind tasting holds the potential for all sorts of surprises. When the results of the 2022 Royal Adelaide Wine Show were announced last week, the trophy for Best Pinot Noir at the show was James Busby’s 2021 Vineyard Series Tasmania Pinot Noir from Coles Liquor.

The national wine fair attracted 2588 entries from 350 exhibitors and at $30 a bottle the Pinot Noir is a top pick with a decent price tag.

Earlier this month, ALDI Head of Purchasing Jason Bowyer had a good laugh when the $4.99 South Point Estate 2022 Pinot Grigio (available exclusively in the supermarket giant’s stores) took home double Gold at the Melbourne International Wine Show .

Wine writer Katie Spain reveals the wines she can’t get enough of at affordable prices. Photo: Ben MacMahon



According to the judging rules, double gold is only awarded to a phenomenal product, according to a unanimous decision of the jury members.

“We’re fair about our prices,” says Bowyer. “People assume that a wine isn’t as good if it’s offered at a lower price, but when they taste the wines, they’re pleasantly surprised – a lot of things to fire the imagination.”

Quality over quantity is a mantra we should all live by. Search hard enough and you will find affordable gems suitable for everyday use.

The price is ridiculous, double gold at the Melbourne International Wine Show is not.

Bang for $20

Bassham Wines 2021 Arinto, Riverland, $20

I can’t get enough of Bruce and Val Bassham’s alternative (and mostly certified organic and biodynamic) wines. The couple tread quietly on their Riverland estate and take great care of their vineyards. The Arinto (originally from Portugal) thrives in hot climates and this sparkling white wine has plenty of pep. Keep cool and serve with fresh seafood and salads. Bassham Fernao Pires (from southern Portugal) is also a talking point at $20 a bottle, as is Petit Manseng (from southern France), Verdejo and organic Vermentino. The epitome of bang for your buck. 12 percent alcohol. Find them at basshamwines.com

Scarborough Wine Co. 2022 Offshoot Tempranillo Rosé, NSW, $20

A heavenly rosé from the delightful, family-run Scarborough Wine Co. in the Hunter Valley. It’s like diving headfirst into a juicy watermelon cooler with a squeeze of lime. Summer loving indeed.

10.8 percent alcohol. Find it online at scarboroughwine.com.au

KATIE’S SELECTION
Wynn’s The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon, $20

Cabernet Curious? This is a shining star of a wine. With an MSRP of $20, this classic red from Coonawarra in South Australia is amazing value. Search hard enough (and time it right) and you’ll find it at some retailers for as little as $10 a bottle. Grab it when you do. It is approachable, bright, with an earthy finish and will delight the most discerning connoisseur.

13.9 percent alcohol. Find it at: all major liquor retailers across the country and on wynns.com.au

Ricca Terra 22º Halo 2022 Degree Halo Chill with the Moon, SAT, $20

Shiraz, Fiano, Grenache Blanc, Tempranillo and Moscato Giallo from the river country conquer the dance floor in this bright red. It is designed to be chilled and consumed in the sun. A whole lot of berry flavored fun for people who take their time seriously.

13.5 percent alcohol. Find it at: riccaterra.com.au

Best Wines Under $20.

From left: Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut; cat among the doves 2020 Fat Cat Shiraz; Lingo 2021 Adelaide Hills Barbera; Hodles Creek Estate 2020 Sauvignon Blanc 2020; Yarran 2019 Shiraz. Photos: Included

$15-$20

Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut, France, $19.99

Recently, a winemaker pal came over to dinner with this French sparkling wine and put it on the table next to the “good stuff” and said nothing. He found it in the local bottle for a bargain, but don’t let cheap clichés cloud our vision. Didn’t you know that the traditional sparkling wines from the Blanquette de Limoux appellation have held their own among the prestigious champagne brands? I went out and bought half a dozen.

12.5 percent alcohol. Located at: Dan Murphy’s

Cat Among the Pigeons 2020 Fat Cat Shiraz, SA, from $18

A consistently delicious Barossa Shiraz with a medley of blueberries, plums and blackberries. A little spice makes it just right. A people pleaser if there ever was one.

From $18 at Dan Murphy’s and BWS

Lingo 2021 Adelaide Hills Barbera, SA, $17.99

Barbera is a red grape variety with a heritage dating back to the 11th century where it grew in the shadow of a cathedral in Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy. When recently included in a tasting series of more than 40 specimens from around the world, this Australian-grown drop shone bright and juicy. Pair it with pasta topped with a tomato sauce.

13.5 percent alcohol. Find it at Dan Murphy’s

$10-$15

Hodles Creek Estate 2020 Sauvignon Blanc 2020, $15

Vigneron Franco D’Anna and the Hoddles team are known for surpassing quality and price. Pop a bottle of home-grown Sauvignon Blanc in the fridge and you’ll be ready to go when unexpected guests drop by for a sundowner (or when you fancy a splash while cooking). At $19.99, the Wickams Road Pinot Noir is also a steal.

Find them at hoddlescreekestate.com.au

Yarran 2019 Shiraz, from $15, Griffith NSW

The Brewer family’s Yarran wine brand was named Darkhorse Winery of The Year by wine critic James Halliday in 2021. Take a look at their website and you’ll find their new release 2022 Chardonnay, 2022 Organic Pinot Grigio, 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2021 Merlot walking around for $16 a bottle. Flavorful, balanced 2019 Yarran Shiraz is also available for $15 at Different Drop. It is made from fruit from Victoria’s Heathcote and Bendigo and NSW’s Hilltops. Simply delicious.

14.2 percent alcohol. Find it at yarranwines.com.au

Sub-$20 wine recommendations for fine dining.

Corte Carista Prosecco DOC; Cabernet Franc Rosé from the Loire Valley; South Point Estate Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV sparkling wine; South Point Estate 2022 Pinot Grigio. Photos: Included

Under $10

Corte Carista Prosecco DOC, Italy, $9.99

Close your eyes and think of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. This lively, crisp fizz is great solo or for an Aperol spritz component that won’t break the bank. It won gold at this year’s Melbourne International Wine Show and, word has it, will most likely be flying off the shelves.

11 percent alcohol. You can find it at ALDI

Loire Valley Cabernet Franc Rosé, France $8.99

If you haven’t visited the Loire Valley yet, put it at the top of your French to-do list. It’s known as “The Garden” for good reason. Experience the floral and wild strawberry vibes over this pretty pink rosé. For everyone who prefers it semi-dry. A solid wine for the price.

12 percent alcohol. You can find it at ALDI

South Point Estate Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV Sparkling, $5.99

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from south east Australia found their way into this ridiculously cheap sparkling water. The sparkling wine won double gold at the Melbourne International Wine Show this month. If you’re on a tough budget but still like to start brunch with a mimosa or two, this is for you.

11 percent alcohol. You can find it at ALDI

South Point Estate 2022 Pinot Grigio, $4.99

The price is ridiculous, double gold at the Melbourne International Wine Show is not. Pinot Grigio isn’t for everyone, but if pear and citrus flavors drive your boat, this is a winner. All you need is a pink bill. My tip: add soda water and ice (like in Argentina) and sip slowly while turning the fish pieces on the grill.

12 percent alcohol. You can find it at ALDI


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