KCL Wine Review
There are several new wines we've tried since the last wine post, but in honor of National Wine Day this week, and after browsing through past Instagram posts, I've put together a best-of list of our favorite reds. We've ventured into blush wine this year, but generally, we gravitate towards dry, bold reds. And we tend to buy between $10 - $20 bottles give or take, so it is definitely the every-girl's guide to wine. Everything on this list is very yummy and affordable!
On the #KCLwinereview on Instagram I rate from 0-5, with 5 being the best. I rate using little wine emojis instead of stars.🍷 Of course taste is the biggest deciding factor, including the flavor and the drink-ability (or smoothness) of the wine. Next I take into consideration if it's a great value, for example an under $10 wine that tastes very, very good is more likely to get a five than a more expensive wine that tastes about the same. Put that in a super cute bottle with a pretty label, and a wine is bound to get a 5 out of 5 wine score from me.
Our 10 Favorite Red Wines Under $20
1. Gallo Family 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $10 - We've tried the Merlot, Sweet Red, Pink Moscato, and Pinot Noir. We liked all four, but I particularly loved their Pinot. Having liked all four of the Gallo varieties we've tried so far, I'd highly recommend it for an affordable under $10 wine.
2. Forest Glen Merlot 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $10 - This one is another under affordable red wine that blew me away. It has berry, cherry, and plum flavors with hints of oak.
3. Cryptic California Red 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $15 - This one is so worth it just for the cool label, though it does taste amazing as well. It has flavors of red raspberry and dark cherry with hints of spice, and despite its bold flavor, has mild tannins and a smooth finish.
4. Sparks 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $20 - Ken and I first tried this one at the Tulsa Fair, and we loved it so much, we were determined to track in down in one of our local wine shops. I loved the sweet cranberry wine I tried at the fair. When we bought it from a shop, we went with the Merlin. It's a sweet red that is very versatile. It has bold but very smooth flavor and isn't too sweet to pair with dinner but is just sweet enough as a dessert wine too. Though I did hear from several readers on Instgram that the locals really love the Sparks "Deep Fork Red" most of all. We tried that one as well and found it to taste a bit too much like grape juice, but if you prefer a more sweet red, it's the one to try.
5. Apothic 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $15 - Very rarely do I issue 5 wine bottle emojis, but between the price and the flavor and the beautiful bottle labels, Apothic has continued to be one of our favorite reds. They have three reds, a blush wine, and one white. We've yet to try their Chardonnay and Rose, but the Apothic Red, Crush, and Dark red wines are each incredible! I go back and forth on which one I love the most, but it is a close tie between the Crush and and red blend. The Crush has a touch of caramel notes, while the red blend has notes of vanilla and mocha, so it really depends what we're in the mood for at the moment. They each have rich red fruit flavors with a hint of sweetness. If you prefer less sweetness, go with the Dark or Red Blend. The Dark has hints of blackberry and blueberry with coffee and mocha.
6. 19 Crimes 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $15 - This one was suggested to us several times at different wine shops, so we decided to give it a try. It's a fun wine given the name and story behind it, along with their collectible and very instagrammable corks. Ken and I tried "The Banished" dark red. It reminded me of the Apothic Dark but with stronger fruity flavors and definitely has a bit of a kick.
7. Noble Vines 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $15 - We loved the Noble Vines Merlot with notes of black cherry, spice, vanilla, and oak. It was subtle on the fruit flavors with mild tannins. We really enjoyed it with salmon, so I'd say it's a great red if you're having seafood, chicken, or pork and prefer a red to a white wine. Noble Vines The One red blend also got a 4 from me. It has notes of dark berry, spice, and oak.
8. Angeline - 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $20 - This wine was the first red I tried that had a combination of vanilla, spice, and bold fruit flavors; and I absolutely loved it. We've tried a few of their reds, and they all have very rich and complex fruit flavors with mild tannins, some with hints of spice or vanilla. My only hesitation on giving this a 5 is that some of the others on the list taste just as good for a slightly lower prince. But if you're in the mood for a very fruity red that isn't sweet and has complex and bold flavors with a smooth finish, this one definitely does not disappoint.
9. Gnarly Head 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $15 - Ken and I tried the Gnarley Head 1924 Double Black red blend. It tasted amazing, but was way too strong for me. ( I typically can't handle more than one to two glasses of anything. ) But if stronger is better as far as you're concerned, this is the one to get for sure. I am curious to try the Gnarly Head Harvest Red. It's softer and has notes of strawberry and spice. And it has less alcohol content than the 1924 Double Black.
10. Maison Louis Jadot - Beaujolais-Villages 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 Under $20 - I think it's safe to say that this is my absolute favorite out of all the wines we've tried so far, the deciding factor being that in addition to tasting absolutely amazing, it didn't make me too sleepy or give me a headache the way some reds can, yet it made me feel very relaxed. We tried the Gamay, similar to a Pinot Noir but a bit more bold in flavor. The Jadot Beaujolais Gamay has notes of strawberry and spice that really shine through, along with a very smooth finish that lingers just enough.
Another under $10 red worth mentioning is Yellow Tail. We really like a few of the Yellow Tail reds, and they're available in an extra large bottle for under $20.
We've tried a few others under $10, and I would caution against wines like Ecco Domani, Cavit, Barefoot, and Sutter Home. Despite the great prices, those reds just didn't quite cut it for us.
A few other affordable reds we've really liked include the Dancing Penguin, Cupcake Merlot, Cupcake Decadent Red, and Bogle. What are some of your favorite red wines? Let me know in the comments below!