Top WInes for Your Budget

Top Wines Under $1000 / $100 / $50 / $20

We’ve spent a great deal of time discussing some of the various styles of wine found around the world. We’ve talked about red wines, white wines, rose and even fortified wines like port and sherry.

Today, it is my distinct pleasure to provide you with a list of some of my personal favorite wines at various price points that can meet any budget big or small. From wines in the $1000 range to wines that cost less than $20, these are some of my personal picks that I’m certain even the most discerning palates will enjoy. In the United States almost all of the wine purchased is at the $9.99 mark or lower. This is a nation wide statistic for a multi-billion dollar industry. However, there are a certain few of us out there that understand that a higher quality wine deserves a higher price tag. Of course there are inexpensive bottles that taste just fine, however once you exceed that $10 price point, you’re sure to be introduced to an entirely new realm of fine wines that will further your journey more than you ever expected. This doesn’t mean having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a bottle of wine. Even a $30 bottle of wine can be just as superb as one that costs $75 or $100. Often the price attached to a bottle has little to do with what’s actually inside it and more to do with the name of the winemaker, the vintage and the availability of the product. Certainly it goes without saying that a more expensive bottle of wine will most likely be of higher quality, but even that $30 bottle can be wonderful and enchanting.

White and red wines come at all different price points

White and red wines come at all different price points

Top Picks Under $1000

1990 Latour – $995

This is quite possibly one of the best wines ever made. A red bordeaux it’s bold and fruity with woody undertones that give it an exemplary full mouth feel. The tannins are as silky and rich as they come, almost concentrated on the palate and its rich, decadent finish is like a gift to the senses.

Latour Fine Wines

Latour Fine Wines

1961 Haut-Brion – $895

This exquisite red bordeaux from France is a rich, earthy and luxuriously full bodied wine with intensely woody notes of cedar, leather and sweet ripe fruits. The finish is long and unwavering a bite of spice at the end. It’s a remarkable wine.

2010 Coche Dury Meursault Les Rougeots A.C. – $750

This white burgundy is slightly tough for me to properly critique as I’m not generally a big fan of white wine. However, this particular bottling is rather rich and inviting with a creamy complexity that makes it worthy of both your and my attention. It’s acidity mixed with fresh orchard fruits and floral blossoms is uniquely satisfying. It’s bright and crisp with fresh cut grass and damp soil. The finish is long and dry with a perfect dose of acidity.

1988 Mouton – $550

Elegant and graceful, this wine is like a fine work of art with seductively ripe notes of dried currants, plum, dark chocolate and kiln dried Spanish cedar. It’s multidimensional with exotic notes of spice. The finish lasts for minutes. It’s incredible.

2008 Kapcsandy State Lane Cabernet California – $520

A near perfect cabernet sauvignon with about 13% merlot mixed in, this is a monster of a red. Full bodied with rich, oaky notes of cocoa, charcoal embers and bold espresso, the wine is a harmonious blend of sweet tannins and concentrated complexity. Don’t drink this wine right away though. Let it keep in the cellar for 4-5 years before opening it.

Wines aging in the cellar

Wines aging in the cellar

2010 Leoville Las Cases – $425

This is the kind of wine you sit down to a serious HBO drama with. It’s dark, mysterious and one of the most powerfully intense red bordeaux wines you’ll ever try. This is the kind of wine you need to properly age before opening, but once you do, you’re in for an experience like no other. The richly deep tannins, the dark succulent fruits and wafts of leather and tobacco with a deeply satisfying punch of spice at the end.

2005 Pavie – $350

A superb blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this thick, inky red is perfectly balanced with an exquisite blend of blackberry liqueur, limestone, truffle oil and Nicaraguan cigar tobacco. It’s one of the finest wines at this price point that’s worthy of your consideration. An exemplary and mind-blowing shock to the palate. You might want to try this out, click HERE.

2001 Rieussec – $250

I’m typically not a fan of overly sweet wine, however, this particular dessert wine is like a fine fragrant dessert dipped in silky caramel and honey. It’s as full bodied as dessert wines get with beautifully ripe and concentrated fruits, sugared lemon and a punch of acidity. It’s an incredibly elegant and seductively alluring sauternes. Click here for a chance to taste the Rieussec.

The WIne Tasting Wheel is a great way to critique your favorite wines

The WIne Tasting Wheel is a great way to critique your favorite wines

Top Picks Under $100

2010 Conterno Fantino Barolo Sori Ginestra – $95

I had high expectations of this wine and was pleasantly surprised by how exquisite it was. This particular vintage spent a full year in French oak barrels before being transferred for another year to a combination of larger casks. It’s a deep, intense wine that’s full bodied with strong notes of fresh cut pine, menthol and tobacco with a blend of Italian herbs and spices that give it an incredibly depth and richly concentrated complexity.

2010 Jaboulet Domaine de Terre Ferme Chateauneuf du Pap – $95

This is a very heady and sublime wine that bursts with Mediterranean flavor profiles. You can almost taste the sea breeze. The body is rich and flamboyant with strong notes of fig, black cherry and currant. The bottling is complex and yet simplistically elegant at the same time. It has a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity making it an exemplary choice for the most discerning wine enthusiast.

2010 Montes Folly Syrah – $91

I’ve always been a fan of Montes wines. For the most part, they make an exceptional bottling at a variety of price points sure to meet any budget. This particular vintage however is one of the best in my opinion. It’s a powerful, opulent syrah with lush ripe fruits and a perfect balance of acidity. With a touch of smoky vanilla bean and oak it is a great example of some of the finest wine to come out of Chile.

2005 De Fargues – $86

A heavy, sumptuous dessert wine with rich notes of ripe apricot, shredded coconut and toasted oak, this rather intriguing wine is lush and fragrant with exotic spice and a pineapple infusion. It’s really quite unique and yet superb at the same time.

2012 Caymus Napa California – $75

A well constructed, complex and dignified cabernet sauvignon, this wine is a stunning example of some of the full bodied wines from Napa Valley. It has creamy silky tannins on the forefront with overripe blackberry, black raspberry and spice. It’s a really incredible wine for the price.

2005 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel

Well balanced and perfectly acidic, this is a quintessential riesling with phenomenal bursts of green apple, pear, fresh honeydew and beautiful white peaches. It’s the perfect patio wine and one that’s worthy of your attention. The reason a price isn’t listed with this wine is because it ranges quite dramatically anywhere from about $60 all the way up to over $170 based on its availability.

I enjoy pairing fine wine with chocolate

I enjoy pairing fine wine with chocolate

Top Picks Under $50

2010 Oddero Barolo – $49

A delightful wine with flavors of fresh strawberries and plums. Almost full bodied this Italian red is full of tannin with an intensely spicy finish. This wine without a doubt is all about the long, impressive finish. It’s a great pick for under $50.

2012 Herman Story Syrah Nuts and Bolts – $48

Full bodied and completely decadent, this is a well appointed wine with flavor profiles of honeysuckle, black raspberry, bread pudding and roasted red chile pepper finishing it off. It’s an exceptionally refined wine and is perfect for night at home with a good book and some Miles Davis in the background.

2011 The Hilt Pinot Noir Vanguard – $45

This is a very masculine wine with explosions of ripe fruits, white pepper and sweet tobacco. It has a velvety, full mouth feel and is perfect for those who enjoy cigars. It’s quite earthy and has a perfect dose of acidity. It’s a rather marvelous wine but benefits from decanting.

Most red wines should be decanted

Most red wines should be decanted

2011 Beringer Chardonnay Reserve – $40

Rich and creamy, this white has a beautiful spice overtone with notes of apple pie, citrus zest and honeysuckle. It’s crisp and nicely dry with an elegant finish and just a hint of pear.

2010 Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee – $40

This splendid sparkling wine is a perfect marriage of 74% Pinot Noir and 26% Chardonnay. It’s complex and intricate with bursts of fresh fruit such as peach, raspberry and blood orange. It’s acidic and memorable with a nice long, lingering finish. Would you like to taste this wine? Go here.

2001 Faustino I Gran Reserva – $39

Elegant and complex, it’s a very feminine wine with velvety tannins and buttery oak mixed with a perfect blend of spice and leather. The finish is very mineral and earthy with notes of ripe raspberries taking it home.

Fine wines should often be cellared before drinking

Fine wines should often be cellared before drinking

Top Picks Under $20

Beringer Knights Valley – $ 19

One of Sven Raphael Schneider’s favorite low budget wines, Beringer Knight’s Valley is full bodied, fruity yet refined and even enjoyed by people who usually don’t like Cabernets.

2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva – $20

This is a very complex, dimensional and full bodied chianti which happens to be one of my favorite varietals. It has intense notes of black cherry, spice, leather and tobacco with dried berry and strong tannins. It pairs perfectly with red meats and wild game.

2013 Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir – $20

This is a remarkably smooth pinot noir with bursts of sliced strawberries and hazelnuts perfectly complimented by limoncello undertones. It’s full bodied and smoky with a rich, lingering finish and a spicy bite.

La Marca Prosecco – $17

I really enjoy Prosecco and this is a great one for under $20. It’s a traditional straw colored wine with multi-dimensional and textured bubbles. It pops in flavor with fresh citrus blended with just a hint of vanilla. It’s clean and crisp with a finish that’s full of green apple, lemon and grapefruit. It’s a beautifully light and refreshing wine.

2013 Antucura Cabernet Sauvignon – $15

This is a top pick of mine for under $20 as it’s completely refined and elegant. It has a medium bodied profile with notes of dried tobacco, lavender, purple violets and coarse black pepper. The tannins are velvety and the finish is long and lingering with a touch of spice.

Wine tastings are a fun way to share your love for wine with friends

Wine tastings are a fun way to share your love for wine with friends


There are so many wines that can be listed here, so these are just a sampling of some of my personal favorites. I hope this has introduced you to a few new wines that you can savor and enjoy. What’s your favorite wine?

Article Name
Top Wines Under $1000 / $100 / $50 / $20
The ultimate list of the top rated wines for all budgets. No matter if you like Red, White or Rose Wine, this guide is for you.
20 replies
  1. Ifan Thomas says:

    Such a shame this entire list features nothing but pompous European and American wines with scant regard for some stunning wines produced by rest of the world. A little narrow minded I thought.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Ifan, what exactly was missing on your opinion? Of course it is subjective and living in North America, we are more exposed to North American and European wines but of course that doesn’t mean you can’t find other great wines out there.
      Please tell us specifically what you would add to the list or cross off, because being negative without being constructive is worthless to our readers.

  2. Tim Sands says:

    I am also a fan of reds; specifically full bodied black reds. Australian Shiraz can be very special at around the £12 mark; Black Stump is one to look out for. Argentinian Malbecs are also often fantastic. My current favourite is from Puglia in the heel of Italy. Try Pillastro Primitivo Negroamara selezione d’ora 2010 and you won’t be disappointed. A really spicy full bodied wine. Totally moreish and available for £13 in the UK.

    I tend to the view that over £20 you get a law of diminishing returns but that may just be my parsimony!

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Tim, you make a great point about diminishing returns but just like with anything in life, you will always people who buy the most expensive stuff either because they can or because they believe that little bit of extra is worth the markup for them. When I was in Japan, I noticed that they don’t really apply the 80-20 rule. Everything is done with a high degree of precision, no matter if you eat dinner for $4 or $400, but of course, the things they do get the last 5% are not economical at all, yet a large number of people is willing to pay for that. Each to his own ;).

  3. John says:

    Such an irresponsible column this time. I always enjoy the Gentleman Gazette but when it comes to wine, this one showed no judgment. Frankly, ANY wine that has a shelf price of $59 or kore should be exceptional (90+ points). These wine garner such prices because the producers have proved to the reviewers and the market in general that their wines are worthy of such loft prices. Some of us may not have a preference for some of them but that is were subjectivity begins and ends.

    The difficulty in wine appreciation — and being able to choose an appropriate wine from a restaurant list — is have knowledge of the gems in the $15 to $40 range, i.e., those wines we will (1) typically find available for purchase, not a wine that you likely NEVER encounter such as a 1990 Chateau Latour; (2) those wine we are able to enjoy on a routinel basis or even everyday; and (3) wines we will no have to mortgage the house or trade the family car in order to purchase at a restaurant. I shutter to think what a Chateau Latour would cost in a restaurant but I can speak with authority that the French Laundry in Yountville, CA lists many wines on its menu that cost SEVERAL thousand dollars each and, in fact, on Christmas Day that same restaurant was burglarized and 76 bottles with a total value in excess of $3,000 were stolen.

    Now, being almost through with my rant, I will say that I maintain a cellar that is valued in excess of the cost of the median family home in the United States. And, on special occasion — and sometimes not even — I will venture into the rows of First Growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgogone, or Vega Sicilian for a selection. But, for an everyday dinner, more often than not its a $25 to $35 wine that was purchased based on an appreciation for the producer or the appellation. And, for fun … a visit to my favourite wine retailer will yield a varied selection of wines in the $10 to $15 range to drink just for fun … gems can even be found at Trader Joe’s for under $10.

    So, in summation don’t be a pompous shit and brag about wines that you might have been fortunate enough to have one small sip or at most one glass. If you’re going to venture an attempt at writing about wine, write about wines that people actually stand some chance at purchasing. My favourites … ANYTHING produced by Ridge; Paul Draper is by far one of the greatest winemakers in the world; and with the exception of the acclaimed Montebello cuvée, all of Ridge’s wine can be purchase for $25 to $50.

    • Edgar Lefret says:

      Why no one criticize a (quote) “pompous shit [that] brags about” his 80.000$ pick-up truck, or any television show that presents the likes of ferrari, lambo, etc. ?

      Where I agree with you that some bottles are grossly overpriced and that common people like you or myself cannot afford to buy these bottles without due consideration, I would never retire “bragging” about my expensive car: I would very much prefer to share with the people I love and who love wine a moment of exception with such bottles, once in while for a good occasion, even if it means spending 10.000$ a year on wine. After all, that would be the money I would have lost every year in depreciation if I was foollish enough to buy myself the brand new sport car of my dream.

      As Sven keeps on repeating: each to his own…

  4. John says:

    Nice to know that you appreciate fair criticism….thanks for deleting my comment. I’ll reciprocate by unsubscribing.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      John, I think you judged too quickly. We have a comment spam system in place, otherwise we would receive 3,000 fake comments a day. As such some comments are held for moderation automatically, just like your’s was. That being said, we leave all kinds of comments up as long as their are not racist, insulting or otherwise inappropriate.


    Dear Sven,

    I know that in USA, to drink wine it’s not a tradition, almost a “religion” thing as in Europe mainly in France, Spain and Portugal.I put a lot of attencion in your words and unhaply and do not find the best wines. Before giving advices next time please consult Robert Parker’s clasification then ask for the price of the wines in the first 10 places and them you can give the best information to all of us that follow your page.
    When you write about wines take care, there people like me that studie and taste wines for more than 40 years and can give you a hand in order to helpfull to your readers.
    All the best to you and have a nice glass of wine.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      I think there is a misunderstanding here, and I see it all too often that people judge before they actually read.
      1. We never claimed these are the best wines, instead we highlighted that these are wines we like and that everybody has a different taste.
      2. What Parker has done for the wine world is without comparison but just because he likes it doesn’t mean everybody will and we encourage people to try out things on their own and find out what they like.
      3. Please share 10 of your favorite bottles with us, I would love to see what you think.
      4. It seems people often like to criticize but they fail to leave constructive feedback.
      5. This is a website for men who love style in all aspects of life, not a place for wine experts. Originally we had a strong focus on clothing but in order to be a true gentleman, you need a 360 degree approach to style and elegance, and we want to help men to get there. We do not consider us to be the world’s utmost experts on anything and everything.
      6. If you would like to write an article about wine, contact me here.

    • Edgar Lefret says:

      Alvaro, I find strange that someone who knows and loves wine would recommend to merely align to Parker in its list of favourites… What about personnal taste? By no means I would diminish Parker’s impact on wine in the USA, but it is common knowledge that Parker would always love the same type of wine (that woody, over extracted malish red). How borring.

  6. Randall says:

    May I apologize for the absolute crassness of the other comments? Your site is a great boon to those of us who like to keep the traditions of civility alive. I think just a little gentility goes a very long way. Please, keep up your excellent newsletter.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Dear Randall, thank you for the kind words. I am sometimes also surprised about the tone but frankly after 5 years, nothing surprises me anymore and compared to other websites, our comments are more polite. Nevertheless, I think most commenters would not speak to me or us like that in real life.

      • Edgar Lefret says:

        I am also surprised of the tone of some reactions, but most of all their lack of constructiveness at times. I like to be critical myself, because I like to share thoughts and put them into test.

        In this great article, people should just be just happy to see that some peers had indeed tried that haut brion 61 (but we’d like to hear more about it!)

        If I can add my recent great values:
        – Domaine de la Fourmone, Vacqueyras red “Les Ceps d’or” 2011, exquisite black crispy fruit, deep, with subtle notes of leather and guarigues, full bodied complex wine, a real stunner in a palate (12€ at the domain – should retail at less than 50$)
        – Christophe Curtat, Saint Joseph white (!) “Sous l’amandier” 2012, incredible nose of honey, floral and fruity notes with a subtle touch of wood, long lasting in the palate, worth a 100$+ burgundy in terms of sheer elegance (20€ retail in europe, should retail under 50$)
        – Beaucastel 2008 (chateauneuf du pape), intense rich complex and overwhelming nose, great on the palate but should still wait 2-3 years to reach its peak (60-70$, a real bargain). I heard the 2001 is at an absolute peak for the moment (at 80$, probably a no-brainer)

  7. Denys Dukhovnov says:

    There are just so many different tastes, and there are even more wines in the world to satisfy them. It takes books to explore all the different grape varietals, harvests, producers, countries/regions, etc., but I perfectly understand that this article is subjective, and I give it credit for doing a great job at sharing authors’ personal experience with some world-class wines that they liked. However narrow-scoped this list may be, I leave it at that, not expecting the authors’ tastes align exactly with mine, and read about all the wines from A-Z.

    Being a home wine maker and a wine enthusiast, a few years back I discovered a book by Oz Clarke titled “New Encyclopedia of Wine” that I found instrumental in broadening my knowledge about a variety of fine wines and wine producing regions around the world. Mine is the old edition (probably ca. 1999), but it is a light, interesting, and yet comprehensive read, so I still recommend it to anyone who would like learn basics of fine world wine.

  8. Robert says:

    These might be the favorites of somebody but lists such as these are so irresponsible. Given the producion quantities on some of these wine much less the distrubution channels, most people may never have the opportunity to even purchase some of these winea much less afford an older vntage of Latour or Mouton. But, as one other has commented, if these desire is to brag about one’s experiences drinking ultra rare and expensive wines, at the very pnnacle of any list would be Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Romanee-Conti. Accessible, unlikely; Affordable, for the 99%, No; but when speaks of Burgundy …. Romanee-Conti is simply the best. Readers of this article are poorly served.

  9. Alejandro says:

    I, for one, was greatly appreciative of this article and I will take its recommendations into mind the next time I’m looking to add a few more bottles to my cellar. As always, the Gentleman’s Gazette provides a great perspective on subjects that interest me. Thank you, for sharing this. I’ll be certain to pass this article along to my brother, who also appreciates wine.

Comments are closed.