5 Great $12 and under Wines


Think you can’t get a great $12 and under wine? Think again. These are highly rated wines, that just happen to not cost a lot of money.

I originally did this post for Thanksgiving 2018. But I liked it so much, I decided to update it so you can use it at any time.  These are wines you can use for any occasion, dinner, or special event.

I don’t have what most would call a sophisticated pallet when it comes to wine. But I do know that there are some really high quality wines out there that can be had for an attractive price.  I did some research, and some sampling, to put together the following picks.

The descriptions provided are directly from the Vineyard or Winery’s site.


Chateau Saint Sernin Malbec De Galets Vintage 2012/2014

Saint Sernin

Another red wine from France, this Malbec comes from the southwestern portion of the country, in the Cahors region.

Another wine known for it’s fruity aroma and taste, specifically dark fruits like cherry.

Maturing : In French oak barrels for 8 months minimum. Regular topping-up.

Wine/food : Poultry roast meats, spicy food. Cheese.

McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel

McManis Zifandel

Looking for a great domestic wine? McManis is a family run vineyard, located in the northern interior region of California, near the town of Ripon. We’ll go here for our next great $12 and under wine.

This Zinfandel is loaded with berry flavor, including notes of ripe red currant, strawberry, caramelized sugar, and toasty oak.

Harvest and Production Notes:
The grapes for our Lodi Zinfandel are typically harvested between August and September, with an average Brix of 25.3. After 7-9 days of stainless steel fermentation on the skins, the must is pressed as the wine finishes fermentation. The wine is then aged, on average, for 4-6 months with a combination of new and used, French and American oak.

Montevina Barbera

Montevina Barbera

When most people think of wine regions in California, they think of the Napa and Sonoma valleys.  But the Shenandoah region used to be the biggest prior to prohibition. It’s coming back.

Montevina is another California winery, located in Amador County, in the Shenandoah region of California. They’re known for their reds, including this one from the Italian Barbera grape.

Montevina’s wine offers the typical luscious fruit flavors and happy acidity this grape is known for. It makes  for an extremely versatile, food-friendly wine.

Louis Jadot Macon Villages Chardonnay

Macon Villages Chardonnay

For my only white wine selection on this list, I’m taking you back to central France.  This time, a little north of the Beaujolais area, in the southern part of Burgundy we go to the Mâcon Villages area.

This area produces wines made from a version of the chardonnay grape that is only grown in this region. It’s uniqueness is due to the limestone subsoil of the Monts du Mâconnais area. Wines from this area are known as exceptional, and this Chardonnay is as well.

BTW- if you’re getting ready to host the big dinner at your house this year, be sure to check out my other post- How to Host a Stress-Free Thanksgiving.



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