Look, we love our jobs. Who wouldn’t? We get to show up every day and work in world of wine, words and witticisms. But a Wednesday is a Wednesday, and coming to work in the midst of yet another Northeast winter snowstorm already has us digging around #WEHQ for after-hours bottles to help get us through the workweek.
We’ve rounded up suggestions of 10 affordable reds, all scored 90 points or higher and $25 and under. Here’s your mid-week pick-me-up.
Recommended Wines for a Wednesday
Carlos Serres 2010 Gran Reserva (Rioja); $25, 93 points. The 2010 harvest will go down as one of Rioja’s greats, and that means wines like this $25 Gran Reserva can be excellent and affordable. It has a nose of mocha, smoke and earthy berry fruits. The palate is layered and texturally complex, while flavors of root beer, baking spice, dried cherry and plum spread out on a smooth finish that is just right in terms of residual tannins and acid. Drink through 2030. Winesellers, Ltd. Editors’ Choice. —Michael Schachner
Treana 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $25, 92 points. This is a great buy for those that crave creamy, ripe wines. Aromas of black-cherry syrup, pie crust, salted caramel, snickerdoodle, brown sugar and maple syrup prove intoxicating. The palate is soft, thick and saucy, with more dark fruit flavors alongside vanilla, star anise and roasted cocoa. Editors’ Choice. —Matt Kettmann
Çamlibağ 2012 Merlot (Turkey); $16, 91 points. This deep ruby wine has a nose of blackberry, strawberry, sage and thyme. It is soft on entry, with a nice balance of fruit and spice flavors, in particular black cherry, dark plum, fennel, sage and mocha. The tannins start off very mild and gradually increase in intensity, lingering through a licorice and cherry finish. House of Burgundy. Editors’ Choice. —Mike DeSimone
Allegrini 2014 Palazzo della Torre Red (Veronese); $23, 91 points. Aromas of ripe black-skinned fruit and exotic spice are front and center on this delicious red. On the fresh palate, tightly knit, polished tannins carry mouthwatering black cherry, blackberry compote, mocha and cinnamon. Enjoy through 2024. LUX Wines. —Kerin O’Keefe
Old Soul 2015 Pinot Noir (Lodi); $14, 90 points. Quite rich in texture and generous in flavor, this medium-bodied wine has notes of black cherry, toasted baguette and pomegranate. These flavors mingle with the broad mouthfeel, offering depth and layering that leads to a lingering finish. Best Buy. —Jim Gordon
Dr. Heyden 2015 Oppenheimer Unfiltered Pinot Noir (Rheinhessen); $18, 90 points. Wisps of licorice, bramble and smoke mingle into ripe black cherry throughout this juicy, fruity Pinot Noir. Fleshy and full on the palate, it’s approachable and primary, but fresh in acidity and nuanced by a touch of bitter herb on the finish. Drink now–2020. Winesellers, Ltd. —Anna Lee C. Iijima
Ravenswood 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel (Sonoma County); $19, 90 points. Blended from several appellations across the county and adding in 14% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignane and 3% other black grapes, this wine succeeds in combining brambly black fruit ripeness with black pepper spiciness, expanding across the palate with grace and power. —Virginie Boone
Tim Smith 2015 Bugalugs Shiraz (Barossa Valley); $20, 90 points. By Barossa standards, this Shiraz is on the elegant, lighter side. There’s juicy cherry, blue fruit, beef jerky, BBQ smoke and a hint of herbal oak spice on the nose. The first sip bursts in your mouth like a firecracker, with more juicy fruit and a silky, plush texture. Fine tannins are smokey and savory. Drink now–2025. Little Peacock Imports. —Christina Pickard
Carabella 2015 Plowbuster Pinot Noir (Oregon); $20, 90 points. This exceptional vintage of Plowbuster is solidly built and packed with blackberry and cherry fruit. It has a sea salt chocolate component also, which adds both texture and flavor. This is not a keeper, but with its quality to price ratio, it’s certainly a drinker. Editors’ Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Bukolyi 2015 Családi Birtok Kisfiam Vörös Cuvée Red (Eger); $20, 90 points. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry and violet lead you into flavors of fresh cherry juice and black plum. This Hungarian red blend has grippy tannins and a pleasant tart-cherry finish. Palinkerie/Fine Hungarian Imports. —Jeff Jenssen