The Top American Wines for $25 or Less

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Sometimes a pricey wine is worth the investment. After all, a more expensive pick often means a better-quality pour. But when you want to open a bottle on a more casual evening, or don’t want to spend the cash, there are still some very good options out on the market that won’t break the bank.

There are, of course, great options from abroad, like fantastic wallet-conscious Spanish Tempranillo or Burgundy wines on a budget. But there are also some great picks hailing from right here in the U.S. Below, our experts share their top 10 picks for the best U.S. wines for $25 or less, so you can stock up on budget bottles to balance out your wine collection.

The Best U.S. Wines for $25 or Less


Top Up-and-Coming White Under $25: Joyce 2021 Albariño (Arroyo Seco)

94 Points Wine Enthusiast

Much of this year’s bottling comes from Russell Joyce’s recently acquired vineyard, and it bodes well for the future. Aromas of honeysuckle, wet cement and lime blossom pop on the nose, while a very grippy tension carries flavors of broad lime, rainy sidewalk and soda-water flavors. It’s stony and acidic. —Matt Kettmann

$26.99 Wine.com

Best White Under $25: Trig Point 2020 Signpost Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)

93 Points Wine Enthusiast

Luxurious in texture and ripe in flavor, this well-oaked and nicely buttery wine from winemaker Nick Goldschmidt exudes richness from the first whiff of caramel to the flavors of poached pear to a lingering finish. Fermented in stainless steel, the wine went through full malolactic to soften and enhance the butter, and then aged in oak barrels for nine months. —Jim Gordon

$26.99 Wine.com

Most Reliable Under $25: Kendall-Jackson 2020 Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay (California)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

This medium-bodied, barrel-fermented wine offers light, toasted oak aromas, attractive baked apple flavors and accents of butter and vanilla. Good balance keeps it going sip after sip, revealing spice and almond nuances. —J.G.

$14.99 Wine.com

Best Sweet Wine Under $25: Hermann J. Wiemer 2020 Late Harvest Riesling (Seneca Lake)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Sourced from a blend of estate sites, this late-harvest Riesling offers aromas of pithy grapefruit, pineapple and peach on the nose. The rounded palate displays bright tropical and stone fruit flavors matched by lemon and honey. It ends bright, lifted and juicy thank to refreshing acidity. —Alexander Peartree

$29.99 Vivino

Best Red Under $25: Sebastiani 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (North Coast)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Dark fruits and a silky texture combine elegantly in this full-bodied but sleek wine. Ripe black cherries and plump blueberries are lightly accented by mint and cocoa as mild tannins keep it smooth through the finish. —J.G.

$13.86 Vivino

Best Napa Chardonnay Under $25: Jax 2021 Y3 Chardonnay (Napa Valley)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

Fermented in concrete and then aged in neutral oak, this value-minded white is impressive. Bright and fresh in good acidity, it has light layers of lemon and pineapple that deliver plenty of flavor in an elegant package. —Virginie Boone

$26.64 Vivino

Best Up-and-Coming Red Under $25: Tooth Nail 2019 Squad Series Tempranillo (Paso Robles)

92 Points Wine Enthusiast

This bottling shows deep concentration. Aromas of mesquite-smoked black cherry gain pepper and tar accents on the nose. There is ample tension to the thick palate, where leathery tannins surround dark fruit and roasted oak flavors. —M.K.

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Oregon Wine Under $25: King Estate 2021 Sauvignon Blanc (Oregon)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

This is a delightful offering. Light aromas of melon, fresh herb, lemon and candied ginger lead to broad-feeling, fleshy flavors. Tart acidity ties it all together. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had. —Sean P. Sullivan

$20 Vivino

Top California Sauvignon Blanc Under $25: Tribute 2021 Sauvignon Blanc (California)

91 Points Wine Enthusiast

A full body and rich texture carry ripe, fruity and savory flavors from honeydew melon to golden apple and hints of straw and almond. It’s a big, smooth and concentrated wine. —J.G.

$13.99 Vivino

Top New York Chardonnay Under $25: Heron Hill 2018 Reserve Macri Vineyard Oaked Chardonnay (Finger Lakes)

90 Points Wine Enthusiast

Ripe pear and yellow apple meet juicy lemon and gentle warm spice on the nose. Broad and textured on the palate, it melds ripe fruit tones with easy toast and butter elements, yielding a cohesive outcome that will please many. —A.P.

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

FAQ

Can a Budget Wine Still Be Good?

Absolutely! “Twenty-five dollars is a high enough price point that you’ve got lots of options. You can kind find some really good wines at $25 and under,” says Jim Gordon, senior tasting editor at Wine Enthusiast. “They’re not cheap wines, they can be pretty good wines.”

How Do You Choose a Great Budget Wine?

Choose a bottle that features lesser-known varieties, suggests Gordon. This is because some of the more popular varieties tend to be low quality when purchased at a low price. For whites, this often means varieties like Albariño, Grüner Veltliner or Riesling. Some great red options include Grenache, Merlot or Syrah, he adds.

“If there’s not that good of a demand for them, the price tends to be lower,” he says.

Additionally, if you have a brand or winemaker you know you already enjoy, look at their other varieties of wine available at lower price points. Chances are, they’ll make a similar quality wine across the board—and you’ll probably like it, Gordon says.

Top 100 Best Buys of 2022

“Avoid gimmicky packaging and trendy-sounding names. Those are marketing efforts to suck in the consumer, get your attention and convince you to buy it. It’s no guarantee the wine is going to be excellent,” Gordon warns.

But if you want to stick to some of your favorite grapes, like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, opt for a bottle produced in a lesser-known wine region. “Try places where the local economics or lack of global demand is working in the favor of the consumer,” Gordon suggests. These may include Lodi or Monterey in California, New York State, Virginia or Columbia Valley in Washington and Oregon.

Finally, Gordon suggests checking online ratings, asking friends for suggestions or chatting with the staff at a good wine shop for additional ideas.

Why Should You Trust Us?

All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.

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Published on January 11, 2023
Topics: Buying Guide