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3 great red wines under $20


I don’t know about you, but when I sense that first bit of chill in the air, all I want to do is snuggle up in a bathrobe, read a book and drink a big glass of red wine. 

>> ALSO FROM TESS: When it comes to eating well, what should you save (and splurge) on? 

When the weather starts to cool down, I crave a full-bodied red wine to warm me from the inside out. Nowadays there are so many great drink options on the shelves that it’s sometimes hard to choose. More often than not, one ends up reaching for the prettiest label, blindly hoping they’ll like the taste of what’s inside the bottle.

>> This Dayton restaurant landed on a local chef’s “last meal” list

I too have been overwhelmed by choices, so I went through the painstaking task of picking up some of the best red wines out there for every budget. It was tough work, but someone had to do it. You’re welcome. 

>> Jason Harrison of Present Tense Fitness shares his ideal ‘last meal’ in Dayton

Wines of Substance Charles Smith - Cabernet Sauvignon

$17.99

Basically anything with Charles Smith on the label is going to be good. His wines are thoughtfully crafted, and always a great value. This California Cab is complex, with deep flavors of plum and black currants. This particular wine will pair perfectly with that nice rich beef stew you make on a chilly fall day. You can find it at Arrow Wine, hand them a $20 and get change back, how great is that? What’s even better? Arrow also provides a rebate coupon for $40 off the case! Try it, love it, drink it again and again. 

>> Tess, one of Dayton’s favorite bartenders, shows you how to wow your guests for the holidays

Montes Alpha - Syrah

$19.99

For me it doesn’t get much better than a wine from Chile. This Syrah is one of my favorites because of the deep, rich, jammy flavors, and the smooth finish. While some folks look for tannic wines (you know that feeling that dries out your mouth?) I prefer a smooth, rich mouth feel. This particular wine was listed in the top 100 by Wine Spectator, and is currently on sale for $19.99. Whip up a nice bowl of spaghetti bolognese, and crack open this bottle. This will make for a decadent evening, and a wine to share and savor. 

>> ALSO FROM TESS: Are the French really snobs when it comes to food and culture?

Decoy - Pinot Noir

$19.99

This is probably one of the most recognizable labels, as Decoy is always on the shelves at Kroger and Arrow Wine. This is another more expensive bottle that is currently on sale. Pinot Noirs are great wines to pair with food, as they are light and fruity, but still dry. This wine highlights flavors of cherry and ripe berries, with a smooth and silky finish. Pinots pair with the widest variety of food because of how light they are. The flavors can stand up to a nice roast pork loin, but won’t overpower a good piece of salmon. My favorite pairing? Roasted chicken and mushrooms. You can spend a little bit more on a free-range bird, since you won’t be spending all your hard-earned money on the wine! 

>> RIP, SUMMER: 3 amazing summer wines under $20

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a restaurant professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at www.CiaoVellaBlog.com


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