Seek out inexpensive wines that would be just as delicious in a bowl of punch or sangria as on their own. There are wonderful $12-and-under bottles available these days, particularly from Spain and South America.
2007 Red Guitar Tempranillo Garnacha ($12)
Red Guitar makes inexpensive reds from Spain’s under-the-radar Navarra region, sourced from the area’s abundance of old-vine vineyards. This juicy blend has lots of bright raspberry fruit.
More Great Wine Values
2007 Banrock Station Riesling ($7)
In addition to donating a percentage of its profits to help preserve local wetlands, Australia’s Banrock Station also makes a broad range of high-quality but inexpensive wines. One of the best in the lineup is this crisp, lime-scented Riesling.
2008 Indaba Sauvignon Blanc ($10)
Tongue-tingling acidity and ripe gooseberry flavors make this herbal white from South Africa’s western Cape region a pleasure to drink. Indaba, which is the Zulu word for “a meeting of the minds,” donates a portion of its proceeds each year to fund scholarships for formerly disenfranchised South Africans who are interested in pursuing wine-related careers.
2008 Santa Rita 120 Carménère ($8)
Carménère, the signature red grape of Chile, produces spicy, full-bodied red wines. This dark-purple bottling, from one of the country’s largest wine producers, is impressively substantial given the modest price. Its flavor suggests blackberries and black pepper.
2007 Paringa Shiraz ($9)
The warm climate of Australia’s Riverland region shows in every aspect of this intense Shiraz, from its ripe blackberry flavors to its vibrant inky-purple hue.
2007 Ruffino Libaio Chardonnay ($11)
Ruffino is one of Tuscany’s most famous Chianti producers, but it makes some pleasant white wines as well. This unoaked Chardonnay is medium-bodied, with flavors recalling green apples and citrus and a bright, clean finish.
2007 Doña Paula Los Cardos Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)
Doña Paula owns more than 1,800 acres of vineyards in high-elevation sites in Argentina’s Mendoza region, allowing it to source top-quality grapes even for affordable wines like this one, a black cherry–rich Cabernet with firm tannins and surprising depth of flavor.
2007 Tapeña Rosé ($10)
Tapeña, a new winery from Spanish cava producer Freixenet, makes a trio of appealing wines—red, white and rosé, the latter zesty and strawberry-rich. It’s a blend of Monastrell and Garnacha, with a touch of Syrah for backbone.
2006 Black Box Central Coast Shiraz ($20 for a three-liter box)
This jammy California Shiraz—which comes in a three-liter black box, the equivalent of four bottles— is the definition of a crowd-pleasing red and a bargain to boot. It isn’t complex but makes up for its simplicity in pure fruity drinkability.