Ratings: These Top-Scoring Wines Are All Under $30
Wine Enthusiast reviewers sipped their way through a dizzying array of wines this year. Over the past 12 months, they blind-tasted more than 23,000 bottles. While many of the highest-scoring picks boast a price tag to match their lofty ratings, our team of experts also discovered plenty of affordable picks that won’t break the bank.
All of the selections highlighted below scored 90 or more after these rigorous tastings, and 11 of them were selected as Editor’s Choice picks. The special designation indicates that “this is something [our reviewers] would buy for their own cellar,” says Wine Enthusiast Tasting Director Anna-Christina Cabrales.
How do our tasters make such a call? Reviewer Christina Pickard describes one of these well-priced favorites—a silky, mid-weight Grenache from South Australia—as “a sexy wine” right now. But it “could gain savory complexity over the next few years,” she says. “The best part? It’s a stellar bang for buck.”
The following list also includes a top-rated Lambrusco, an excellent New World brut made in the traditional method, a killer old-vine Grenache from South Australia, some outstanding rosés from France and Italy as well as a couple of Beaujolais that could change the tune of even the most diehard skeptics.
Whether you’re seeking a sparkler for an impromptu celebration, a rosé to keep chilled in the fridge or an elegant red to elevate a dinner party—we’ve got you covered. Here are the budget-friendly bottles under $30 that made this year’s Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2023.
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Vigneto Saetti 2021 Rosso Viola Lambrusco Salamino (Lambrusco dell’Emilia)
100% Salamino grown organically in the hills north of Modena this wine is the personification of the Saetti family’s dedication to their craft. Aromas of blackberries, mulberries and tamarind share the glass with violets, dried roses and wild herbs. The palate is lush and vibrant at the same time with rich ripe black-hued fruits balanced with crunchy acidity. The wine has a long and refined finish highlighted by the well-crafted perlage. 95 Points — Jeff Porter
Thistledown 2021 Thorny Devil Old Vine Grenache (McLaren Vale)
Elegance and ease are the name of the game on this silky, mid-weight Grenache. Succulent cherry and blueberry, with vanilla, florals and a gentle spice make for a nose you could dive into. There’s lovely freshness to the slinky palate. It’s tugged gently by savory, sand-textured tannins. A sexy wine right now, it could gain savory complexity over the next few years. The best part? It’s stellar bang for buck. Editor’s Choice. 94 Points — Christina Pickard
El Enemigo 2020 Semillon (Agrelo)
Sémillion old vines are being rescued in Argentina to make high-end wines with complexity. This is the case of this white from 50-year-old vines in Luján de Cuyo with a small percentage aged under flor. The nose shows subtle almond and acacia aromas that complement its citrus and saline notes. The medium-weight palate offers almond, grapefruit, pear and elevated acidity, finishing with light smoky notes. Editor’s Choice. 92 Points — Jesica Vargas
Gilles Copéret 2022 Morgon
Deep purple in color, this wine has an aromatic nose of blackberry, blueberry and hints of hibiscus. This vintage shows Morgon’s strength and aging potential in a way that is accessible now but can be enjoyed later. Robust fruit makes this an excellent partner with beef and heavier dishes. This is a beautiful Morgon! Editor’s Choice. 92 Points — R.S.
Published: January 5, 2024