Five Value Red Wines to Keep You Warm

With all the money we’re spending on gifts and everything else, the wine budget shrinks around the holidays! So, what wines can we enjoy while sneaking a few pages of a holiday book or during marathon present-wrapping session? Wines that’ll keep us warm and won’t break the bank? For me, it’s red red red, whether a Cab, Merlot, Chianti, Syrah, or blend. Here are some value picks:

I found this red blend for $12 at Total Wine—what a deal! A delicious, medium-bodied Rhone blend that’s bold, dry, and fun. It earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast, which noted, “Reminiscent of a freshly baked pie full of dark cherries, blackberries and plums, this medium- to full-bodied wine is pleasurable, with refreshing acidity and a long cassis and black-peppercorn finish.”

Pair with a warm and pleasurable holiday book, such as A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday or A Christmas to Remember, an anthology of Novellas by Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Megan Frampton, and Vivienne Lorret.

This blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha is a steal at $9.99 if you’re a Costco member, and still a good value if you look elsewhere. It’s a bright and intense, yet elegant and balanced with so much flavor. Wine Enthusiast notes, “A heavy blast of forced grainy oak sits atop candied raisiny aromas in front of a palate with spiky acidity and resiny oak-based grab. Black currant and plum aromas are heavily oaked, leaving vanilla and graphite notes to linger on the finish.”

Pair this wine with an intense(ish) holiday book such as The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’Leary or The Christmas Wager by Holly Cassidy.

Produced by the Wagner Family of Wine (think, Caymus), Conundrum Red Blend will please just about anyone. It combines Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon—mixing lightness and complexity, balancing fruitiness with warmth and savor. You can find it for $20 and serve with a charcuterie (or really anything as far as I’m concerned). 

Enjoy with holiday books whose characters are a bit of a conundrum, such as My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack and A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh.

On sale at Costco right now, I grabbed several bottles for $11.99. Simi Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my staples—widely available, good value, easy to drink, and run by strong women. The winemaker notes that it “opens with dark plum, black cherry and sweet toasty oak with savory spice notes and a hint of black pepper. On the palate, plush berry fruit with some dried blueberry and a hint of violet, followed with dark chocolate/cocoa and cola spice. Generous finish with chewy tannins.” 

Enjoy with the strong women in The Christmas Fix by Lucy Score or Wreck the Halls by Tessa Bailey.

A full-bodied value at $15 at Total Wine, Montes Alpha Syrah hits the mark for a deep, expressive, and bursting with flavor. From the winemaker: “Deep ruby-red in color with violet nuances. The nose is very expressive with aromas of ripe blackberries, figs, crème de cassis, and hints of leather and dark chocolate. The palate is well balanced with bright acidity, smooth tannins, ample structure, and generous volume. The finish is long and considerably complex.”

This wine garnered lots of praise from wine critics, earning 91-93 points over various vintages, including comments like “Juicy and fine-grained on the palate with silky, close-knit tannins” from James Suckling.

Pair this wine with a book that’s bursting with flavor (and fun), like Emergency Contact by Lauren Layne.