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The Best Grocery Store Wines Under $15: Tested and Reviewed

September 15, 2020

By:

Erin Schrader

Here at LIY, we believe cheap wine doesn’t have to taste like cheap wine [not that we would know the difference, since we only ever drink cheap wine]. When it comes to grocery store wines, we know firsthand how overwhelming the options can be. The shelves are stocked with endless options, most of which we’ve never heard of. Nonetheless, we took matters into our own hands [errr, glasses] to find the best grocery store wine under $15. Red, white, sweet or dry– you name it, we tried it. Pour yourself a tall glass or two and get settled in!

How We Tested

The testing process was simple, really. We hit up our local Target and walked out with 16 bottles of wine in tow. While there are a ton of varieties of wine on the market, we stuck to what we know best– the basics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Moscato, and Sweet Reds. Back at LIY HQ, we called for a team meeting in the conference room and took it upon ourselves to review said wine [out of high-class styrofoam cups], taking notes of our favorites and least favorites like the self-proclaimed connoisseurs we are. Today we’re sharing our honest and extremely unqualified feedback.

How to Purchase Wine Online

In this post, we linked directly to Target so you can scope out the vino for yourself. But here in Indiana, we’re not lucky enough to order it online. If you’re a Hoosier yourself, we can order directly from wineries or online retailers. Unfortunately states like Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, Kentucky and Utah are going to have a trickier time getting theirs shipped directly to their doorstep. If you’re still shopping [and sipping] from the couch, we suggest online retailers like Wine.com or Wine Express to get the job done. One more fun fact to keep in mind: Amazon Prime Now offers 2-hour alcohol delivery in select cities. You lucky ducks can learn more about that here, because the quicker the better. Without further ado, these are the Best Grocery Store Wines Under $15. Cheers!

Cabernet Sauvignon

While several of us are cab girls at heart, not all of these tickled our tastebuds. We landed on Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon as our drink of choice. It was the most expensive of the bunch, but went down the smoothest without being “too cabby”.

Chardonnay

  • California Roots [Target Brand] $5.00 // ABV: 13.5% We felt healthier drinking this one compared to Butter. More fruit, less butter. It would make a good summer wine that’s perfect for book club! All in all, refreshing and not too bad for five dollars.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle $9.99 ABV: 14% “It feels delicate. Delicately woodsy. Like a delicate trip to the woods.” It’s subtle and feels fancy. Would we buy it? Probably not, but we like it. It smells like it belongs at a dinner party with linens. This is a mature wine you could sip with your dad while he smokes a cigar. A little bit old lady– we wouldn’t break this out for our girlfriends, because it’s a little too fancy for their taste. Not bad, but we had a hard time finishing it.
  • Butter Chardonnay $14.99 // ABV: 14.8% “I fricken hate this crap. Wait, it’s not bad… I gave it a bad first impression. I feel like it would hurt if you burped. It burns. It’s not that bad, but I don’t like it with that last swallow.” -A Direct Quote. It lives up to its name; it is buttery. It reminded us of tapioca or a grandma and it tastes warm. Not physically warm, but how you would expect something warm to taste.
  • OUR PICK: Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay $11.99 // ABV: 13.5% We were wowed! It tastes vanilla sweet, not overly fruity sweet. If you’ve ever got an extra $10 [or $11.99] to spare, this was our favorite.

When it came to chardonnay, Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay got our vote. While there were several acceptable options [there’s not a lot we won’t drink 😉 ], we liked it better than the most expensive brand by a long shot. Not too cheap, not too fancy, just right.

Moscato

  • Barefoot Moscato $5.49 // ABV: 9% Moscato is Barefoot’s lane. It’s little more tart and less sweet than the others. It’s also not sparkling or bubbly, which we liked. Good, crisp summer wine! We liked it. Not shabby for five bucks.
  • Roscato $10.99 // ABV: 7% There’s not much to this one, kinda bland. It’s bubbly, but not bubbly enough. And it left us feeling like something was in the back of our throats. *clears throat* Once again, we kept waiting for something more to happen and it wasn’t there. “Now THIS reminds me of my old lover.” -Claire
  • Cupcake Vineyards $10.99 ABV: 5.5% Sweet, but not too sweet. This one is VERY similar to Risata [keep reading], but not quite as sweet and smooth– a four-dollar-poorer man’s Risata. But to be honest, if we’re trying to save $4, we’d buy it.
  • OUR PICK: Risata $14.99 // ABV:5.5% Sweet, light, refreshing, and little bit bubbly. The whole cup of tea.. or wine, in this case. It’s very sweet [like you could only drink 1-2 glasses], but we were into it and don’t normally like sweet wines.

None of the LIY Team [ie. self-appointed wine connoisseurs] favor moscato in general, but we fell hard for Risata Moscato d’Asti. Like all moscato, it was sweet and refreshing. It was the priciest of the bunch, so if you’re looking to save a few bucks, you can never go wrong with $5 Barefoot.

Sweet Red

  • TIEBREAKER: Barefoot Sweet Red Blend $5.49 // ABV: 10.5%Dry, yucky, tastes like it’s trying too hard– just like me.” -Cassidy. This one tastes a little bit like a dry wine trying to be sweet. Unlike some of the others that tasted like juice, the dryness made it feel more legit. Since it’s not overly sweet, we decided we could probably drink most of it without our stomachs hurting. We were wrong.
  • Reggae Red Easley Red Table Wine $6.99 // ABV: 10% This is what we call too sweet. The sweetest one we tried by far. Somehow, it almost tastes sweet and bitter at the same time. Needless to say, we didn’t like it. It tasted like juice to us, similar to the Oliver. A weak man’s version of Oliver.
  • Oliver Soft Red $7.99 // ABV: 11% “I wish this was my Communion wine.” -Claire. Very sweet and grape juice tasting, to the point where it doesn’t feel like you’re drinking wine. We liked the flavor, but be sure to chill this one.
  • TIEBREAKER: Roscato $10.99 // ABV: 7%  It’s sweet, friends! Some of us really liked the bubbles and some of us did not, which is totally personal preference. If you’re into that sort of sweetness, you won’t be disappointed. However, we probably wouldn’t want more than one glass!

Red, red, wineeee! It was a toss-up for this one, folks. If “the sweeter, the better” is your motto, you’ll most likely enjoy Roscato. If you can get down with a bit of tartiness, Barefoot Sweet Red is the name of the game. But for under $15 each, we say wine not both? 😉

 

share this with your best girlfriends:

  1. Gina Luebke says:

    Kendall Jackson Chardonnay is my favorite “cheap wine” ! Great choice ladies from one wine “connoisseur” to another. ????????????

  2. Jen says:

    If you want a good cheap red (coming from someone who drinks everything from cheap to $45/bottle) try Yellowtail Big Bold Red. It’s $8.97 for a 1.5L bottle in NY (so probably pretty cheap elsewhere!) and is just delish.

  3. Caitlin says:

    I’m a huge cab girl, but my favorite cheap wine is actually from a box! Bota Box RedVolution hits the spot! Plus under $20 for 4 bottles worth of vino.

  4. Lynn says:

    You girls need to step in to the world of Pinot Noir (Clos du Bois is my fav) and Pinot Grigio (great, light,easy to drink wine). Forget those nasty cabs and red blends!

  5. Beth says:

    You have to try Winking Owl from Aldi. The BEST $3 you can spend! They have reds and whites.

  6. MEIOMI PINOT NOIR this is my favorite! Medium-bodied Cherry, Berry, Vanilla flavor!! Under $20, but soo soo good!

  7. Monica Myers says:

    Storybook has a nice red blend that’s about $15.99 at my local Kroger store.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Y’all are hilarious! I loved the quotes. It was like I was there, drinking with you. I also love a good Pinot Noir and Yellow Tail isn’t too bad. 19 Crimes also has good red wines. Their one aged in Rum or Bourbon (can’t remember which) is amazing and packs a nice little punch.

  9. Melissa says:

    Find a McMannis Cabernet. You won’t be sad. Only $10 and it is amazing.

  10. Jenn says:

    Literally the most helpful blogpost I’ve ever read. I always wing it in the grocery store and just buy whichever has the nicest packaging. Not even kidding.

  11. Megan says:

    Omg stop buying wine at the grocery store. This hurts my heart ( and my head). None of these wines should ever be consumed.

  12. JOSH is my favorite red Cab!
    I agree with Lynn, please review the Pinot Nior and Pinot Grio.
    Great blogpost, otherwise!

  13. Julie says:

    Too many sweet options, which is not my thing. I would have loved to see you review Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Pinot Noir.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, I agree with Julie. I would love to see you review Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Pinot Noir!

    • Jennifer says:

      Definitely better $15 or less wines to be found. Target’s selection is subpar – their buyer needs to step up their game, quickly. I’ll give you Josh for the Cab. Definitely need to step into the world of Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noir. Lots of great options in these blends.

    • MJ Ash says:

      I have very few rules, however I do follow this: If the wine (I drink big, bold, cabs, sauvignon blanc, red blends, occasional chardonnay) is under $20, over 90 points, and I like the label, I’m good to go and it has not steered me wrong. Bonus points if screw top!

      Some of my faves? McMannis Cabernet, Joel Gott Sauv Blanc, Carnivore Cabernet, some craziness Sauv Blanc from New Zealand I found at Aldi’s, and Upshot Red Blend, just to name a few. Of note, Aldi’s has some fabulous bottles. Happy tasting!

    • Allison says:

      Yes, to this. Part two perhaps! Who could turn down wine research?

  14. Julie says:

    Cavit pinot griego has been my summer go to. Also couldn’t pass up the new isaac mizrahi wines at qvc! The labels are gorgeous! Keep the fun coming! You and your Team are fabulous!

  15. Heather says:

    You missed Columbia Crest Cab and H3 by Columbia Crest Cab! The first one is a hidden 90pt gem that used to be 9.99 a bottle (but now more like 10.99 due to increased demand) and H3 May be even more points. Both are yummy!!

  16. Dorene Rinelli says:

    I agree with Julie….. I could totally do the sauvignon blanc review for you.

  17. Val says:

    Totally agree with Julie!!! Where are the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir??

  18. Brenda says:

    Barrel Heist cabernet Sauvignon from Trader Joe’s $7. Love it, almost don’t want to tell you they already have stock issues.

    Another good red, Bogle Vineyards, Old Vine Zinfandel around $9

  19. Lauran says:

    CK Mondavi is my go to Grocery Store Wine, they make a lot of different varieties from Moscato to Cabernet it comes in a Larger 1.5 Bottle as well as a 750 ml, very reasonably priced.

  20. Teri Lambert says:

    Tisdale Pinot Noir, $4.99 at Binny’s. I’m gluten free but I will WRECK my stomach for this wine. It’s that good for a cheap wine.

  21. Julie says:

    I understand everyone has their own opinions on wine, but I think you ladies should stick to the clothes and beauty/household product recommendations. Moscato is technically a dessert wine and there really isn’t such a thing as “sweet red”. Should have done a little more research before hitting “post”. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel (red, not white), and Red Blends all would have been more interesting choices of varietals.

  22. Corrine says:

    For just a few bucks more, your Napa Valley wines can be delivered straight to your doorstep in a matter of days AND help raise money for charities. Every single variety gives back to a charity, and fundraising events can be opened to raise money for the host’s fave charities. My absolute top faves are the Red Blend (supports Veterans), the Cabernet (supports autism therapy), and the Chardonnay (supports funding breast cancer clinical trials…bonus, a pink glitter bottle of Chardonnay is available this month!). PLUS…a Happiness Guarantee. So don’t love a bottle? They’ll help find you one you do love!

  23. Mathew Ferrero says:

    Hello ladies and gentlemen:
    The winery you are missing is Bogle. Consistent high quality Cab and Chard for under $15. Available in most all grocery chains, but perhaps no Target? I’ve never bought wine there.

  24. sharon says:

    You girls obviously go for the sweet stuff. I would not buy any of these. However I did enjoy the descriptions of your tasting experience. I can relate!

  25. Shauna says:

    Cupcake? Wait until the day after and then tell us what you think!!

  26. Courtney says:

    Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet is the BEST can under $15! Try it, you’ll love it! I do t think the Indian Wells varietal is nearly as good so stick with the regular cab. You will not be sorry!

  27. Laurie says:

    I love Malbecs! My favorite is The King, under $15 at the grocery store & it has a screw top!

  28. Laura Belknap Calley says:

    “I fricken hate this crap. Wait, it’s not bad… I gave it a bad first impression. I feel like it would hurt if you burped. It burns. It’s not that bad, but I don’t like it with that last swallow.” -A Direct Quote.

    rotflmao!!!! I can see this as if I had been there. Well done.

  29. Anna Maiwurm says:

    Costco Kirkland is my favorite on the grocery store wines. Red or white, the taste and price is cannot be beat.

  30. Maria Cook says:

    Or purchase Clean Crafted TM wine from Scout and Cellar!! Let me know if I can give you info LIY Team to share with the Lemondrops!!

  31. I’m guilty of loving a sweet red and my go to is Castello del Poggio. Sweet with a slight bubbly effect and must be served chilled! My two-cents of wine advice!

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