Wine Reviews: Wines Under $30

wine reviews wines under $30 beverage dynamics ratings top best dollars 30 grade rating points
wine reviews wines under $30 beverage dynamics ratings top best dollars 30 grade rating points

For our latest round of wine reviews, We asked the Beverage Dynamics national wine panel to taste and rate wines under $30. As always, these reviews include tasting notes, ratings and suggested retail price for a 750-ml. bottle (unless otherwise noted).

If you’d like to submit wines for review, please do so through our Wine Stars app.

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.


(94) Catena Altamira Paraje 2021 (Argentina)

A huge mouthful of black current and violets, silky and lush. Give it some time to open and sip it with your favorite grilled meats. ($27)

(93) Ironstone Pinot Noir 2021 (CA)

It would be unfair to describe this as their entry-level wine, as it overdelivers for the price. Sourced from the family’s Thorton Ranch property, it benefits from the Lodi AVA maritime influence: perfect for pinot noir with cool nights and warm days. Addition of 10% syrah really adds to the complexity, and adds deep-cherry coloring. Classic earthy notes add to a meaty texture. This was perfect with our cedar plank salmon. ($14.99)

(93) Harvester Estrella Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (CA)

This cabernet hails from one of Paso Robles’ 11 districts, Estrella. The nose is full of ripe tomato and herbaceous notes. While still a full-bodied wine, this is a more delicate style of Paso Robles cabernet, with balanced tannins and notes of bright red fruit, red currants and crisp cranberries. ($29.99)

(93) Decoy Limited Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 (CA)

This inaugural release is a grand slam! Sourcing from prime vineyard sites in Alexander Valley — in addition to their own estate fruit — yields exceptional fruit. Very concentrated flavors in a classic fruit-forward style that’s very accessible. A kiss of merlot adds smoothness to the 14-month French oak aging regimen. Black fruits dominate the nose with inky squid colors and hints of white pepper and dark chocolate. Time for that prime rib dinner celebration ($29.99)

(92) Hall Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (CA)

This wine exhibits aromas of lemongrass, balmy grapefruit and lime. Those notes continue onto the palate, but with the addition of lychee and bright tropical fruits. Crisp and refreshing. ($19.99)

(92) Nero Oro Rosso Terre Gold 2021 (Italy)

A powerful and structured dry wine. The nose beckons you with deep red fruits, raspberry and cranberry aromas. The palate is full bodied with a concentration of those red fruits with notes of baked cherry pie, green pepper and tomato leaves. ($29.99)

(92)  The Calling Chardonnay 2021 (CA)

This chardonnay has a silky weight to its mouthfeel. Rich, savory tones of butter are intertwined with pops of Granny Smith apple that are complemented with a beautiful, lingering finish. ($22)


(91) Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Briords Melon de Bourgogne 2022 (France)

Extended cold fermentation sur lie with organic grapes from Maines, produces a brisk, fresh wine full of lemony spring flowers. Medium acid and crushed stone provide a perfect mate for grilled white fish with fresh poached pears. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill muscadet. ($22)

(91) Les Freres Laffitte Le Petit Gascoun Rosé 2022 (France)

Complex with blueberry, white plum and a hint of vegetal in the background. Lots of bright acidity that will do justice to a fresh green salad covered with a warm Camembert. ($23)

(91) 1858 Red Blend (CA)

A dark maroon color greets you upon pouring this plush wine. Baked black and blue fruits, warm spice and sumptuous but soft tannins and toasted wood on the finish. This is a smooth but structured and approachable wine from the Wagner Family. ($24.99)

(91) Sonoma Loeb Chardonnay 2021 (CA)

Made by famed winemaker Philip Titus. Aromas of tropical fruits and crisp melon on the nose. This wine is super food-friendly due to its higher but balanced acidity and a creamy mouthfeel that seamlessly blend the notes of lime and lemon cake on the palate. ($29.99)

(91) Twomey Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (CA)

Pops of melon and grapefruit are the welcome to your palate. This refreshing sauvignon blanc is nicely packaged with acidity and fruit, making it a refreshing and sneakily complex wine. ($28)

(91) J. Lohr Pure Paso 2021 (CA)

Winemaker Brenden Wood refines his red blend that highlights the real potential of the Paso Robles AVA. Primarily cabernet sourced from their Shotwell vineyard, with the addition of petite sirah (31%) and three other varietals. Stainless-steel fermentation is then followed with oak aging for a total of 18 months. Intense inky coloring, silky smooth with notes of anise, pepper and caramel. Time to fire up the grill for some thick rib-eyes. ($24.99)

(91) Montecillo Riserva Tempranillo (Spain)

Established in 1870, these folks have been pioneers in bringing the best of Spain to America. Sourcing older vines helps yield concentrated flavor. Very regimented fermentation combines the best of Old World and New World techniques (stainless and concrete tanks) The magic happens in the aging to achieve the reserva status. Twenty-four months in mainly French oak is followed by 24 months of bottle aging. Beautiful ruby coloring in the glass leads to red fruit notes. Rich and elegant, with touches of espresso and vanilla on the finish. Incredible value for a wine of the pedigree. ($20.99)

(90) Oak Ridge Estate Cabernet 2020 (CA)

Located between the Sierra Foothills and San Francisco Bay, this is a wine for rich and fruit-forward cabernet lovers. The decadent mouthfeel is almost port-like with notes of sweet cedar, blackberry, earth and ripe red fruits. ($16.99)

(90) Forever Vineyards Chardonnay 2022 (CA)

A chardonnay made for those who enjoy the oaky style with a creamy finish. This wine is bright yellow in color, full-bodied with vanilla, nutmeg and baking spice notes. ($15.99)

(90) Roccalta Chianti DOCG 2022 (Italy)

Approachable and easy drinking chianti. Fruity and intense aromas with the typical notes of orange peel and tart cherry that follow through on the palate. Toasted oak barrel and balanced tannins give this wine a balanced structure and finish. ($9.99)

(90) Routestock Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (CA)

An elegant balance of black fruit is balanced with hints of stone fruit. The juicy fruit and slightly firm tannins all tie in with a hint of vanilla and gentle yet satisfying finale. ($29)

(90) Pradorey “Sr. Nino” Tempranillo 2022 (Spain)

A dark purple tone, with high-intensity inviting aromatics that lead to juicy, fruit and plummy notes on this festive and fun wine. Organically farmed, with carbonic maceration that brings liveliness to its style. ($25)

(89) Decoy Limited Chardonnay 2022 (CA)

Duckhorn continues to fine-tune the Decoy portfolio with this offering. Shared winemaking expertise and great contracts and estate sourcing yield spectacular results. Stainless-steel aging then light oak aging and malolactic fermentation maintains the purity of the fruit. Kiwi, lemon and butterscotch notes dominate. Light oak and balanced acidity lead to a smooth finish with a hint of eucalyptus. Great for that spring picnic, with cold grilled chicken. ($29.99)

(89) La Crema Pinot Noir 2022 (CA)

This winery was a huge factor in bringing pinot Noir to the masses. A well-made product at an attractive price with consistent quality from vintage to vintage — not an easy feat with this fickle grape. The cool Sonoma Coast AVAs yielded intense, concentrated flavors. Mainly hand-picked fruit underwent cold soak and open tank fermentation. Aging was in French oak for six months. Beautiful combination of classic European style with vibrant California fruit. Rich fruit aromas of plum and cherry highlight the rich color and soft finish. A great value for the pinot category. ($28.99)

(89) Mary Taylor Cote de Gascogne 2020 (France)

A blend of indigenous white varietals: colombard, gros manseng, ugni blanc and a dash of sauvignon blanc. A juicy, floral, citrus-inflected crisp white from Southwestern France. ($11.99)

(88) Altocedro Malbec 2021 (Argentina)

When looking for value, Argentina has the market cornered. A ripe and dark-fruited, powerful Malbec with dusty tannins. Named after the large cedar trees on the property. ($16)

(88) Mar de Frades Rias Baixas D.O. Albarino 2022 (Spain)

This is the white cousin to the famed tempranillo grapes of Spain. Sourced from the cool coastal climate of the Atlantic, this wine reflects both the terroir and the cuisine of the region. Meticulous natural farming techniques result in a soft style with light acidity. Floral notes of wildflowers mingle with light minerality and hints of lime and mint. This is a true discovery wine not that far off the beaten path. A classic pairing with fish and shellfish, especially classic paellas. ($26.99)

(88) Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2022 (CA)

Founded in 1880, this storied winery has been producing great wines for over 140 years. This entry tier offers exceptional value. Winemaker Derek Irwin shows his skills, sourcing from cool and warm climate vineyard sources to achieve great balance between zippy acidity and rich tropical smoothness.100% stainless-steel fermentation and a touch of viognier offer up great aromatics and purity of fruit. Wonderful pairing with Clams Casino appetizer. ($14.99)

(88) Ramon Bilbao Verdejo 2022 (Spain)

A great example of the crop of “discovery” wines from Spain. Higher-altitude sourcing from estate grapes yields vibrant herbaceous fruit. Beautiful yellow/green color highlights the soft floral notes with citrus hints. Fennel and fresh-cut grass notes add to the appeal. Medium-bodied with zippy acidity. Great wine to welcome the arrival of spring! ($17.99)

(87) Andre Brunel Grenache 2021 (France)

The Brunel family has been making wine in the Rhone region of France for five generations, and this value offering combines this expertise with the grapes from the Vin de Pays region in the southern Rhone. Old vine grenache is blended with 10% mouvedre. Natural winemaking (concrete-tank fermentation) is combined with a new-age eco approach (no chemicals). Fresh and vibrant with very balanced tannins and acidity. A great way to explore red wines beyond ABC (anything but cabernet). Great pairing with shepherd’s pie. ($14.99)

Want more wine reviews? Our panels in the past year have included:

Feature photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here