Top 29 Best Red Wine List

Best Red Wine

I’ve wanted to create a list best red wine list – wines that I would recommend to any wine enthusiast or novice wine drinker at any time. These are wines that I have tried, tasted, and experienced.

But the thing is, wine is subjective, so I can’t say that they are the best red wines for everybody. But still, I will because these are absolutely the best red wines, period!

So, I started creating the list, and I realized I couldn’t stop. I know I have to narrow down the list somehow. But I kept asking myself, how should I do it?

best red wine list
  • Should there be a price range? I didn’t want to limit myself like that. But it would be difficult (and quite unfair) to judge a wine that is worth $100 vs. $20.
  • Should I break the list by world (old vs. new world) or divide it by country (French wines) or, more specifically, by wine regions (example, Bordeaux)? Or can I still narrow it down to a sub-region or a specific part of a region (ex. right bank of Bordeaux)?

I didn’t want to limit myself on this list. However, I had to do something. So, I decided to let us just start with this.

  • All red wines
  • From California
  • I’ll break it up into two price ranges (again, this will most likely change).

But here’s the thing – I’m not going into vintages. Because yes, some are far better than others. But overall, these wines will be great no matter the vintages. That’s how much I believe in these wineries.

And as a disclaimer: I know I may have missed many red wines on this list. But this will be an ongoing list. So in no particular order, let’s go!

Table of Contents

What are the Best Red Wines?

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Under $100

cabernet sauvignon

Ample black fruit flavors and velvety tannins – bold and deeply expressive. A load of black fruit chunkiness and spice will burst on your palate. 

Many different Cabernets from their different vineyards are fantastic, and it’s hard to choose one because all of them could make it on this list! I normally recommend this wine first when someone asks for a premium, high-quality Napa Cab.

Tasting Notes: black currant, plum, black cherry, cedar, oak, vanilla

Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

If you want a great Sonoma Pinot Noir or even Chardonnay, for that matter, I would immediately say Kistler. Their Pinots (and Chards) are world-class, made using the old-world Burgundian techniques but applied to new-world vineyards!

Tasting Notes: black cherries, cranberries, cola, baking spices

Duckhorn 3 Palms Merlot

Another red wine staple from Napa Valley is the 3 Palms Merlot from Duckhorn – and like the name, there are three palm trees in the middle of the vineyard! One of the first single-vineyard Merlots in California – luxurious, fascinating, and full-bodied

Wine Spectator “Wine of the Year” in 2017!

Tasting Notes: black cherry, plums, cedar, vanilla, chocolate

Pahlmeyer Merlot best red wine

Dare I say the best Merlot in all of Napa Valley? For instance, it’s so delicious that non-wine drinkers and wine enthusiasts will appreciate how special it is. It’s a blockbuster of berries on the nose, full-bodied, concentrated, and rich on the palate with a spicy finish that never ends! This Merlot will make anybody’s best red wine list. 

Tasting Notes: chocolate, smoke, cherry, leather, blackberry, vanilla, plum

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon best red wine

A tasty wine, signifying a generation and a half of a father and son winery in Napa Valley. It’s a great wine to drink every day if you could, definitely making the list of my best red wine. A rich and bold, full bodied wine with a chewy tannins and a smooth lasting finish.

Tasting Notes: Blackberries, black cherry, rose, oak, vanilla

Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Full-bodied, dry, with intense aromas and flavors for this quality red wine. Enjoy its softer tannin structure because of the grapes grown in younger, less rocky parcels with different soil types, clones, and exposures. In other words, it’s smoother and easier to enjoy!

But expect a more earthier wine than other Napa Valley wines.

Tasting Notes: oak, cedar, blackberry, leather, earthy, smoke

Kosta Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir​ best red wine

Another fabulous Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, one of the best, that shows what a great region it is for Pinot Noir grapes. Vibrant, smooth, seductive coastal wine. In short, it’s a great Pinot Noir to drink for the next decade or more! 

Tasting Notes: red fruit, cherries, raspberries, vanilla, oak, cola

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon best red wine

In the same family wineries as Nickel and Nickel, they too make amazing California Cabs and Chards. In other words, expect something memorable, rich flavors and youthful tannin. It’s a very approachable Cab to try for the first time or the 100th time. 

Tasting Notes: blackcurrants, red fruits, cherry pie, dried herbs, dark chocolate, toasted oak

Magnificent and classic Cab worth trying! It’s a fantastic reflection of its Rutherford appellation. Expect a soft and round mouthfeel with some dusty tannins. Overall, it’s tasty with an elegant structure plus certified organic.

Tasting Notes: Dark fruit, leather, vanilla, toasted oak, chocolate, plum

Under $80

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon best red wine

Famous, iconic, and a great Napa Valley Cabernet! Full-bodied, dry, with the classic Caymus signature style – ripe, rich fruit flavor and velvety tannins. It’s incredibly approachable to drink now or later. Delicious, as always. This wine will be on most people’s best red wine list of Napa Valley.

Tasting Notes: blackerry, cassis, plum, leather, oak, dark chocolate

Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

Built to age! Very aromatic, velvety smooth, chunky juicy flavors, and impressive length with chewy tannins. You can drink it now, but I the taste will be better ten years from now.

Tasting Notes: Black currant, blueberry, cherry, cedar, nutmeg

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon​

Yet another famous, amazingly smooth Cabernet! It’s one of the most respected names when it comes to Napa Valley Cabernet. And this Alexander Valley Cab can compete with any Napa Valley wine. Every time I drink this wine, no matter the vintage, I have always enjoyed it. Again when it comes to a best red wine list, this Cab will most likely be on everyone’s list. 

Tasting Notes: oak, vanilla, blackberry, dark fruit, mocha, cassis, leather

Frank Family Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This Rutherford Reserve wine is something special amongst their other great wines. A great charmer and a great red wine! Smooth, rich, and delicious, it reminds me of a superb Italian wine. 

Tasting Notes: espresso, dark fruit, blackberry, graphite, vanilla, leather

best red wine

Newly renovated winery that looks amazing. It’s simply a great winery to visit! It’s located in the heart of Napa producing wines that are some of the best in the region.

Tasting Notes: black cherry, blackberry, black currant, leather, smoke, oak

best red wine

Fantastic red blend! One of the best red wines you can find. Excellent wine you can store for a while. You won’t be disappointed!

Tasting Notes: black currant, blackberry, kirsch

Alpha Omega Two Red best red blend wines

Love this winery and I love their wines! Their other red wines (although equally lovely and tasty) are above this budget, so sadly, I cannot list them. 

Tasting Notes: cherry, marzipan

austin hope cabernet

From one of the most famous Paso Robles wineries – classic ruby color, savory aromas, full body, with a tantalizing dash of fresh acid. Underrated wine regions makes some of the best red wine and this is a prime example!

Tasting Notes: cocoa powder, vanilla, cherry, spice, tobacco

best red wine

Austin Hope and Justin are hands down two of the best Paso Robles wines! This can be enjoyed at any time for any occasion. It’s an amazing wine with enough complexity to last over time.

Tasting Notes: cherry, cassis, oak, cedar, mint

best red wine

One of the most recognized California red blends with an unlikely mix – Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Charbono, and Syrah. This is an extremely popular red wine for a reason!

Tasting Notes: raspberry, cherry, chocolate, fig

best red wine

This underrated winery makes great wine at good prices! And I could have also picked their Peju Cabernet Franc to be on the best red wine list too. Nice to enjoy with or without food.

Tasting Notes: fig, cherry, tamarind, vanilla

best red wine

Made again by the famous Wagner family of wines. You can see how much I love their wines by this list.

Durif is synonymous with Petite Sirah, the widely grown grape in the region, just 30 miles south of Napa. Great, smooth, fruit forward wine at a great price!

Tasting Notes: blueberries, cherry, cassis, earth

best red wine

Yet another lovely wine from the Wagner family wineries that’s one of my favorite Pinot Noirs. Also deserves to be on the best red wine list! Velvety and rich on the palate.

Tasting Notes: dark cherry, plums, vanilla

emmolo merlot

Ok our fourth and final Wagner family wine. This Merlot is a fruit forward, full-body, soft, and delicious every time! And one you can normally find at a good price point.

Tasting Notes: cherry, vanilla, oak

Rombauer Zinfandel

Ok normally when I say Rombauer, I’m talking about their well-known and popular Chardonnay. But, for our best red wine list I was equally impressed with their Zinfandel, if not more!

Tasting Notes: vanilla, cherry, blackberry

Stag’s Leap Artemis best wine at target

Iconic winery that makes some of the best red wines in the world, as proven by their famous win in the Judgement of Paris competition. One of the first and oldest wineries in Napa Valley showcasing the fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of the region.

Tasting Notes: dark cherry, raspberry, cedar, baking spice

best wine with filet mignon

Moderate tannin with with medium plus acidity and equally moderate finish. One of the best Zinfandels I’ve tasted. It has to be on this list!

Tasting Notes: blackberry, cherry cola, plum, orange zest, cinnamon spice

This is a Bordeaux blend, so in short, expect a fantastic blend of lively fruit flavors and bold character.

Tasting Notes: blackberry, cassis, tobacco, graphite

Hall 1873 Cabernet Sauvignon

This full-bodied wine delivers mouthwatering berry flavors with a lively lift up to the finish. 

Tasting Notes: black currant, cassis, raspberry, tobacco, oak, leather, cocoa

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

This winery is known for the Judgement of Paris Competition, and more specifically for their Chardonnay. However, their Cabernet shouldn’t be put in the back because it’s a great Napa Cab too!

Tasting Notes: blackberry, cherry, plum, anise, vanilla, oak

*Prices are subject to change by sellers at any time.

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