12 Best Red Wines for the 2021 Holidays

‘Tis the season once again for all things celebration. And if you’re a red wine lover, that means a handful of good wines to toast to another year’s end. Unlike last year, you’re probably planning to spend the holidays with close friends and family, which is all the more reason to bulk up on the finer things in life—like the best red wines.

While certain products might be hard to come by this year, red wine is thankfully not one of them. In fact, the production of wine during the global pandemic actually increased slightly, according to data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). What’s more: Some of the aging wines of the last few years are just starting to come out—and so far 2019 is a vintage worth spending your money on. 

It can be tough to narrow down your selections to the few you hope to enjoy over the holidays. With so many varietals to choose from, knowing which is most deserving of your palette during the holiday season can be tricky.

Don’t worry—we’re here to help by sharing some of the very best red wines to toast to what will hopefully be a beautiful year ahead. 

best red wines

Saldo 2019 Red Blend ($32; theprisonerwinecompany.com)

Red blends make for a fun wine because you truly never know the kind of flavors that will come out of such a unique combination and concentration of different varietals. This one comes from one a wine company that sources from a myriad of family growers throughout California. Their 2019 red blend is Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, so it carries an elegant boldness without being too overbearing for those who appreciate a softer side of red. Notes include black stone fruit, baking spices and blueberries. It’s one of the best red wines to share this holiday season, so make sure you get your hands on a bottle!

best red wines

Diamond Collection Appellation Series Santa Barbara Pinot Noir ($21; thefamilycoppola.com)

The Family Coppola make some of the best red wines out there. If you love a good pinot noir, you’ve met your match. This pinot has the perfect level of acidity to be paired with just about anything, from poultry to fish and even a plate of pasta. It’s more richly concentrated than most pinots, which cabernet and merlot lovers can also appreciate, and offers flavor notes of grilled almonds, savory oak and spiced apple. Whether you’re enjoying Thanksgiving, Christmas, or sometime in between, you won’t be disappointed. 

best red wines

Mezzacorona DiNotte Red Blend ($12; mezzacorona.it)

Looking for an easy-to-drink red wine that won’t break the bank—but also won’t make your Aunt Nancy turn her nose up? This red blend is one of the best red wines to bring to family dinner this holiday seasons because it has a surprisingly welcoming flavor palette thanks to the fact that the grapes are grown on granitic soil on the hillsides of the Dolomite Alps in northeastern Italy. Flavor notes include red currants, blackberry and blueberry along with finishing aromatics of vanilla and cocoa. 

Charles Krug 2017 Generations Napa Valley, ($70; wine.com)

It’s no surprise that this delicately rich and tktk hails from one of Napa Valley’s oldest wineries. Founded in 1861 by Charles Krug, this iconic estate still cranks out unmatched wines and this red blend is arguably one of their best. Rich in flavor and high in ratings (94 points), this mix of 83 percent cab, 13 percent petit verdot and 4 percent Merlot is aged to perfection in French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months.

2017 DANI Cabernet Sauvignon ($26; danigoldwines.com)

When it comes to cabernets, there’s usually a huge difference in flavor when you jump up in price. While this one hovers in the $20 range, it tastes like it could be in the $40 range, which is quite impressive. What to expect: hints of dark fruits, like blackberries and cherries, along with finishing notes of espresso, cocoa powder and nutmeg. As you can tell, this is one of the best red wines to offer as a hostess gift or to pop open when it’s time for the main course.

Mattebella Old World 2013 ($75; mattebella.com)

With a taste of this full-bodied Old World blend, you would never believe that it came from the North Fork of Long Island and not straight out of Napa Valley. That’s one of the reasons why it received a 93-point rating from Robert Parker. It’s definitely Merlot-dominant, with an earthy flavor and a finish that lingers on your tongue long after your first sip. If you can get out to visit the vineyard itself, it’s worth a trip—not only for the delicious wines and the gorgeous scenery, but also the chance to meet owners and winemakers Mark and Christine Tobin who are as lovely as their wine is tasty. 

Tilia Bonarda 2020 ($15; wine.com)

If you’re looking one of the best red wines that’s affordable and doesn’t skimp on flavors or sustainability, consider this Argentinian wine. Made with the Bonarda grape, which should not be confused for the same flavor as the ones that hail from Italy, this wine has notes of dark fruit marmalade and refreshing spice. It’s a little sweeter than most dark red wines, but has a nice blueberry finish that will pair perfectly with some Thanksgiving pie. 

Stags’ Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($40; totalwine.com)

If you have an avid wine lover in your family, they will be impressed by your wine selection when you show up to the dinner table with a bottle of Stags’ Leap. They may also think you shelled out close to $100 for the bottle. This historic Napa Valley winery has quite the reputation for being spot on with pretty much every year of vino they put out and their 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly no exception. It even received a 95 point rating from James Suckling. It’s vibrant and expressive with notes of blackberry, black cherry interwoven with more savory herbal notes of white pepper, chocolate and red currant.

Avaline Red ($24; drinkavaline.com)

This winery was co-founded by Cameron Diaz—need you hear more? Of course you do—because you appreciate good red wine. Not only is the flavor all there, but it’s clean, vegan, contains 0g of sugar and made with all-organic grapes and without unwanted extras that leave you feeling like a hungover owl the next morning. Think light-to-medium-bodied with bright red fruit and delicate aromas balanced by the perfect touch of spice.

Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 ($44; wine.com)
If you’re familiar with this vineyard, you know that you often have to cough up quite a bit of cash in order to score a bottle of one of their cabernets. This one is well priced for the flavor. Made mostly from Cabernet Sauvignon (85 percent) with a hint of Merlot (12 percent), Malbec (2 percent) and Cabernet Franc (1 percent), it has a vibrant ruby hue that is complemented with a rich, full palette that includes blackberry, cherry, whitbaking spice, and mocha. It’s perfectly balanced and pairs well with red meat, ahi tuna, and any type of cheese.

Marchesi Di Barolo Maraia Barbera Del Monferrato DOC ($15; wine.com)

With a Wine Spectator rating of 89, you can expect to get a lot more enjoyment out of this wine than you would most $15-priced bottles—especially of red. It’s dense, full-bodied, rustic and balanced with a smoky finish that lends itself nicely to some main dishes that might be on your holiday dining table this year. 

Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($69; wine.com)

This critically acclaimed Cabernet is a bit of a splurge, but it’s well worth it for the 2021 holiday season. It’s very dark fruit-forward with well-balanced notes of black cherries, blackberries, tobacco and vanilla. It pairs nicely with both vegetarian and meat dishes, from green bean casserole to black peppercorn-crusted filet mignon. 

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