10 Best Malbec Wines Under $20 (2021)

Best Malbec Under $20 Featured

Malbec wines are known for their exotic flavor, deep purple color, and for being full-bodied. They’re made from a dark variety of grapes that are tricky to mature finely without the topography of a valley and an equatorial climate. Malbec wines require a lot of sunlight and high elevation spots, making them not as common as other red wines in the west. That’s why most Malbec’s are sourced from South America and Southern parts of Europe. Argentina is home to the most Malbec-focused viticultural areas on the planet.

Malbecs generally have a higher alcohol percentage than conventional wines, which is something you should watch out for if you’re planning to cut down on your intake. But that’s not all they’re potent in; Malbecs also have a reputation for being quite strong on the nose, too, combined with flavors like blackberry, plum, jam, and notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Here are some of the top Malbec wines under $20.


Best Malbec Wines Under $20

Best Overall Best Value Best Under $15 Best From Chile Best From France Best From United States La Posta Catena Viña Cobos Vinyes Ocults
Bottle
Name Catena Appellation Lunlunta Malbec Piattelli Malbec Reserve Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard Malbec Viu Manent San Carlos Estate Malbec Crocus L’Atelier Malbec de Crocus Francis Ford Coppola Winery Diamond Collection Malbec La Posta Paulucci Malbec Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec Viña Cobos Felino Malbec Vinyes Ocults Malbec
Color Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red
Country Argentina Argentina Argentina Chile France United States Argentina Argentina Argentina Argentina
Grapes Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec Malbec
Taste Blackberry, Plum, Oak, Vanilla, Cocoa Plum, Chocolate, Oak, Dark Fruit, Caramel Blueberry, Blackberry, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pepper Blackberry, Dark Cherry, Toast, Spice, Tobacco Blackcurrant Jam, Plum, Burlat Cherry, Tobacco, Vanilla Plum, Blackberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, Oak Blackberries, Caramel, Plum, Vanilla, Black Tea Plum, Blackberry, Cherry, Chocolate, Oak Red Fruits, Blackberry, Plum, Mild Vanilla, Cocoa Blackberry, Black Plum, Raspberry, Cherry, Herbal Notes
Food Pairing Grilled Ribs, Stip Steaks, Meaty Pasta, Barbecued Tenderloin Meat Lovers Pizza, Roast Beef, Lentil Stew, Lamb Cutlets Lamb Chops, Ribeye, Beef Burger, Meaty Pasta, Roasted Pork Argentinian Steak, Marinated Pork, Roasted Venison, Baby Ribs Tomato-Based Foods, Grilled Burgers, T-Bone Steak, Aged Cheese Lasagna, Roasted Lamb, Meatballs, Chocolate Desserts Meaty Pasta, Lamb Burger With Smoked Paprika, Butternut Squash Tart Filet Mignon, Churrasco Style Meat, Chimichurri, Argentinian Empanadas Meatball Spaghetti, Burgers, Roasted Turkey, Ribeye Carne Asada Quesadillas, Roasted Duck, Chili Con Carne
Alcohol Content 13.5% 14% 14.5% 13.5% 13.5% 14.1% 13.1% 13.5% 14% 13.9%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
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Best Overall

  • Name — Catena Appellation Lunlunta Malbec
  • Winery — Catena
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza, Lunlunta
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Blackberry, Red Berries, Vanilla, Mocha
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blackberry, Plum, Oak, Vanilla, Cocoa
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Grilled Ribs, Stip Steaks, Meaty Pasta, Barbecued Tenderloin
Overall Rating: 4.6

Positives
  • Fresh Aromas
  • Herbal Notes
  • Long-Form Tannins
  • Complex Finish
Negatives
  • A Tad Too Dry

Catena Appellation Lunlunta Malbec is the best Malbec wine under $20 you can get. It has a stunning, deep violet color with strong aromas of ripe red and dark fruits as well as some traces of cocoa. The palate offers rich, fruity flavors like plum, jam, and blackberries with an aftertaste of leather and cinnamon. It has a silky-smooth finish with an abundant supply of tannins to make the taste linger.

The Catenas are a family of vintners with over 100 years of expertise and are renowned in both their viticulture and agriculture. Catena has been accredited to have led the Malbec revolution in Argentina. It all began in the beautiful district of Lunlunta.

Lunlunta is a small sub-region of Mendoza, Argentina, famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec vineyards located on the northern edge of the hills. The vineyards receive rich deposits of silt from the Mendoza River, transforming into spicy and earthy tasting notes in the wine. The region sits at an elevation of 3000 ft. above sea level. It receives intense sunlight throughout the day, which is followed by cold nights that help the grapes retain their acidity and flavor.


Best Value

  • Name — Piattelli Malbec Premium Reserve
  • Winery — Piattelli
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Salt, Calchaqui Valley, Cafayate Valley
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Blueberries, Blackberries, Spicy Plum, Violets
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Plum, Chocolate, Oak, Dark Fruit, Caramel
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Meat Lovers Pizza, Roast Beef, Lentil Stew, Lamb Cutlets
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Lovely Finish
  • Easy To Drink
  • Soft Mouthfeel
Negatives
  • A Tad Too Earthy

Piattelli Vineyards Premium Reserve Malbec is a rich and fragrant wine with a deep violet hue. On the nose, it envelopes the senses with an exquisite bouquet of floral notes like crushed roses. It’s a medium-bodied wine that is fruity but has earthy notes. The tasting notes are plum and blackcurrant with delicate hints of caramel, tobacco, and oak. It has a soft velvety mouthfeel and goes down smoothly. The tannins are moderate but just enough to make the finishing notes linger.

Piattelli is a family-owned winery that was founded in 2002 by Valeria Antolin in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Valeria is a fourth-generation winemaker and agronomist engineer. Piattelli grows its Malbec in the arid-clean air, crystal-clear water, and nutrient-concentrated soils of the Cafayate Valley in Argentina. At 5600 ft., Cafayate is a famous wine-producing region in North-West Argentina. It is one of the highest places in the world that provides abundant terroirs for viticulture.


Best Under $15

  • Name — Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard Malbec
  • Winery — Finca Decero
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza, Agrelo
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Plum, Blackberry, Cocoa, Tobacco, Earthy And Floral Notes
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blueberry, Blackberry, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Pepper
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Chops, Ribeye, Beef Burger, Meaty Pasta, Roasted Pork
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Balanced Acidity
  • Lovely Spicy Notes
  • Very Silky
Negatives
  • Lacks A Bit Of Depth

If you’re on a tight dinner budget, Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard’s Malbec can compete with any top-rated Malbec under $20 on any given day. The body is a medium red with plenty of tannins, making it the ideal accompaniment for a game meat dinner.

You’ll get strong dark fruit and floral notes on the nose and palate with a soft silky mouthfeel that’s slightly acidic. The acidity cuts through and washes down meat cooked with exotic spices really well, so use it for a heavy dinner. Finca Decero is a notable winery in Mendoza that was established in 2000 by Swiss business magnate and billionaire Thomas Schmidheiny. The site of the estate was carefully chosen after studying the entire region to find the most fertile and versatile soil.

The Finca Decero Estate is situated in Agrelo, Mendoza, and receives gravel-rich soil deposits from the movement of the Mendoza River, resulting in a soil tapestry reminiscent of the famous Bordeaux region in France. The soil here is perfectly suited to growing a number of wines, particularly Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Finca Decero has demonstrated an effective understanding of the nuances of the region’s soil tapestry and has won world-class awards for their vintages since 2006.


Best From Chile

  • Name — Viu Manent San Carlos Estate Malbec
  • Winery — Viu Manent
  • Country/Region — Chile, Central Valley, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
  • Type — Chilean Malbec
  • Aroma — Plum, Blackberry, Fig, Mocha, Oak
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blackberry, Dark Cherry, Toast, Spice, Tobacco
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Argentinian Steak, Marinated Pork, Roasted Venison, Baby Ribs
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Full-Body
  • Soft Texture
  • Well-Structured
Negatives
  • A Little Bit Sour

Viu Manent San Carlos’ Malbec is a dark red Chilean vintage known for its unique and mesmerizing combination of floral notes. It has crushed roses and honeysuckle on the nose, with a subtle nutty flavor. The wine is full-bodied, has a classic Chilean smoky element to its flavor, and combines a staggering variety of tasting notes, including dark fruits, leather, oak, tobacco, nuts, and vanilla.

Situated in the valleys of the Colchagua province, an area in Central Chile famously known for its viticulture, the Viu Manent San Carlos Estate was founded in 1935 by a Catalonian immigrant Miguel-Viu Garcia and his two sons. Since then, it has flourished into a viticultural paradise that produces some of Chile’s best export-quality wines.

It’s located in the southernmost part of the Rapel Valley that boasts a warm climate with lots of sunshine. This is balanced with the cool ocean breeze and occasional rainfall, making it Chile’s best-known wine region. The soil types are suited for growing a number of full-bodied varieties such as Cabernet, Syrah, and Malbec.


Best From France

  • Name — Crocus L’Atelier Malbec de Crocus
  • Winery — Crocus
  • Country/Region — France, South West France, Haut-Pays, Cahors
  • Type — French Malbec
  • Aroma — Cherry, Plum, Blackberry, Violets, Earthy Notes
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blackcurrant Jam, Plum, Burlat Cherry, Tobacco, Vanilla
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Tomato-Based Foods, Grilled Burgers, T-Bone Steak, Aged Cheese
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Amazing Complexity
  • Full Body
  • Very Elegant
Negatives
  • Finish Could Be Longer

No list of wines is complete without at least one French vintage. Crocus L’Atelier is a tribute to Malbecs that combines traditional ways of producing wines with a modern touch. The result is a wine with bright, fruity flavors and rustic earth notes.

It is a deep burgundy vintage, imbued with a complex nose consisting of dark cherry, leather, and tobacco notes and just a delicate hint of salinity. On the palate, you get plum, oak, and smokiness. This makes it perfect for pairing with savory meat dishes and cheese. Crocus L’Atelier was founded in 2011 by internationally recognized winemaker Paul Hobbs and fourth-generation Cahors vintner Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux. The story goes that Hobbs traveled to Argentina upon learning of the global success of the Malbec to study their winemaking technique.

Having found the ideal climatic conditions in the Cahors region of France, the two partners decided to meld their traditional ways with the modern Argentinian approach. Cahors is a popular winemaking commune in the Occitanie Region of France. It’s known for producing robust and tannic red wine, made with 70% or more Malbec. The two partners have since gone on to produce award-winning vintages.


Best From United States

  • Name — Francis Ford Coppola Winery Diamond Collection Malbec
  • Winery — Francis Ford Coppola
  • Country/Region — United States, California
  • Type — Californian Malbec
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Plum, Violet, Pepper, Herbal Notes
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Plum, Blackberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, Oak
  • Alcohol Content — 14.1%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lasagna, Roasted Lamb, Meatballs, Chocolate Desserts
Overall Rating: 4.2

Positives
  • Full Body
  • Pleasant Finish
  • Well-Balanced
Negatives
  • A Little Bit Bitter

Francis Ford’s Diamond Collection Malbec is one of California’s most prominent wines. It’s made in California’s Sonoma Country, which, along with Napa Valley, is among the largest wine-producing viticultural areas, contributing to over 70% of the wines produced in America. Francis Ford Malbec has robust flavors of currant, plum, and spices with a jammy finish. It has medium tannins and offers immediate drinkability. The nose is spicy and floral with mineral notes. It’s a good Malbec under $20 to pair with any dinner.

Francis Ford Coppola used the proceeds from the classic hit The Godfather to establish his vineyard in Napa Valley, 1975. The winery produced its first vintage in 1977 and has become an established winery that produces high-quality Malbec along with other wines. Francis Ford’s Diamond Collection wines are made with grapes sourced from all across California, particularly Sonoma County. It’s a geographically diverse area that offers winegrowers a variety of climate and soil conditions to grow all kinds of grapes. The climate can be characterized as sunny, which is not surprising seeing as it’s also called the Sunshine State with cool nights, breezes, and fog.


Best of the Rest

La Posta Paulucci Malbec

  • Name — La Posta Paulucci Malbec (Angel Paulucci Vineyard)
  • Winery — La Posta
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Crushed Roses, Red Cherries, Raspberries, Toasted Oak
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blackberries, Caramel, Plum, Vanilla, Black Tea
  • Alcohol Content — 13.1%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Meaty Pasta, Lamb Burger With Smoked Paprika, Butternut Squash Tart
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Amazing Aroma
  • Perfectly Balanced
  • Very Bold
Negatives
  • A Tad Too Acidic

La Posta Paulucci Malbec is a medium-bodied inky red wine that’s extremely popular in Argentina. It’s a dry wine that’s a little on the acidic side but offers a unique combination of flavors such as caramel, chocolate, plum, black cherries, and licorice. It also leaves strong impressions of crushed roses and honeysuckle on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich and velvety and has a clean finish with a refreshing aftertaste that’s reminiscent of spring. It makes for a good pairing choice for pasta, smoked foods, and butternut squash tart.

The Angel Paulucci vineyard was founded in the 2000s by a coalition of growers who had access to many terroirs and their own unique experiences in trying to achieve the best flavor. Today, Angel Paulucci is a recognized brand throughout the world for Malbec. La Posta Paulucci Malbec is grown in the Mendoza Region of Argentina by various small family-owned vineyards. It sits on a high elevation and receives plenty of sunlight during the day and cool breezes during the night. This allows the Malbec to develop its aroma and flavor profiles with a more acidic tone.


Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec

  • Name — Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec
  • Winery — Catena
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza, Uco Valley, Vista Flores
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Red Fruit Aromas, Lavender, Violet, Mocha
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Plum, Blackberry, Cherry, Chocolate, Oak
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Filet Mignon, Churrasco Style Meat, Chimichurri, Argentinian Empanadas
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Balanced Acidity
  • Smooth Flavor
  • Well-Balanced
Negatives
  • Slightly Too Dry

Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec is another exquisite Malbec wine produced by the proud vintners of the Catena family in Vista Flores. It has a dark-purple hue, and the nose brims with tropical ecstasy. The scent gives gentle floral notes close to lavender and violet. It has subtle hints of bell pepper and tobacco on the palate, making it an excellent companion for spicy foods and Italian cuisine. The finish of the wine is silky smooth. For under $20, it’s a wine you can celebrate with.

Catenas is a family-owned and run winery with over 100 years of expertise. Their Vista Flores Malbec is produced in Vista Flores, a viticultural area situated on the sloped plains of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. The vineyards follow the eastern edge of the Andes Mountains and receive nutrient-rich soil deposits from the Tunuyan River flowing south.

The high-altitude area receives pure, concentrated sunlight every day, which helps the grapes achieve phenolic ripeness. Given the altitude of the valley, the nights can get pretty cold. This temperature fluctuation allows grapes to ripen during the day and take a break during the night, giving us wines with complex flavors, mineral density, and acidity.


Viña Cobos Felino Malbec

  • Name — Viña Cobos Felino Malbec
  • Winery — Viña Cobos
  • Country/Region — Argentina, Mendoza
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Plum, Blackberry, Coffee, Oak, White Flowers
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Red Fruits, Blackberry, Plum, Mild Vanilla, Cocoa
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Meatball Spaghetti, Burgers, Roasted Turkey, Ribeye
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Rich Fruitiness
  • Delicate Aroma
  • Well-Rounded
  • Very Light
Negatives
  • A Little Bit Bitter

An inky, medium-bodied red wine, Viña Cobos Felino Malbec has won numerous international awards. The nose is reminiscent of plum and blackcurrant meshed with graphite notes. On the palate, you get rich dark fruit flavors, with a balance of dryness and sweet tannins. It’s sweeter and juicier than most wines. This makes it a good wine to pair with any dish, particularly red meats and casseroles.

Viña Cobos and Paul Hobbs founded Viña Cobos Felino in 1988. Together, the partners mapped all the terroirs of the region to find the most distinguished ones to create unique flavors. Viña Cobos Felino grows its Malbec in the renowned wine region of Mendoza, Argentina. The aroma and taste of the wine are the authentic expressions of the soft-clay, alluvial terroir they’re grown in.

Their estates and vineyards are located in Lujan de Cuyo and Valle de Udo. During the premier growing seasons, snowmelt from the nearby Andes Mountains irrigates the soil. Viña Cobos Felino released their first vintage in 1999 and has since produced numerous prestigious wines that have won awards.


Vinyes Ocults Malbec

  • Name — Vinyes Ocults Malbec
  • Winery — Vinyes Ocults
  • Country/Region — Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
  • Type — Argentinian Malbec
  • Aroma — Blueberry, Licorice, Tobacco, Pepper, Vanilla
  • Grapes — Malbec
  • Taste — Blackberry, Black Plum, Raspberry, Cherry, Herbal Notes
  • Alcohol Content — 13.9%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Carne Asada Quesadillas, Roasted Duck, Chili Con Carne
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Velvety Aftertaste
  • Complex Notes
  • Very Easy To Drink
Negatives
  • Might Be Tad Too Acidic

Vinyes Ocults Malbec is a medium- to full-bodied inky red wine with a soft mouthfeel but complex structure. The main tasting notes are blueberry jam with dark citrus fruits and hints of raspberry, spices, and oak. It’s also very aromatic with notes of cherries, strawberries, and other sugary red fruits. The best part about this wine is its complexity. The body hoards a number of tasting notes across the spectrum from earthy to fruity and yet manages to finish smoothly. This wine is the embodiment of the word “finesse.”

Vinyes Ocults was established in 2007 as a garage winery located in Villa Del Parque, Godoy Cruz, and Mendoza. Vinyes Ocults Malbec is grown in the prominent vineyards of the Uco Valley, Mendoza. The altitude provides the perfect soil and climatic conditions for producing Malbec. Vinyes Ocults source their grapes from high-quality vineyards in Europe and nearby areas. In the first two months of their production alone, the winery sold out 400 liters of wine. It has since been producing some of the best accessible Malbecs in the world.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you found this list of the best Malbecs under $20 helpful. Malbecs are best when they’re velvety, have red fruit aromas with floral notes, and a complex palatory experience punctuated with some spice and minerals. If you’re a traveler and connoisseur, the best regions to taste some of the finest Malbecs are Cahors and Argentina.

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