Delicious Red Wines Perfect for Your Winter Wedding or Rehearsal Dinner
Add some quality vino to the menu at your intimate celebration without breaking the bank.
There's no doubt about it: As couple's adjust their weddings to intimate gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, figuring out which drinks to serve—even on a smaller scale—can be a challenge. Whether you choose to purchase an assortment of different bottles or want to go all out to craft custom sips, know that even wedding-day alcohol for a small celebration can be associated with a high price tag. Luckily, you don't have to spend big on every bottle—unless you want to!—in order to treat your guests to a few tasty glasses of vino. This is especially true when it comes to red wine, since quality and affordability are not mutually exclusive.
While we're all for the occasional splurge, there are plenty of affordable reds out there that taste as delicious as their pricier counterparts. Here, you'll find a list of red wines that'll satisfy your intimate group of guests and, even more importantly, your budget. These wines hail everywhere from Sonoma County, California, to Ampuis, France, and are sure to impress even the most esteemed sommelier of your close friends and family. The best part? Since the price is right (the majority these bottles are under $100, and many fall well below the $20 mark!), you'll be able to buy yourself case after case of these bottles, so you can celebrate future occasions with your wedding wine. But we included a few splurges, too, in case you wanted something special for just you and your significant other to enjoy.
If you're not providing the vino for your small reception, know that these bottles open just as well at pre-wedding events, like your engagement party, bridal shower, or rehearsal dinner with immediate loved ones. Even better, these go-to reds pair well with nearly any type of cuisine, so whether you're serving light bites or an elaborate fish dinner at the reception, there's varietal here you're sure to love.
It's safe to say that notes of chocolate in wine are always delightful. In addition to dark chocolate notes, this pinot noir also has hints of Morelle cherry and bramble.
Shop Now: Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2016, $37.99, vivino.com.
Antica Napa Valley
This Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for anyone looking for a wine that features a blend of fruit, spice, and savory notes. Though it's a bit of a splurge, it's the perfect bottle for just the bride and groom at the wedding, or to share with immediate family during the rehearsal dinner.
Shop Now: 2015 Antica Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, $52.99, totalwine.com.
Harvey & Harriet
This wine—which includes fruits and dark chocolate—is comforting year-round, but it is especially nice when the weather gets cool.
Shop Now: Harvey & Harriet, $32.99, napacabs.com.
A cozy garden ceremony calls for this rhubarb- and rose petal-forward pinot noir.
Shop Now: Locations OR Pinot Noir, price dependent on region, locationswine.com.
For wine-aficionados looking for hints of fruit in their bottle, this pinot noir has you covered. The wine features notes of fresh black cherry, Santa Rosa plum, and licorice flavors.
Shop Now: Smoke Tree Pinot Noir 2016, $21.97, winechateau.com.
Meiomi's 2016 Pinot Noir opens with notes that'll remind you of strawberry jam. Uncork this if you're serving tomato-based pasta dishes, pizza, grilled lamb, or turkey.
Shop Now: 2016 Meiomi Pinot Noir, $29.99, vivino.com.
If you're planning to serve a grilled entrée or a chocolate wedding cake, reach for this plum- and spice-forward bottle. It'll complement both flavors nicely.
Shop Now: The Seeker Red Blend, $10.99, napacabs.com.
In a random taste test, this was the reigning favorite with our editors. The perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and tart, this wine pairs best with finely-aged cheese.
Shop Now: Masi Campofiorin Rosso Del Veronese, $16.99, vivino.com.
With notes of spice and dark berry, this bottle of vino is well-suited to a cold-weather celebration.
Shop Now: Cloudy Bay Te Wahi 2015, $98.99, vivino.com.
If you're a fan of sweeter wines (hey, Moscato lovers!), you'll love Tom Gore's 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. This vino tastes like cherries, and while it's delicious all on its own, is even better when served with dinner.
Shop Now: Tom Gore 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, $12.99, vivino.com.
This Monterey County, California, red blend is light and relatively neutral—think mildly fruity, with just a hint of spice.
Shop Now: McBride Sisters Collection 2015 Red Blend Central Coast, $18.99, vivino.com.
The most amazing thing about Guigal's 2013 Côtes du Rhône Rouge? The family selects just one percent of the wine they taste from those growers to craft this full-bodied bottle. The bar is that high.
Shop Now: E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge, $18.99, vivino.com.
Tart and dry wine lovers, this Mendocino County Pinot Noir is for you.
Shop Now: Bonterra 2016 Pinot Noir, $22.97, winechateau.com.
C'est La Vie
Not a fan of oaky or smoky reds? Put this Pinot Noir on your radar. This bottle goes down easy and is the perfect pair with pizza.
Shop Now: C'est La Vie Pinot Noir Syrah, $12.99, oakandbarrel.com.
Cherry, blackberry, and vanilla aromas are on full display in the 2018 Sierra Trails Merlot, which also happens to be another one of Martha Stewart's picks.
Shop Now: 2018 Stone & Glass Merlot, $16.99, marthastewartwine.com.
This light and fruity crowd-pleaser will even impress guests who typically prefer white.
Shop Now: Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2016, $11.95, vivino.com.
Serving up gourmet cuisine at a small black-tie event? This figgy Malbec is your best bet, and will fool everyone into thinking it's $30 more a bottle than it actually costs.
Shop Now: Bodega Septima Malbec, $12.99, vivino.com.
You and your guests don't have to be big red wine drinkers to enjoy this bottle. Balanced and approachable, this Cabernet Sauvignon is an easy introduction to the red family.
Shop Now: Bacchus Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.96, astorwines.com.
Filled with the aromas of ripe blackberry and boysenberry along with hints of dark chocolate and sweet oak, this Cabernet Sauvignon will pair nicely with a savory meal at your intimate wedding reception or as a splurge if you elope.
Shop Now: Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $89.99, wine.com.
Côtes du Rhône
This inexpensive red wine, courtesy of Côtes du Rhône, is full bodied and features a hint of spice to warm you up with every sip at your small winter celebration.
Shop Now: Côtes du Rhône Rive Droite, Rive Gauche 2018, $11.96, astorwines.com.
Fruity to the finish, this red includes pleasing aromas of wild berries and an array of spicy notes.
Shop Now: Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico 2017, $26.99, wine.com.
Stone & Glass
Boasting cherry, raspberry, and blueberry flavors, this sweet wine complements a variety of meats and vegetables for your big-day meal.
Shop Now: 2018 Stone & Glass Merlot, $16.99, marthastewartwine.com.
If you are looking for a rich, full red wine, this Cabernet Sauvignon is for you. Complete with an assortment of berries and hints of sweet tobacco, brown spice, and bittersweet chocolate—the guests at your small celebration will leave with a new favorite wine.
Shop Now: Stags' Leap Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, $60, stagsleap.com.
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