Someone recently asked me what I drink when I just want to drink. Well, actually they asked what I drink when I just want to get drunk, which, while a slightly different question, would elicit the same answer. I love great wine, but I am happy to tell anyone who’ll listen that great wine is only great with a little bit of perspective. I frequently like a little perspective with my dinner (to steal a great line from Ratatouille!).

So, what wines give me perspective? Well, they’re usually pretty inexpensive, and frequently on the lighter side, but not always. Since almost all white wines fit that bill, I’m going to focus today on the best red wines that thrill me on the cheap! With my old world palate it’s not surprising that my list is a bit skewed, but keep reading for a few surprising suggestions.

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Do you have a go-to "just for fun" wine? Do you have any favorite bottles for under $15? Head to the Snooth forums and let us know. While you're there, weigh in on our Global Tasting Initiative or the best and worst names for wineries.