Affordable Holiday Wines

holiday-wine-crdt-stuart-mullenbergThe holidays can be a drain on the ole bank account, so this is time of year bargains often look more appealing than ever, especially when it comes to finding bottles to carry you through the holiday party season. Here’s a list of 10 affordable holiday wines that taste great and clock in at $20 or less.

“Cepa Pura” Fernão Pires, Quinta do Montalto, 2013, $10
Flavors of pear and quince take the lead in this unique Portuguese white, with a crisp acidity that cuts nicely through decadent, butter-laden dishes. Perfect for resetting the palate.

SIMI Sonoma County Chardonnay, 2013, $10
Everyone has that one aunt who, regardless of the menu and beverage offerings, demands a glass of Chardonnay. Luckily, this classic California Chardonnay offers a brilliant fruit profile with mango, pear and stone fruit balanced by a lightly toasted oakiness and a creamy, buttery character. You just might please the rest of the family, too.

Bedrock California Shebang Eighth Cuvée, $11
True to the enthusiasm expressed in the exclamation point on its label, this red blend is bold and spicy with meaty notes and red and black fruit. A blend of more than half a dozen grapes, the Zinfandel base comes from the 100-plus-year-old vines at Bedrock Vineyards and makes for a supremely drinkable red perfect for pairing with hearty comfort foods.

14 Hands Hot To Trot Red Blend, 2012, $11
For finicky guests, this Merlot, Syrah and Cab Sauv blend is smooth and fruity with aromas of blackberry, plum and baking spice—perfect for holiday spreads and widely available.

Vitiano Rosso, 2012, $12
Equal parts Cabernet, Sangiovese and Merlot create this wallet-friendly, lively red. Ruby-red fruits are balanced with dry notes of tobacco and licorice, resulting in a tannin-forward bottle that—at this price—you might as well purchase by the case.

Dr. Loosen Riesling, 2013, $12
Consistently praised for the value, this classic, off-dry Mosel Riesling delivers the anticipated flavors of stone fruit along with a pleasing minerality. At 8.5 percent alcohol and with just enough sweetness, it pairs perfectly with strong cheese.

Juvé y Camps Cava Brut Nature Reserva de la Familia, 2010, $16
Any festive gathering, particularly the holidays, calls for a few bubbles. This excellent, bone-dry Cava offers aromas of fresh herbs, green tea and toasted bread.

Commanderie de la Bargemone Rosé Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2014, $18
Rosé may be the ultimate summer wine, but it’s so food-friendly that we like it all year round. This classic Provence rosé has the expected berry notes, but with a savory herb quality that deepens as it breathes.

Maculan Brentino Veneto, 2012, $18
From Italy’s Veneto region, this Bordeaux-style blend is half Cabernet and half Merlot, aged in a mix of French oak and stainless steel. Smoky, savory and even a bit vegetal up front, this wine benefits from time in the decanter to bring forward fruity notes like dark cherries.

Left Coast Cellars Cali’s Cuvée Pinot Noir, 2012, $20
The Willamette Valley has become renowned for its Pinot Noirs, and this offering from Left Coast Cellars fits cozily into any fall menu. With spicy, autumnal aromas and savory notes of bay laurel against bright red fruit, the Cali’s Cuvee could easily be the star of your intimate dinner party.