Good wine also does not need to be expensive. Not only have we chosen wines that are readily available, but we also chose bottles that are less than $20 (some as low as $6.99) that we think your guests would enjoy.
We hope you enjoy our picks! Cheers!
First up, sparkling wine. You could always spring for the higher priced Champagne from France or you can get the easy to find and respectable Gruet Brut from New Mexico (yes, New Mexico produces wine!) and Cristalino (Brut or Rose) from Spain.
We've been drinking both of these for years, and they're always consistent. To get the best price, we buy cases of these bottles that oftentimes come with free or reduced shipping. Though they're not Cristal, we can get a couple of cases of these two wines for the price of one bottle of Cristal. We recently paid $9.99 for the Gruet and $6.99 for the Cristalino.
Other good choices for the holidays (and even everyday) are the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, Mionetto Prosecco, and the easy to find Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut NV.
Next is our choice for red wine: Cotes du Rhone and the Borsao wines from Spain.
We really like the '07 Rhone wines, both reds and whites, and most of the Perrin family wines are easy to find at good prices. The Reserve is usually about $8, and the Villages at left, roughly $13-$15. These are definitely bang for the buck wines, medium to full body with ripe, rich fruit.
Another highly rated and cheap Cotes du Rhone is the Delas 2007 St. Esprit Cotes du Rhone Red (around $9). For a good white wine, look for the Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2007. It is a serious and affordable alternative to Chardonnay that pairs well with rich, holiday fare.
The Tres Picos ($13-$18) from Borsao and the Borsao Red (often called the Baby Tres Picos, $7-$9) are great introductions to the magnificent value wines from Spain. They are both juicy, Garnacha (Grenache) based wines with loads of fruit without being over the top.
Other great value wines for the holidays are the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Crest's Grand Estates line (their Merlot will make you a fan again, give it a shot) and of course Malbecs from Argentina -- we often buy Alamos Seleccion, Terrezas de los Andes Reserva and the Clos de los Siete blend.
What are your inexpensive wine suggestions?