Wine. It can be so important that it deserves it’s own damn sentence. You can drink it in a grown-up sort of way – ya know, sipping on it and talking about adult-type topics like suburban school systems or the latest episode of The Affair, while eating artisan cheeses that taste good but might smell like a moldy shoe. Or you can pour this sweet ancient juice all over your face and down your gullet as if you’re in a King’s Landing brothel celebrating Tyrion Lannister’s royal birthday – hell, the poor little guy almost dies 18 times a year – he deserves it. I prefer somewhere in the middle, but whatever your approach is, we all know the holidays are made for wine. First of all, this time of year is about giving, right? What better gift to give than the gift of wine? It’s the easiest go-to gift to bring when you’re a guest for a holiday party/dinner because you know it will not go to waste. And secondly, ’tis the season for good food, and come on – nothing goes better with food than God’s gift of wine. But then that time comes – when you must walk (or in most cases hurry) into a store and pick out one or two or more bottles of wine to bring somewhere and panic sets in. You don’t want to be a cheap-ass, but you don’t want to blow a bunch of money on something you don’t even know if it’s good or not, and most importantly you don’t want to bring something that sucks. You look blankly at the aisles, and the regions, and the grapes and you might as well be taking the sommelier test that you didn’t study for. So we figured we could put a list out there to help guide your way thru the aisles this holiday season by offering you some good wine options that won’t break the bank. Here’s the best wines under $20 to get for the holiday season….
Angeline Pinot Noir – I’ve seen 2013 and 2014 vintages of this at a couple different wine shops and Binny’s. Every time I’ve gotten either year, it’s been a crowd pleaser. Goes especially well with food as most good Pinots do. You cannot beat the price for what you get. It should be around $11.99.
Il Poggione Rosso Di Montalcino 2013 – I’m slowly getting over my fear of trying to pick out good Italian wines, as should you, especially if you’re partaking in an Italian-style Christmas. Rossos Di Montalcino (made from Sangiovese grapes) are sometimes just as solid as the more aged Brunellos, but for a much reduced price. Try this one as a good smooth and supple starter. Yes, supple. Binny’s (Tuscany Section) $18.99.
Velvet Moon Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– Many seem to consider this the best red from the Trader Moon series at Trader Joe’s, and they are right. As you might guess, it’s velvety, but also silky and full-bodied, making it a good low price accompaniment to any meaty dish. $5.99
Bread & Butter Chardonnay – It’s not really a cool guy thing to open a conversation with “Do you like buttery Chardonnays?” But let’s say you do like em buttery or your girl does, then give this one a whirl. Binny’s $13.99.
Landmark Overlook Pinot Noir 2013 – A friend who knows his stuff recommended this to me as a great value for a really good Pinot and he was 100% right. It’s bright, balanced, and medium-bodied with soft tannins. Binny’s $19.99.
Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir Russian River Lot #33 – A lot of good wines come out of that ‘ol Russian River and this is one of them. Trader Joe’s got in on some good grapes here. It’s smooth but dry and fruit forward and finishes nice and smooth. Trader Joe’s $14.99.
Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2013 – I’m really liking Zinfandels lately the more I pay attention. This one is from a vineyard that’s been at it a while. It’s medium-bodied, peppery, with some raspberry notes. Lively and zesty, yet approachable – like the sisters. I’ve seen it at Costco and Binny’s but don’t let the local wine shop get you for $26 if you can help it. It should be $18.99.
Michael Gassier 2012 Nostre Pais Rouge – To be honest, I haven’t drank this one yet. But I got a lengthy tour of wines across the world with this older French dude at Binny’s and when I asked him about the one French wine that I should get for under $20 he gave me this bottle with a lot of confidence. And now I give it to you for the amazing price of $17.99.
Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage 2012 – I’m constantly confused as to which Kirkland wines are good, but they are out there all the time. I won’t bore you with the definition of Meritage, but basically it’s a Bordeaux-style wine. This one is straightforward with rich cherry notes, a bit of pepper, and a clean finish. There is a Kirkland Rutherford Meritage that is also good if it’s still available and for that matter, keep trying Kirkland wines as there are some solid ones. Get this Meritage for $10.99.
Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2014 – Listen, we all know about golden girl Kim Crawford. If you think you might be sick of drinking it by the gallon, then check out a Viognier. Southern Australia seems to be specialize in this white grape varietal. This one’s full-bodied, dry, with peach, apricot, honeysuckle notes and a silky finish. Binny’s $9.99.
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2014 – Yes another Pinot Noir, and yes because it’s the best kind of wine for these occasions, when you’ll be serving a variety of people and eating a variety of foods. This one fits right in nicely with its jammy fruit, vanilla notes, and some oaky flavor to add some depth. Jump on it at Binny’s on sale from $19.99 down to $14.99.
That’s it you winos, I’m done. Now do yourself a favor and pull this up on your mobile device as we have made some improvements, and hit the store. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – We are always looking for feedback from the readers so I command you to share a wine that’s on your must-try list. None of that poisoned juice that King Joffrey got deathly drunk on either. I want the good stuff dammit! Happy Holidays from The Mr. Project.