Favorite Reasonably-Priced Wines for the Holidays

Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco: Love this Label, Love this Wine

‘Tis the season to be festive. And whether you’re buying for yourself or for someone else (a finely-crafted bottle of wine almost always makes a great gift), there’s no need to go overboard. Even bubbly is more delicious and moderately priced than ever these days.

Take Cupcake Vineyard’s Prosecco. This delightfully refreshing, effervescent nectar rings in at less than $15. I love any kind of bubbles for the aperitif, but you can just as easily pair this delicious Italian wine with gorgonzola or lemon pie.

Not surprisingly, I have a soft spot for Cupcake in general. (I’m such a girly-girl.) But to me, wine is like perfume, the name and packaging are almost as important as what’s inside. So how about the newly-released 2010 Cupcake Vineyards Red Velvet Wine? Yum. It’s the first blended red wine for Cupcake and as you can imagine, it envelopes your taste buds in aromas of chocolate, mocha and deep, rich, red fruits. How can you not pick up a bottle for your best girl friend, especially with a SRP of less than $15.?

Other Cupcake faves include their Dry Riesling from Colombia Valley and their Riesling from Mosel Valley. Both possess the luscious, full-bodied flavors of the renowned terroirs of Washington state and Germany, respectively. Reach for Cupcake’s Mosel Valley Riesling to kick off your special holiday meals or to accompany grilled fish; their Dry Riesling begs to be served with something more exotic such as a stir fry or a spicy chicken tagine.

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel: Zinfully Good

If you’re serving turkey, ham, a nice selection of cheeses or even pasta with marinara sauce, consider the Zins. And if you mention Zinfandels, chances are you’ll be thinking about Ravenswood, highly-appreciated wines that give original Zin new meaning. To me, the price/quality relationship on their wines always astounds. It’s hard to believe that their 2009 Vintners Blend Zinfandel typically rings in at $10.; I’d say the same for their 2009 Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel that packs a whole lot of heart and soul for $15. No wimpy wines here.

Other favorites within this price range include Concannon’s Conservancy red wines from Livermore Valley. In my story, Welcoming Fall with a Feast and a Fine Wine, I describe how their 2009 Crimson & Clover brings out all the extraordinary flavors of my fall harvest dinner. I’ve been waxing sentimental about the astonishing qualities of this velvety and aromatic wine ever since. Still can’t believe it’s distributed nationally with a SRP of $15. Can’t wait to try Concannon’s Petite Sirah, also priced in the $15. range, another wine known for its fantastic depth and character.

Coloradans take notice! Boy, do I have a special holiday wine for you. I’ve fallen in love with St. Kathryn Cellars Cranberry Kiss, from Palisade, Colorado. I’m crazy about its rich, red color and delicious combination of sweet and sour. Or is that tang? What a fun choice for accompanying holiday turkeys, hams, cheese plates and more. Plus I’ve found that its high sugar content allows it to stay fresh in the fridge for days on end—just in case you don’t finish it off in one sitting. I like it served chilled with a splash of Perrier as an aperitif or to accompany a meal. I certainly hope I don’t offend Glenn Foster, the owner of St. Kathryn Cellars, with that twist but I do find it to be especially refreshing prepared as a sort of cocktail. As the son of Reed Foster, one of the founders of Ravenswood, Glenn clearly knows more than a thing or two about making wine. And you guessed it, this cheery bottle of cranberry nectar typically rings in at $15. For now though, it only sells in restaurants and wine and liquor stores within Colorado. Just one more reason to visit our beautiful state. You can also have bottles shipped to your friends, family or business contacts in Colorado.

Happy holiday sipping!

St. Kathryn Cellars Cranberry Kiss: My Private Pre-Thanksgiving Tasting

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