Wines To Gift Without Breaking The Bank

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The holidays are here! Today is the second night of Hanukkah with Christmas and Kwanzaa just around the corner. Plus, don’t forget New Year’s! We know that the rush to buy gifts for family members, friends and co-workers is in full swing. One short week after that, the pressure is on to bring a great bottle of wine to your New Year’s party. These wines are a great answer to your holiday gift giving quandary and will sure to be a hit at the New Year’s party.

Here are some of our picks for great wines that wouldn’t break the bank (all are $30 and under):

  • GD Varja Moscato d’Asti (sparkling wine, Piedmont Italy).  Moscato d’Asti is one of the hottest styles of wine in the country and one that I totally love!  I fell in love with Moscato d’Asti in the early 2000’s and haven’t looked back.  GD Varja is an amazing producer of wines out of Italy and his rendition of Moscato d’Asti is stunningly beautiful with delicate notes of peaches and apricots!  It makes a great gift or the perfect appertif or dessert wine for New Year’s.  I paired it with a Pavlova (a giant meringue filled with whip cream and fruit) and it was one of my most memorable wine pairings ever!
  • Nicolas Feuillatte “Blue Label” Brut Champagne (Champagne France).  It’s hard to find a real French champagne for under $25.  Nicolas Feuillatte squeezes just under that price bar.  If you want the real deal and you don’t want to break the bank, then this is the champagne for you.
  • Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Rose (sparkling wine, Mendicino California).  This sparkler from Mendicino (the county north of Napa and Sonoma) is the American daughter of the French champagne house.  A very good sparkler at a great price. 
  • 2009 Weingut Allram Gaisberg Gruner Veltliner Kamptal Reserve (white wine, Austria).  I love Gruner Veltliner.  It’s refreshing with a spicy greenness and soft white pepper.  This is a higher end Gruner that has a touch of oak.  Delicious!
  • 2010 Foxen “Bien Nacido Vineyard Block” Chardonnay (white wine, Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay).  I will admit that I am not a huge Chardonnay fan, but I love almost everything that Foxen does.  If you are a Sideways fan, you might recognize this winery as the shack in the movie outside of Los Olivos.  I will warn you that this wine was $1 over the $30 budget but I couldn’t resist adding it to the list.
  • 2009 Elk Cove Pinot Noir (red wine, Willamette Valley, Oregon).  I have long been a fan of Oregon Pinot Noirs.  To me, they are like reasonably priced crosses between Russian River Pinot Noir with Burgundy with something special that makes them quintessentially Oregon.  Elk Cove delivers!
  • 2009 Ridge Vineyards “Three Valleys” Zinfandel (red wine, Sonoma California).  One of my favorite wineries in California.  Ridge makes consistently high quality wine and has a style all of its own.  This wine sneaks in and is a blend of grapes from three vineyards in Sonoma.  Guaranteed to be a crowd favorite.
  • 2007 Tahblik Cabernet Sauvignon (red wine, Victoria Australia).  People generally associate Australia with Syrah but Australian winemakers also make some amazing Cabernet Sauvignon wines.  Tahblik has been make wines for over 150 years and nails its rendition of Cabernet.  A virtual steal at $15 (you can buy two gifts and be right at the $30 mark and the Syrah is just as good if you want variety)
  • Jackson Triggs Icewine (dessert wine, Ontario Canada).  Icewine is a luxury wine and it’s hard to find at a good price point.  Jackson Triggs makes a lovely icewine around the $20 mark.  Surprise a friend for the holidays or impress the guests at New Years! 
  • Graham’s “Six Grapes” Port (fortified dessert wine, Portugal).  No list could be complete with Port.  I recently found out that Port is a very popular Christmas gift in England (and frequently consumed on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas).  That’s a tradition that’s worth adopting.

* photo courtesy of

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