The challenge: It’s the holidays. You’re hosting a houseful and need to lay in a supply of well-priced wines that don’t taste (or look) like bargain-bin wines. And the last thing you want to do is spend hours chasing all over town for just-the-right bottles.
The solution: Six fine-looking, great-tasting bottles that will do your party proud—all $10 or under and widely available at supermarkets and discount retailers.
Ravenswood Vintner’s Blend 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel (California; $10): This classic red Zin brims with ripe, bright berries and a snappy finish.
Bogle Vineyards 2010 Merlot (California; $10): With its bright fruit, light spice, and a palate-perking acidity, this red reveals a zippy, party-perfect side of Merlot.
Castello Banfi Col di Sasso 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese (Toscana; $9): Relish Sangiovese’s shimmery brightness along with the fruity, easy-drinking appeal of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Gewürztraminer (Columbia Valley; $9): Rife with lush fruit, vibrant spice, and tangy refreshment, this is one of the most elegant $9 wines you’ll ever find.
Jacob’s Creek 2011 Chardonnay (South Eastern Australia; $8): A lemony backdrop illuminates the irresistible pear-melon flavors in this lively crowd-pleaser.
Ruffino “Lumina” 2010 Pinot Grigio (Delle Venezie; $10): This medium-bodied, dry, crisp sip will help keep everyone refreshed as conversations really take off.