Bring on the Holiday Reds! Great Wine Picks for Christmas Gifts or Entertaining

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Cheap & Cheerful Red Wine Picks for the Holiday

Here at The Recessionista we love our reds, red wine that is!  There’s nothing better than a great glass of wine for your holiday parties or for a special Christmas/Holiday dinner.  Some of these fabulous wines I are from Oregon and Washington State. The cooler climates there are perfect for growing full bodied and flavorful Pinot Noirs.  A few on the list are from California, from Napa and Santa Barbara.

Here’s my pick list.  These wines are easy on the palate and the pocket book.  These wine make great holiday gifts

Alexandria Nicole  “Quarry Butte” Alexandria Nicole’s delicious blend of Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc/Malbec/ Syrah is priced at a mere $20.00 per bottle and it’s well worth it. There are flavors of dark berries merged with “hints of cedar and elegant oak-spice.”   Check the winery’s website for distributors. 
Artisanal Wine Cellars  “Pinot Noir 2008.”  This small winery (they make only 2,000 cases per year) produces an amazing 2008 Pinot Noir grown in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon. Wine maker, Tom Feller buys his grapes from local farms.  He attributes the volcanic based soil and his “small batch practices” to the rich flavor of Artisanal’s Pinor Noir.  The flavor is a burst of berries with a hint of spice/cinnamon.  Besides being delicious, the wines are reasonably priced.  Their Pinots range from $20.00 to $34.00 depending on the year.

Bridlewood Winery,  Santa Barbara, Blend 175. Look for their delicious Blend 175 in grocery stores in California like Vons and Ralph’s priced from $12.00 to $15.00.  And despite it’s low price tag, Robert Parker scores the 2009 Blend 175 at 89 points “Abundant black currant fruit notes intermixed with hints of white chocolate, pepper and earth. It is a spicy, delicious, endearing, medium-bodied red with exuberant fruit as well as a boisterous personality.”

Canihan Family Cellars Exhuberance Syrah.  I can’t say enough good things about this wine.  It’s absolutely delicious and well worth the $50.00 price tag.  This Syrah has hints of blueberry and red raspberry along with hints of peppercorn.  I had the pleasure of trying the wine and meeting the wine maker at Wolfgang Puck’s The Cut restaurant in Beverly Hills.  This wine goes well with beef, lamb or duck.   Try to get the 2008 if you can.  That is their award winning year (prize at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. )

Cougar Crest  “Anniversary Cuvee.”   This wine, priced at $32.00, delivers big flavor at a reasonable price.  Fittingly, wine maker Deborah Hansen named this wine for her own Anniversary celebration. The “Anniversary Cuvee” is a delicious blend of  Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot.  The cooler temperatures in the Walla Walla River in Washington State provide the perfect climate and soil for the amazing Estate Merlots and magnificent Cabernet France from this small winery. If you like reds, you will want to check out Cougar Crest’s current special on free shipping when you order six bottles.

WildAire Cellars, Pinot Noir Willamette 2008.  This is a wine I would never have found on my own, because the wine maker only makes 800 cases per year.   Because so little is produced, the wine maker Matt Driscoll, told me there is a “secret ingredient in the mix– love.” I can’t describe this one better than the tasting notes, “Deep flavors of juicy cherries, dark chocolate, cloves, and vanilla, evolve into an incredibly long and beautiful finish.  Try this wine with grilled lamb or salmon.”   You’ll have to special order this one, but it’s worth it I promise.

Do you have a favorite holiday red wine readers? Leave a comment and share!



Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.