These are my suggestions for great wines on a budget, all of which are available at your local wine and spirits store.
For the second year in a row, Dialed In Red is my pick for most festive bottle — the stark black label with a red, snowflake-like design is dressed perfectly for the holidays. This is also my red wine recommendation for non-red wine drinkers because of its slight sweetness and juicy berry flavors.
I'll admit that I only like chardonnay when it's unoaked, so for me Simply Naked has the right idea by fermenting and aging in 100 percent stainless steel. The result is a wine with a bit more body than a pinot grigio but with vibrant flavors of tropical fruit and melon as well as a touch of creaminess.
Price: $8.99 (reg. $10.99)
A guy walks into a bar and orders a glass of merlot. It's pretty basic, as expected. This one, not so much. Yes, it's a medium-bodied red as merlot always is, but true to its name, you also get a whiff of smokiness and oak in addition to notes of black cherry, currant and licorice.
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington
How about an inexpensive riesling that never disappoints? Here you go! It's fruit-forward — including notes of apricot and tangerine — without being too sweet, and it's balanced by a crisp, slightly mineral finish. This makes it a great complement to dishes that are on the spicy side.
Who says you can't get a Sideways-worthy pinot noir on a budget? Not me. You'll love this super-smooth pinot right from the first sip. While it's not a sweet wine, it definitely has a candy-like quality, with typical pinot notes of cherry and vanilla.
Price: $9.99 (reg. $12.99)
Last but not least, you'll need a little bubbly to keep the holidays sparkling. Or is it a little sparkling wine to keep things bubbly? Forget the French Champagne and go for the Italian version: prosecco. Don't let the Cupcake name fool you — it's hardly a dessert wine — but the fine effervescence does make it as silky as whipped frosting.