A bottle of wine is a great gift to bring to a holiday party, to a friend or family member who you know will drink and/or appreciate it, or for that ‘person’ on your list who you just cannot figure out what to get.
As versatile a gift as wine can be, choosing the right bottle can be extremely challenging. Red or white? Sparkling? What varietal? What is a varietal? What kind of food is being served?
Have you ever stood in the wine aisle amongst thousands of bottles and looked up at the top shelf only to see extremely high prices? Then you scroll down past a bunch of ‘pretty’ labels (maybe one or two you relate to for some bizarre reason – your dog’s name, a place you went on vacation, you really like that pretty blue ocean scene, etc). Your eyes finally stop at the bottom shelf that holds the jugs of wine that you’re pretty sure that one Aunt made sangria with years ago. 1 Gallon of wine, $3.99, and a built-in headache the next day.
One of the perks of living in Northern California is the access to some amazing wine. Full disclosure, most of the wine that Bryan and I drink is from our wine clubs. Many clubs will ship all over the US. If you’re interested in a few of our favorites:
If you don’t have a wine club to pull a bottle from, and you need to stop at the store to pick up a bottle for a party, or gift, or because it’s Friday and you deserve it – below are a handful of Bryan and my “Grocery Store Picks.” Most of these (other than the sparkling) are California wines – we’ve tasted all of them.
Prices and availability may vary – I’m using wine.com for reference/links.
- Zonin Prosecco from Trader Joes – Under $10 and great for a party or mimosa
- La Marca Prosecco – $13.99 – Good by itself or as a mimosa
- Chandon CA Brut – $18.99 – Sparkling wine (not champagne), but a recognizable/classy label and very tasty.
- Moet & Chandon Imperial – $49.97
- Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut – $54.97
#4 and #5 are Champagne (means it comes directly from the region in France) and are very nice gifts (only if you really like someone!).
Some great wine glass options:
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2018 – $13.99 – all over TV recently. Clean, crisp, drinkable. Citrus/lemon, great with fish.
- Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc – Under $10 at Trader Joes and so good for a white wine.
- Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc – Another great crisp white wine that’s affordable and great for any party.
- Jam Cellars Butter Chardonnay 2017 – $17.99 – oak, butter, more rich/bold flavor.
- Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 2018 – $25.99 – light, bright, fruit, citrus, so good.
- Frank Family Chardonnay 2017 – $38.99 – bright, smooth, well balanced. We were members at this winery for many years. All of their wine is fantastic and a great place to visit if you’re ever in Napa.
Don’t want to bring a big/heavy Cab to dinner? Bring Pinot Noir! It’s a lighter red wine. Depending on the bottle, you can pair this with just about anything. Here are a few of our favorites:
- La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir 2017 – $17.99
- Josh Cellars Pinot Noir – $17.99
- Migration Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016 – $36.99 (Duckhorn Sister Winery)
- Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016 – $48.99 (Duckhorn Sister Winery)
“Cabernet Sauvignon.” Big, bold, great with cheese, red meat, chocolate, and ‘a lot’ in between. Can be expensive for the ‘really good stuff.’ Here’s a few of our picks.
- Justin Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 – $27.99
- J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon – $15.99
- Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon – $11.99
- Stags Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – $59.99
- Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – $59.99
Bistro Tile Collection:
The Prisoner – $49.99. It’s probably my favorite wine. Zin based blend, goes with everything. It’s delicious.
Some great wine accessories:
I hope this blog post is helpful to any of you wine shopping or stuck on what to grab for a party! We had a great time putting together this post for you as wine tasting and our experiences around wine have been some of our greatest memories!