10 Holiday Gift Wines Under $15

Reds, whites and bubblies


With the holidays in full swing I know we’re all looking for gifting guidance. Sometimes the hardest gifts to buy are those for the people you know the least: your doorman, hairdresser, letter carrier, or assistant. While cash is always appreciated, adding a nice bottle of wine personalizes the gift in a way cash never could.

Understanding that we all have different price levels at which we are comfortable, and noting that these gifts do add up, I’ve pulled together 10 wines under $15 that are delicious and would be fine gifts to give someone this holiday season.

While some may think that $15 is a lot to spend on a bottle of gifting wine, others might think $5 is way too low. The truth is that all of these wines are great values, representing the best of their varieties, regions, and price points, and thus are worthy of consideration as a gift, or for keeping!

Around $5: Red
Grão Vasco Dao Tinto
This perennial lower-shelf dweller always delivers a solid, if perhaps uninspiring experience. It’s a classic European table wine, lighter-bodied, a bit simple and fruity, but it is balanced and smooth.
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Around $5: White
Vina Carta Vieja Sauvignon Blanc
For value it’s tough to beat the Vina Carta Vieja Sauvignon Blanc. This is a light, fresh easy-drinking Sauvignon Blanc with fresh acids and bright citrusy fruit. It’s a bit lightweight, which might make it even more attractive to some, and worth taking a look at.
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Around $5: Sparkling
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut
The newly repackaged Cristalino Brut from Jaume Serra continues a year’s-long streak of delivering exceptional value. This is a fine Cava, perhaps it lacks some complexity and depth, but for this price you get a well balanced, freshly fruited bottle of easy-to-drink sparkling wine. Yay!
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Around $10: Red
Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

If you’re looking for a lot of wine for the money, and like bold fruit and some old-world complexity, it’s worth trying Masciarelli’s Montepulciano. This is full of slightly leathery red fruit with a touch of earthiness that is full yet very well balanced and fresh.
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Around $10: White
Bodega Catena Zapata Chardonnay Alamos
Year in and year out, the Alamos Chardonnay never fails to surprise as it outperforms its price point. This is a lovely, rich yet balanced style of Chardonnay that balances abundant fresh fruit with well measured oak influences.
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Around $10: Sparkling
Gruet Brut
Gruet is a sparkling wine from New Mexico, of all places. A family from Champagne, the Gruets, travelled around the country and were struck by the potential of the hills of New Mexico. For more than 20 years, Gruet has produced brilliant sparkling wines at very friendly prices.
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Around $15: Red
Joel Gott Zinfandel

It’s tough to find fault with Joel Gott’s Zinfandel. It consistently finishes near the top in my blind tastings, delivering a rich mouthful of pure Zinfandel fruit that is never over the top. Neither too oaky nor too sweet, this is one Zin that’s just right.
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Around $15: White
Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling
It might surprise some folks to find that Riesling is grown in Australia. The truth is that Australian Riesling is dry, brisk, refreshing and complex. The Lodge Hill Riesling is consistently one of Australia’s finest. Perfect for almost every palate, it’s about as food-friendly and flexible a white wine as one is likely to find!
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Around $15: Sparkling
Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé
What can be more festive than a fine sparkling rosé? This one comes from France’s Loire Valley and is light and creamy with wonderful red berry fruit notes in an easy-to-drink style. Perfect for spreading the holiday cheer!
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Around $15: Dessert
Selaks Ice Wine

A true ice wine is produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and is very expensive because getting folks to pick grapes in sub-freezing temps is no easy, or cheap, feat! Selaks freezes its grapes after the harvest and the effect is to concentrate all the fruit, sugar, and spice in their grapes and get fresh fruit with richness and zesty acidity in every bottle. Now I cheated a bit, since this is a half-bottle for about $15, but it’s the holiday season, so treat your friends and yourself to this tasty nectar!
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To view the photos for this article, go to 10 Wines to Buy for Holiday Gifts.

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