There are plenty of reasons to have a few good bottles of wine on hand during the holiday season.
A nice bottle makes a quick gift for a friend or coworker. It’s a festive contribution for someone else’s party—or your own.
And of course, it’s something to toast with on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Stocking up doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. Case discounts are one way to save, as is buying from discounters like BevMo! or Costco.
But there’s also plenty of excellent, yet inexpensive, wine.
We asked sommeliers and other wine experts for their best picks under the $20 mark.
Here are 7 to cheer about:
Nino Franco “Rustico” Prosecco
$12.99 at Bevmo.com
Jon Hartlage, sommelier at Crystal Springs Golf Resort’s Restaurant Latour in Hamburg, N.J., says this pick makes it great for cocktails.
“It has a wonderfully delicate flavor, light on the yeastiness,” he says, “making it the perfect base for Kir with a splash of Creme de Cassis, Italian Bellinis with a splash of Peach Schnapps, or another favorite, French Bellini, made with a splash of Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur.”
Gruet Blanc de Noirs
$15.99 at Allstarwine.com
This sparkler, made in New Mexico, is “one of America’s best-kept secrets,” says Hartlage. It’s made in the same style as Champagne and as delicious, but less costly.
Vera Vinho Verde
$7.80 from Get Wine Online
Not overly fond of bubbles?
This low-alcohol Portuguese wine falls “somewhere between a still rose wine and a sparkling,” says Rebecca Mills, wine writer for TheDailyMeal.com. There’s just a light fizz.
Clean Slate Riesling
$8.99 from Allstarwine.com
“A great bargain at under $10 per bottle,” says Maxine Borcherding, sommelier for the Oregon Culinary Institute, of this German wine.
It has hints of citrus, honey and apricots, she says, and is “fruity and off dry with enough acidity to balance any sweetness.”
J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay
$10.99 at Bevmo.com
“California’s Central Coast–Santa Barbara to Monterey–offers the very best value for amazing flavor delivery, particularly for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” says Hartlage.
This wine has “just enough” wood-spice and pineapple notes to impress.
Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso
$16.95 from Empire Wine
“This wine is a steal at [a suggested retail price of] $19,” says Dan Amatuzzi, general manager of beverages at Eataly NYC. “If you like Chianti, Montefalco Rossos are a great value play with a similar taste profile.”
Pair it with party appetizers like cheese and charcuterie, or serve with the main course at a holiday meal.
Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose
$9.99 from B-21 Wine Company
Mulderbosch has gained recognition as one of South Africa’s best wine producers, and it’s in large part due to this unique take on rose, says Mills.
It has hints of blood orange, cherry, and black currant.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.