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Holidays Top Bottles

Best Wines Under $75 to Celebrate the Holidays

Good wine is the gift that keeps on giving

Janice Williams By December 6, 2021
photo collage of wine bottles wrapped as holiday gifts
Photo illustration by Pix

There are two places to put a good bottle of wine during the holidays: on the dinner table and underneath the Christmas tree. Wine is a great gift, and with so many quality bottles on store shelves and online, wine is a quick and easy purchase no matter the price range. Here are a few bottles experts say make for a great gift during the holidays.

7 wines under $75 to buy: 

bottle of Montecalvi Chianti Classico 2018

Montecalvi Chianti Classico 2018 ($29)

This Sangiovese produced by Montecalvi in the heart of Italy’s Chianti region explodes with bright fruit flavors, freshness, and finesse. It’s just the right type of gift for the Italian wine lover in the family or the pal who is just beginning their Italian wine journey, says sommelier Marquis Williams, creator of the Brooklyn-based wine club Highly Recommended. “This Chianti is insane,” says Williams. “Silky smooth texture, perfectly balanced acidity with rustic red ripe fruits — this is sure a wine that will knock the socks off any level of a wine drinker, for sure.”

bottle of RG|NY Wines New York White Merlot 2018

RG|NY Wines New York White Merlot 2018 ($32)

Here’s something different for the wine enthusiast in your life: a white wine made from black grapes. Usually, Merlot appears in shades of violet or brick red in the glass, but not the Merlot made by RG|NY, a Mexican winery owned by the Rivero González family. The grapes ferment without skin contact during the winemaking process, leaving the juice a yellow gold color rather than the traditional red. The taste is also unique, with the complexity of red wine but the easy-drinking style and freshness of white wine. “It’s an impressive bottle for the price point,” says Alexandra Schrecengost, founder of Virtual With Us in New Jersey. “Talking about the bottle’s background is a great conversation starter.”

bottle of Melville Winery Estate Santa Rita Pinot Noir

Melville Winery Estate Santa Rita Pinot Noir 2018 ($35)

For the friend that loves Pinot Noir, Schrecengost recommends one of her go-to bottles. From the Santa Barbara winemaking region of California comes this single-vineyard Pinot Noir grown on Melville Winery’s Sta. Rita Hills estate. Light ruby red in color, this wine displays vivacious cranberry and black cherry notes, while rosemary and dried leaf nuances mingle in the background and through the quick, dusty finish. “This Pinot Noir pairs exceptionally well with food, especially the sweet earthiness of roasted vegetables and bright tartness of cranberry sauce people enjoy during the holidays,” says Schrecengost.

bottle of Domaine Mee Godard Corcelette Morgon Gamay 2018

Domaine Mee Godard Corcelette Morgon Gamay 2018 ($40)

“If a person is willing to shell out some change, I think it’s appropriate to buy a top-tier producer,” says Jamie Rubin, a sommelier and owner of Kidstuff Hospitality in Philadelphia. As for that top-tier producer Rubin speaks of, he turns to Domaine Mee Godard, which makes this vibrant and juicy Gamay in the Morgon area of France, is one of the 10 designated Beaujolais crus areas near the Saone River. “I love the wines of Mee Goddard, and I think the Morgon Corcelette over-delivers in its price point and makes a great gift,” Rubin says.

bottle of Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi DOCG Aglianico 2016

Mastroberardino Radici Taurasi DOCG Aglianico 2016 ($48)

The Aglianico produced by Mastroberardino in Italy’s Taurasi district, within the Irpinia region, offers layers of dark cherry, wild berry flavors, and spicy elegance. “This wine sings to the heart of many wine professionals, and it’s one that all wine drinkers should experience,” says Anna-Christina Cabrales, a New York City-based wine educator and founder of Sommation. “This is a stunning rendition of Aglianico created by the Mastroberardino family, who helped rebuild the region and preserve indigenous varieties including Greco di Tufo, Falanghina and Fiano.”

bottle of Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2018

Château de Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2018 ($50)

It’s hard to go wrong with a classic wine from France. But how about stepping outside of the leading regions and surprising a wine lover with a taste of Bandol? This deep red Mourvèdre-based wine produced by Château de Pibarnon is a “fun selection off the beaten path,” according to Hai Tran, a sommelier and Sommation contributor in Raleigh, North Carolina. “This is a structured, savory wine that checks all those boxes and will surprise folks.”

bottle of WM. Harrison Vineyards Rutherford Estate Cabernet Franc

Wm. Harrison Vineyards Rutherford Estate Cabernet Franc 2015 ($75)

Give the gift of Napa Valley this holiday season with a classic Cabernet Franc produced by William Harrison Vineyards. Made from grapes grown on the winery’s Rutherford estate, this is the wine to give the person who appreciates California red wine, according to Tonya Pitts, the wine director of One Market Restaurant and owner of Tonya Pitts Wine Consulting in San Francisco. “This wine says classic Napa Valley red and offers a geography lesson, being that it comes from Rutherford. It’s such an underappreciated region, and there is value to be found there,” Pitts says, adding, “Plus, Cabernet Franc works with so many dishes found on many tables during the holidays. It’s a versatile grape.”