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Great wines, even greater prices

Monday, December 24, 2012

As people gather for either Christmas parties or just to spend time with the family, wine can make a good last-minute gift. But you don't have to spend a lot to get a good tasting wine, and we've got an entire list of them.

When it comes to wine, Evan Turner is a well known for his impeccable taste, even on a budget.

"I have three great examples of stuff to bring that one are going to blow people away and they are not going to blow away your budget," Turner said.

His first pick is a sparkling wine called Secco Italian Bubbles.

"It's clean, it's crisp, it's dry. It goes well with a wide range of celebratory foods," Turner said.

You can find Secco for about $10.

"To get an amazing sparkling bottle of wine for $10 is incredible," Turner said.

Turner's next pick is a chardonay called Eve by Charles Smith Wines.

"This for a holiday white wine is just about as perfect as you can get," Turner said.

The price point is about $12.

"There is some nice tropical fruit flavors and some nice richness in the mid palette, but then it finishes nice and clean and crisp," Turner said.

His third pick is a Spanish red wine from Orin Swift called "E." it retails for about $18.

"They are two from the main regions of Spain, Ribero del Duero (and) Rioja -- great regions, great, great grapes. It makes this big rich lush voluptuous monstrous dark wine that," Turner said.

If you need to taste the wine to find something you really like, local wine bar Vintropolis in southwest Houston is known for having more than 200 bottles of wine for under $20.

"To impress somebody you don't need to spend $100," said Payal Patel with Vintropolis.

And at Vintropolis, they have many options of wine unique to the wine bar, and you can usually taste before you buy so you don't risk buying something you won't like.

Over at Spec's in Midtown, we found a single bottle of wine for more than a $1,000! Don't worry, the Stretch Your Dollar team and wine expert Bill Coates went in search for great wines for under $12.

"We want to match what the customer wants with what we have," Coates said.

Coates picked a sauvignon blanc made by the Gryphus Wine Company. The cash price at Spec's is $8.99. And for the red wine drinker, his top pick is a Syrah from Porcupine Ridge. The cash price at Spec's is $10.99.

If you're looking for additional ideas, cheapism.com offers these under 10 ideas.

First, the reds:

  • Columbia Crest Two Vines cabernet Sauvignon: The 2009 vintage earned a score of 90 from "Wine & Spirits Magazine," which ranks it as exceptional.
  • The Meleni Chianti Borghi D'elsa comes from Tuscani: Reviewers really like the 2008 and 2010 vintages.
  • The Dancing Bull Zinfandel, from California is described as full-bodied which combines flavors of sweet fruit and spice.
  • The Mirassou pinot noir, also from California, earned the most praise for its 2010 vintage.
And when it comes to whites:
  • The experts like Dr. Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling, which is a dry wine from Germany.
  • The Bodini Chardonnay, from Argentina, earned high praises from the "Wine Advocate" and "International Wine Cellar" for the 2011 vintage high marks.
  • The Chateau Saint Michelle Columbia Valley sauvignon blanc, from Washington State, has a light apple flavor. The 2011 vintage won accolades from Wine Spectator.

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