A gift of wine or champagne doesn't have to bust your holiday budget. Jerry Metallo, a retail wine specialist at the state liquor store in Cranberry, recommends several vintages, which you can order at www.finewineandgoodspirits.com
• For New Year's Eve, a good choice is Taittinger's Domaine Carneros Brut, a 2009 vintage from California. Taittinger originated in France and the company still makes French champagne. Jerry Metallo, a retail wine specialist in Cranberry, said this vintage has plenty of fruit and a good backbone of acidity. The PLCB code is 4578 and the price is $26.99.
• Mendoza Vineyards 1907 Malbec was produced from grapes planted in 1907 in a vineyard owned by Medrano, a producer in Argentina. Mr. Metallo says this wine pairs well with lamb or smoked ham. This 2011 vintage is a Chairman's Selection, PCLB code 32995, priced at $19.99. The Nandu Malbec, vintage 2010, goes well with hearty foods. The wine is well balanced, has lots of fruit and the plush mouth feel that malbec wines are known for with a kick of spice. The PLCB code is 4339 and the price is $16.99.
• Domaine de la Perriere is a French sauvignon blanc from the Sancerre region. This vintage is dry, crisp and "kind of steely from the mineral element in the soil," said wine expert Jerry Metallo, adding that it pairs especially well with cheese. The PLCB code is 8929 and the price is $22.99.
• Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs brut is a sparkling white wine from California. This 2010 vintage would pair well with roast turkey or the traditional New Year's Day meal of roast pork and sauerkraut. The PLCB code is 31665 and the price is $37.99
• Six Schott Zwiesel stemless wine glasses are functional, durable, scratch-resistant and dishwasher safe. Made in Germany, they are priced at $59.70 and available only online at www.surlatable.com.
• Sur La Table also offers a line of holiday-themed ornaments. The Champagne on Ice ornament is priced at $13.70.
• If you're transporting wine and trying to keep it chilled, a good choice is a set of Cheers Wine Bottle Totes in bright shades of green, yellow and red. These naturally insulated totes are made of neoprene, are reusable and swing from sturdy black nylon webbing handles. The totes fit most standard-sized wine and champagne bottles. Available from WineEnthusiast.com. A set of three costs $29.95.
• If you would like to give someone a truly distinctive corkscrew, check out the Chateau Laguiole Waiter Style Black Horn Corkscrew, which is handcrafted in Thiers, France. This handy tool removes the cork with little effort and is packaged in its own custom leather pouch. Available from Sokolin at www.sokolin.com, it's priced at $129.95
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