Itís nice to splurge on wines for the holidays, but sometimes itís even nicer to know that you donít have to.
The "In" Box ó Most boxed wines wonít win any beauty contests, but a step in the right direction is the Octavin Home Wine Barís Artisan Collections, packaged in 3-liter-boxes that sell for $22 to $24. Try the party-worthy Boho Vineyards California 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel and Big House White 2009 California White Wine.
Sparkle . . . for Less ó Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Brut California Sparkling Wine ($10) offers pear and lemony notes with a whisper of sweetness. Serve it with salty and spicy appetizers and the richer foods of the season.
For the Host ó If you want to bring something lovelyóbut youíre not sure what the host lovesóconsider Acrobat 2009 Oregon Pinot Gris ($12), a crowd-pleaser with character. This affordable wine brings loads of luscious orchard fruit jazzed with soft citrusy notes for a balanced, elegant sip.
óBy Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist