This holiday season, whether you've got a crowd coming or you're the invited guest, a nice wine can complement the meal.
Consumer Reports evaluated two popular wines that are good for the holidays: chardonnay and pinot noir. Industry experts blind-taste-tested 32 different ones, most costing under $15 a bottle.
Depending upon the stylistic components of chardonnay, you can have it before your meal or you can have it with anything from grilled fish to creamy soups, such as New England clam chowder. And pinot noirs are really versatile with foods.
Among the chardonnays, Consumer Reports top-rated Kendall Jackson's Vintner's Reserve 2008 at $12 a bottle. That wine has heavy wood flavors with butter, vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch flavors all balanced by a crisp acidity and lighter fruit flavors. For a more fruity chardonnay, try Four Vines Naked Santa Barbara 2008 for $12 a bottle. Consumer Reports says you can spend a little less and still get a bottle of chardonnay that's almost as good. Testers recommend 2008 Alice White for just $8 a bottle.
When it comes to pinot noir, you can expect a more subtle wine than other reds, such as cabernets and merlots. It goes with a variety of foods, anything from lamb to grilled salmon and mushroom risotto. Consumer Reports rated two pinot noirs excellent, including the Estancia 2008 Monterey County Pinnacles Ranches. It costs just $15, a very good price for a quality pinot noir. For even less, you can get the 2008 Red Tree for $9. It was rated very good.
Any of those wines are a good choice for a holiday meal, whether you're the guest or the host.
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