11 Wines That Make Great Holiday Gifts For $16 Or Less

The holiday season means holiday parties, and if your schedule is anything like ours, you’re going to be buying alotof wine.

We asked sommelier Jörn Kleinhans, owner of the Wine Elite Sommelier Company, to share some of his favourite affordable picks.

11. Sparkling Wine From Limoux

Such as: 2012 Saint-Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux, $US9.98

'French champagne may be the original sparkling wine, but the pricing scares many consumers into the more affordable Proseccos from Italy, Cavas from Spain, or American sparkling wines,' Kleinhans explains.

'Little do most holiday shoppers know that France has a number of regions that are not Champagne, but make world-class sparkling wine at much more affordable rates,' he continues. 'Experts can often not tell the difference. The best region that offers this is called Limoux, and is located in the South of France.'

10. Zinfandel from California

Such as: 2012 Cline 'Ancient Vines' Zinfandel, $US14.99

'Nowadays wines under this name are only grown in California and are somewhat of an indigenous representation that doesn't have an equal,' says Kleinhans. 'One should not underestimate the rich beauty of the Californian wines we have in the US. They should be a clear example of American wine-making.'

9. Tempranillo from Spain

Such as: 2010 Finca El Encinal Crianza Ribera del Duero, $US14.99

'This is the most important grape of Spain that will give you a good sense for the Spanish style of wines,' says Kleinhans. 'It should show you silky notes of American oak and dark cherry, which are some of the signature signs of Spanish winemaking.'

8. Malbec from Argentina

Such as: 2011 Renacer 'Punto Final' Reserva Malbec, $US14.99

'Malbec is the national grape of Argentina,' explains Kleinhans. 'It can be a dark purple wine that has alcoholic strength and is really well enjoyed with heavier meat.'

7. Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa

Such as: 2010 Glen Carlou 'Grand Classique' Bordeaux Blend Paarl, $US14.99

'France and the US have more important versions of this wine, but you can't get them at this price point,' says Kleinhans. 'It combines the lush fruits of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with blackberries, blueberries, nice vegetable notes often described as chopped green pepper, and noticeable aspects of menthol and eucalyptus.'

6. Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy

Such as: 2010 Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico, $US13.99

'This is perhaps the most known grape varietal from Italy,' Kleinhans explains, 'because the underlying wine is Chianti. It happens to be the European wine that was first made available in the new world at an affordable rate. It's a classic that pairs beautifully with rustic foods like spaghetti and meatballs, and tomato sauces, and has flavours of dark or sour cherry and soft vanilla.'

5. Syrah from Australia

Such as: 2011 Jim Barry 'Lodge Hill' Shiraz Clare Valley South Australia, $US15.99

'The Syrah belongs to the Rhone Valley,' says Kleinhans. 'It's also called Shiraz -- it's the same grape with a different name. In this case, the Australian wine shows the beautiful aspects of lavender, pepper, and meatiness, but adds oak and pepper.'

4. Pinot Noir from Oregon

Such as: 2012 King Estate 'Acrobat' Pinot Noir, $US15.99

'The Pinot Noir belongs to Burgundy, France, and great Pinots can be exceptionally expensive,' explains Kleinhans. 'But there's a place in the world they're made in that style, and that's Oregon. It's not as warm as California, so it makes for a somewhat more authentic presentation.'

3. Chardonnay from Burgundy, France

Such as: 2011 Château de la Charrière Bourgogne Chardonnay Domaine Yves Girardin, $US14.99

'This is the ultimate expression of a Burgundy,' says Kleinhans. 'It's clean, mineralic, and made to be consumed with food.'

2. Riesling from Germany

Such as: 2009 S. A. Prum 'Urziger Wurzgarten' Riesling Kabinett, $US12.99

'Germany is where Riesling should belong,' explains Kleinhans. 'This wine has a sweetness, high aroma, and high acidity that you look for in every Riesling.'

1. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

Such as: 2013 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, $US10.99

'This is perhaps the most drastic example of Sauvignon Blanc because it shows strong grapefruit, lemon, and grass notes, which is the clearest taste profile of this wine,' says Kleinhans.

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