20 Palate- Pleasing Holiday Wines

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The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
A cheese, gourmet food and wine store
Wines recommended by Tony Princiotta, general manager and wine buyer

Under $20
2005 Elio Altare Dolcetto d'Alba; $19
"The lightest of the Italian reds, this dolcetto pairs well with light meats and game."
Cheese pairing: Piave, an Italian cow's milk cheese

Under $100
2005 Domaine Ott Rose; $42
"This wine has such structure and will keep for a year or two. It pairs well with light meats, such as hams and turkeys."
Cheese pairing: Banon, a French goat's milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves

Jaleo Wine Shop

Arlington, Virginia
Wine shop with a focus on Spanish reds, housed at tapas restaurant Jaleo
Wines recommended by Antoni Yelamos, director of operations

Under $20
2004 Bodegas Y Vinedos Maurodos Prima; $18
"This is a new wine made by Mariano Garcia, owner of Bodegas Maurodos, from vineyards planted in sandy clay soils in three different areas in Toro, [Spain]. Aged for 11 months in oak barrels. Unfiltered. This wine shows the unmistakable touch of Mariano's masterful use of oak whereby concentrated dark fruit aromas and toasted, spicy aromas from oak coexist and it is nearly impossible to tell one from the other."

Under $100
2000 Bodegas Y Vinedos Alion Reserva; $77
"One of the finest vintages from this winery owned by Vega Sicilia. Deep ruby, purple color is followed by a glorious, smoky nose of espresso, dried herbs, roasted meats, sweet black currants, new saddle leather, plums and cherries. True to its origins this is a rich, complex, full-bodied yet amazingly elegant wine."

Firefly Grill and Wine Bar
Encinitas, California
Restaurant and wine bar
Wines recommended by Jim Barrasso, owner

Under $20
2002 Fallbrook Winery Chardonnay, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard; $19
"This buttery, rich chardonnay is a delicious, smooth blend of perfection with such a fabulous quality it is hard to believe it can be found for less than $20."

Under $100
2002 Mi Sueno El Llano; $35
"A big, rich, red blend of cabernet and shiraz from Napa Valley that leaves the tongue longing for more."

Hingham Wine Merchant

Hingham, Massachusetts
Retail wine shop
Wines recommended by Duncan Routh, partner

Under $20
2004 Can Blau Montsant; $16
"In this price range, I would recommend a 2004 from Spain. A great wine from a great region, made of carignan, syrah and Grenache. And the bottle is gorgeous."

Under $100
2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos des Papes; $87
"This is a hard-to-find, great bottle of wine that shows the character of the Rhone region. It's the perfect fireside wine. If the snow piles up and you don't have the right food, you can drink it with Triscuits and a block of cheese and it will still be wonderful."

PlumpJack Wines

San Francisco
Wine store founded in 1992 by Gavin Newsom
Wines recommended by Debbie Brown, general manager

Under $20
2005 Husch Pinot Noir; $18
"A very contemporary wine that's versatile, elegant and not too heavy. It goes well with spiciness. During the holidays, you want a wine that will go with the different types of food offered."

Under $100
2005 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne Montrachet; $49
"This is one of my favorite wines. Even though a California chardonnay is good with holiday food, this wine is for people who want more acid, structure and lighter oak. It's crisp, but full-bodied and round. The longer it's open, it evolves and gets better and better."

JJ Buckley

Oakland, California
Online wine retailer
Wines recommended by Shaun Bishop, lead wine buyer

Under $20
Roederer Estate NV Brut Rose; $18
"For the holidays, go with something sparkling. This is a great name, and a non-vintage French Champagne would be $25 to $30."

Under $100
2004 Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvigon; $65
"When giving wine as a gift, I would recommend choosing a recognizable brand. People who don't know much about wine will recognize the label."

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