1. The Pizza Party Wine!
• Badger Mountain Pure Red, 3L Box, $24 ($6 a bottle)
• Preston Guadagni, gallon jug, $34 ($8.50 a bottle)
Okay, if it's just a pizza party, and price/volume is everything, revisit the post about Mulled Wines and reds to use. The two above are good picks.
The Preston obviously has the big access restrictions. But both are at unbeatable price points.
2. Zin Zin Zin for Holidays
• 2005 Barra Zinfandel, $20 (or case discount; 25% wine club discount gets it down to $15 a bottle) - ON SALE RIGHT NOW for $8.25 a bottle or $99 a case
It's made by this 80+ year old Mendo organic legend, Charlie Barra, anti GMO fighter! I love this wine and am buying at least two cases for myself and maybe an extra couple cases to gift.
3. Pinot Pleasin'
• Girasole Pinot Noir, $16 (case discount; wine club discount)
• Cooper Hill Pinot Noir, $13-14
Girasole's Pinot Noir has rated highly with Vinography's Alder Yarrow in his tastings, so maybe you should give it a try? It's only $16 a bottle. Again, if you joined the wine club, that would be 25% off, bringing it down to $12 a bottle.
The other Pinot I'd put on my party list would be the Cooper Hill (sister of the Cooper Mountain brand) available online for $13-14. Cooper Mountain is a Matt Kramer favorite (and a favorite of mine as well).
4. I Love a Merlot
• Bonterra Merlot
I have to say I had a very, very, very fine Merlot this weekend (okay, 1988 Pomerol, $98 a bottle, at the Kermit Lynch tasting at Solano Cellars) which I think should be required tasting for anyone who ever saw Merlot disparaged in the movie Sideways, and it rekindled my sweet spot for Merlot.
In China, they're drinking Marilyn Merlot (from Napa.)
I'm not saying there's anything remotely like the Pomerol here in the Party Wine category, but Bonterra makes a decent Merlot. This is for people who just don't want to serve a Cabernet all the time.
5. Rhonishly Red
• Beckmen's Cuvee le Bec, $15-16 online
The perennial standout good deal Rhone red, made with 90% biodynamically grown estate grapes, this has always been one of Robert Parker's favorite bargain wines. You can't beat it. It's the classic Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre (GSM) blend with some Counoise as well. Currently sold out at the winery, but look around online or in wine stores. There's plenty around.