5 Budget-Friendly Wines Sure to Impress Your Partner's Family

Holidays are about eating good and seeing your family. If you are in a relationship, this also means meeting your partner’s family. Nothing is scarier than having to come up with what to bring them. You can make a pie, but no one ever turned down some wine.

We sat down with the wine guru and creator of Grape Chic and she gave us her top wine picks to impress the in-laws this holiday.


There’s no debate that the wine world can be an intimidating place. What’s even more intimidating than being asked if you prefer tannin to acidity at the wine store, is meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, especially during the holidays.

As if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, you’ve heard they love wine and all you really know is that “rosé all day” is your summer anthem. Not only that, but you went on wine.com and saw just how much that Côte Rotie was going to ransack your bank account. How could you possibly impress the parents while not taking out a personal loan on the perfect bottle? How do you know if the wine will pair nicely with the food? Even worse…what if they ask you about it?

 Don’t panic. There are so many unique regions making insanely good wine at a reasonable price.

Below are 5 wines that would impress any wine enthusiast in your life. Not only are they impressive, but they also make the perfect addition to any holiday dinner table.

 

Photo Credit: Wine.com

Photo Credit: Wine.com

Crémant d’Alsace

It’s no secret that Champagne can come with a high price tag. They don’t say, “Champagne dreams and caviar wishes” for nothing. The best alternative to these pricey bubbles would be finding a Crémant d’Alsace. Alsace is a region in North East France boarding the Rhine River and Germany. What’s special about this wine is that it’s made in the EXACT same way as Champagne, or, “méthode Champenoise” when trying to impress your potential in-laws. Why can’t we call it Champagne then? Well…only because its not made in the actual region of Champagne. Not only is this wine wallet friendly, but it also pairs well with virtually with anything on the dinner table thanks to its effervescence and zingy acidity.

Try: Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut $24

 

 
 
Photo Credit: Wine.com

Photo Credit: Wine.com

Muscadet

Heard they loved citrusy bone-dry whites? A great alternative to picking up that pricey Sancerre from the Loire Valley would be finding a Muscadet from the same region. The Loire Valley is considered France’s most diverse wine region showing wines with high acidity, striking minerality, and a lower alcohol content. Due to these specific factors, they will pair amazing with most foods without overpowering them. Conversation starter? Ask if anyone else can taste salinity on the palate. Muscadet vineyards are so close to the sea, you can usually find hints of sea salt notes from the ocean breeze.

Try: Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet Sur Lie Black Label 2016 $15.99

 

 
Photo Credit: Wine.com

Photo Credit: Wine.com

Williamette Valley Pinot Noir 

Who knew Oregon was absolutely killing it right now? The Williamette Valley in Oregon is thriving with over 500 wineries and counting! Although Burgundy is considered in the King of Pinot Noir, there are some really amazing expressions coming from the United States at about half the cost. Pinot Noir is a finicky grape that loves warm days and cool nights. Those cool nights help the thin-skinned grape retain acid and not over-ripen. Due to its bright acidity and light-medium body, Pinot Noir is considered another super food-friendly wine and a top match for your Thanksgiving turkey. Speak to the apparent red fruits and baking spices (nutmeg, anise, vanilla) on the nose!

Try:  Williamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 $35.99

 
Photo Credit: Wine.com

Photo Credit: Wine.com

 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Better on your wallet than going to Bordeaux or Napa Valley, would be to visit the Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County. It may be hard to believe, but Sonoma County actually beats out Napa for total wine production making it the biggest producing region in the state of California. You’ll find luscious notes of blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, cocoa, and vanilla just to name a few! Talking points? 2014 brought near perfect weather conditions in the Alexander Valley making those wines a top vintage! This wine is best paired with red meats or aged cheese.

Try: Kenwood Six Ridges Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 $35 (if you want to learn more about the winemaker for extra brownie points, click here)!

 


 
Photo Credit: Wine.com

Photo Credit: Wine.com

Rioja

Olé! Rioja wines are classified by the amount of time they are required to spend aging and the amount of oak they see during that process. At the bottom of the pyramid you have the Joven classification followed by Crianza, Reserva, and then the grand finale…Gran Reserva. To be called a Gran Reserva Rioja the wine must age a minimum of 2 years in oak and 3 years in the bottle. What does this exactly mean? Well, the more time a super big bold wine spends aging, the better the tannins (drying sensation caused by grapes fermenting on their skins), will integrate. This causes the wine to be silky and refined. There’s nothing more impressive than bringing around a wine from the top of its classification pyramid, right?! The best part of all? The Wine Gods have made these super affordable! Try:

 

CVNE Gran Reserva 2011 $32.99 (want more info on this producer and surrounding Bodegas? Click here)!

 

A Working Girl in the Men’s Luxury Clothing world, Nicole “Grape Chic” Muscari works in Fashion by day, and finds great wine by night. She believes there’s a fine finesse and artistry that applies to both wine & fashion. Nicole has completed the WSET 1 and 2 with Distinction, and plans to take the WSET 3 in the near future. She has partnered with brands including Honest Cooking Magazine, Coravin, Jadot, Wines of Garnacha, Loire Valley Wines, Napa Cellars and more. For more from Nicole and Grapechic, follow her here: @grapechic