(CONSUMER REPORTS) - Holiday celebrations and sipping wine often go hand in hand, but where do you start when you're shopping for a good bottle?
Are you gifting it or drinking it? What are you eating with it? How much do you want to spend? If the choices seem overwhelming, the wine experts at Consumer Reports can help you find just the right wine!
In blind taste tests of 40 cabernet sauvignons and sauvignon blancs, Consumer Reports experts found terrific choices at several price points.
If you're hosting for the holidays, as a general rule cabernets go really well with heartier foods such as roast turkey with stuffing and gravy. But on the other hand, if you're serving mostly fish, you might want to consider one of the sauvignon blancs.
Even the top-rated sauvignon blancs are pretty reasonably priced. The Spy Valley took the top spot for $15. Tasters called it delicious, with tropical fruit notes, and it's food-friendly, particularly with sushi. If you want to spend even less—$12 a bottle—try the Villa Maria Private Bin sauvignon blanc. It's full-flavored and complex and works really well with grilled shrimp.
If you're shopping for a good sauvignon blanc or looking to order a glass in a restaurant and don't see one that you recognize, it's usually a good bet to choose one from Marlborough County, in New Zealand. The region boasts more than 140 wineries and turns out some delicious sauvignon blanc wines.
The top-rated cabernet is the Louis M. Martini, from Napa Valley. But for $25 a bottle, you might want to save it as a special gift. The good news is that about half of the wines that Consumer Reports likes cost around $15 or less. That includes the Consumer Reports Best Buy, an $11 bottle of cabernet from 14 Hands, which goes nicely with an herb-roasted chicken.