These chef-approved wines include a crisp sauvignon blanc and an elegant cabernet.

By Rachel Sylvester
Updated December 20, 2018
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Let's face it: There are few festive holiday gifts better than a good bottle of wine. Not only is a standard size wine bottle the perfect stocking stuffer, but surprise a loved one with a bottle of red, white, or bubbly, and you're bound to make your way to the top of their "nice" list faster than you can uncork the bottle. The only difficult part? Choosing a quality bottle of wine that strikes the perfect balance between affordable, high-end, and crowd-pleasing. (An appealing label always helps, of course.)

To help us narrow down which bottles are worth the trip to the liquor store, we asked chef and food stylist Ashton Keefe for her top wine picks that are guaranteed to please—from a crisp sauvignon blanc to a refreshing, bubbly brut. If you're stumped on the exact wine varietal to give to a budding enthusiast or the ultimate hostess, look no further, because these fives wines are sure to please even the pickiest of palates.

courtesy of manufacturer

1
Best Wine Worth the Splurge: The Calling 2015 Patriarch Pinot Noir

Grown between the giant redwoods just a few miles from the Pacific Coast, this rich pinot noir is perfect for a celebratory dinner, plus it pairs nicely with the peppery classic, Cacio e Pepe.

To buy: $70; thecallingwine.com.

courtesy of manufacturer

2
Best Sparkling Wine: Ferghettina Brut Milledi 2013

Made from 100% chardonnay in the up-and-coming sparkling wine region, Franciacorta, this bottle of brut has a subtle citrus and mineral finish. Sip it on New Year's Eve, or gift it to your one friend who appreciates a sweet bottle of bubbly.

To buy: $65; wine.com.

courtesy of manufacturer

3
Best High-End Wine Blend: Girard Artistry 2014

Considered one of the best blends of its vintage, this is a wine for white and red-wine drinkers alike. Composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, it pairs excellently with gamier meats such as duck, lamb or venison. (It's equally as delicious when curled up with a good book, too.)

To buy: $60; girardwinery.com.

courtesy of manufacturer

4
Best Wine for Red Drinkers: Bellacosa Cabernet Sauvignon

Bellacosa, which means a “beautiful thing,” is lush, elegant and stands up to pricier California Cabs. Sip it at a holiday dinner, since it pairs nicely with heartier roasts and sides.

To buy: $23; wine.com.

courtesy of manufacturer

5
Best Wine for White Wine Aficionados: André Lurton Chateau de Cruzeau Blanc

A step above your go-to bottle of white, this flowery sauvignon blanc is sophisticated enough for a dinner party, since it pairs well with everything from savory appetizers to fruit desserts.

To buy: $35; andrelurton.com.