For $20 or less, you'll find a lot of winning wines in advance of the holidays.
Three $11-$12 bargains from Italy: the 2008 Banfi Centine Rosé and Banfi Bianco; and 2007 Banfi Centine Rosso.
These balanced, fruity blends are very food-friendly. The rosé is made with sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon; the white is sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and chardonnay; the red, mostly sangiovese.
The 2007 Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Riesling ($18) is a good Columbia Valley wine that will go with turkey plus trimmings. The 2007 Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling ($14, 375 ml): a light, just-sweet-enough dessert wine.
Clif Family Winery comes through with two satisfying blends. 2008 The Climber White ($14), mostly sauvignon blanc, is a balanced, slightly floral wine; 2006 The Climber Red ($17), made primarily with zinfandel, syrah and cabernet sauvignon, arrives full of black fruit and works from hamburgers to steaks.
From Spain, try the 2004 El Coto de Rioja Coto de Imaz Reserva ($20), a mouthful in every way, with cherry and berry notes, as well as an affinity for red meat and cheeses hard and soft.
And it's back to Italy with the 2007 Castello Monaci "Pilùna"Primitivo Salento ($13), a hearty, intense red from Puglia. Sample it with dark meat: grilled, roasted or in tomato-based pasta sauce.