Holiday wines come in all price ranges but there are...

Holiday wines come in all price ranges but there are plenty that cost $25 or less. Credit: iStock

A month after Sandy, it's time to start thinking about something festive. The holidays beckon.

For any gatherings, subdued or celebratory, you'll need a few bottles of good, not-too-expensive wine. Here are some recommendations, $25 or less.

Reliably fruity and fresh, the medium-bodied 2009 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva ($21) is an ideal match for red-sauced dishes, from pastas to chicken and beef.

The 2008 Benziger Family Sonoma County Merlot ($19) has enough red fruit to suit Santa. It's an uncomplicated, balanced choice, very good with roast beef, chicken, turkey.

Red fruit defines the 2010 Simi Sonoma Pinot Noir ($24), a match for roast or fried chicken, grilled meat and seafood.

Turn to Spain for the 2010 The Show Garnacha ($13), peppery, with lots of spice and extra heat. This one will stand up to pizza with all toppings, barbecue, burgers, sausages.

Veering to whites, an all-purpose, satisfying option is the floral, fruity 2011 Marco Felluga Collio Mongris Pinot Grigio ($18), a versatile number that works as a sipper and with seafood.

The citrusy 2011 Laroche Punto Niño Chardonnay Reserva ($11), from Chile's Casablanca Valley is right with guacamole, salads, shellfish.

In a bubbly mood, look for the nonvintage, crisp Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($20), a refresher for a toast, and just as good with appetizers.

And, for a Port, try the 2007 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Unfiltered Port ($25). The concentrated production is ready now and fine company for blue cheese, chocolate, a well-deserved, post-party respite.

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