25 Cheap, Eco-Friendly Wines for the Holidays

© Jaymi Heimbuch via Flickr

Here at the Green Wine Guide, we are all about the responsible wine thing: vino must be as tasty as it is planet-friendly. And easy on the wallet isn't bad either.

These particular wines have been chosen because they are for one, very darn good. I mean "you will join their wine club" good. Secondly, I have visited all of these wineries and verified just how eco-friendly they are; there are no posers here! And last but not least, because they are a very good deal. Now, that said, I know the word "cheap" is all relative. So if you are looking for a two-buck-chuck list, this one isn't for you. This list is about quality. These wines are good, good for you and good for the planet. And they all cost around $20, more or less.

Oh, these wines have been chosen for another reason. They also pair well with fall cuisine. Of course, if you have a favorite wine that you are looking to play matchmaker for, see my guide to wine pairing below.

The Whites

2009 Chardonnay Central Coast, Castoro Cellars
2009 Laguna Ridge Chardonnay, Lynmar Estate
2010 Côtes de Paso Blanc, Halter Ranch
2010 Giuseppina, Jacuzzi Family Wines
2010 Grenache Blanc, Robert Hall
2010 Orange Muscat (Margaret's Vyd Paso Robles), Robert Hall
2010 Pinot Grigio, Jacuzzi Family Wines
2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Frog's Leap
2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Medlock Ames
2007 Viognier Reserve Stone's Throw, Castoro Cellars
2009 Vino D'Oro, Oso Libre

The Reds

2010 Cashmere, Cellars
2009 Barbera, Jacuzzi Family Wines
2006 Malbec, Kaz Family Winery
2009 Merlot, Ancient Peaks Winery
2010 Ancient Vines Mourvèdre, Cline Cellars
2006 Petit Verdot, Kaz Family Winery
2009 Petit Frere, Unti Vineyards
2010 Patelin de Tablas, Tablas Creek
2009 Pinot Noir, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
2008 Primitivo, Jacuzzi Family Wines
2010 Purple Paradise, Chronic Cellars
2009 Renegade, Ancient Peaks Winery
2006 Zinfandel Cobble Creek, Castoro Cellars
2008 Incredible Red Zinfandel, Peachy Canyon

Wine Pairing

Wine pairing is like life. It is all about balance. In this case, it is about keeping the flavors in balance. Mild foods go well with mild wines. Where a bigger wine can stand up better next to a really flavorful meal. For example, Zinfandel works well with a really spicy marinara sauce. Matching richness is also important. So for that green bean casserole that everyone eats but never admits to liking, try a butter Chardonnay. If the meal is really fatty, you'll want to cleanse your palette with tannins or acids, like maybe a Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc. Match acids with acids, but avoid them with creamy foods. If the food is really spicy, try a Gewurtztraminer or Riesling, as spicy foods can be really hard on the palette. So basically, this:

  • Very flavorful food, or rich food, call for powerful wines.
  • Lighter food flavors require lighter wines.
  • Spicy, salty, or smoky flavors go well with fruity reds, and off-dry to semi-sweet whites.

When in doubt, drink what you love.

Vegetable and Food Pairing

Fruits
Apple - Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier
Currant - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot
Fig - Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Viognier
Pear - Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier
Persimmon - Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier
Pomegranate - Merlot, Sangiovese
Tomato - Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese

Vegetable
Artichoke - Viognier
Broccoli - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc
Brussel Sprouts - Sauvignon Blanc
Carrots - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Viognier
Chili Peppers - Sauvignon Blanc
Eggplant - Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel
Green Beans - Sauvignon Blanc
Mushrooms, Chanterelle - Pinot Noir, Viognier
Mushrooms, Cremini - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Mushrooms, Oyster - Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier
Mushrooms, Portabello - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir
Mushrooms, Shiitake - Pinot Noir, Syrah
Mushrooms, White & Brown - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc
Peppers, Green & Red - Sauvignon Blanc
Potato - Chardonnay
Pumpkin - Pinot Noir, Viognier
Spinach - Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
Squash - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier
Sweet Potato - Muscat, Riesling, Sangiovese

Ethnic Foods
Chinese - Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling
Indian - Gewurztraminer, Riesling
Italian - Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Zinfandel
Mexican - Zinfandel
Thai - Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Riesling

Tags: Green Wine Guide | Holidays | Vegan | Vegetarian | Wine

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