Holiday Central

Wines under $20 to impress your holiday party guests

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Sure, we'd all like to host the party that serves Château Lafite and 1941 Inglenook cabernet, but for most people entertaining these days is done on a budget.

While holiday parties are stronger than ever, you're more likely to find value wine being poured there than you were five years ago. But just because the bottle doesn't command a $100 price tag doesn't mean it has to be swill.

We spoke with a few of Food and Wine magazine's top sommeliers of 2013 to get their thoughts on the best way to impress your oenophile friends without breaking the bank. The only restriction: The bottles couldn't cost more than $20.

Here's what they came up with:

Red wines

Mouton Noir "O.P.P." Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2011 ($18): Oregon Pinot Noirs are hard to top. And Matthew Kaner, general manager and wine director at wine bar Covell in Los Angeles, says the winemaker at Mouton Noir is a hero in the wine world.

"André Hueston Mack ... left the sommelier game for the world of wine production, crafting wines in Oregon while living all the way in Brooklyn," Kaner said. "O.P.P. means something different now than it did in the '90s ... Other People's Pinot. Get you some."