Like this wine? Try this wine.

While it’s tempting – and even fitting – to splurge around the holidays, wine is one of those expenses to play around with a little.

While it’s tempting – and even fitting – to splurge around the holidays, wine is one of those expenses to play around with a little. Try these pairs – one wine for an all-out indulgence, the second smartly cost-conscious, and both perfect for the holiday table.

Pinot Noir for an Earthy Fall Dinner

If you like this:
Donum Estate 2010 Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir ($90)
From a 16-acre patch of magic planted in the mid-1990s by Donum president and viticulturalist extraordinaire Anne Moller-Racke, this is the kind of earthy, soulful Pinot that will make a lifer out of you, brooding in blackberry, blueberry and menthol that will only get more divine with age. Only 76 cases were produced.

Then look for this:
Stemmler 2011 Nugent Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($44)
The secret about Stemmler is that it is farmed and vinified by the folks behind Donum. In this case the grapes are from the Nugent Vineyard, planted in 1997 to predominantly Dijon clones, with a handful of Pommard in there as well. A Pinot Noir vibrant in classic River Russian Valley cherry, the wine is a successful marriage between richness and restraint, fresh and full.

Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc for Thanksgiving

If you like this:
Dutton-Goldfield 2012 Dutton Ranch-Green Valley Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Gewürztraminer ($30)
So aromatic it could be bottled as perfume, this Gewürztraminer from the cool Green Valley is a spicy as it is floral, dry yet mouthwatering in tropical peach and jasmine. Able to stand up to all the Thanksgiving turkey variations, the wine’s acidity means it will also hold its own when assaulted by a riot of side dishes, from decadent Brussels sprouts with bacon to, if you must, yams smothered in marshmallows.

Then look for this:
Leo Steen 2011 Saini Farms Dry Creek Valley Chenin Blanc ($18)
Instead of the oft-chosen Gewürztraminer, consider for the turkey course a dry Chenin Blanc from the oldest Chenin vines in the Dry Creek Valley, made by Stuhlmuller Vineyards winemaker Leo Steen Hansen. For his own label, he has crafted a floral white abundant in acidity and texture, and layered in the flavors of fall, from apple and pear to honeyed beeswax.

Cabernet Sauvignon for Christmas Dinner
If you like this:
Sequoia Grove 2008 Cambium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($140)
Here is a dark-black, classically intense Napa Cab that’ll sing when served with standing rib roast and all the fixings, especially if the wine has a bit of age (which this one does) and is decanted. Cambium is a mouthful of black cherries and cinnamon toast, with luxurious streaks of bittersweet chocolate, too. Rich and full in the most hedonistically impressive way, it’s a treat to you and those gathered ’round for this once-a-year occasion.

Then look for this:
Sequoia Grove 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($38)
Not everything has to be over the top. Sequoia Grove’s more mainstream, youthful Cab will equally delight on your holiday table, with plenty of blackberry fruit and smooth, ripe vanilla and clove, with a touch of smoky oak on the finish. It’s approachable without decanting.

Sparkler for New Year’s Eve

If you like this:
Roederer Estate 2004 Brut L’Hermitage Anderson Valley ($47)
One of the estate’s top cuvées, a sparkling blend of 52 percent Chardonnay and 48 percent Pinot Noir, and vintage-dated, this is among the classiest of bubblies to have on hand, a testament to California fruit treated Champagne-style. Go all out and enjoy it with caviar and oysters or a rich raclette; don’t let a precious sip goes to waste.

Then look for this:
Donkey & Goat 2012 Lily’s Cuvée Anderson Valley Pétillant Naturel ($24)
Now for something completely different: Berkeley’s Donkey & Goat Winery has been turning heads for making all sorts of delectable wines, perhaps most especially for this, its Pét Nat, as its commonly called. Pétillant Naturel is a classification of sparkling wine made without additives (no sugar, no yeast), sometimes called méthode ancestrale. This one sources Chardonnay from Anderson Valley’s Deep End district. It’s a light, low-alcohol offering that will help you celebrate all night and minimize the suffering the next day.

Chardonnay for a Crab Feast

If you like this:
Three Sticks 2011 Origin Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($48)
Fermented in a concrete egg, this second vintage of Three Sticks’ under-300-case-production Chardonnay, from two hand-selected blocks of Durell Vineyard, is aged in stainless steel, giving it a combined sense of fresh acidity and creamy mouthfeel. A bit of a splurge, it’ll rock your table, its flavors a study in Chablis-like wet stone and perfumed orange rind.

Then look for this:
Saracina 2012 Unoaked Mendocino County Chardonnay ($18)
This crisp, vibrant Chardonnay has a pretty nose of pear, Granny Smith apple and pineapple, with soft textures that make it deliciously quaffable. While it may smell and taste very much of summer, its richness – all fruit-based, not from oak, thank you – makes it an easy-to-consume pairing alongside wintertime’s crustacean bounty.