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The Weekly Dozen - Whites at Christmas

We all do more entertaining over the holidays, but not just special dinners requiring great wines.  Here are 10 whites that also can help you make it through the drop-in visits and football watching where wine is necessary but is not the focus.

While most of these won’t knock your stockings off (except, perhaps, for the Jean-Paul Brun and the Pfendler), they are mostly under $20, and several are a lucky $13.

2017 Paul Mas “La Forge Estate” Sud de France Chardonnay ($12). Very respectable, affordable, middle-of-the-road Chard – full-bodied, mellow apple fruit, not complex.

2018 Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($13). Mature apple fruitiness with a savory underlay.

2018 Flat Top Hills California Sauvignon Blanc ($13). Part of a new entry-level line from the C. Mondavi and Family stable, this one falls a bit short – a little drab with none of Sauvignon’s usual zip.

2018 Pine Ridge California Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($13). This wine is more interesting as an oddity – an unusual blend – than for its dazzle. The florality of the Viognier and the fruit of the Chenin don’t quite wed in the glass, but it is an interesting try.

2018 Cline Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris ($13). A little soft on the palate at first, but nice, spicy apple flavors with a crisp finish.

2017 Jean-Paul Brun “Terres Dorées” Chardonnay Beaujolais Blanc ($19). Go buy a case. If you can’t afford northern Burgundy, this one from the special soils of southern Beaujolais will fill in quite nicely – a delightful wine with loads of freshness, lots of spicy minerality and a hint of toast.

2018 Tasca d’Almerita “Mozia” Sicilia Grillo IGT ($20). Grillo is one of the more promising Sicilian varieties, and here it is spicy with good intensity – enjoyable without complexity.

2017 Fort Ross Vineyard “Sea Slopes” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($27). Refreshing and clean fruitiness with a pleasant savory note in the finish.

2014 Frescobaldi “Massovivo” Toscana Vermentino IGT ($28). Full-bodied with lots of floral spices and some beeswax flavors and a moderately crisp finish.

2018 Pfendler Petaluma Gap Chardonnay ($45). Very good, with smooth, spicy apple flavors and a compact structure without being too tightly wound.

2016 Flat Top Hills California Red Blend ($15). A good carafe wine – fresh, tart fruit with a refreshing finish.

2016 Jerusalem Hills “Special Edition” Israel Marselan ($19). Marselan is an environmentally friendly cross between Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon that is bound for great things. Here, it is red fruity with great texture and has the ability to improve over the next five years or so.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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