The time honored tradition of presenting a gift to the host of a party can sometimes be challenging. A proper host/hostess gift is for them and them alone, not a bottle set on the table among the other plonk (that's a "contribution"). But restocking your host with cellar buffers is a right and proper action to take, and doesn't have to break you. Here's our list of standards. 

The vintages don’t matter. These wines represent consistent quality blended with eminent guzzlability—and availability for last minute holiday cheer. In a hurry, in a pinch, on a whim, or by the case for full social calendar, these wines always deliver a smile at a price that won’t make you grimace.

1) Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvée or Boedecker Cellars Oregon Pinot Noir—two well priced Oregon Pinot Noirs at $18-20.

2) Louis Latour Valmoisine—I’ve written wine lists for three different restaurants and been consulted for wine at high end parties. This was my go to. Beautiful, elegant and inexpensive at $15.

3) Borsao—In 2001 I moved to Portland and brought two cases each of wines I was afraid I might never see again. The first was a Petite Sirah from Kempton Clark and since it was an R.H. Phillips product it was, indeed, the last time I saw it. The other was an inexpensive Spanish Garnacha/Tempranillo called Borsao. It was good with stews, pastas and leftover pizza—the sort of things you eat after a dinner party. You can buy one for the host and one for yourself at just $9.

4) Vielle Fermes Cotes du Rhone—plenty of bang for the buck in a $9 wine. A 3L box for under $30 translates to $7.50/a bottle. Yes, I said box—keep a couple of clean bottles to serve it and your guests will never know.

5) Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé—for that hostess with the mostest, it’s the highest price wine on this list at a whopping $25 retail. It’s a steal. And who doesn’t love bubbles for breakfast the morning after a party?