Let's say you've got an occasion that deserves a nice bottle of wine - a promotion, maybe, or an upcoming holiday that celebrates love.

Let's say you've got an occasion that deserves a nice bottle of wine - a promotion, maybe, or an upcoming holiday that celebrates love.

You're not risking much by haphazardly choosing something in the $10-$15 range, but you don't want to take any chances with a bottle several times as expensive. We asked three wine shop owners for their top picks for people planning to spend a chunk of well-earned change.


The Wine Guy Wine Shop

Runquist Petite Sirah (2008)

Extremely dense and very dark, with creamy berry, chocolate and a bit of pepper flavors. "Although priced affordably, this wine drinks with a lot of the big boys. At only $30, it easily has a value of $60 or more in flavor," owner Craig Decker said. "I call it 'a petite sirah for the cabernet lover.'"

Region: Clarksburg, California

Cost: $30

Pairs well with: Lamb chops or soft, fruity cheeses

Vino 100 Polaris

Napa Angel by Montes(2006)

Heavy and powerful yet smooth, with layers of berry, red currant, oak spice and vanilla. "Decanting or aerating this wine is a must," advised Vino 100's Liz Avera. "It's a quintessential Napa cabernet, but for a whole lot less than the usual price. Aurelio Montes, an icon winemaker in Chile and Argentina, sources grapes from premier vineyards for his California venture."

Region: Napa Valley, California

Cost: $50

Pairs well with: Roast beef, veal chops, aged cheddar or dark chocolate truffles


Weiland's Gourmet Market

WilliamFevreChablis Grand CruBougros (2006)

Citrus fruits and peaches, plus chalk and mineral flavors. "Most people would equate Chablis with the bastardized version that comes from theU.S. in various jug forms, but not so fast.The wines from Chablis are made from chardonnay, and they are absolutely amazing," Adam Nagel said. "So worth the $75 - plus, the original retail is $100."

Region: Chablis, France

Cost: $75

Pairs well with: The minerality cuts through the richness of shrimp, oysters, scallops and softer cheeses