Given the spirit of the holiday season leads to many shared meals and festive moments with friends, I’ve not surprisingly encountered plenty of pals hesitant to offer me a glass of wine. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their pre-calculated verbal presentations: they pray I want one of their small batch beers. At least, I think that they think, they’re “cool” on that level.

The good news is, I, like many Masters of Wine, like to drink all sorts of wine. (Sometimes, when thirst strikes, I do opt for beer, which I also love.) That said, I need neither a big-ticket wine name nor a trendy region. I enjoy drinking what someone else thought might be a nice glass. Usually it hits the spot, but sometimes it’s a deviation on a journey to deliciousness. Happily, these days the brews are almost always at least “correct” and without fault if not inspiring. For all the verticals and horizontals of wine and stratosphere-priced bottles I do taste, I am, quite honestly, thoroughly pleased to drink “everyday wines”. I love to see what the audience I hope to inform buys and enjoys. Furthermore, I’ve personally been on a kick of under $20 wines for the last 9 months…and under $15 is just fine, too. After all, don’t we wine folk say it’s all about the company with which we share the bottle? I think so, and my last month of bottles shared is very fine proof.

Here are some very cool wines I’ve been served by my apparently courageous friends over the last month. My favorites are followed by a star (*):

Comtes de Gascogne NV Blanc de Blanc*

Direct Wines 2009 South Australia Shiraz*

Vive l’Évolution 2007 Côtes du Roussillon

Roc de Lussac 2010 Lussac-Saint-Émilion*

Saracosa 2009 Rosso di Toscana

Château Haut Piquat 2008 Lussac-St-Émilion*

Château de Lavagnac 2009 Bordeaux*

Baron Arnaud 2010 Côtes-du-Rhône