California produces outstanding wines but they can be pricey, however, these smart buys cost £25 and under, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

While we're starting to entertain thoughts of Christmas and the excitement a decent bottle of wine can bring to the table, the Americans are one step ahead and gearing up for Thanksgiving.

From California's Napa Valley and Sonoma County, to the Central Coast vineyard areas, the vast stretch of Pacific Coast is a goldmine for flavoursome, impressive and downright gorgeous wines.

The only drawback is they often come at a premium (the region's glamorous reputation, limited production and high demand come into play) and even the middle tier wines can be hugely expensive... hence no cult Napa Valley bottles below.

So, what's a value-minded wine lover to do who wants 'made in the USA'? Pick up one of these...

1. The Intrepid Bear Lodi Sauvignon Blanc 2017, California, USA (£10.99, Virgin Wines)

Lodi in the Central Valley is home to all of California's leading varieties, and while it's best known for its zinfandel, the combination of warm days and cool nights produces beautifully fresh whites such as this expressive sauvignon blanc.

There's a flash of herbaceousness with tropical and lemony flavours, balanced by a lovely drink-me-now softness that gives the wine substance while still being clean and refreshing.

2. Frei Brothers Chardonnay 2016, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA (currently £13.49 from £17.99, Ocado)

One of California's best known wine appellations (and Napa's neighbour), the Russian River is famed for its exquisite chardonnay and this stunning straw blonde shows superb balance with layer upon layer of ripe apple, juicy pear and pineapple, with toasty oak, caramel, vanilla and spice. Generous and elegant at the same time, the rich, creamy flavours are brightened by some fresh acidity on the long, pure finish.

3. Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2016, California, USA (£17, The Wine Society)

The Central Coast is the state's largest wine region and while it's not as famous as those to the north, its myriad of climates means just about every grape variety thrives here. It's home to some of the biggest names as well as small, artisan producers.

Fess Parker can be relied upon for lush, ripe chardonnay and there's penetrating depth of flavour with full on pear-scented fruit leading into creamy baked apple, buttered toast and hints of creme brulee, with toasty oak and vital acidity lending a rich but soft, voluptuous finish. Just gorgeous.

4. Craft 3 Zinfandel 2017, California, USA (£10, Marks & Spencer, in-store only)

The Californian sunshine loves zinfandel (aka primitivo) and this is a berry smooth red with solid, spicy blackberry flavours and a beguiling forest floor of fruits on the nose. M&S doesn't reveal where the grapes come from (it's the State's third most planted variety), but if you like a dollop of brambly fruit with tiers of black pepper, liquorice, sweet vanilla and a rich, lingering finish, this is the zin to sin with.

5. Round the Blend 2015, California, USA (£13.99, Laithwaite's)

A rich blend that is best alongside food, seven A-list grapes from up-and-coming areas and well-established regions have been deftly blended to create a hearty, dinner-friendly red. Petite sirah (durif) headlines with its plummy nuances, while merlot, syrah (shiraz), zinfandel, mourvedre, tempranillo and carignan each play their role as the flavours rise to a crescendo. With a violet scented bouquet, it's spicy, mouthfilling and primed for a celebratory roast with all the trimmings.

6. Berry Bros & Rudd Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2016 by Au Bon Climat California (£24.95, Berry Bros & Rudd)

Pinot noir is one of California's strongest suits and 'pinotphiles' will be hard pushed to find a more refined and elegant pinot (within this price point) than Berry's own, produced for them by one of California's trail blazers, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.

Drawing on the Burgundy style of pinot, it's floral and bright with a rose scented bouquet and a red fruit character that's hard to resist. Expect a rhapsody of raspberry and cherry fruit with a fine web of herbs and spice, a juicy concentration, wonderful silky texture and balanced acidity on the long finish. Sheer class in a glass.