On his popular blog, Spec's fine wine buyer Bear Dalton has recently posted a collection of budget wine recommendations. He covers reds, whites, and bubbles. All of his picks would be great for serving at holiday parties and are $12 or less. And of course, they're all available at the downtown Spec's. I haven't checked whether they're available at the Bay Area location (which is my preferred store in Clear Lake), but you can use the Spec's website to find out.
Check out his advice here:
"Uh Oh, It's Party Time (Budget Edition)"