Richard Jennings' Wine Gift Guide

Top wine gifts as recommended by Richard Jennings


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Richard Jennings' Wine Gift Guide I’m a wine reviewer and geek who currently tastes and writes notes on over 7,000 wines per year. In scoring wines, I prize balance, minerality and lively acidity, along with complexity of aromas and flavors.

I love Burgundies, Champagne, German Rieslings, Northern Rhones, Italian wines, Jura wines, Spanish wines, Greek wines and even wine from my home state of California. Over the years, I’ve tasted enough in each region to find out for myself who the best producers are, and I can appreciate both traditional and modern styles when they’re done well. In other words, I seem to have the broadest palate of anyone I know.

When it comes to holiday gifting, I often do give wine as presents because I’m very familiar with what my friends like. And my friends know I will have tasted whatever I am giving them, so they can be guaranteed of getting a quality wine they will enjoy. Value is also important. Who doesn’t want to spend a little less on a gift that will taste like something that costs a lot more?

In selecting wines for my gift list, I’ve gone for the 10 categories of wines that will most appeal to the various types of palates out there. I’ve got Champagne for the sparkling lovers, a Cabernet and a Syrah for those who need their big reds, a 2010 Chablis for the Burgundy lovers, an Italian and a Pinot for my foodie friends, a nice Chardonnay for those who prefer whites, a Spanish wine for the more adventurous, a Rhone for the Rhone lovers, and a Port for those who like it sweet.

In each category, I’ve gone for a wine I’ve rated highly that also represents a good value, and that’s readily easy to find. I’d be happy to receive any of these myself as gifts, and I think that’s one of the most important criteria in gift giving—would I select this item for myself?

Wine image via Shutterstock

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