Richard Jennings' Wine Gift Guide

Top wine gifts as recommended by Richard Jennings


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Pinot Noir

Many of my friends love Pinot Noir, which is hard to beat for its versatility with food. I tasted over 800 Pinot Noirs this year, so I had plenty of choices in coming up with my two recommendations in this category. When I crunched the numbers, I discovered that one of the two best California Pinots for the money I’ve tasted in the past year came from the same producer as my top Chardonnay recommendation—Mount Eden. The other comes from a producer on the Sonoma Coast that has produced remarkably consistent, ageworthy Pinots for nearly a decade now, Fort Ross.

Under $50

2009 Fort Ross Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard - Medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; lovely, tart cherry, tart raspberry, roses nose; tasty, tart cherry, roses, black raspberry palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points

Under $100

2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Bottled - Light medium cherry red color with pale meniscus; roses, tart cherry, dried cherry nose; tasty, delicate, tart cherry, tart raspberry, roses, mineral palate; medium-plus finish 94+ points

Mentioned in this article


  • Did Richard Jennings ever live in Roswell New Mexico?

    Dec 06, 2012 at 1:51 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Jennings
    Hand of Snooth
    780161 125,284

    Hi John. No, I never had the pleasure of living in Roswell.

    Dec 06, 2012 at 1:58 PM

  • Snooth User: Russ Beebe
    1100415 1

    An outstanding lineup, Richard - most especially in the way you presented it as gifts you would enjoy receiving yourself. A very practical (and delicious) viewpoint!

    Dec 06, 2012 at 3:55 PM

  • Snooth User: PFBG
    454785 1

    The picture shows a Rosso not a Brunello. Altough you can have very good Rossos, they don't compare to the simplest Brunello. Don't you agree?

    Dec 06, 2012 at 5:55 PM

  • Snooth User: Richard Jennings
    Hand of Snooth
    780161 125,284

    Russ, thank you for the kind words. I always try to select gifts for people that I would be happy to receive myself, and that philosophy has served me well.

    I totally agree that it would be the very rare Rosso that would hold a candle to most Brunellos, but there are also some lousy Brunellos out there, so we'd have to make rare exceptions. Good catch though.

    Dec 06, 2012 at 6:26 PM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,082

    I have always gave the RAMOS PINTO 20 yr. tawny for gifts. Is the Taylor Fladgate just as good?

    Dec 09, 2012 at 8:52 AM

  • How about a muscat?

    Dec 09, 2012 at 11:34 PM

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