Richard Jennings' Wine Gift Guide

Top wine gifts as recommended by Richard Jennings


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A lot of my foodie friends love Italian food or are fans of the high acid wines of Italy. Some of the most exciting Italian wines I tasted this year were Brunellos from the 2007 vintage, and I think these wines would make exciting holiday gifts. President Obama apparently agrees, having gifted House Speaker John Boehner with a 1997 Brunello from Pogio Antico for the Speaker’s birthday this year.

Brunello from the Montalcino area in Tuscany is the ultimate expression of Sangiovese for me. Montalcino is a relatively warm and dry micro climate where the Sangiovese grape can experience a longer growing period than virtually anywhere else in Italy.

From my Brunello tastings this year, the one I rated the highest that falls under the $100 level is the 2007 Uccelliera. The best bargain amongst 2007 Brunellos is the 2007 Casanova di Neri.

Under $50

2007 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino - Bricking medium dark red violet color; lifted, red berry, spice, dried orange nose; tasty, baked berry, tart dried berry, tar, mineral, roses, tart orange palate; medium-plus finish 93+ points

Under $100

2007 Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino - Medium dark red violet color; appealing, dried berry, dried cherry, dried herbs nose; tasty, tart dried cherry, dried berry, sage, charcoal palate; medium-plus finish – 94 points

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  • 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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