Richard Jennings' Wine Gift Guide

Top wine gifts as recommended by Richard Jennings


« Prev Next » 9 of 12

There are so darn many good Syrahs being produced in the U.S. these days. I think they are perfect gifts for our friends who love big, meaty, food friendly reds. The two I’ve chosen are exceptionally flavorful and intense, made by two of California’s most talented Syrah specialists.

The Westerhold Syrahs are made by Russell Bevan, who is known for intensely flavored wines that still retain good balance. Paul Lato makes his eponymous wines, in small quantities, to increasingly high demand. He is originally from Poland. In Canada, he trained as a sommelier, working in that profession for 12 years in Toronto. After moving to the U.S. in 2002, he worked harvests at Au Bon Climat and Qupe, and made his first six barrels of wine in 2002. His wines are carried at an impressive list of restaurants, including French Laundry, Michael Mina and Boulevard.

Under $50

2008 Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah Westerhold Vineyard - Opaque purple red violet color; tart black fruit, tar, licorice nose; tasty, intense, tart black fruit, tar, licorice palate; long finish (22 mos in French oak) 93+ points

Under $100

2010 Paul Lato Syrah Il Padrino Bien Nacido Vineyard - Dark ruby color; lifted, tart black fruit, ripe black fruit, pepper, graphite nose; tasty, intense, tart black fruit, pepper, violets, mineral palate; long finish 93+ 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 126,347

    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 126,347

    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 1,084

    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

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network