Any of you out there still looking for a gift? I had a few requests for giftable wines, so I thought I’d share the top 5 red wines that I’m giving this year. These are the kinds of wines you really can’t go wrong with – when I serve these, people typically comment and ask what they are drinking – which makes them perfect for gifting, grabbing to head to a party, or for when you are expecting guests! I cover all price points here, and I’ve listed the prices below.
Just to note – I have seen prices on these wines vary pretty widely, so definitely shop around to check and see who has the best price. If you are local to Charlotte, Winestore is a good option for pickup (and they ship, too!)
1448 is a table wine made by winemaker Jeff Runquist. The flavors are big and dense, with plenty of deeply concentrated ripe fruit framed with smoky deeply toasted oak and smooth, mature tannins. This is a big blend of Petites: Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot, and a host of other red varieties.
This wine is a crowd-pleaser and one of my go-to weeknight wines at under $20. It’s great to grab to take by someone’s house or give as a gift to a neighbor or friend.
This is a wine from the Daou brothers in Paso Robles, CA. It has soft tannins with dense black fruits, a touch of ash, and a floral note. The Pessimist is a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Tannat.
This one is actually similar in style to the 1448 above to me. It’s another really great weeknight go-to or giftable wine!
This Petite Sirah is the higher-end offering from Jeff Runquist, the winemaker from the 1448 above. All his wines share a fresh fruity taste without lots of tannins, and they have really vibrant flavor overall. I have seen this Petite Sirah (which retails for about $30) upset a blind tasting alongside much more expensive bottles of wine – it’s that good! You should pick up that oak smell here with vanilla, and then you’ll experience a signature rich, jammy, juicy taste.
This particular vintage is intensity and smooth and one of the best in years. You can drink this with just about anything but it’s also perfect without food! I am giving this to several people for gifts as it’s hard to go wrong with this choice!
The Prisoner is another beloved blend – mainly Zinfandel-based this time. It is savory and smooth with ripe fig, raspberry, black currant, and soft, well-integrated tannins. This might be the most famous Napa Valley red blend, leading interesting blends by incorporating Zinfandel with the unlikely mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Charbono.
The label is based on the Little Prisoner etching, by one of Spain’s most famous painters, Francisco de Goya, who lived from 1746-1828.
It’s really hard not to love this wine. If you are shopping in the $50 price point or taking a bottle over to a holiday dinner, I definitely recommend this one.
The Investor by Stag’s Leap has a touch of Malbec in it, and it also has Merlot, Petite Sirah again, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cabernet’s tannins are there but they are softened by the Merlot and other varietals. This is blended from an interesting combination of grapes inspired by the Stags’ Leap winemaker who comes from Bordeaux. Tasting notes include red, blue and black fruits, and a savory and herbal flavor with hints of oak. This wine will age well and so if you can hang onto it, let it mature.
The Stag’s Leap District is the most prestigious winemaking area of Napa Valley, and this winery is right in the heart of it. They make beautiful wines! If you are taking a wine to a oenophile, this is a solid choice.