Wine Xmas Present
My boyfriend is a rather new wine lover, and I would like to get him 3 or 4 bottles of wine for Christmas... kind of a nice variety. He usually goes for reds and likes something sweeter. I don't know that he's tried many whites, so I would like to incorporate 1 or 2 bottles of white in there. Can someone make some recommendations? He's definitely not into the more dry and acidic... would prefer sweeter and fruity. Oh.. and I'd like to spend in the $50-$60 range total. Thanks for the help!
Akulaji, Often with wine questions like yours, it's difficult to fine the actual wines that people recommend on line. I suggest asking friends to recommend a wine shop they trust. Then talk with the owner about mixing and matching wines from various countries. Your boyfriend will love comparing an Italian Red with an Oregon varietal, etc. Also, acquire a wine ledger so your boyfriend can keep track of the wines he liked and you can then build a collection. (Making buying for him even easier next year.)
I love love love Seghesio zinfandel. The version that's around $17 is so good that I never bother to buy their $30 reserve anymore. Definitely get a bottle of that. It's a fantastic example of Sonoma county zinfandel. I've asked at many wine shops what other zinfandels I can buy for under $20, and I've always been told not to bother with other zinfandels unless I'm going to pay well over $30.
A nice white might be St. Supery sauvignon blanc. It's light, zippy, has fruity aromas but is not actually fruity/sugary on the tongue.
allan scott sauvignon blanc is another great sb...
for zin, try one of four vines' appellation based offerings. the maverick especially would be right up his alley. also maybe a valpolicella... esp. ripassa-method.
Agree on the Seghesio. It is one of the few wines under $20 that you can really look forward to pulling the cork on. To me, those are the best wines: great value and enjoyment combined. Columbia Crest makes a Shiraz for under $10 that is a solid value and widely available. Just over $20 I would suggest Owen Roe Abbot's Table, a great blend that will certainly impress (not available in all states). Bogle Old Vine Zin and Petite Syrah are good values around $10. Have your local wine merchant suggest a Vouvray for a nice white option.
She said she wanted something sweeter so I figured that a white, red, and sparkley that met the requirements would be a nice gift.
The best place to go is probably Astor Wines. They tend to have very competitive prices (lots of bottles are on sale right now) and most of the staff is really friendly, helpful, and accustomed to dealing with customers who don't know much. Personally, I'd go for 2 or 3 bottles in the $20-30 range as there's loads of great wines to get at that price, and since lots of people feel uncomfortable spending that much on wine for themselves, especially when they're starting out, it's particularly nice to get as a gift. Astor also has a nice selection of half bottles and dessert wines too. It sounds like your boyfriend probably favors wines from the US, Australia, and South AMerica. Finally, you can walk down the street to Housing Works Books and get him a decent book on wine there at a low price.
Some widely available...
Rosenblum Rockpile Road Zin is amazing it would be a splurge if he likes fruit forward, but with some great smooth tannins($28). Their regular Zin is very solid. ($15)
Lots of good inexpensive shirazs are out there. Jacobs creek is a best buy.
Some really nice Malbecs from Argentina are out there and are still undervalued. These are gonna have a bit less fruit and area great steak wines. Ask at your local store.
Gift bag for the "sweet wine lover":
1) German Riesling Spatlese or Auslese $15
2) 1/2 bottle of Sauternes 375ml (recent vintage)$20-30
3) Moscato d'Asti $12
1) Amarone $40
Total of the above: $87.00
As a substitute to the Amarone, do a Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa for around $20 which would bring your total to $67 and be pure delight for the "sweet wine" drinker in your life :)
Second the vote for Moscato. Good Moscato is IMO really underappreciated by wine snobs. Light, great distinctive fruity floral nose, the nice mouth feel.
I have a hard time recommending the Sauternes cuz the cheaper ones can be really bad and cloying. I ordered three 750s of the Chat Lafaurie before the top 100 list came out. Imagine the 375s are getting bid up, but that might be nice if you can find it.