For so many people in your life, wine can be the perfect gift. Especially as we get back to holiday parties this year, it’s one of the best things you can bring for the host of the next soiree you attend. However, the world of wine and personal tastes can feel infinite. So we’ve created a guide of wines to gift that’s filled with different varietals, styles, accessories and books to help you pick out just the right present for whomever you’re shopping for.
The editors of Robb Report scour the globe (and the Internet) for the best of the best and only endorse products we love—and think you’ll love, too. If you purchase a product or service through a link in this story, we may receive a small commission.
Beaulieu Vineyard 2018 Georges De Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
First made by Napa’s legendary André Tchelistcheff, BV’s Georges De Latour Private Reserve is considered a benchmark for the valley’s Rutherford AVA. And current winemaker Trevor Durling’s 2018 hits all the right notes. It’s inky and saturated, with perfumed florals floating over classic cassis aromas layered with forest scents, cocoa, spice box, graphite and crushed rock. Elegant, chalky tannins carry red raspberry flavors that evolve to darker black cherry in the glass, warmly spiced with anise. There’s great balance here between freshness and ripeness.
Lingua Franca 2019 Bunker Hill Chardonnay Willamette Valley
After skipping a vintage, one of Lingua Franca’s most sought-after Chardonnays—from Master Sommelier-turned-winemaker Larry Stone, in partnership with France’s renowned Dominque Lafon—is back. And it’s making the case that avoiders of fat, over-oaked Chards should reconsider leaner (Oregon) versions. Marked by textural tension and pinpoint balance between richness and delicacy, ripeness and bright acidity, the 2019 Bunker Hill opens with oyster-shell minerality wrapping around creamy citrus, white blossoms, and a hint of ginger. Mandarin and lime join the gamut of citrus and tree fruits on a vibrant, mouth-filling palate, with savory minerality and a touch of salinity lingering through the finish.
Williams Selyem 2019 Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
When Burt Williams and Ed Selyem launched their wine brand in the early 1980s, they arguably created the first “cult,” waiting-list Pinot Noirs in California and put Russian River Valley on the map. Now, in the hands of winemaker Jeff Mangahas, Williams Selyem’s wide-ranging single-vineyard, blends, and appellation-specific Pinots are, if anything, more elegant and expressive of their sites than ever. The 2019 Westside Road Neighbors blend opens with rose petals and red berries over complex layers of fresh-tilled loam, cedar, and hints of mushrooms, black tea, and exotic spices. Absolutely vibrant red fruit flows across the palate—raspberry, cranberry, cherry—with an edge of savory herbs and appealing minerality delivered with the silkiest of textures.
Sterling Vineyards 2016 Sleeping Lady Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville, Napa Valley
This small-production reserve Cab from Sterling Vineyards comes from a Napa Valley site that’s getting more and more attention these days. (The Araujo family and star winemaker Julien Fayard, among others, work with fruit from the Yountville vineyard.) The nose on Sterling’s 2016 walks a fine (and pretty) line between sweet and savory, with aromas of leather and tobacco underlying blackberry, cassis, and Asian spices. Generous berry liqueur, dark plum, and blueberry flavors on the palate are balanced by hints of minerals, mushrooms, and crushed herbs against a firm but fine tannin structure.
Robb Report 627 Wine Club
You don’t have to be a billionaire to drink like one. It’s not about buying the most expensive bottles. Instead, those who collect and enjoy fine wine value three things in particular: provenance, rarity and exclusivity. With that in mind, Robb Report has launched a new premium membership—the 672 Wine Club. Each shipment comes with two bottles of three different wines—one to cellar and one to drink now. This inaugural selection is made up of three vivid Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley, and while all are made with the same grape, you’ll be able to taste how their respective terroirs make each wine distinct. The Stardust 2015 Cab from Napa Valley AVA has incredibly smooth tannins and a perfect balance of fruit and acid, with dark red fruit at its core and hints of tobacco coming on the long finish. The Ackerman Family 2016 from Coombsville has cedary, dusty and forest floor notes with its black fruit. And once the inky, luscious Titus 2018 Family Estate Reserve from the St. Helena AVA opens up, its notes of espresso bean, cigar box and chocolate are unmistakable.
Riedel Winewings Tasting Set
This sculptural new wine glass from Riedel is more than just a pretty face. Designed to resemble the wings of an airplane, Riedel has not only altered the shape of the sides, but adjusted the bowl of the glass. By pushing up the bottom and making it flatter, it increases the surface area of the glass for better aeration. You can purchase stems individually in seven different shapes including Syrah and Champagne, or purchase a tasting set where you’ll receive a four-pack—one each of the Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay glasses.
Champagne Billecart-Salmon Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé 2008
Created in honor of Elisabeth Salmon, one of the founders of Champagne Billecart-Salmon, this vintage rosé comes by its signature luminescent coppery salmon color (worthy of the name) from a percentage of its Pinot Noir vinified as red wine. An ethereal mix of earth, delicate floral, red berry, apple skin and spice aromas gives way to an amazingly fresh palate, bursting with energy and tension. Orangey citrus—call it clementine—is layered with more apple, with pastry notes fading beautifully into minerality wrapped in a creamy mousse.
Quilceda Creek 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
The Golitzin family founded Quilceda Creek back in 1978, and it would go on to earn six perfect 100-point scores from Wine Advocate. (Curious fact: The Golitzin family are descendants of Prince Lev Sergeyevich Galitzine, a winemaker for Czar Nicholas II and dubbed the creator of Russian Champagne.) The Quilceda Creek 2018 Cabernet proves the wisdom of the Golitzin family’s choice of Washington. (It was only the 12th bonded winery, post-Prohibition, in the state.) Aromatic forest floor, mint, warm spice and crushed tobacco leaf unfold around classic cassis on the nose. A cherry-cordial character joins velvety tannins and savory minerality to create an incredibly elegant wine.
Realm Cellars 2018 The Bard Napa Valley
From co-owner and CEO Scott Becker and superstar winemaker Benoit Touquette, working with consultant Michel Rolland, The Bard is a terrific intro to the acclaimed (and elusive) Realm Cellars portfolio. A complicated blend from vineyard sites up and down Napa Valley, from Calistoga to Coombsville, the Cabernet-dominant red (with splashes of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah, for good measure) is a showcase of the stellar 2018 vintage as opposed to a snapshot of a single site, as other Realm bottles are. And it’s a balanced, complex, seamless beauty. Expressive, high-toned aromas mix cassis and violets with earth and crushed rock. Vibrant, juicy boysenberry and plum flavors are layered with hints of dark chocolate and spice on a palate that’s full-bodied but far from heavy. Freshness balances plushness, and acidity melds with structure.
Château La Fleur-Pétrus 2016 Pomerol
As confusing as it sounds, think of Château La Fleur-Pétrus as Pétrus-adjacent, situated as it is between Châteaux Lafleur and Pétrus on Bordeaux’s Right Bank. And balanced perfectly between elegance and power, the 2016 (a blend of 91 percent Merlot and 9 percent Cabernet Franc) offers character worthy of the address. Gravelly notes lurk under intriguing layers of delicate violets, black currant, anise, mint and pipe tobacco on the nose. Beautifully intense red and black fruit follows, from red currant to black cherry, on a tannin structure that’s both sinewy and silky.
Patrimony 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Adelaida District, Paso Robles
From brothers Georges and Daniel Daou, proprietors of Daou Family Estates in Paso Robles, Patrimony is a Cabernet made from a few special rows in their vineyards, which they discovered produced especially high levels of phenolics (the compounds that determine color saturation, aromatic intensity, depth, concentration and complexity), shared by all great Cabs in the world. Indeed, their 2018 Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex beauty, leading with soaring aromatics—violets, dark chocolate, forest scents and crushed rock under dark berries. The palate is concentrated and layered, with earthy underpinnings for elegant cassis and black cherry liqueur and an impressive tannin structure and concentration encased in plush textures. This one is a testament to the terrific Cabernet capability the Daou brothers see in Paso Robles.
By Jimmy Hayes
Most visitors to wine country experience heart-stopping beauty and moments of pure pleasure—plump clusters hanging low in the slanting, late-afternoon sun; the perfect bite and sip of wine on a high-design tasting terrace. But what does that vineyard look like under glaring harvest lights at 3:00 a.m., with vineyard workers piling those clusters into bins at high speed? The lab in the bowels of the winery, where the team is blind-tasting vial after vial of intricate blends? This is the wine country that Jimmy Hayes—one-time sommelier, winery director, cellar hand and photographer—has captured in his new book Veritas. Winemaking is a gritty, greuling business, and Hayes’s images shy away from nothing: starkly naked vines in winter; the sticky, purple-stained hands of the sorter; the cellar “rat” straining to punch down a recalcitrant cap. Hayes is, as sommelier-turned-vintner Rajat Parr writes in the foreword, “a poet of detail.” And the granular process, both vineyard and cellar scenes, and intense personal effort he records with his camera add up to a book for the wine lover who revels in the beauty of truth as much as romance.
Taittinger 2008 Comtes de Champagne
Comtes de Champagne is Taittinger’s superlative expression: made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes from the coveted Côtes de Blancs and only in the best years, freeing it from overly tart influences of apple and lemon sometimes seen in Champagnes. It has just the right notes of toasty brioche, without veering into buttery tones, cut by the perfect degree of saline minerality. Its fine bubble is almost imperceptible. The wine’s delicate nature balances beautifully with powerful aromas of pear and orange blossom, while the hint of honey on the finish calls you to chase it with yet another sip.
The original Coravin has allowed us to drink our favorite wines by the glass without having to open the bottle fully. The needle pierces the cork allowing the wine to flow, while argon, an inert gas, will fill the airspace inside the bottle and preserve the wine’s freshness. However, the Coravin didn’t work with the pressurized contents of sparkling wine until now. The company has introduced the Coravin Sparkling, which allows you to drink bubbly by the glass too. In this instance, you remove the cork fully, but after pouring, replace it with a Coravin stopper and then the gadget fills bottle’s remaining airspace with CO2 to preserve the flavor and carbonation for up to four weeks.
Olivier Bernstein 2018 Mazis-Chamberlain Grand Cru, Burgundy
Bernstein is likely almost unknown to most American Pinot Noir fans, but his wines are well worth discovering. Affable and approachable, he has none of the sniffiness you’ll sometimes find from top châteaux. Maybe that’s because Bernstein doesn’t have his own domaine. Yet. Having made some scratch in the transportation world first, in 2000 he turned toward winemaking and, later, the niche he had always loved as a consumer and collector: Burgundy’s Grand Cru estates. But buying such vineyards was like trying to score the Hamptons house that’s near the water and a short walk to town: everyone’s dream, but rarely attainable. If the owner quits, the plot is deeded to the kids.
But Bernstein persisted, leasing older-vine parcels that some growers wanted to rip out for their low yields. Those were exactly the vines he was looking for. Over time he became a trusted steward and eventually came to own a few of his favorites, such as one in Mazis-Chambertin, the soil that informs this special 2018 bottle. The vintage is a pure expression of a Pinot Noir: mouthwatering cherry fruit with layers of spice and herbs. Fine tannins give just the right level of structure to make the wine a perfect match for food but eminently sippable on its own. On the nose it explodes with a stunning fresh, floral quality that’s unusual in a Burgundy and complements its savory flavor.
Inglenook 2016 Rubicon
This mostly Cabernet Sauvignon bottle (there’s a splash of Cab Franc in there) has all the hallmarks of a great wine from its Rutherford AVA. There are the heady aromas of licorice and black cherry. The opulent taste is fruit-forward with lingering savory notes, and its tannins are incredibly balanced, which makes this a great choice for the impatient oenophiles on your list. It’s delicious now. But we know that it will also be outstanding in years to come. We love that it’s also organically farmed and one of the oldest continually producing vineyards in Napa Valley.
Ornellaia 2018 La Grazia, Bolgheri, Italy
Napa isn’t the only winemaking region where 2018 is proving an excellent vintage. Tuscany also benefited from a return to more normal climatic conditions, producing a strong yield and some very healthy grapes, as evidenced by this beautiful new edition from Ornellaia, which estate director Axel Heinz has called “La Grazia,” or grace.
The wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a splash of Petit Verdot, a classic Bordeaux mix that has the vivid freshness lately seen in the best years from Bolgheri, near Tuscany’s coast.
The estate handpicked and sorted the grapes, with each varietal and vineyard block vinified separately, aging in oak for about 12 months. Only then was the balance between each varietal conceived and married, and once again returned to barriques for another six months before aging for a further year once bottled, producing silky smooth tannins and a long finish. The wine tastes more of red fruit than black, but it’s still rich, dense and savory with herbal notes and a whiff of wild fennel. Winemaker Olga Fusari points to its “intense aromatic expression” as a hallmark of the vintage.
Noble Rot: Wine From Another Galaxy
This isn’t just a book for wine lovers, it’s a book for people who love to geek out on it. The founders of the magazine and London wine bar of the same name, Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, go far and wide on all aspects of wine in their joyful, engaging tome. One section they’ll be sharing guidelines for appreciating and serving wine (to decant or not?), in another they’ll celebrate idiosyncratic bottles (are wine labels the new album art?), and then the book turns into a collection of essays chronicling travels through the pair’s favorite wine regions. It’s the cook kids’ wine companion, but it still feels welcoming to drinkers of all stripes.
Harlan Estate 2017 Napa Valley
When Bill Harlan acquired his first acres of raw land in the western hills of Oakville, with the vision of producing a wine that in time would be recognized among the first growths of the world, he didn’t rush. Along the way, Harlan (the wine and the vintner) might have inspired competition among Napa Valley reds that at its peak pushed past nuance for the sake of lushness and power. But for this vintner, it was never about explosive style. It was about the land, about slowly learning its requirements and expressions. “Much of the character of the wine comes from the fact that the vineyards are next to these wild lands, this forest,” says Harlan.
The Harlan Estate 2017 seems a vivid reflection of place, benefiting from those years of study and the age of the vines. Floral notes mingle with forest, tobacco, mint, spice and crushed rock, while mountain herbs season rich layers of cassis and dark mocha through an endless, elegant finish. It’s bold and structured (in fine-tannin style), but also seamless, fresh and graceful.
Winemaker Cory Empting describes the challenges of the 2017 season in three words: heat and fire. During the final, brutal heat of the summer, the vines shut down, and when the fog returned, sugars actually retreated as tannins ripened. He was given a second chance, harvest- ing most of the fruit at pinpoint ripeness before the devastating fires of October. His luck has become ours.
For its 2018 wines, Twomey focused on some incredible single vineyards in both California and Oregon. While Sonoma gets most of the press for California Pinots, the best plots for this finicky grape just might be in neighboring Anderson Valley with its cooler temps. This particular one, Monument Tree, stands out even among the others. This is one of the best Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted so far this year—on point cherry notes, not too big, with smooth tannins that make it a perfect wine to drink now, but enough acid to wait longer if you can.
Tenuta di Arceno 2013 Arcanum Toscana IGT
From high-profile Pierre Seillan, who makes wine on Bordeaux’s Right Bank as well as in Sonoma (Vérité), comes a Tuscan project showcasing his favorite variety: Cabernet Franc (representing 73 percent of this wine). High-toned aromas of violets and red berries belie the power and density of the palate that follows, and yet there’s great balance and finesse here, with juicy acidity and rounded tannins.
Stag’s Leap 2017 The Leap Estate Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Just as in 2020, fires ripped through Northern California wine country in 2017, but thankfully that year much of the fruit had been harvested before the blazes intensified in early October, partially because a Labor Day heatwave caused an early ripening that season. Winemaker Christophe Paubert selects the best barrels from lots from across the estate to blend this 95 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 percent Malbec. This decidedly elegant Cab washes over you with present but not overpowering tannins, giving the wine’s creamy texture just the right amount of structure. There’s ripe blue fruit on the palate and rich berries with hints of tobacco and chocolate.