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"Christmas Gift Recommendations "

  by Fred McMillin



When asked what wine I prefer, my reply is, "somebody else's."

...Diogenes, c.412-323, Greek philosopher who for a time lived in a barrel to indicate his rejection of the world's comforts.

Guenoc Beckstoffer
Guenoc's Beckstoffer IV each year is one of our highest scoring cabs.

The Rest of the Story

Though rejecting other comforts, Diogenes apparently enjoyed a free bottle of wine. So do most of the wine enthusiasts I know, be they novices or connoisseurs. But my recommendations are different for the two groups.

For Novices

Give an easily-recognized varietal, a Chardonnay or a Cabernet Sauvignon...and make it from an easily-recognized winery. I'd suggest Robert Mondavi. Prices range from under $10 (Woodbridge label) to over $30 for the Reserves. Give the highest-priced bottle your budget will permit.

For Connoisseurs

Give a highly-regarded wine. While the novice wouldn't be excited by it, the veteran will. Here are some glamorous wines in various price ranges.

Under $10

    Fetzer Gewurztraminer is a national winner.
    Bogle has a terrific '96 Petite Sirah.

Under $20

    Any Peachy Canyon Zinfandel
    Fiddletown Zinfandel by Sobon Estate, Amador County
    New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a big deal; try the Brancott or Cloudy Bay.
    Handley Brut Sparkler...affordable, flavorful bubbles.

Under $30

    Clos Pegase Merlot
    Pezzi King Cab...rising new winery.
    Guenoc Reserve Chardonnay
    Any Steele Pinot Noir

Under $40

    Grgich Chardonnay...Mike's a master.
    ZD Cabernet Sauvignon
    Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon

$40 Up

    Clicquot Brut Champagne
    Matanzas Creek Merlot
    Peju Province Cab
    Guenoc Beckstoffer Cab (pictured)
    Opus One...max prestige...$95...would have dazzled Diogenes.

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