Gift wines: iconic America

I was chatting with a friend over the weekend and he said that one of his co-workers was leaving the company to return home to Sweden. My friend wanted to give his co-worker a gift of three “iconic, American wines,” so he gave him a bottle of Schramsberg reserve 2000, Caymus Special Selection 2004, and Far Niente Chardonnay 2005. A very thoughtful gift, indeed!

Which three wines would you give if you were giving away three-packs of iconic American wines?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

15 Responses to “Gift wines: iconic America”

  1. BV Georges DeLatour Private Reserve 1994
    Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2005
    Gallo Hearty Burgundy (you said iconic, not good)

  2. Umm, what are YOUR picks, Tyler?

  3. Ha – funny, avwineguy. Iconic, perhaps. But I’m not sure it would do much for your friendship!

    Mark – you noticed I didn’t suggest anything?

    Well, tough call. While that is a very nice gift indeed, and one that I would be happy to receive, it is a very California gift–nay, Napa! If I were forced to give away a three pack of American wine, I might keep the Schramsberg though trade down from the 2000 reserve if the budget called for it. I might venture outside of Napa for a cab, such as Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It overdelivers in terms of price and it has a historic angle to it if not an iconic one. Or maybe a Ridge Monte Bello in a higher price bracket. Or Stag’s Leap Cask 23? California chardonnay certainly is iconic, and I remember greatly enjoying a Stony Hill chardonnay a couple of years ago. But I might even double up on reds if the recipient preferred them. Oregon pinot noir? Many good choices though they are, very sadly, nearly impossible to find in stores in the East. A dry creek zin–very American! I guess in the end, practical considerations would weigh most importantly for me and once I chose a good store, it would tend to decide which wines would be in the gift box.

  4. Ridge Monte Bello
    Pax Griffin’s Lair Syrah
    Williams Selyem Rochioli Block Pinot Noir

    vintages dependent on price and availability

  5. 1. Robert Mondavi Cab from before the Constellation era (the past)
    2. any good single-vineyard Willamette Pinot (the future)
    3. Eroica Riesling (as a symbl of Americans still not quite knowing how good we have it)

  6. Ridge Geyserville
    Rochioli Pinot Noir East Block
    Heitz Martha’s Vineyard

  7. hmmm… I’d love to suggest my own, but we’re still a year or two away from being iconic.

    I totally agree with the Ridge Monte Bello, but the Pax? – Jill, you and I have to talk! 🙂

    I’d throw in a good foothills Zin and something in a Pinot from the central coast. It’s after midnight, I’m tired, and I’m not in a position to name names! I’ll leave it as an exercise for the student…

  8. Ridge Zinfandel (pick one)
    Opus One
    and of course, a Stags Leap Cabernet!

  9. Ridge Zin (any would do, Geyserville is good)
    Opus One
    and of course, a Stags Leap Cabernet!

  10. Lots of good ideas here – I think with 3 bottles you need the Cental Coast pinot; I’d go

    (1) Foley Rancho Santa Rosa Pinot
    (2) Stags Leap for sure! Maybe not the “best” but oh so American
    (3) I’ll fill in the blank for the Dry Creek Zin too – gotta go A. Rafinelli

    nice topic

  11. No Charles Shaw suggestions yet?

  12. Tish is great as always…

    But, I would go to the icon maker for his 100-pointers…RWP, an icon himself!

    2002 Sloan Family Proprietary Red
    Napa Valley… $895.
    ‘Boasting enormous concentration, extraordinary complexity… it possesses terrific fruit, extraordinary intensity, and an amazingly pure, rich, long (over 50 seconds), blockbuster finish.’
    2002 Sine Qua Non Just For The Love Of It Syrah $430.
    Syrah (Shiraz) California
    ‘The greatest California Syrah I have yet tasted. Extremely full-bodied, with fabulous intensity, great purity, awesome length, and a finish that lasts over a minute, this classic is a must purchase.’
    2002 Colgin Tychson Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $675.
    The 2000 vintage was the first one produced by Colgin.
    ‘Its style suggests a hypothetical blend of a Pauillac and Margaux. With silky tannin as well as an concentrated yet elegant, pure style. Drink in 30-35 years.’
    And if you can find them,
    The 1997 Abreu Madrona Ranch
    Cabernet Sauvignon $660.
    “As I reported, the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch is a perfect Cabernet Sauvignon. It has easily soaked up its aging in 100% new Taransaud barrels. It is a sumptuous, unctuously-textured, fabulously concentrated [wine that] will last for 25-30 years. It is a tour de force in winemaking.”
    or the…
    1997 Bryant Family Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $1200.
    “One of the most awesome reds I have ever tasted,…a full-bodied, massive yet elegant wine. A compelling, historic Cabernet Sauvignon, it will drink well for 30-35 years.”
    tab: ±$2000 to $3800
    Just think how much 2-Buck you would leave @Joe’s for that amount!

  13. Come on, seriously! Anyone can look up Parker’s $500/bottle choices. Suggest the ones that are actually affordable and accessible. (Nothing personal!)

    Great suggestion on the single vineyard Willams Selyem or Ridge. . and I would add Siduri (as the newcomer) to that.

    Grgich Hills or Montelena chard (both masters of the varietal for usually under $40)

    And how can you have an “iconic” list and not include something from Randall Graham, as an object lesson of California’s potential. Maybe the ’01 Cigar.

  14. Perhaps not iconic, but I would take Zins from three very different regions, made in a style that really showcases the differences. Zinfandel is uniquely American and it does a good job showing that terroir makes a diffference in the U.S. too.

  15. Let’s hear em, Christian!


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: