Why to buy: Here’s a smart gift for any lover of Californian reds. Since launching Relic in 2001, Michael Hirby has been named a top-ten rising star for small-production Californian wines. His 2010 trio features a delicious Pinot Noir, Syrah and a blend that together make for a fantastic dinner party.
Characteristics: The 92-point (Wine Spectator) Ritual is a unique blend of grapes that includes old vine Carignane and Petite Sirah. Floral and ripe, it’s wonderful with spicy foods like barbecued spare ribs. Hirby’s Pinot Noir is flamboyant and rich, laden with cherries and cassis, root spice and vanilla. His Syrah, on the other hand, is packed with vibrant black fruits, black olives and white flowers. Like all of his wines, it is unfined, unfiltered, and unbelievably tasty.