Before it was thing to do – in 1978 — New York’s Mariani family bought a piece of land in Tuscany, planted vineyards, and created a winery. Today, Castello Banfi sells Brunello di Montalcino 2009 [$55]  in over 85 countries and all 50 states of the USA. Brunello is made from Sangiovese, a grape that has mutated so many times that over 600 clones are identified throughout Italy. Banfi spent over a decade independently researching, using their own vineyards as a laboratory, and discovered the three best clones, which go into their Brunello di Montalcino. Notes of black cherry, violets, vanilla, spice, and hints of licorice make up a complex nose and palate. The 2009 vintage is $55 and a perfect gift for any wine lover … but here’s a tip: the 2010, which comes out a few months after the holidays, is a “five-star” vintage and maybe the best of the century – see if you can get on a waiting list.

Buy: Banfi