George DuBoeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is good, the Beaujolais Villages is also very good, and Brouilly is even better. (Basically can't go wrong with George DuBoeuf, unless the intended recipients happen to be fans of the very bold reds, these are pretty light). I second the Chateauneuf du Pape too. There is one (name escapes me, it's in a aged/dirty looking bottle) that has no years on the bottle becuase it's blended, and so very reliable, and very good.
Italian wines I know a little better. If you want expensive get an Amarone (I like Costasera Masi). The Amarones are what I would get afficiandos, if I had a real job. Masi Campofiorin Ripasso is also good, as well as San Felice Chianti Classico, and less $$$. Secco Bertani Valpollicella (Chianti Ripasso) is another good everyone likes it kind of wine, less fruity than a regular Chianti. Chiantis with a pink rooster label around the neck are the "approved" ones, and are all generally pretty decent.
If you want a stronger red, the Jacob's Creek from Australia are good, but I prefer a lighter wine, so don't take my word for it. And I don't know from white, except George DuBoeuf still good. I'm curious to see what other recommendations you get.