Wine Gift Guide 2017
By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier
Which wine should I give when I don’t know “wine”?
Wine makes the perfect gift for a number of reasons. You can buy a good bottle to fit any budget, it’s the perfect “emergency” gift to have on hand in case you forgot someone, one size fits all, PLUS, it’s a gift you can enjoy yourself if you covered all your bases. However it can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not a connoisseur yourself and have no idea what the person drinks. You can certainly pick a nice label with a price that matches your budget and let it go at that, but a little thought can go a long way into making wine the perfect gift. Here are some quick thoughts and recommendations.
Pardon the profiling, but statistically a younger person drinks a sweeter wine. And while the popular choice is Moscato, consider Riesling. A Riesling CAN be sweet but have a much better balance of fruit and acidity.
A Blend is also good choice. Red or White, they can please a wide range of tastes. You can tell it’s a blend if it has a name instead of the grape varietal ( Tapestry, Conundrum, etc). There are great blends at every price.
If the person “knows” wine, I recommend going to the French aisle. If the first word on the bottle is Chateau it’s probably a Bordeaux. If the first word is Domaine it’s probably a Burgundy (and probably more expensive!)
In the US, the king of wines is still Cabernet Sauvignon. You can never go wrong giving a nice Cab to a wine lover.
A Pinot Noir can be a crowd-pleaser but you have to add 5 to 10 bucks to your budget before they get really good (the grape is such a pain to grow).
Lastly, you can always buy a sparkling wine. Champagne even! (No they are not the same). I don’t know a wine lover that doesn’t like Champagne. If it is out of your price range, a Cremant, another sparkling wine from France, can be a much better value.
So whether you are invited to a holiday party, a cookie exchange, or hosting your in-laws, wine is undoubtebly the perfect choice. Here are a few common categories and some wines that fit the bill.
Last Minute: $10 & Under
Columbia Crest Gold $9.98
A dark and rich Cab Franc-based blend that drinks far beyond its price point.
Dr. Loosen Riesling $8.98
A racy yet elegant wine offering exceptional value.
The Holiday Party: $15 & Under
Masi Campofiorin $14.98
A full-bodied Valpolicella Blend with consistent high scores year after year. A crowd pleaser!
Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay $14.98
Lush tropical fruit with notes of lemon curd and vanilla.
The Pollyanna: $20 & Under
Clos de Los Siete $17.99
Grapes: Merlot, Cab, Syrah & Petite Verdot. One of my FAVORITES!
Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco $17.98
Fruity and flowery, 100% Glera from the hillside vineyards of Valdobbiadene.
The Boss: $40 & Under
Two Hands Fields of Joy Shiraz $35.99
A concentrated and intense Australian Classic! Shiraz at it’s best.
Blank Stare $33.98
A Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend from Oren Swift offering white peach, pear, butterscotch and clove.
The Collector: $50 & Under
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis $47.99
Massive fruit, silky textures, and long lingering finish. A truly stunning wine.
Thierry et Pascale Matrot Meursault $49.98
Ripe and finely grained Chardonnay in classic, mineral driven Beaune style.
Someone Special: $50 & Over
Quilt Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $57.99
A new wine from the famed Wagner Family ( Caymus) sourced from prime Napa AVAs. Full-bodied, rich and complex. Exactly as you’d expect.
Maynard White Colheita Porto $57.99
White Port from a single harvest, this blend has superb character and jammy aromas of peach. Delightful!
Wine Gift Guide 2017: Which wine should I give when I don’t know “wine”?