Wine Gift Guide 2018
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 undoubtedly the perfect choice. Here are a few common categories and some wines that fit the bill.
Wine Gift 2018 Picks & Prices
Last Minute: $10 & Under
Red: Silk & Spice Red Blend $9.98
White: Kentia Albariño $9.98
The Holiday Party: $15 & Under
Red: Gran Passione Rosso $12.98
White: Thomas Schmitt Riesling $14.98
The Pollyanna: $20 & Under
Red: Beringer The Waymaker $18.99
White: Domaine Matrot Bourgogne $19.99
The Boss: $40 & Under
Red: Oren Swift Abstract $33.98
White: Louis Roederer Brut Premier $39.99
The Collector: $50 & Under
Red: Heinz Napa Cabernet Sauvignon $49.99
White: Saintsbury Sangiacomo Green Acres Chardonnay $42.99
Someone Special: $50 & Over
Red: Graham’s Vintage Porto 2011 $86.99
White: Pol Roger Vintage Champagne 1999 $74.98