Wine Gift Guide 2017

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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”?
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