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The last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself being sucked into live videos on Facebook from various food blogs and magazines while I’m taking a break from finishing contracts. There are walk-through videos of Thanksgiving dishes and Christmas crafts, and I keep waiting for one of them to appear with a “wine gifting guide” but it hasn’t happened yet.
Throughout the next six weeks, you’re likely going to find yourself invited to various festivities and I am of the belief it’s never polite to show up empty handed. Wine is the perfect gift to give to your host as a way to show your appreciation. Below are eight wines to gift this holiday season, all with the exception of two are under $100.
The question we get all too frequently is “how much should I spend on a bottle?” Obviously let your bank account be your guide, but I generally prefer to spend somewhere in-between $35 and $50 per bottle. Of course there are some really fantastic wines available for far less, however these moderately priced wines tend to please the gift receiver because they tend to be more memorable, more nuanced. Cheaper wines tend to be bulk wines and are consistent throughout the years, but that doesn’t guarantee they’re any more than average when you consider the residual sugar and other additives added to enhance flavors. If you’re on a tight budget or don’t have a wine shop nearby, Hahn, Kendall-Jackson, Ghost Pines, Francis Ford Coppola and Chateau St. Michelle are worthy of your money and are widely available. If you’re buying for a millennial who is indifferent to wine, Chronic Cellars is moderately priced with cool labels and is available online and at some Costcos around the nation.
Tip #1: Steer away from bottles that are easily found on the shelves of your local market.
Our pick: Wrath Boekenoogen Pinot Noir $49
Unless you know your host will only drink Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, select a crowd-pleasing wine that can be enjoyed year-round.
Tip #2: Buy a bottle that can be enjoyed immediately.
Our pick: Flying Goat Cellars Goat Bubbles Brut Cuvee $42
If your host tends to open bottles as they come through the door, Champagne or sparkling wine goes with everything.
Tip #3: To really impress your host, buy a library wine that can be enjoyed now or continue developing for the next ten years.
Our pick: The Farm Cardinal Cabernet Sauvignon $100
If you’re attending a gathering hosted by a wine collector, select a bottle that’s already been aging for five or six years and will continue developing for the next ten plus years. Prepare to spend a little bit more on this bottle, but you can find some truly outstanding wines that fit the bill for under $100.
Tip #4: If you don’t know their wine preferences, play it safe.
Our pick: Mer Soleil Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay $32
If you’re unsure of their wine palate, it’s best to select a crowd pleasing favorite such as chardonnay, pinot noir, or even an off-dry riesling.
Tip #5: Select interesting wines for the budding wino.
Our pick: Cambiata Winery Tannat $29
If your host has recently gotten into wine, give them a bottle of a still somewhat unknown varietal.
Tip #6: Buy a bottle that’s great for a crowd.
Our pick: Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5 Liter Magnum) $99
Go big or go home. If wine tends to disappear quickly, save the hassle of uncorking multiple bottles and just open a magnum.
Tip #7: Perfect pairing for the chef.
Our pick: Calcareous Vineyard Signature Estate Cabernet Sauvignon $102
If your host is known for their culinary skills, a nice bottle of a bold, heavy red will be consumed and enjoyed sometime throughout the holidays. Every chef needs a quality bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon stashed away to bring out just for that special occasion.
Tip #8: The conversation starter.
Our pick: Fess Parker The Big Easy $35
Lets face it, sometimes the best way to spark up conversation at the dinner table is with a wine label. Our choice will have your guests talking about New Orleans in no time.
Are you giving wine to your hosts' throughout the holiday season? What's your method for selecting bottles?
post updated 10/9/18