Is the wine lover in your life already loaded up on corkscrews, gadgets, and decanters? If you’re searching for a gift to please the wine lover that has it all, this is the list for you.
The answer is simple: just get them wine. The very liquid that started it all. Yes, it can be daunting to make a selection for a wine snob, or even just someone who knows slightly more about wine than you do. But trust us, they will appreciate it.
The key to simplifying your search? Figure out which type of wine lover your friend or loved one is. Once you realize that (most) people are not expecting a thousand-dollar bottle of vintage champagne or an old, leathery aged Bordeaux, it gets a lot less intimidating. Here is our take on the main types of wine lovers to look out for, along with recommendations for each:
The Wine and Food Lover
For this person, the food is equally as important as the wine they’re drinking.
When we think of wine pairings, chocolate or cheese often comes to mind. But with seemingly everyone on a diet these days, that can be a controversial gift. The waistline-friendly bet? It’s hard to go wrong with Champagne and caviar.
It might sound pricey, but American roe is actually quite affordable. Reputable producers such as Tsar Nicoulai offer boutique roe starting at just $20 for 2 oz. If the combination is above your budget, simply swap out the Champagne for a nice sparkling such as the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs ($32), and you’ll be giving the same flavorful experience for less. If you can’t find a local shop that sells both wine and caviar, we recommend Artisan Wine Depot, which ships to most states. The store is owned by Master Sommelier Christine Tran, so the wine selection is high quality. By picking your own items, you avoid the premium that comes with most gift sets.
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#closeup American Paddlefish Sturgeon Native to the Tennessee Valley river system, the Paddlefish is a cousin to the Sturgeon. This roe is often referred to as the “American-style Sevruga.” Characterized with a light gray color, small bead, and a sharp, sea-breeze finish reminiscent of its Caspian counterpart. #paddlefish #roe #tsarnicoulai #allamerican #madeintheusa #sustainable #farmtotable
The label is just as important as the bottle with this crowd. It might sound superficial, but trust us — we’ve consulted many a wine customer, and you’d be amazed at how many times a pretty label decides the purchase.
This is probably the easiest group to shop for: just get a wine with an unusual or visually-appealing label. For example, Gut Oggau Portrait Wines (below) are all the rage on Instagram lately. This Austrian label is quite limited production, so a gift will most certainly be special. Bottles range from $33-$115 on Verve Wines or Chambers St. Wines. Or, for the holiday hostess, a festive bottle of One Hope wine does double duty. It looks great on the holiday mantle or next to ornaments, and every bottle educates a family of 5 on their risk of heart disease.
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Beautiful Austrian reds 🇦🇹 #gutoggau blaufränkisch taste has totally changed after 30mins and getting better and better.★★★★ And THAT Pinot noir!! I’ve never had that kind taste in my life,that was really really special.I’m so excited!! #clauspreisinger ★★★★★ #vinnature #naturalwine #vinho🍷 #austrianwine#clauspreisinger
The Wine Explorer
He or she who totally geeks out over emerging producers and rare grape varietals. No wine is too small for interest.
Instead of guessing at varietals, simply give a subscription to a curated, artisan wine club such as Plonk Wine Club. Plonk sources from around the world, and past selections have included a Malvasia from Croatia, a Sicilian Frappato, and an orange Kakheti wine from Georgia. Shipments start at $50 per month and include shipping.
The Luxury Wine Snob
Only the finest Burgundy, Bordeaux, or Napa Cab will do!
A top-notch bottle in this category will most certainly set you back thousands, or at least hundreds. If you’re reading this article, we’re assuming you’re not looking to shell that out. Here’s how to make a luxury wine aficionado happy without breaking the bank:
Bordeaux: Rare vintages are prohibitively pricey, but a younger bottle to tuck away for aging can still be affordable. Simply opt for a second-, third-, or fourth-growth Bordeaux (see the full list of Bordeaux classifications here). For example, a 2nd-growth Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2008 is $170, or a 5th-growth Chateau Pontet-Canet 2012 is $90 (and rated 92 points on Wine Spectator).
Burgundy: Similar to Bordeaux, affordable Burgundy generally isn’t ready to be consumed just yet. Variability is also very high between regions, so stick to top areas such as Gevrey Chambertin or Nuits-St-Georges. These sub-regions are considered some of the prime terroir within Burgundy. While there is certainly great Burgundy to be found elsewhere, it’s harder to go wrong with a bottle sourced specifically from one of these areas. For example, the Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils Nuits-St-Georges Les Hauts Pruliers 1er Cru 2014 ($70) or the Louis Latour Gevrey Chambertin 2013 ($53) are both rated 90+ points on Wine Spectator and are still quite affordable.
Champagne: If Bordeaux prices have you shuddering, Champagne is a safe bet with a wider range of price points. A bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon is an entirely respectable purchase and sets you back just $50. Or, surprise them with a grower champagne such as Pierre Peters, also $50. If you do have more to spend, few aficionados will object to the 2004 Dom Perignon, which was an excellent vintage and will only set you back $180. Or, if you’re looking for a surprise, consider a limited edition such as the Bollinger James Bond 007 Spectre Limited Edition Gift Box ($199).
California: Perhaps your wine enthusiast isn’t into France. If they’re into the more fruit-forward, powerful, bold flavors of the New World, opt for a California red. A few highly consistent and gift worthy producers include Pride Vineyards ($65-$150), Silver Oak ($75-$115), or Shafer Vineyards ($50-$120 for red blends and $200+ for Cabernet Sauvignon).
The Green Wine Lover
He or she who treasures nearly any bottle of wine as long as it’s biodynamic, organic, or at least certified to be sustainable.
The great thing about sustainable wines is there are plenty that are both high quality and affordable. A few widely available biodynamic producers to consider: Domaine Zind Humbrecht for some great Alsace Riesling, Robert Sinskey for a wide range of Napa wines from Rosé, to Cabernet Sauvignon, to Pinot Noir, or Nikolaihof for top-notch Austrian Gewurtztraminer.
Now that you have some wines in mind, check out these Cyber Monday wine deals to get a nice discount. Full disclaimer that we at The Wine Daily are not receiving money to endorse any of these wines or sites.