Gift Wines: 5 Tips on How to Pick a Great Bottle

ChristmasgiftwineWant to give someone a bottle of wine this year? Here are quick tips on how to choose a great gift wine this holiday that we discussed on CBC Ontario Morning in the audio clip below.

Click on the arrow above to listen to the clip. You can get all my wine reviews of great gift wines (including those for yourself) showing the stock for each bottle at your closest liquor stores.

Wine is a great gift because:

–    one size fits all
–    doubles are fine
–    it’s easy to re-gift


– it’s easy to return for cash without a receipt

– wine doesn’t have to be cared for and it should never be watered

– it’s consumable so it doesn’t create clutter adding to more stuff in your home

How to decide which wine to give?christmas gift bag wine B

– match the wine to the person’s taste, if you know it

– match the wine to the person’s heritage ie Italian amarone

– match the wine to the dinner if you’re a guest

– choose a vintage that celebrates an anniversary for the couple, when they met, a birthday etc

– create a bottle gift set: one to drink now, one to drink next Christmas and one to drink 5 years from now

– create a book and bottle gift set

Otherwise: match the wine to the personality, just for fun!

Great Gift Wines

1. Personal Trainer

No, a muscular, robust red wine would not be cliché, especially not after all that ab work she’s done with you. However, the wine can’t simply be lots of fruit up front, it also has to have inner core strength and balance, as well as the ability to hold together in the glass. Since she’s all about go-local with fresh produce, give her a homegrown wine as well. You can also give this wine to your Pilates instructor, yoga master or Tai Chi coach.

Reif Estate Empress Chardonnay Wine Review
VQA, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

Clean, crisp and refreshing with lovely aromas and flavours of green apple and white peach. Amazingly great price for this quality. Very versatile with local produce as well as fresh seafood and thanking your trainer for being the queen of fitness gurus. Price: $12.95 Score: 87/100

2. Hairdresser

Now here’s a person who has a great sense of humour (she laughs at your jokes when you’re in the chair), but she also takes styling your mop seriously. Give her a wine that’s versatile, clean and fuss-free like your coif, but also has a label with a sense of fun and modern style.

d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz Wine Review
Mclaren Vale, Australia

A big black bruiser of a wine loaded with dark fruit, savoury bacon, dark spices and mint aromas. Full-bodied and smooth. Vibrant and full of personality, just like your hairdresser, even when her arms are going numb. Shiraz food pairings: beef prosciuttos, black bean soup, blue cheese, pepper steak. Alcohol: 14.5%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2016  Best Beef Wine  Price: $54.95 Score: 95/100

Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling Wine Review
VQA, Niagara, Ontario

The name of this wine says it all. Lovely Riesling with lime blossom, lemon zest and green apple goodness. Mouth-watering and juicy with laser focus. Medium-bodied. Great aperitif and food companion. Price: $16.95 Score: 88/100

3. Financial Planner

You appreciate how her conservative investments protected your portfolio during the recession. And now that the economy is recovering, you can give her a blue-chip wine this year; a brand that has been long established and well-known for delivering consistently good quality in the bottle at the price point.

Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc Wine Review
Napa Valley, California

Crisp, dry and fresh with a lemon-lime lift through the core. Very deft/light use of oak preserves the refreshment of this wine and its versatility with food. This wine is mostly Sauvignon Blanc and with a splash of Semillon. Pair this wine with roast turkey dinner and cashing in your Google stock. Price: $22.95 Score: 90/100

4. Travel Agent

He’s traveled the world and has planned terrific vacations for you. You’ve always discussed your latest wine finds with him. He’s become intrigued by your recent interest in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. He’s been to the country, of course, but hasn’t tried many of the wines yet.

Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc Wine Review
Marlborough, New Zealand

Monkey Bay wines take their name from a small bay on the coast of Marlborough in the South Island. A legendary monkey was once believed to inhabit this secluded spot. (Your travel agent loves tidbits like this.) The wine has vibrant, zesty aromas of lime, chives, grass, lemongrass and green apples. Medium-bodied and mouth-watering. Pair with: grilled swordfish, turkey burgers and planning a trip to New Zealand. Price: $14.99  Score: 88/100

5. The Boss

Choose this wine carefully: tasteful, but not showy; unusual, but not wacky. You want to give your boss a wine that says you’ve thought about the choice carefully, but not obsessively. Go with a premium sparkling wine that doesn’t have the price tag of Champagne, but does have the taste.

Segura Viudas Heredad Cava Wine Review
D.O. Penedès, Spain

An astronomically great value compared to Champagne. Toasty and refreshing and crisp. Great aperitif or try it with oysters or mussels. An absolutely stunning bottle that makes this a gorgeous gift wine. Why not? Price: $29.95 Score: 92/100

Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling Wine Review
V.Q.A., Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula

Riddle me this! Here’s a terrific Niagara bubbly with green apple and white peach aromas: very vibrant and refreshing. This sparkling wine is made from grapes that come from the Twenty Mile Bench region in Niagara. Price: $24.95 Score: 89/100

You can also listen to our discussion about holiday gift wines on CBC Metro Morning.

Posted with permission of CBC.



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