You know the saying, “It is better to give than receive.” This may be true in many occasions but not when it comes to wine. Receiving wine is awesome. Giving wine can sometimes be daunting. How much does price matter? Which variety to give? Does the receiver even drink wine? All good questions that hopefully will be answered as you join me and the #WinePW group this month as we explore giving the gift of wine.
Que the scene. You have received an invitation to a party. It would be tacky to show up empty handed so you bring your host the gift of wine. You are invited to a gift exchange, you think you will play it safe and bring wine. You want to thank your hairdresser, personal trainer, or co-workers with the gift of wine. You enjoy drinking wine but are unsure how to give it as a gift to your host. You head to your favorite wine retailer to pick up a bottle. You need to be price conscious but you don’t want to give them crap. You know they drink wine but don’t know their favorite variety or whether they prefer red, white, or even sparkling. Depending on where you shop for wine, there may be a helpful sales rep to guide you with quality questions and recommendations. Or, like many places, there is no help to be found.
Here are some pointers I think are helpful when buying wine as a gift. First, are you bringing it for the host to open at their leisure with or without you Or are you attending a fun gift exchange and don’t really know who will be receiving the wine? Or are you giving it to a professional in your life that you interact with but don’t know well?
Here are some solid recommendations that do not require you to know your recipients wine preferences.
For the sports lover on your list, how about a gift of wine that embraces America’s Team? That’s right! Casillero del Diablo is the official sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys and their 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon makes a great wine gift. Not only is it well-crafted wine enjoyed all over the world, but it is a value gift-giving price. Your recipient will think they are drinking an expensive Cabernet, the $11 price tag is our secret. Pair with a juicy hamburger.
Many musicians are getting into the wine business. If your wine recipient is a music lover there are lots of quality wines to give as gifts. Zac Brown’s 2015 Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Proprietary Red Blend is another wine that over-delivers on price. This is a lush, opulent red wine with layers of flavors and textures. It offers genuine quality at a $19.99 price. Perfect for those who enjoy all styles of music and big red wines. Pair with braised beef short ribs.
A whimsical wine gift for the vegan or gluten-free recipient, Chef Jamie McFadden offers serious wines in a not so serious bottle. The label recalls Jamie’s youth of escaping the harsh winters for refuge in Florida with his family. The 2013 Snowbirds Merlot from grapes sourced in Monterey County AVA. The wine offers red and black baked fruit, spice, herbs, and vanilla. It is an easy drinking wine and at $18 another wallet friendly gift. Pair with a cold lentil salad.
Chardonnay is one of the world’s most consumed wines. Therefore, giving a nice quality, well-priced Chardonnay as a gift is guaranteed success. The 2015 Black Stallion Estate Winery Chardonnay is just that wine. It offers well rounded notes of tropical fruit and stone fruit, with almond and spice notes. It is judiciously oaked to add texture and weight but not buttery or over-creamy. This $18 gift will be a sure hit for Chardonnay lovers. Pair with lobster ravioli.
Another white wine that is sure to be a winner is a crisp Italian white wine. The 2016 Falesco Vitiano Umbria IGT is a 50/50 blend of Vermentino and Verdicchio. Even if these grapes are unfamiliar, this crisp and refreshing wine will win over all wine lovers. It is light with notes of orchard fruit, citrus, fresh picked white flowers, honey, and almonds. Perfect to brighten up a cold winter’s night. And a great gift at only $12. Pair with fish tacos.
Finally, if you know the recipient is a spirits drinker but unsure whether or not they like wine, The 2015 Barrel Road California Red Wine is a great selection. This complex red wine is a blend of Merlot, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot that was aged for 3 months in American oak barrels from Backbone Bourbon of Indiana. The result is a bold red wine with layers of dark fruit notes, mingled with caramel and coffee, along with tobacco and vanilla. Another great value at $16.99. Pair with a juicy rib-eye with a coffee rub.
Here is what my fellow #WinePW friends suggest about giving the gift of wine:
Jade from The Tasting Pour will tell us “How to Choose a Wine Gift”
Jeff from foodwineclick will share “Holiday Wine Gift Ideas: Not Just Any Champagne”
Cindy from Grape Experiences will post “Wines from The Hess Collection – Will You be Naughty or Nice?”
David from Cooking Chat we will write about “Christmas Wine Gifts: Tips and Bottles To Give”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will share “Spreading Christmas Cheer”
Gwendolyn from Wine Predator will share “Good Gifts Have Good Stories: 4 Wineries from Napa”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla is talking about “Sips Worth Sharing”
Jennifer from Vino Travels is covering “Holiday Wines with a Sicilian Flair”
Lauren from The Swirling Dervish is blogging about “Family, Food, and Wine: The Gift of Memories”
My Song Selection:
Join us tomorrow morning at 10CST on Twitter using #WinePW to share your thoughts and experience on giving wine as a gift. Happy giving. Cheers!