Christmas wine gift guide: Selecting their perfect drop
Wine is the perfect ‘What to Gift When You Don’t Know What to Gift’ gift. It’s readily available, suits any budget and has wide spread appeal. However, there’s a big difference between grabbing a bottle from the off-license on the way to the Christmas-do and a carefully selected vino that the recipient truly appreciates.
If your wine knowledge is about as extensive as red or white, Tom Gearing, former Apprentice runner up and MD and co-founder of the UK’s fasted growing wine investment specialists, Cult Wines, shares his key tips for finding the perfect drop.
Look in the right places
Convenience is rarely going to be a successful path to a thoughtful gift. Don’t just visit your local supermarket, go to a boutique wine store or specialty bottle shop that has both a more varied and independent selection. The stock has been considerately selected by a passionate wine connoisseur and the staff probably know a thing or two more than their chain-store based counterparts.
Your wine-advisor will be share with you up-and-coming wines from lesser known regions, like this mouth-watering minty Patricius Tokaji Furmint Dry 2016, Hungary.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
The most important part of wine, is, and always should be, the liquid inside. Flashy brands can be a draw card but try and look past the label and consider the blends, flavours and tones. Think about your giftee, their taste buds and let that lead the way. For example, if they love a flavour-rich drop, look for a Tempranillo with a mixture of fruit and spice.
The Marqués de Zearra Rioja 2009 spends two years in the barrel and 3 in the bottle before being released to create an incredible combination of fruity flavours and spicy, coffee aromas.
…but looks matter too
Let’s be honest, if you’re buying a high-end bottle, you want to make sure your recipient can tell. Let the tart flavours of a young Tempranillo lead you to the type and then – if you haven’t personally tried any of the wines in question – let the bottle presentation help you select which makes the final cut. After all, this is a gift and you want it to be presented well.
For people in the know? A cult classic. For your giftee? A high-end sparkling wine complete with the gift box that makes the Cuvée Dr Brendan O’Regan by Dermot Sugrue that little but more special.
Remember, it’s a gift for them
This is not an opportunity to show off your new-found wine knowledge and push any pretentious ideas onto your recipient. If you know they’re a sweet-toothed Rosé fan, then don’t buy them a heavy Merlot just because you think it’s more cultured.
Meet them half way and give them the classiest (yet affordable) Rose out there. The Petit Rose Tout Simple made from mainly cinsault, gives delicate strawberry and herb flavours.
If in doubt, ask
A big part of the draw to an independent or specialist shop is the expert knowledge that’s available so use it. For a gift-worthy wine, you want to avoid going after labels and brands that you see in-store often as it’s likely that your recipient does to and by human nature, we are less impressed by the everyday; this is where the educated staff comes in. Talk to them about what you’re looking for and ask their recommendations, trust me, they’ll enjoy sharing their expert opinion as much as your recipient will enjoy drinking it.
Tell your recipient that to not worry about what to drink with their Christmas dinner as this Jean Bon Merlot IGP Pays D’Oc 2017 is the turkey perfect partner. Flavours of blackberries, jam and red current that enhance that cranberry sauce.