You want to impress your host with a bottle of fine wine; however, the endless array of wine options from vineyards and regions across the globe can truly be mind-boggling. Choosing wine calls for diligence and of course, common sense. You can't just go prancing into a wine store and pick up a random bottle. The worst part about wine shopping is that, you can't taste what you buy, so, it's all based on intelligent research, which makes it even more challenging.
Wine is a sophisticated drink, meant for sophisticated taste buds, which is why it is important to select it after thorough evaluation. Your choice of wine will depend on various factors like for whom the gift is. For example, if it's a business gift, you really want the wine to be impressive, while if it's for your date, you need to go more on the romantic front, rather than on the expensive vintage front. So, the kind of occasion and the impression you want to make will shape your choice.
If you've been invited by your boss, you need a wine that's a winner. In such cases, you really need to look beyond a Chardonnay or Merlot (no offense!). You need something special, something that will speak positively about your character and persona.
Champagne from the Champagne region of France is the ultimate in sparkling wines. Nothing speaks elegance and exuberance more than a bottle of chilled Champagne. However, if you want to make your gift even more special, how about investing in a vintage Champagne. No individual on earth will pass the gift off as ordinary. A vintage Champagne is classic, rare wine prepared from 100% high quality grapes of a particular vintage. Its flavorful depth and quality is sure to leave anybody floored. Be very careful when you're purchasing Champagne; a fake won't be appreciated by your boss.
When a vineyard declares its wines as vintage, it sure means the wine is of extraordinary quality. It's not called the 'King of Ports', for nothing. Not every year will you find vineyards making these claims, so if you get hold of a vintage wine, then, purchase it. Your boss is sure to be impressed by the quality of the wine, and of course, your choice. These wines also make good gifts to mark milestones. However, while purchasing a vintage port, make sure you purchase it from a reputed international auction house. Carry out sufficient research about vintage ports before you purchase one. You don't want to be dumbfounded when your boss asks you more about the details of the wine.
Also touted as the 'nectar of the Gods', icewine is a sweet, luscious, velvety wine that is prepared from frozen grapes. While sweet wines don't have such a good reputation, icewines are different. These wines are unique and exotic, prepared by pressing hand-picked grapes that have been harvested at 8ºC. Icewines come in 375 ml bottles, owing to their labor-intensive preparation. They are also more expensive than other wines. Again, be wary of the fakes. To be on the safer side, only purchase icewines from Canada's premium icewine producers like Inniskillin or even Peller Estates, Pillitteri Estates Winery, and Jackson-Triggs.
Well, you can also give a combo pack, one red and one white. This will eliminate the confusion about the preference. One of each is a safe bet. Opt for a classic red wine, something from Spain, such as the Spanish Rioja, which is a smooth, food-friendly wine that is popularly loved. Bordeaux wines from France, or Shiraz from Australia's Barossa valley also make good gifts. For whites, you can go for classic Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley in France. Aromatic Gewürztraminers from Alsace in France, are also exclusive wines you can gift.
Although your love for your family and friends is unfathomable, it's not feasible to purchase vintages for Aunt Martha who's hosting Thanksgiving this year, or even to mark the one-year-anniversary of the day you met the love of your life. Needless to say, there are umpteen affordable options out there, that will still make the gift special.
If you've been invited for a special occasion like Thanksgiving or Christmas, then, presenting a bottle of sparkling wine would be quite appropriate. Sparkling wines with their effervescence and palate-cleansing nature are simply perfect for festive occasions. Whether the host chooses to serve it that day or chooses to open it later, it's a gift that's sure to fit in. They also make good wedding gifts. And by sparkling, we don't mean the expensive Champagne. Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco are wonderful inexpensive, yet enjoyable bubblies.
Chilled rosé wines are perfect for a romantic dinner on a hot summer evening. Your date, girlfriend, or fiancée is sure to appreciate the gesture. Moreover, its pink shade spearheads the romantic feel. What's best about these wines is that not only do they make good aperitifs, but can also be had with most foods, because of their food-friendly nature. What's even better is that they are pretty inexpensive. They're affordable wines for first dates, especially those that don't materialize! If you want to spend more, you could opt for pink Champagne, which will give your evening the luxury and sophistication it needs.
A good dessert wine is always appreciated, especially by those who have a sweet tooth. While Spain's Pedro Ximénez is the ultimate dessert wine you can purchase, dessert wines of Château Climens from Bordeaux, France, or Dolce from Napa Valley, California are also good options. Dessert wines can be had as the dessert itself or can be had along with a pudding, pie, chocolates, etc., which is why they are perfect for festive occasions. A vintage tawny dessert wine would be great for someone special if budget is not an issue.
If you don't know the host too well, and can't figure out whether they are more of red or white wine drinkers, then, take cue from the season and gift red wine if it's winter, and white wine if it is summer. To make the gift more appealing, how about presenting your red and white wine with an appropriate cheese or chocolate pairing. For example, a Merlot goes well with Cambozola or even with Swiss cheese, while a Chardonnay pairs well with Asiago. You can also pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate. Such pairings give the wine that extra 'oomph'.
If it's a birthday gift for someone you know closely, then purchase a wine that speaks of a memory―such as a reminder of a trip or an occasion, etc. Always wrap a wine bottle beautifully. This will accentuate its appeal. Moreover, you could also put it into a gift basket, and give it along with a wonderful book about that particular wine. All the best!