The Gift that Keeps On Giving: Christmas Wine Gift Ideas
The holidays are upon us. ‘Tis the season for merriment and cheer, and frantic last-minute gift shopping sprees. If elbowing your way through the Christmas sale is enough to make you crave a drink, chances are, your giftees feel the same way. This Christmas, spread the cheer while saving yourself from multiple trips to the mall. Give friends, co-workers, and family members, provided they’re all of legal drinking age, exactly what they need: a nice bottle of wine to help them unwind.
Wine could very well be the perfect emergency gift for adults. It shows them you care about their emotional well being and would like to see them happy at all times. Worst case scenario? They’ll have something nice to serve the next time you come over for dinner. It’s a wine-win for everybody. So leave the stress of holiday shopping behind and start giving wines. Find out which vinos will delight their recipients through this Singapore Wine Vault guide.
Finding the Right Wine
When shopping for gift-worthy vinos, there’s one proverb you’ll need to keep in mind: different strokes for different folks. No matter how great the wine, it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. So before you start grabbing bottles from the wine boutique’s shelves, think about what each recipient may like. Remember, even a good Bordeaux will go to waste, or worse, be re-gifted, when given to a “white wine only, please” drinker.
Also, don’t buy up everything on the bargain bin. While there are some treasures to be found there, some of the tipples in the pile may be past their prime. Remember that the point of giving gifts is to convey sincere well wishes to your giftees. Giving them a run-of-the-mill or a terrible plonk will leave a bad taste in the mouth (both literally and figuratively).
Now, you don’t have to break the bank to get quality vino. To help you navigate the vast world of budget-friendly wines, we’ve come up with a few recommendations.
For the Ultimate Wine Snob
Ah, the ultimate wine snob. Almost every wine drinking group has one. This breed of oenophiles has transcended connoisseur and wine geekery and will not drink anything less than the best. It’s Bordeaux, Burgundy, Napa, or bust, so tread with care. Since your wine snob buddy will likely decant anything and everything they come into contact to, we recommend getting a classic, full-bodied red. Think Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blend, Syrah, or Zinfandel.
Now, if you really want to impress a snob—a hard feat, but doable—get an easy drinking and affordable Bordeaux. Château Lusseau and Château Le Boscq offer good Bordeaux at US$25 or less.
For the Meat Lover
This recipient speaks the language of steak quite fluently. From ribeye to porterhouse, filet mignon to New York strip, these individuals don’t stop talking about their meats. Ask about meat cuts and you get a full dissertation on marbling and steak preparation. For the steak fan’s wine, go full-bodied and dark. Think Zinfandel, Argentinian Malbec, Bordeaux, and Washington/California Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines will go swimmingly well with grilled red meat—even hamburgers.
The good news is that you can get a quality Cabernet for US$10 or less. From Robert Mondavi to Fetzer Vineyards, Liberty School to Challis Lane, the list goes on and on.
For the Vegetarian or Vegan
On the other side of the coin, you have the vegetarian or vegan wine drinker. While most vegetarians won’t shy away from a rich and meaty Syrah or Malbec, it’s a whole different story when the wine’s producers use animal products in fining their wines. When buying vino for the vegan, be considerate of their anti-meat principles.
Get wines that are clearly labeled as vegan or vegetarian. Our recommended value wines, priced at US$10 or less, include offerings from Dr L. Riesling, Cuvée Chasseur Vin de Pays de l’Hérault, and Altos del Condor.
For the Beer Drinker
Do you have a pal that strongly prefers a pint of brew over a bottle of vino? We understand the lure. After all, a mug of cold beer is pretty much heaven after a long day at work. Good thing there are a large number of wines that will appeal to the staunchest of beer drinkers. For the Lager lover, go Spanish with a bubbly Brut Cava. For Wheat Ale enthusiasts, try a creamy Chardonnay. We suggest getting Chianti or Bordeaux for brew fans who prefer earthy Porters.
A nice Tesco Cava Brut should only set you back by about US$8. While a large number of creamy and buttery Chardonnays can be had for less than US$15.
For the Sweet-Inclined
For the pal or family member that believes dessert is the be-all and end-all of every meal, go for sweet wines like Moscato, Sauterne, or a late harvest Riesling. These wines are saccharine enough to satisfy the sweetest of tooths.
At less than US$8, you can get a mouthwatering Hogue Cellars Late Harvest Riesling. Bring your budget to US$13 and you can purchase a Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti. Now, that’s what we call a sweet deal!
For the Supreme Cinephile
This wine and film enthusiast has probably spent one-too-many nights marathon-watching wine movies like Sideways, Somm, and Bottle Shock. Help your favorite movie buff get into character by giving wines featured in their film of choice.
For the Sideways fan, consider a value Pinot Noir. Expect to spend about US$15-$20 for a Pinot from Shoofly Yarra Valley, Bouchard Aine & Fils, and Mirassou. For Bottle Shock lovers, think Chardonnay. And lastly, for the Somm admirer, consider a classic varietal that he/she could use for a wine tasting party. For less than US$15, you can get a quality Riesling from Washington Hills, Château Grand Traverse, and SeaGlass Wines.
For the Adventurous Wine Geek
Now, this one’s easy. Unlike snobs, wine geeks will try just about any type of wine. They’re genuinely interested in all things vino. So, if you can get your hands on a hard-to-find wine—say, an Airén varietal—give it to this wine lover. But if your options are limited, any great vino will do.
If All Else Fails, Take the Traditional Route
If your giftee doesn’t fall under any of the previous categories, just pick from your wine cellar favorites. Go with popular palate-pleasers. For reds, you have Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. For whites, you have Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay. At the end of the day, any wine drinker would be happy to receive a bottle of vino regardless of region, price, and varietal. Just make sure the wine is not run-of-the-mill or a terrible one.