Looking for a gift that pops?Wine makes a wonderful holiday gift if you put some thought into it. It's festive and flexible in price. It can be warmly personal, too, with a little effort.
By: Fred Tasker, McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
Wine makes a wonderful holiday gift if you put some thought into it. It's festive and flexible in price. It can be warmly personal, too, with a little effort.
A couple of caveats: Before you start shopping, determine the price that's appropriate for the person you're gifting. Give your boss a $6 generic white, no matter how good it is, and she'll think you're cheap. Give a $200 bordeaux and he might decide you don't need a raise this year.
Second, while some of the world's top wines come in screw-cap bottles, you should give them only to friends who know about wine. Many people still — erroneously — believe screw-cap wines are inferior.
Put the bottle in a gift bag, Google it to find a point of interest, and jot it down on the card along with a serving suggestion. For example, the Post Scriptum below is a Portuguese table wine made of grapes usually used in port. Or you might simply say you had that wine with a beef roast and it was a great match.
Finally, if you bring the wine to a holiday dinner, don't assume it'll be served with that meal. Your hosts may well have purchased wines to complement their menu.
Here are specific suggestions in various price ranges.
2008 Antigal Uno Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina: deep violet color, black plums, black raspberries and mocha, dry and smooth; $20.
2008 Sanford Winery Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, Calif.: a quintessential California chard, bright and crisp, with hints of oak and ripe pineapple flavors; $22.
Nonvintage Noval "Black" Ruby Port, Quinta do Noval, Portugal: a powerful, sweet dessert wine with flavors of black cherries and coffee; $22.
2007 Kendall Jackson "Grand Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma/Napa, Calif.; hint of oak, flavors of cassis and espresso, soft, ripe tannins; $25.
$25 to $34
2008 Wilson Winery Zinfandel, "Sawyer Vineyard," Dry Creek Valley, Calif.; hint of oak, rich and hearty, with black cherry and sweet chocolate flavors; $34.
2008 Morgan "Twelve Clones" Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Calif.: big and powerful, with black cherry and cinnamon flavors; $32.
2009 Freemark Abbey Viognier, Napa Valley, Calif.; aromas of white flowers and vanilla, soft and rich, with vanilla and citrus flavors; $27.
2007 Post Scriptum Red Wine, Prats & Symington, Douro, Portugal (tinta roriz, touriga franca, tinta barroca grapes): rich, soft and smooth, with black cherry and dark chocolate flavors, soft tannins; $25.
$35 to $50
2009 Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc, "Helena Bench Vineyard," Sonoma, Calif.: big, rich, crisp and full-bodied, with flavors of white grapefruit; $38.
2007 Fogdog Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Calif.: big and rich, with spicy aromas and flavors of black cherries and coffee; $35.
Nonvintage J Brut Rose Sparkling Wine, Russian River Valley, Calif.: lots of tiny bubbles, crisp citrus and black cherry flavors; $35.
2006 Banfi "Belnero" Sangiovese, Montalcino, Italy: rich, concentrated tart-cherry flavors, crisp and lively, long finish; $39.
2006 Shafer "Relentless" Syrah/Petit Sirah, Napa Valley, Calif.: black cherries, black pepper and black coffee, big, ripe tannins; $70.
2008 Freestone Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast: hint of oak, aromas of camellias and lemons, crisp and minerally, powerful; $55.
2006 Cakebread Cellars "Dancing Bear" Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Calif.: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of cassis and other berries, powerful and smooth, with big, ripe tannins; $105.