Buying wine as a gift is a wonderful idea for many occasions, but with so much choice, how should one go about selecting a wine that will delight our nearest and dearest? Let us guide you some of the most enduring rules to buy wine by:
1. Consider the time of year
Remember that many wine consumers are seasonal drinkers! Your friends may lean towards something lighter, crisper and more refreshing during the summer time such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé. Then in the winter turn to a heavier, warming red such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Bordeaux blend.
Chardonnay is a good shoulder season choice as they are very versatile in style, full bodied buttery chardonnays are perfect for when the weather is starting to cool down and the fruiter, lightly oaked style is lovely chilled in the spring.
2. What is the occasion?
A celebration of any sort always calls for a bottle of bubbles! These can come in many different styles made from a range of grape varieties. Choosing one that is made ‘Methode Traditionelle’ is often an excellent indication of a high quality sparkling. It specifies that the traditional grape varieties and wine making techniques used to make Champagne have been used to create the wine, even if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region. For example, our Echelon is made Methode Traditionelle, it is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, and has spent three years on lees so you know that a lot of time, care and attention has gone into making it!
In terms of sweetness, this will be displayed on the label with Brut being at the dryer end. In order from dry to sweet it will be Brut, Extra Dry or Extra Sec, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux. If you aren’t sure which sweetness level to go for, a brut is a safe and often for the masses.
3. Is it a gift for ageing to drink at a later date?
Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you have to wait for and when it comes to wine, a little time to age a bottle can definitely make the drinking experience that much better.
If for example, it is a gift to drink on a special occasion at a later date you will want to purchase a wine that is going to get better with age, not worse. Red wine or any wine that has been fermented and aged in oak will have a significantly better ageing potential compared to those fermented in stainless steel. Sauvignon Blanc is usually consumed within a year or two from the harvest date, this is because as it ages it loses its crisp, fruity, tropical nature and the characters change completely. It isn’t a bad thing you just shouldn’t expect the same gooseberry and passionfruit notes as in a young vintage!
Riesling, Chardonnay, reds and oaked Sauvignon Blanc’s are great options as they usually become smoother, loose some of that harsh acidity and are really quite delicious after a few years of hiding away at a nice stable temperature.
4. Know the person’s tastes and preferences
This is always a great idea if you are buying a wine for someone else! The best part about wine is that it is so subjective and everyone has such personal tastes. Make sure you are purchasing a wine you think the person will like based on what they currently drink, not what you enjoy (unless you often share a bottle together and have similar tastes!). There is nothing worse than giving a bottle of Pinot Gris to someone who doesn’t touch it and would much rather a chardonnay or vice versa.
Keep an eye out for their wine choices next time you are at a restaurant with them or take note of what wines they serve at their house when you are there. If in doubt ask a family member or their partner, hopefully they will have taken notice at some point, or go for bubbles, in our expert opinion – no one turns down bubbles
5. If in doubt, seek advice from an expert
Once you’ve gathered a bit of intel on what your giftee likes to drink, pop on down to a local wine shop, liquor store or winery and ask one of the staff members for a bit of advice selecting the perfect bottle. Don’t be shy, many wine shops, even supermarkets, in fact anyone who sells wine, will often have knowledgeable staff members near to hand who will be more than happy to share their wine knowledge with you.
6. Wrap it up
You’ve finally selected the prefect wine, now put the icing on the cake. Yes, dress that bottle up!
It doesn’t take much to add that personal touch by wrapping your bottle in a nice piece of cloth and securing it with a ribbon, heck add wooden ornament gift tag to the neck and you’ll be guaranteed to impress! Also, taking the time to personalise the label with an appropriate message is a great way to add value to any gift.
Did you know you can gift our Spy Valley wine club subscriptions as well? Give a gift that will last all year! Each subscription offers an amazing wine tasting experience and is sure to delight. You can choose how many shipments you would like to gift, add a personalised note and the receiver will have the option of continuing with the subscription.