Stuck for pressie ideas this Christmas? If you know someone who is passionate about their wine, you can be sure it’s high on their wish list. So how do you decide what to put under the tree – which vintage, which variety, which region? It’s easy to find the perfect wine present if you stick to a few simple rules.
Don’t stray from the basics
Select a variety that has a reputation when grown in a particular region – Semillon from NSW’s Hunter Valley has been celebrated for a long time. The same goes with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River in Western Australia, and Riesling from South Australia’s Clare Valley.
Do your research on vintages
As is the case with all produce, wines and their flavour variations are a result of the vagaries of the weather. One year Mother Nature could deliver perfect growing conditions, the next she could swamp vines with daily downfalls when dry days are what they need to be at their best for harvesting. Look to the experts if you’re planning on investing in an expensive wine for a loved one.
Vintage years vary significantly, not just in quality but also in flavour profile, strength of alcohol and cellaring potential. Subscribe to wine writer newsletters, read retailer blogs and buy wine magazines – they all address vintage variations.
How much to spend?
Once you know your variety, your region and your vintage, it’s simply a matter of deciding on price – and how much you spend doesn’t necessarily dictate the quality.
There are so many affordable top wines these days. Why not buy a case of a terrific-value drop instead of giving just one or two bottles? On the flip side, if you have more money to spend, why not go for wines that will become even better (and more valuable) after a few years in the cellar?
For example, you can spend $100 on a Cullen ‘Diana’ red blend from the Margaret River that could end of being worth more than that five to 10 years down the track. And if you have up to $600 to spend, or perhaps a few people are contributing to the gift, there’s always Australia’s celebrated Penfolds Grange selection, which promises to grow in value and flavour over the years.
A fun idea for a wine-loving friend or family member is to hunt down a vintage of an important year. Commemorate a five-year wedding anniversary by giving a wine with a vintage of that particular year. A lot of winemakers now release a selection of their wines after a few years in the cellar – they may cost a bit more, but you’re paying for three to five years of the best cellaring conditions possible.
Stuck for a new baby arrival gift? Choose a wine that will cellar well and perhaps let the parents know that you intend for them to enjoy it when the baby turns 10 – a big milestone in anyone’s books!
Beyond the bottle, there are always accessories that wine lovers appreciate. Starting at the top price range, wine fridges are the serious wine lover’s best friend. They make storing so easy, and cellaring wine so dependable knowing you can permanently set the most suitable temperature for the wine to mature. Wine openers, coolers, decanters and aerators are always popular, and wine glasses make a great gift too. If you’re really stuck for choice, why not give a gift voucher and let your loved one make the choice?
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Jump online and do some research. It’s a great way to learn a bit more (especially for your own drinking pleasure!). While you’re at it, check out the enormous selection of red wine, white wine, wine accessories and gift cards available at GraysOnline.