Buying gifts for people based on things they love or enjoy is an excellent idea, and there is loads of choice out there if your intended recipient is a wine buff (or just an enthusiastic drinker).
However, like any gifts, there are great choices, but also loads of tat around – like the difference between receiving hangover-face-curing Touche éclat, or a box of pastel eyeshadows and gloopy lip-glosses in a Superdrug kit.
So, here’s my list of gifts most wine-lovers would take your arm off for:
1. Some wine. Simple, I know. But we really, really like wine: it’s delicious, and gets us to that squiffy point where we love everyone, especially people who’ve just bought us some lovely wine. Bonus points for your wine gift if it’s one of our favourite grapes, it’s not from the supermarket or it’s something unusual we’ve never tried before. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either – and if you’re not sure what kind of wine to get, pop into a wine merchant near you, tell them your budget, and ask for suggestions.
Here are some of my favourites that are crowd-pleasers:
- Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, New Zealand, Tesco £14.99, a gorgeous, summery cult classic
- Noble One Botrytis Semillon, Australia, Majestic £18.99 for a half-bottle – a delicious dessert wine, also amazing with meat dishes like pate.
- Errazuriz Max Reserva Merlot 2007, Chile, Waitrose £9.49 – under £10, stonking and lovely
2. Riedel wine glasses. Do you have a wine geek in your life? Glass company Riedel may have your gifts to them sorted for the next decade – they’ve made a set of wine glasses for nearly every grape variety.
The idea is that each wine type has different characteristics that are best showcased in glasses of different shapes and sizes – wider for wines that need lots of oxygen like big reds, and narrower for champagnes and white wines with some acidity to them, like these ones for Chardonnay and Chablis. These are amazing gifts – and they come in sets of 2, so you can give as few or many as your budget will permit.
3. Dinner somewhere with an amazing wine list. Wine and food together? Yes please! On my current London wine hit-list: Terroirs, 28-50 and The Sampler (no food here – just wine) are all places where the wine leads the way, and will be heaven for your wine-lover.
If you want something a bit, well, foodier, you could try Rousillon
(seriously pricey, but worth it – introduce them to LWG’s favourite sommellier, David from Hungary), Soho’s Quo Vadis or Chez Gerard, which has some interesting lesser-known French wines that go brilliantly with steak on its list.
4. A decanter. Do you have a red wine fan in your life? You can’t go wrong with a decanter. Even if we’ve already got one, having two will let us have two bottles of red on the go – and this is generally a brilliant thing.
5. Wine tasting tickets. Check out the London Wine Academy, orBibendum for worthwhile wine tastings in London – and we’d love it if you’d come with us, so we can show off our wine geekery and teach you the proper wine slurp technique. (I’d steer clear of Vinopolis if your giftee is a little serious about wine – it’s great for a hen party or work night out but a proper wine-buff might find it a bit too basic and boring.)
6. Wine geek fodder. A wine atlas; anything written by Jancis Robinson, who we worship like a god; or a subscription to Decanter magazine – feed our addiction to learning about wine, and we promise we’ll try not to bore the pants off you. This gift type is especially popular with the London Wine Blokes.
What not to get us: Sideways on DVD (we have 8 copies), another blinking corkscrew or tags for our wine bottles (we don’t keep them open for long enough).
Happy shopping – I hope it’s useful, and that you delight the wine-drinker in your life.
Thanks for reading -