Giving the Gift of Wine
Christmas is nearly here and whether you’re heading to a festive dinner party, or looking for something special to put beneath the tree, a bottle of wine can be the perfect choice – it’s personal, shows you’ve been thinking about them and best of all you might even get to drink some of it too. But which wine?
A lot depends on the recipient themselves and where they fall on a scale that ranges from, ‘will drink pretty much anything,’ to ‘can talk for hours about the soil composition of Burgundy.’ The higher up the scale they fall, the more specialised and, let’s face it, nerdier, that bottle will need to be. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Nerd Level 1-2: Champagne
All champagne is awesome, there are just subtle and increasing shades of awesome, making it the perfect all-purpose present for practically anyone. There is absolutely no shame in buying the cheapest bottle of Champagne, as it’s still Champagne after all – and we do mean Champagne. And just to be clear it must be from the region of Champagne, not just any sparkling wine.
For something truly special consider a large-size bottle like a Magnum or Jéroboam, or a Rosé Champagne.
Nerd Level 3-4: Malbec
For those beginning to embrace their inner wine nerd, a bottle of Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina could be a real winner, particularly if it’s from a premium area within Mendoza, like Lujan de Cuyo or The Uco Valley. Generally, people feel comfortable with this grape. It’s easy to pronounce, big on flavour and velvety smooth on the palate making it easy for everyone to appreciate.
Nerd Level 5-6: Rioja Gran Reserva
Every producer in the Spanish region of Rioja makes a range of red wines from mainly the Tempranillo grape. The oldest and most special of those are the Gran Reservas. These wines are made only when the grapes are absolutely perfect, and they are aged for a long time before they can be sold. It’s not uncommon to see an eight or nine-year-old wine in the shop. So, if your friend’s nerd level has them into older vintages this is a sure winner.
Nerd Level 7-8: Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir elicits an almost religious devotion from wine lovers, making it the perfect choice if the recipient has already reached the stage of binge-watching wine documentaries on Netflix. Pinots from the Central Otago and Martinborough regions of New Zealand are particularly special and while they are not cheap they do offer quite good value. However, red Burgundy is the holy grail of Pinot. If you like your friend enough to spend 400 AED or more on a bottle of wine then direct your attention to that section of the shop.
Nerd Level 9-10: Riesling
It takes a little palate training to appreciate the high acidity and complex characters of a fine Riesling, which can range dramatically from beeswax and ripe pineapple, to stem ginger and diesel fuel (in a good way) – making it ideal for someone who is completely at one with their inner grape geek. Look for the oldest bottles you can find from Germany, France and Australia.
Do you really want to treat the wine nerd in your life? Send in one of their own – a sommelier from The Tasting Class – to run a home tasting as a gift.
Are they more into beer or whisky? We can accommodate this as a home tasting too.