The Gift of Wine

Stuck for a gift? Almost everyone appreciates wine! Let’s narrow the choices to find the perfect bottle.

The Hipster: Cousin Kai talks about grapes you’ve never heard of, and his favorite region is currently Slovenia. How do you know if the wine you choose is cool enough? Luckily, a couple of options will prove your gift Insta-worthy. Anything Pet Nat is gold. The style, officially called Petillant Natural, predates Champagne by a few centuries. They’ve become much more popular in the last five years, and a lot of producers now experiment with the style. They come in all types of colors, from clear to dark red, can be bone dry or slightly sweet, and often have fun, celebratory labels. Pet Nats are also often unfiltered, natural wines. Even better, they usually cost less than half the price of champagne. You might as well pick a bottle up for yourself for New Year’s as well!

You can also go the route of orange wine. When a producer leaves a white grape on its skins, the wine can pick up some of that pigment, which brings an orange color. These are usually natural, unfiltered wines that are slightly hazy. They are also texturally and flavor wise, something between a red and white wine, sometimes even showing tannins. Like Pet Nats, there are many different styles and flavors. Some are slightly oxidized, others show all manner of flavors, including many that are not fruit. Depending on how crazy you want to get, ask your local merchant for suggestions. Some producers to look out for include Meinklang, Wind Gap and Broc, but this style is fun to experiment with. Be sure to let your wine merchant know if you do not want wines in an oxidative style, though.

The Wine Tourist:  If you have someone who loves to visit Napa and other wine regions, why not bring them around Rhode Island? Newport Vineyards is a beautiful winery with music

Verde Vineyards, Johnston, RI

Verde Vineyards, Johnston, RI

events, classes and a great restaurant. It’s easy to spend the whole day there, or take a quick drive to visit Greenvale Vineyard close by. For a more rustic approach, check out Verde Vineyards in Johnston.  The owner, Jim Verde, is likely to be the person giving you a tour or tasting. He can explain why he chose the hybrids that he grows, and why they are suited to Rhode Island’s climate. It is a great experience to really understand all of the processes that go into running a winery.

The Wine Label Shopper: Better yet, create your own labels to give as gifts. This is perfect for a special occasion or to just celebrate the holidays. Diamond Hill Vineyards can meet all of your needs, and you even get to pick out your wines. They have lots of great festive options, but you can also bring a photo to make as a label. What’s cooler than drinking your own wine?

The Collector: Shopping for the wine collector is a daunting task. How do you pick a wine for someone with a cellar full? Collectors usually focus on well-known, classic producers, but you can turn them on to the hottest new thing. The next generation of great wine producers are making wine still flying under the radar. Does Uncle Edward collect the classic zinfandel producer Ridge?  Get him some Bedrock, from the son of Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood. Matthiasson Cabernet Sauvignon, Anthill Pinot Noir and Lioco Chardonnay are all wines destined to be stocked in cellars for decades to come.

Whoever you are buying gifts for, there’s a wine for them! During the holidays, the better wine shops are full of people able to help you out. Just tell them what you are looking for, and quickly finish your gift shopping. Don’t forget to get a few bottles for yourself!

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