I don’t know about you, but it seems to me the older I get, the shorter the window of time between Thanksgiving and the gift giving holidays. Running around grabbing gifts for friends, family, office parties and holiday party hosts can be a daunting and overwhelming thing to do when you’re in a time crunch. Enter: wine. It’s clear to me that the perfect gift for a lot of adults resides at the very same place you go to when you’re buying yourself some adult unwind juice. I’ve compiled a list of great go-to gifts in a range of price points to help you with everything from the “What do I get the person who has everything?” to “What do I get this person who only knows the professional version of me and not my true laying-in-bed-watching-
Seinfeld-and-eating-cold- leftover-pizza self?”
Bevys on a Budget [Under $20]:
There are so many delicious and affordable options out there that it’s truly hard to narrow it down to one or two choices, but here’s what I’ve deemed to be the reliable no-brainers.
Up first is the auspicious and organically farmed Les Terres Blanches Les Hospices Chenin Blanc. While not everyone is familiar with chenin blanc, trust that this will be a real treat for the white wine drinker on your gift list. Notes of crisp apple, pear and raw honey are amped up by the fuller bodied mouth feel, flawlessly food-friendly acidity and that unmistakable inherent salinity that bless many white wines from Loire.
As far as a red wine that is easy on the wallet but will leave one hell of an impression, you can’t go wrong with the Chateau Cambon. This burgundian beauty hails from the sub-region of Beaujolais, where almost all of the wines produced consist of gamay. Notes of ripe red cherry, brambly raspberry and super light and silky tannins ensure that the Chateau Cambon is always a crowd-pleaser, especially during the holiday time given its drink- nay, chuggability and easy-to-pair-with-fare nature.
Mid-Range Must Trys [$20 – $30]
If you’re comfortable dipping your toes on the other side of the $20 pond, a vast sea of killer gift selections awaits you. No need to strike a deal with Ursula and commit to a permanent voice void, this whole new world of wines all clock in at the under the $30 price point.
Every once in a while, a wine comes along that is so uniquely delicious you almost second guess whether you should recommend it to people because you selfishly want to hoard the tiny amount that exists for yourself. Tenuta Macchiarola Belle Vignole is one of those wines. This is a wine to give to someone who is into natural wines, whiskey and/or having their taste buds titillated by an out-of-the-box southern-Italian orange wine. Belle Vignole’s fuller bodied texture on the palate nicely complements notes of honey-covered pecans, juicy pineapple and stone fruit. The soft caramel undertones are reminiscent of a perfectly oaked bourbon without having any sort of “booziness” to it. This wine is the gift that keeps on giving because even after you’ve finished the bottle, you’re left with the memory of a super delicious wine that there isn’t a whole lot of.
If you have a hard-to-impress red wine drinker in your circle, it can be a formidable task having to pick a wine that will stifle their snootiness while adhering to your budget. Rest assured, the Olga Riffault Les Picasses Chinon will have them thinking you paid twice as much for a wine of this caliber. The Les Picasses Cab Franc has a certain heft to it; its full bodied inky juice is dripping in notes of dried violets and earthy forest floor that are contrasted with cassis and wild raspberries. The Riffault wines are known for their gracefulness and approachability, making this an easy choice to bestow onto a lucky recipient.
Decant Stop Me Now [$30-$50]
For when you really want to buy their love…
Some of you may know my obsession with Kelley Fox and the stunning wines she produces. It’s only natural that she would be on this list, considering just having her wines available in RI is a gift in and of itself. Her Barbie Pinot Blanc is such a special wine, not only in its characteristics, but in that it was made in honor of Fox’s late mother. Aromas of zesty orange creamsicle, tropical fruit and a touch of schist-like minerality leap out from the marigold-hued wine, while mouthwatering mid-palate acidity and well-finessed fruit notes are the key players in the glass. Fox’s Barbie Pinot Blanc knows no limitations in flavor, but is quite limited in availability; only a total of 49 cases of this beauty were produced.
France is often the go-to place to splurge on some delicious high-end vino, and fortunately you can get insanely delicious offerings for that special person on your gift list without having to mortgage the house. Chateau Le Puy “Emilien” Bordeaux is a widely respected wine that more than lives up to the hype surrounding it, and its strong pedigree is reflected in the elegant nature of the wine. The Le Puy’s flavor profile is so complex it’s a bit hard to narrow down; black fruit, baking spices, cassis and wild strawberries are all present, but unveil themselves at different points. You get a new and different experience with each gulp, making this flirtatious Bordeaux such a special sipper.
Any one of these options will make you more popular than the person who tells the drunk guy roaming around with the mistletoe to stop. May all of your holiday time be merry and may you be lucky enough that the recipient of these gifts will be generous enough to share their boozy booty with you.