It never fails. At least once a year—and usually around Christmas—friends of ours will show up with a bottle of wine for us to enjoy. Rather than glowing with the festive spirit of giving, they tend to hand it over sheepishly, apologizing that it likely won’t live up to the standards we’re “used to”.
Huh? What standards? We have standards around here? When did that start?
Just for the record, I will never scoff at a wine that’s given from the heart, with careful thought and consideration (even if it is Partager or Yellow Tail.) I can’t say that I’ve had the privilege of trying every wine in the world just yet, so I consider anything new an opportunity for me to discover and learn. I have to have something to write about, don’t I?
And any smart (and polite) wine aficionado will graciously do the same. Unless the person’s a total snob who will only accept the finest grand cru Bordeaux there is … get them wool socks instead.
Here’s my main rule of thumb when it comes to gifting wine: if you really love it, share it! Pop it in a funky bag, and when your hostess / friend / wine geek opens it, tell them about why you like it, what you’ve had it with, and any amusing anecdotes or fascinating facts that may go along with it. And relax - remember, it's just glorified grape juice.
If picking out wines for your oenophile friend still fills you with the same dread as, say, gum graft surgery, you can always stuff their stockings with wine-related paraphernalia: glass charms, vacuum sealers, fancy stoppers, wine journals, chilling sleeves or glassware. When all else fails, a gift card to your local purveyor of fine wines and spirits or wine accoutrements is always a winner.