Most people who drink wine know what they like to drink. When it comes to buying wine for someone else, especially if it is a wine gift, that’s another story. Don’t worry, the process of choosing a wine gift is actually quite easy!
Here are 3 ways to select that special wine gift that shows you know are a pro!
- Does this person travel? If so, where do they like to go? If they like to travel to wine country, like California, Australia or France then you automatically can discern that they love the food there. And what goes well with French food? French wines like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone or Loire Valley. If they love to travel to California, and like West Coast foods (more seafood or health-oriented) then they are more likely to like California Cabs, Pinots or Red Blends.
- Let’s dig a little deeper on the psychology of wine lovers. Most wine lovers are foodies. What kinds of foods does this person enjoy? Here’s a breakdown of complimentary food/wine pairings:
- Grilled meats = Merlot-based or Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. These can be single varietal or red blends. These wines do not overpower meats, the dark red fruit, and cassis blend well with the sanguine taste of the grilled meats.
- Grilled or cooked bird (Chicken, Turkey, Dove, etc…) = You’ll want to stick with higher acid reds like Pinot Noir, especially from France. Or select a Rhone Varietal. If you are on a tight budget choose a Cotes du Rhone, Cote Rotie or Chateauneuf du Pape.
- Seafood – This is tricky as you’ll need to find a lighter red such as a Burgundy wine (Oregon or France). The heavier, or oilier the fish, the more acidity you’ll need to break the fish down. In this case, you’ll want to explore White Burgundy (Puligny Montrachet or Chablis).
- Sweet tooth- If this person likes candy and ice cream, then consider buying them a German or Alsace Riesling (ask for a sweet one). Higher in acidity, these wines complement the sweet tooth. If this person loves sweet foods, then look at a Sauternes. These are slightly more expensive but the joy they will receive from a Sauternes is fun to watch and always well received.
- Spicy foods – I love spicy foods. Spicy foods pair well with German or Alsace Riesling (dry is better, but sweet isn’t too shabby either). If this person also loves beef, then shoot for a California Red Zinfandel (not white zinfandel). These pairings are amazing and show you are ‘in-the-know’ when it comes to being a fan of the spicy dish.
- Food sensitives – If this person is sensitive to foods or tend to have a lot of allergies, this one will blow you away! Skip all the wine nonsense and go directly to Chateauneuf du Pape or Hermitage. Most wines from this area tend to be lower in sulfites and are organically farmed and produced. Wine barrels aren’t washed in sulfur, so allergies, headaches, and hangovers are less prevalent.
- What kind of movies does this person like to watch?
- Comedies – Stick with lighter white wines like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis. Comedies aren’t heavy on the drama, so just like wine, you’ll want to keep it light and low in alcohol so you can pound a couple extra glasses and throw off more laughs! On the red side, stick with Pinot Noir if the movie is more satirical. If the comedy is drier then shift over to a Left Bank Bordeaux.
- Drama – This has red wine painted all over it. But in the event they aren’t into red wine for any reason, you can’t go wrong with a buttery California Chardonnay. If all signs point to Red, and this person likes grilled meats and loves heavy drama, then California Napa Cabernet Sauvignon or Right Bank Bordeaux (St Emilion or Pomerol) is the way to go. Big, bold, jammy and high in alcohol, emotions are sure to run high. Tears of joy from the wine will displace any sadness from the movie.
- Documentaries – Stick with real wines from real appellations that are true to their varietals. For example, Red Burgundy higher in acid from Cotes du Beaune, or Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from California… Stay away from producers who produce in a style of wine from another region. Like Rhone-style wines from Paso Robles. These wines are amazing, but people who like documentaries are realists and love tradition and true-to-the form wines.
Remember that any wine gift will be appreciated, but if you take 5 minutes to think about the individual and where they like to travel, or what they like to eat, or what movies they like to watch, you’ll hit a home run!