The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Three Simple Tips to Gifting Wine

Posted on | December 21, 2015 | Written by Camacho Vidal | No Comments

Prosecco_Flutes jpegWith the holiday season in full swing, I have been seeing some familiar faces in the showroom. A lot of clients come in looking for something to give to that important wine-lover. Our clients depend on our judgment. It’s easy to recommend a wine to clients with whom you have a relationship. Over time, you get to learn their palate likes and dislikes, so it’s almost second nature. However, when it comes to gifting wine to someone whose taste you are not familiar with, it can be frustrating–especially if you are a wine lover yourself.

My advice is to keep it simple. First, determine what the budget is. I always say, “Expensive does not mean better”; it’s all about the quality not the price.  It’s easy to stick to a budget when giving wine; in our showroom, we have exceptional wines available in every price point. I always urge people to stick to their budgets because there’s something delicious that fits it.

Second, I suggest you make it personal. In my own gift-giving, I’ve noticed that people appreciate that I take time and thought in the selection, so I always encourage others to write a personal note telling why you selected the wine; you want the recipient to know why you gave them that great bottle of Italian wine when they open it days, weeks or months later. If tasting notes are available, I always include them.

Third, think immediate gratification. I recommend that you look for wines that are easy to drink and enjoyable once opened. If the people you are gifting to have no real familiarity with drinking wine, you want to assure that they get something that they can enjoy—especially so that they remember you when they drink it.

Below are a few great values that are crowd pleasers. I’ve kept it easy by choosing a wine from three of the major wine regions in Italy, so even if your recipients are not wine connoisseurs, they’ll likely have heard of the wine. For example, most people have heard of Chianti, but not as many have tasted a really great one.

Nicolis 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico $69.99

Nicolis makes wine in relatively small quantities and stays focused on quality and that is noticeable in its Amarone. This is a dense, powerful Amarone with a nose full of ripe plume, spice, cocoa, tobacco and slight hints of leather mingled with herb and earth. The palate is full and velvety with chewy tannins and a nice, lingering finish. It’s a rare, affordable Amarone, and it’s worth every penny.

Castello di Selvole 2011 Chianti Classico Riserva $34.99

A classic Chianti with a great pedigree and an even better price. This is always a crowd pleaser and almost everyone I have tasted it with has loved it. This wine has a great nose full of dark cherry mingled with some earthiness and a hint of vanilla popping through. On the palate it delivers delicious cherry flavors and a classic Chianti mouth-feel.

Rocche dei Manzoni 2009 Barolo Rocche $64.99

One of the best values in my opinion, this Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo is ready to drink now with some decanting, but your wine-loving friend can also cellar it and enjoy it well down the road.  Elegant, earthy, robust, ethereal, intense and classic.


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