Vintage Wines

How to choose a bottle of wine for a gift?

How to choose a bottle of wine for a gift.She says: Roger Noujeim, CEO at Quini Wine in Vancouver, @QuiniWine posted this question on LinkedIn today –  “How much do people’s tastes/palate differ when it comes to wine?”  I was inspired by the question, so here is my answer and more notes.

She says: There must be about at least a 50% variation in palates as when we do blind taste tests of several wines, the variance is sometimes mind boggling. Even when we have blindly tasted two bottles of the exact same wine, same vintage, etc. the variations can be extreme.

If you don’t know someone’s palate and you are buying wine for them as a gift – it can be tricky.  Keep these 5 suggestions in mind when shopping for a wine gift.

Wine gift recommendations:

  • (1) buy a wine that goes with a specific FOOD and attach a food recommendation for that wine. If you like to cook and want to go the extra mile, attach a recipe that you like to cook when you serve that wine in your own home.  You can also include tasting notes you read either in a magazine or on a wine blog.
  • (2) Give 2 bottles of wine!  (I’m sure the winemakers love that suggestion!)  Choose 1 white and 1 red with good reputations and again make food recommendations and / or print out the tasting notes and include in the package.
  • (3) If it’s not a serious occasion, buy a “fun wine” – a wine with a name / label / saying that relates to something or someone you both know. Once, when I was shopping last minute for a bottle of wine for a blind wine tasting, I chose a wine with the humorous note on the bottom that read “Open other end.” At the very least we would have a good laugh. Completely unexpectedly – that wine rated #1 at that blind tasting. Win-Win!  Which wine was it? I was taking a leap on the wine store’s recommendation and so I chose Frog’s Leap, Rutherford Cabernet – 2001 or 2002 – can’t remember. But every Frog’s Leap Rutherford Cabernet I’ve had since then is outstanding. You can read more about this “happy accident” here: Frog’s Leap Rutherford Cabernet
  • (4) Choose a wine from a vintage that is meaningful to both of you – the year someone was born, the year they were married, they year they graduated from college, etc.   Not always easy to find, but again – the importance of the occasion will determine how much time and money you put into choosing your wine.  If you want to make sure the year was considered a good vintage – use this handy vintage chart:
  • (5) Let SOMEONE ELSE do all the choosing for you.  If you’d like to choose a wine gift with the wine and the trimmings of appropriate foods chosen for you – the best wine gift baskets we’ve ever found are from Fanciful Baskets:  They can include any wine you prefer – or you can let them choose a wine from their extensive tasting travels.  Tell them Barrysentials Wine sent you and they’ll add a little something extra to your basket!

If you’d like to chime in to Roger’s poll on the variations in palates as applies to wine tasting – here is the link –

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