When looking for the perfect bottle for the wine lovers in your life, you have to get creative. There are so many fabulous wines out there so introduce your loved one to something new.
So we asked some of our favorite wine pros for a few unconventional gift ideas.
According to wine historians, Madeira, a fortified wine made in the Madeira Islands, off the coast of Portugal, was poured at the signing of the Declaration of Independence and George Washington’s Inauguration. It has been around for 150 years. So especially during this…uh…historic time, Maderia may be the perfect gift for the wine lover in your life.
Try The Rare Wine Company Historic Series Charleston Sercial Reserve Madeira, suggests Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine. “It’s slightly sweet with notes of almonds, toffee, citrus with elegance and bracing balanced acidity.” But the best part is that it can be opened and left on your counter for a very long time. “It will virtually last until next holiday season!”
A Twist on Bubbly
Everyone loves a good bubbly this time of year. But consider some not-so-obvious choices.
Like a Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, which is basically a Rosé made from Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grapes. These Rosés tend to be earthy, medium-bodied and a bit heartier so perfect for the winter months, says Joe Campanale, beverage director and co-owner of Alta Linea.
Try the Annona Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. A project of Campanale, “it’s a substantial Rosé that is equally comfortable in the warm days of summer as it is in the middle of winter.”
If you must go with a bubbly, pick something with a cool, festive presentation, like the Célange Bijou Blanc, suggests Gary Fisch, CEO and founder of Gary’s Wine and Marketplace in Wayne, NJ. The stripes on the box and the bottle are great looking and the wine is perfect for your holiday seafood and chicken dishes.
Or consider half bottles of Champagne, suggests Simonetti-Bryan You can get many for under $25. “It’s enough for a little over two glasses, a great gift for the pending New Year’s Eve!” Check out the Moet & Chandon Rosé Imperial little half bottles.
Go Big or Go Home
“Holidays are for gifting big beautiful, masterfully crafted wines. The kind that make you swoon, and think back fondly on those truly miserable holidays that your brother or sister ruined,” says Jonathan Cristaldi, west coast editor of WineAccess.com.
He suggests the Robert Foley Vineyards Merlot. “It’s satin-silky dark berry fruit, beautifully integrated cedar notes, tinged with mocha and spice. And it’s exactly what you want to drink when, baby, it's cold outside.”
Or try something different and fabulous from Tuscany. There are so many so-called “Super Tuscans” (a.k.a. blends of grapes from Tuscany) on the shelves these days and they are all good!
Try the Morellino di Scansano Riserva Poggio Valente Le Pupille 2012. “At around $25, it’s made by a rock star producer from Tuscany and it drinks like a wine in a much higher price point,” says Andrew McMurray, VP at Zachys Wine & Liquor in Scarsdale, NY.
It’s 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with a ton of structure and great tannins. Total crowd pleaser.
The Bootleg Red Blend, with its enticing label of skeleton bones and X-ray into a man’s briefcase, is also “a big and luscious wine sure to please the big red drinkers in your life,” says Fisch. It’s a blend of 36% Merlot, 28% Petite Syrah, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 4% Zinfandel so it’ll make everyone happy.
So get inspired this season. Give the gift of something new — just make sure you get to taste a glass.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.