Among other things, I always like to give a great first impression when meeting people for the first time. Often, getting invited to a dinner party is a great way of meeting people but other than showing off your brilliant, charming self, you also need to bring a little something for the hostess and well, often that gift would be a bottle of the finest wine.
To be honest, while I do drink wine I also have trouble finding the best ones to give as gifts either for the holidays or for dinner parties I get invited to. It’s just that every bottle looks the same, looks expensive but I have no way of deciding which one will actually be the one that won’t get me excluded from next year’s guest list or basically labeled as a pretentious wine connoisseur.
Connoisseur or not, the first thing that you should do when choosing wines as gifts is to not feel intimidated. It would be to your advantage to know the hostess’ taste in advance because really, it’s just a matter of her liking sardines while you, on the other hand, detest it. Some people like acidity in their wines and for them a good sauvignon blanc is a good choice. Of course, you will also need to determine how much you want to spend since this will narrow down your choices and make your selection process easier.
Don’t be afraid as well to ask questions. Consult your friendly restaurant sommelier or the wine shop staff about the wines you are interested in or you can go online and do some research or perhaps buy your wines from reputable online wine shops which often have detailed information about the wines they sell as well as recommendations from wine experts and connoisseurs about the best wines to give as gifts for whatever occasion.
If you are able to taste the wine before you make a purchase, there are four things you should take note of: flavor, balance, complexity and length. It will take quite a lot of experience but even novices will be able to discern a wine of high quality by its flavors. The fewer the berries a vine produces, the more flavor will be packed into the grapes. With white wines for example, they tend to have more fruity aromas and flavor descriptions which is why they can be light, medium or full-bodied depending on the grapes used.
When it comes to balance, there is nothing that should stand out like a sore thumb when you taste wine. It should not taste like booze and if it does, you can be sure that the alcohol content is too high so the wine isn’t perfectly balanced. In the same light, when you test for the complexity, you shouldn’t smell too many things at once when you take a whiff of the wine. If all you smell is fruit and alcohol then it’s time to move on to other choices.
And lastly, another tip you can use to give the perfect wines as gifts is to know in advance (if you can), what the hostess will be serving. Food and wines that are both high in acidity go well together so if your hostess plans to serve salads with vinaigrette dressings or fish served with a citrus-based sauce, then your best bet would to bring white wine and if the hostess will be serving rib-eye then a cabernet sauvignon is best since they are great match with beef.
You might also like:
Acid & Smoke: The Styles of Sauvignon Blanc (huffingtonpost.com)
Sauvignon Blanc (iv.ucdavis.edu)