Wine makes a great gift, but there’s no one bottle that fits every occasion. Whether it’s a holiday get-together, hanging with pals, a bottle to celebrate a milestone or to say “thank you,” here are wines that perfectly fit the bill.
Get a 3-liter boxed wine. It’s easy to carry, doesn’t take up too much space when compared to four bottles, won’t shatter and doesn’t require a corkscrew. Don’t be surprised at your favorite wine shop when an employee’s ears perk up when you ask for an interesting box wine. The quality and variety keeps growing.
It seems like the default is to bring a bottle of red, but you’d be surprised how well a nice white wine can be received. Try something a little esoteric to get people talking. Start with a familiar grape like Chardonnay, but from a lesser-known place like the Santa Cruz Mountains. Or dispel the notion Riesling is always sweet with a bottle from Australia’s Clare Valley. Just don’t be a jerk and bloviate about the wine forever.
Meeting Parents of Your Significant Other
If you did a good job paying attention and asking questions about your significant other’s parents, you should have plenty of clues about what bottle to bring. Maybe his/her parents’ favorite vacation spot is Tuscany? Did they grow up in the Finger Lakes? Attend college in Oregon? Bring a bottle that nods to their history, and you’re on the way to making some of your own.
Sparkling is always a good call, but how about something fizzy and red? Try dry Lambrusco. It’s one of the best wines in the world for cured meats like bacon, whether in a BLT or just heaped on a plate.
For New Parents
Looking for a bottle that can last 21-plus years? It’s sweet wine time. Try vintage Port, Chenin Blanc from Quarts de Chaume, Muscat from Rutherglen, an Auslese or a riper German Riesling. These wines can age at least that long, and they may even drink well for further generations.
There should be no dispute that Champagne is the right wine for all romantic milestones. Go for a twist on the norm and try a rosé Champagne: it’s beautiful to look at and even lovelier to drink. A work-related anniversary? Celebrate with colleagues, and make that bottle a magnum.
A Milestone Like Finishing a Marathon or Publishing a Book
Whether crossing the finish line after running a marathon or finally submitting a manuscript, the end of any long journey needs celebrating. After some recovery time, try something equally equipped for the long haul. Opt for an ageworthy, classic red wine from Bordeaux or Napa.
Thank-You for a Teacher, a Coach or Bus Driver
There’s so much high-quality sparkling wine from throughout the world in the $20 range. California, Spain (Cava), Italy (Prosecco) and even Tasmania are great sources for quality bubbles. The best part is if that they like it, it’s not going to break the bank for them to buy on their own.
Active volcanoes are literally hot, and wines made in volcanic soil have a lot of sizzle among wine geeks. Head to Sicily for a bottle made from Nerello Mascalese. You might see these red wines compared to Burgundy or Barolo, but really, they inhabit their own special world and are like catnip for nerds everywhere.
Spend your full-bottle budget on a really nice half-bottle. A surprising number of fantastic wines, from red and white to sparkling, are available in 375ml bottles. Then order a pizza, put your feet up and treat yourself to a delicious wine with a favorite movie.