Giving the gift of wine is perfect for the wine lover in your life. Whether you're giving it as a hostess gift, for a holiday, or for another reason such as an engagement or birthday, these suggestions for wine gifts are sure to please.
White Gift Wine Ideas
White wines make great gifts because they often are drinkable a lot sooner than reds, and with a few exceptions, they also tend to have a lower price point.
Budget: d'Arenberg the Stump Jump White - Around $13
The Aussie winemaker d'Arenberg makes some mighty tasty and accessible wines, and the Stump Jump White blend is no exception. It's an unusual blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling, but it makes a tasty wine that's good most years, garnering ratings in the high 80s to low 90s. Food & Wine recommends the 2016 vintage as a very good budget-priced bottle of white if you can find it, but more recent vintages will work as well. You can find d'Arenberg wines in many grocery stores and wine shops.
Moderately Priced: 2015 Dönnhoff Hermannshohle Riesling Grosse Gewächs - About $70
This German Riesling is a classic example of the balance between acidity and sweetness, and it gets spectacular ratings from wine experts (95 points or above). This is a great wine to give to people who have only tried American Rieslings before; German Rieslings are a revelation about just how great this humble grape can truly be. Vivino named it their top bottle in the 10 best German Rieslings.
Luxury Priced: Au Pied du Chauve Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Demoiselles 2014 - Around $180
This White Burgundy is an exceptional example of how the Burgundy region does the world's most popular white wine grape, Chardonnay. It's an elegant bottle of wine that drinks well currently but can hold until about 2020, and a Montrachet is an impressive and thoughtful gift for a special occasion.
Fun and Unexpected: Iconic Wines Heroine Chardonnay ($25) or Sidekick Chardonnay ($18)
Sometimes the wine label is so inviting, you want to buy a bottle of the wine. This is definitely true of Iconic Wines. The wines have superhero style labels sure to entice any comic book lover. Check out their other superhero themed wines, as well, including Sidekick Merlot, Sidekick Cabernet Sauvignon, and Secret Identity Rose. All make hip, fun gift wines.
Suggestions for Red Gift Wines
Budget: Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel - About $15
Food & Wine notes the Rancho Zabaco Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel is a consistently good bottle of wine in any vintage, so give it as a gift with confidence. Zinfandel pairs well especially with party meals like barbecue, pizza, and Mexican food, so it's a great gift for a casual get-together. You can find it at most grocery stores and wine shops, so it's also easy to pick up and you'll know you're giving a user-friendly bottle your host can open at the gathering or save to enjoy later.
Moderately Priced: Domaine Drouhin Cuvée Laurène 2015 - Around $70
The Cuvée Laurène is Domaine Drouhin's flagship Pinot Noir wine, and it's a beauty. This Oregon Pinot is made in the Burgundian style, and most vintages receive high marks. The 2015 is no exception, receiving 91 and 93 points respectively from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. The winemakers at Domaine Drouhin know what to do with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so any wines from this winery are always a safe bet for gift giving. The 2015 Cuvée Laurène should be drinkable through about 2024.
Luxury Priced: Chateau La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes 2015 - Around $160
The 2015 vintage of Chateau La Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Cadettes is widely acclaimed, receiving wine ratings in the mid-90s from all of the major players. Chateau La Nerthe only produces the wine in the best vintages, and this one is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre made in the classic French style.
Fun and Unexpected - 2013 Jacuzzi Vineyards Nebbiolo - Around $30
Nebbiolo is the grape used in Italian Barolo and Barbaresco wines, but Jacuzzi Vineyards in the Sonoma Valley makes a delicious version that should age well until about 2022, but it also drinks quite well now, and it's well-priced. Plus, if your recipient asks, you can tell them that yes, Jacuzzi Vineyards is the same Jacuzzi as that of hot tub fame. It's a great mid-priced gift wine, and it's super yummy as well.
Giving Sparkling Wine as a Gift Wine
Champagne or sparkling wine is always a great gift for a festive occasion, such as a bridal shower or wedding gift or as a hostess gift for celebrations. Try gifting any of these sparklers from around the world.
Budget: Argyle Vintage Brut - $28.00
Argyle is an Oregon winemaker well-known for their Champagne-style sparkling wines made with plenty of skill and finesse. The Argyle Vintage Brut costs under $30 and is made from a Pinot Noir-Chardonnay-Pinot Meunier blend in true Champagne style. Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast notes of Argyle's sparkling wines, "One pioneering winery, Argyle, has been turning out highly regarded bubbly for more than three decades," and he gave the 2014 vintage a 90-point rating (out of 100), choosing it for an Editor's Choice Award. This sparkling wine should still be available and drink well if properly stored through about 2024.
Moderately Priced: Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut NV - Around $50
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label NV Brut is of consistent quality, and it's widely available. This non-vintage Champagne from France is a perennial favorite, receiving consistent 90+ point ratings from wine experts such as James Suckling, Wine Spectator, and Wine Enthusiast. You can find it at most wine shops, grocery stores, and even Costco usually has a large supply.
Luxury Priced: Dom Pérignon - $150 and Up
Dom Pérignon may have more brand name recognition in the United States than any other Champagne. It's considered the go-to luxury sparkling wine, and with good reason. Dom is a vintage Champagne that is only released during the best years by Moët & Chandon; in average years all the grapes go to their other non-vintage Champagnes, which are also quite delicious and well-received. Depending on the vintage, a bottle of Dom Pérignon will set you back anywhere from about $150 to about $250, with especially good years costing more. The 2008 and 2009 vintages were extremely good (receiving 95+ point ratings across the board), although any vintage is going to be a very good bottle of Champagne.
Unexpected and Fun - Pomery Pop - Around $60
If you want to gift sparkling wine as favors, such as bridal gifts or at a party, then Pomery Pop is a great idea. These small blue bottles come in a four-pack of 187 mL bottles for about $60. It's an extra-dry, refreshing Champagne from France. Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gives it 89 points.
Sweet Gift Wines
Semi-sweet and sweet wines make fantastic gifts for people who are new to wine or simply prefer to drink their dessert. You have many options in sweet wines, from the well-balanced acidic semi-sweet and sweet Rieslings from Germany, to ice wine (eiswein) made from grapes harvested after the first frost, to fabulous fortified ports, to Australia's famous "stickies" that have deep caramel flavor profiles.
Budget: Yalumba Museum Muscat - Around $20
The Yalumba Museum Muscat is an amber-colored sweet wine from Australia, referred to as a "sticky" for its sweet flavor and viscous texture. Like many dessert wines, the Yalumba Museum Muscat comes in 375 mL bottles. It's a non-vintage sticky that is consistently good, garnering around 91 or 92 point ratings from most wine experts. In 1998, Wine Spectator ranked it #7 of its top 100 wines. It's a lightly spicy wine with toffee and raisin flavors that's delicious alone as a dessert or with something like sticky toffee pudding or a chocolate lava cake.
Moderately Priced: Royal Tokaji 5 Puttanyos Aszu (Red Label) - Around $55
Tokaji is a golden Hungarian wine known throughout the world for its complexity and sweetness. The 2013 500 mL bottle of Royal Tokaji 5 Puttanyos received 96 points from Wine Enthusiast, and all vintages are highly rated. These are great for drinking now, but because of their residual sugar, they can also age for 10 to 15 years (or longer).
Luxury Priced: Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes - $150 and Up
Chateau d'Yquem is the Bordeaux region's premier maker of the sweet dessert wine famous in the Sauternes and Barsac appellations. It's made from late-harvest Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend. The grapes have also been subjected to botrytis, also called noble rot, a fungus that adds complex flavors and aromas to the world-famous wine. The result is a complex, honeyed, fragrant wine that is sought after by wine enthusiasts all around the world. It's not cheap; depending on the vintage it starts at about $150 for a 375 mL bottle and goes up from there, but if you're seeking a truly special wine gift, this is the one. This wine will age for decades.
Honorable Mention: Sandeman 20-Year Tawny Port - $50
Sandeman 20 Year Tawny Port is a delicious Port that garnered a 93 point rating from Wine Spectator. It costs around $50 for a 750 mL bottle. The fortified wine is a great example of a reasonably affordable Port that will hold for several years or drink well now.
Unexpected and Fun: Chocovine Chocolate Wine - About $10
Nobody's going to expect you to bring chocolate wine as a gift, but it's actually surprisingly good. Chocovine tastes like chocolate milk with a little booze in it; sweets lovers will enjoy it as something novel they likely haven't tried before.
Give the Gift of Wine
Wine is a classic gift, and there are great wines in all budgets for all palates. From crisp whites to sweet dessert wines, a gift of wine is always appreciated.