The second question I normally get from people (other than that one about my favourite wine) is what wine they should buy as a gift for that special someone- whether it is a 50th Wedding Anniversary, or a 60th Birthday party, or simply a hostess gift- this is a tough question! Don’t get me wrong, I want to impart my wine wisdom and have you look like a wine genius when you show up with that perfect bottle. But there are a few factors involved when you are asking that kind of loaded question. So, before I give you my perfect wine choice for every occasion, lets go through some handy information that makes my life (and yours) that much easier!
Just like economics taught me- supply and demand drive your choice!
What I mean by this is quite simply: it depends what LCBO you are visiting to purchase said perfect bottle. Not all LCBOs are created equal (for those not living in Ontario- the LCBO is our Liquor Control Board and it is run by the provincial government- no alcohol is sold here without them selling it). As such, it really helps me pick a wine or make a recommendation if you tell me which LCBO you plan on visiting. The supply of vintage vino at the Ancaster LCBO is much different to what you would find at the one on Dundurn in Hamilton. I am not saying I can’t find a wine to recommend from anywhere, but how annoying would it be if I give you 3 options and none of them are at the LCBO you go to? With the click of my handy app, I can search their inventory at the closest stores to you and make my choice based on your location (the joys of technology ;).
Speaking of economics.... budgets differ greatly!
My second question when asked what I recommend as a gift is always- what is your budget? I am not asking you to judge or snicker at what you might have in mind. I ask quite frankly so I don’t look like a snot when I recommend a $100.00 bottle and you had a $25.00 budget in mind. What ever your price point, I am happy to help. Just remember- you get what you pay for. And maybe don’t go raving to all your friends I helped you pick out that $9.00 bottle.... I’m willing to let you take the credit for that one ;). Kidding aside, there is a recommendation based on all kinds of budgets- and when I politely suggest a few tall boys of beer- you know you have gone too low!
What does that special someone normally drink?
This is usually the question that stumps most people I am talking to. They can handle my first two questions of interrogation, but this one really throws them for a loop. What I am trying to do here is determine if there is anything we should avoid at all costs- some people “just drink white wine” or “love California Cab Sauv”. What is their heritage? Are they Italian? French? Have you ever seen them drink wine? Do you have no clue about who they are or what their preferences on wine are and you are just showing up to a party you were invited to by a friend of a friend? There are really no wrong answers, but this insight helps me pick the right option for you!
If they “just drink white wine”.... I would suggest something easy drinking and light, like a Pinot Grigio from Italy, or an un-oaked chardonnay from a cool climate. These are easy drinking, fruit forward wines; they wouldn’t be offensive to anyone who just drinks white wine.
If they “love California Cab Sauv” ... I would suggest to step outside the California dream and try a cab/shiraz blend from Australia- the key here is they like full bodied red wine with some jammy fruit, lets expand the horizon a smidge and keep them loving those big, bold reds.
If they are Italian or French or Greek... I would definitely suggest a wine from their country-most Italians, French and Greek stick to what they know. So why not give them what they love. Don’t reinvent the wheel or try to change their minds. Folks take pride in the wine that is produced from their motherland- and why shouldn’t they? It is delicious.
If you don’t know them from Adam... I would suggest bringing what you really like to drink. It is a conversation starter. This is a good way to learn what they do drink for that next time you are invited (if you behave yourself). And to be honest, if you get to the party and look around and the well looks dry or underwhelming, you can hope they crack that bottle you brought.
If all else fails.... I will always suggest a sparkling wine, it is something that looks special and is delicious, and a great way to “cheers” to any occasion. Stick to easy drinkers like a Cava from Spain or a Prosecco from Italy, or even a Cremant from France. These will all range from $15.00-$35.00 and look classy!
I hope this helps you when looking for that wine to gift to that special someone. I will always help as best I can; please just understand where I am coming from when I start to play 21 questions. My mind is racing with endless possibilities and I want to make sure you look like a wine genius!
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