For the casual wine lover, the gift of a bottle of fine wine is something truly special. But where to begin with fine wine? The phrase itself is laden with baggage and an intimidating reputation, but buying the gift of fine wine is exactly the same as buying any other wine as a gift. Allow me to explain.
First and foremost, the likes and tastes of the giftee must be your North Star. Perhaps you don’t know the exact name of the bottle they always have in the door of their fridge or the top of their wine rack, but you do know it’s a grassy sauvignon blanc, a vanilla-licked Rioja, or a citrusy pinot grigio. Armed with this information, you have all you need. Below, we’ve matched the flavour profiles of some of the most common wine styles with their luxury counterparts. Fine wine has never been so approachable.
If they like grassy New Zealand sauvignon blanc: Craggy Range Te Muna Road Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Sauvignon blanc is one of the most popular wines in the UK. The firm favourite of many, the most classic style is New Zealand sauvignon, with notes of stone fruit, grass and gooseberry. Let’s not push the boat out too far with this one. From the renowned Martinborough region, we’d recommend Craggy Range Te Muna Road Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022. This is a serious step up in quality for sauvignon blanc lovers. There is a plush and rounded texture on the palate, which holds the peach, nectarine and lime flavours impressively. Drink now to 2025.
If they like zesty pinot grigio: The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2021
Along with sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio is one of the most popular wines in the UK. Known for its citrusy flavours and invigorating palate, allow us to suggest another wine style that may not have been on their radar before. Assyrtiko is a Greek wine most commonly from the beautiful island of Santorini, and has a similar zesty, refreshing quality to pinot grigio. One example is The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2021, which recently won a Silver medal at this year’s Decanter awards. It’s pure, taut and concentrated, with notes of lime-zest and peach, alongside a classic saline finish. Drink now to 2025.
If they like a light pinot noir: Schug Carneros Pinot Noir 2021
Does your giftee enjoy a red that’s on the lighter side? Perhaps they don’t like their reds heavy, so a perfumed pinot is what’s needed. There are plenty of places to find fine expressions of pinot, but California is a winemaking region that’s really doing it right, according to our US buyer, Sarah Knowles MW. The Schug Carneros Pinot Noir 2021 is a polished pinot that showcases what cool-climate Sonoma can really do. Beautifully bright red berries are balanced by spice and herbal notes that develop on the palate. With very fine tannins, this wine has great length and charm. Drink now to 2029.
If they like a peppery Côtes du Rhône: Saint-Joseph, Guigal 2019
A classic blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre, Côtes du Rhône is an excellent wine for sipping alongside food. Its red-fruit character with subtle spice lends itself well to charcuterie, pizza and roast chicken – a choice wine of a gastronome. If someone you know loves Côtes du Rhône, then look to the other wines of the Rhône Valley for fine wine gifting. There are 17 crus in the region, each representing a step up from the classic Côtes du Rhône. Saint-Joseph is a cru known for its syrah-dominant blend, and the refined, powerful style it yields. Give the Saint-Joseph, Guigal 2019 a try.
If they like an oaky Rioja: Hacienda Lopez de Haro Classica Gran Reserva, Rioja 2005
A vanilla-licked Rioja is a must for any wine rack. The wine gets its vanilla notes from time spent in oak. For an elevated experience for a lover of this wine style, go for the Hacienda Lopez de Haro Classica Gran Reserva, Rioja 2005. This is a fine, fully mature Rioja from the excellent 2005 vintage that has been patiently aged in Lopez de Haro's cellars until now. Graceful and fine with complex flavours of tobacco and cedarwood. Drinking now to 2028.
So, as you can see, the world of fine wine is really not as intimidating as it first may seem. Chances are, you’re already a fan of the styles we’ve listed above. We hope we’ve made your gift selection a little easier, but if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our wine specialist team – they’re here to help.