The perfect gift: wine – Dec 14, 2013

By Anthony Gismondi

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Ita��s that time of the year when strangers ask me for help choosing a wine gift. My response is a�?how much would you like to spend?a�? and a�?what is your frienda��s wine IQ?a�? It takes is a bit of sleuthing to find the perfect bottle for each person on your wine list.

Remember, a gift bottle should make a statement and that requires research. Do they like red or white, or maybe rosA�? Still or sparkling? Dona��t forget the fortified wine category, like sparkling wine it is often the kind of bottle people love to receive but seldom buy for themselves.

Other factors that will figure into any serious bottle buy: does the recipient have a wine cellar or fridge that would allow them to hold on to your gift for months or years? Are they a foodie? Do they hold dinner parties? Do they own a decanter? The answers will shape your final pick.

To help get you started, I have divided our gift-giving guide by price to allow you to zero in on what fits your budget. Remember you can research the status and availability of any bottle online at Good hunting.

$20 and less
There is no shortage of picks in this category, where the best value is likely to be found in wines from Chile or Argentina, with Spain and Australia also in the mix. Wines we like a lot include the nifty Spanish red: Bobal 2010 (Utiel-Requena, Valencia and Murcia, $19). A fresh pure German choice is Tesch Unplugged Riesling 2010 (Nahe, Germany, $20); the local equivalent would be the Gray Monk Riesling 2011 (Okanagan Valley, $15). Organic fans are well-served by the Yalumba Organic Shiraz 2012, (South Australia, $17).

$21 to $35
At this price the wines are even more site specific, beginning with a delicious Altesino Rosso di Montalcino 2011 (Tuscany, Italy, $30). Ita��s back to France for a classy white Chateau de Sancerre 2011, (Loire Valley, France, $30). Gamay is enjoying somewhat of a mini-Renaissance and turkey would be the foil to a Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2012 (Beaujolais, France, $35). A pair of solid Rhone reds round out our picks: Pierre Henri Morel Signargues Cotes du Rhone Villages 2011 (Rhone Valley, France, $23) and Domaine Maby La Fermade Lirac 2011 (Rhone Valley, France, $28).

$36 to $50
Serious gifts for oenophiles begin at $35 and we suggest you reach for a red, white or dessert. We begin with a terrific Inniskillin Okanagan Riesling Icewine 2011 (Okanagan Valley, $35). A friendly, rich Rhone blend from Down Under is The Holy Trinity Grenache Shiraz MourvA?dre 2010 (Barossa Valley, South Australia, $40). Susana Balbo of Dominio del Plata will be in Vancouver to pour her red blend Ben Marco Expressivo 2011 (Mendoza, Argentina, $40) at the February wine festival. Equally fine and cellar worthy is the Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato 2010 (Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy, $40).

$50 to $100
At this price range you cana��t miss. Considered a fortified gem: the Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny (Douro Valley, Portugal, $68). Top flight Chablis is a great pick: Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2011 (Burgundy, France, $67) or maybe a classic Frescobaldi Montesodi Riserva Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Rufina 2009 (Tuscany, Italy, $55). A great Champagne pick is the Bollinger Special Cuvee (Champagne, France, $77).

You should expect perfection, be it from the style the grape or the appellation. If there is a $217 best value the Dom PA�rignon 2004 (Champagne, France) might be it. If you need a star red from California look to the Joseph Phelps Insignia 2009 (Napa Valley, California, U.S., $255) or to a pair of European giants: Ornellaia 2009 (Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy, $190) and Chateau LA�oville Barton 2009 (St. Julien, Bordeaux, France, $255).

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