How to Choose the Right Wine for a Christmas Gift

How to Choose the Right Wine for a Christmas Gift

‘Tis the season, folks. And if you’re yet to get your hands on a gift for that person you simply don’t know how to shop for, chances are wine is going to be a safe bet (if they’re someone who enjoys a tipple, of course). If you’re unfamiliar with the world of wine and have no clue what variety your loved one enjoys most, allow us to help with a guide to crowd-pleasing wine gifts that are pretty much guaranteed to satisfy.

The best wine to give as a gift

wine in a wooden box

Richard Quodling, Winemaker at Cat Amongst the Pigeons, shared some advice with us on what kind of wine to buy as a holiday gift, so hopefully, the process will be a little less stress-inducing for you this year.

Here’s what he shared:

Go lighter in body for the summer

We’re in the middle of some pretty intense summer weather in Australia, so chances are even a classic red lover may not be vibing an incredibly full-bodied drop right about now.

Quodling shared over email that, “In warmer months, it’s nice to get a bit of refreshment from your wine selection, so I’d recommend swapping out your heavier reds for a lighter or medium-bodied red wine, in addition to bringing out the rosé or clean, crisp whites. These lighter styles will quench your thirst and will pair well with a sunny day.”

  • Lighter red styles to consider: Grenache, Pinot Noir or Gamay are some options to consider
  • Light (fresh) white styles: Riesling, Semillon, Vermentino

Go for a slightly different wine option

“Don’t be confined to the traditional Australian varieties that your parents would have brought out at dinner parties back in the day,” Quodling said.

“I find that alternative and lesser-known varieties create a nice talking point and go down particularly well as we are all becoming more adventurous in our eating and drinking tastes.”

  • Less-common styles: GSM (Grenache Shiraz Mataró) or Mataro

Match wine to food or occasion

Think about the kind of food your loved one enjoys, or perhaps the meal you’re expecting to eat together. Can you match the drop to this?

“Although this initially seems like an overwhelming task, there are a couple of simple rules that make things easier,” Quodling shared.

Here are his rules:

  • Match based on intensity, like a heavy Cabernet with red meat, or a delicate dish with a light white wine.
  • Match based on the dominant flavour (this means you’ll likely be matching the wine with the sauce, not the main ingredient).
  • Pairings can either be congruent, which is when you match the flavours, or contrasting, which is when the wine adds a counterbalance to the food match. A good example would be cheese and white wine – a creamy, rich Chardonnay will be congruent with the cheese, and a crisp white like a Riesling will cut through the fatiness of the cheese with its acidity. Both fantastic options to pair.

“Here in the Barossa Valley, the festive season calls for a Cat Amongst the Pigeons Sparkling Shiraz. Rosé tends to be a safe bet for a picnic, and for BBQs, you can bring out the reds,” he added.

If you want more advice, you can always refer to the best Aussie options of 2023, according to the James Halliday Companion Awards.

Lead Image Credit: iStock

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