Recommend wines for gifts

My parents like wine. I know next to nothing about wine. But my parents also have just about every item they could possibly use, so I thought a gift of a nice wine would be nice.

I’m looking to spend up to $100, but I’m happy to split that amongst cheaper bottles if it works out that way.


Wine makes a great gift. Do you know what type of wine they prefer? If you don’t, probably the best bet is to go with a Cab. Something nice from Napa-- Stag’s Leap or Silver Oak or Caymus or Duckhorn if you want to go pretty high end. Charles Krug makes some excellent wines for a more mid-range price. Or, go with a nice David Bruce Pinot Noir (Coastal or Sonoma is fine) if they like that type of wine. If they prefer Chardonnay, go with Grgich Hills for the more high end in that wine type, but still much cheaper than a Cab. You could probably get two bottles each of that Pinot and Chard for about $100 if you shop around.

What’s your location? I buy a lot of my wine at Safeway, believe it or not. The ones in CA have a good selection and they usually have lower prices than wine shops. There are literally hundreds (thousands?) of wineries, so you’re going to get tons of advice from people. The ones I’ve listed are some of the “name brands”, and you’re paying for that. There are lots of cheaper wines that are really good, too, but you have to trust recomendations from people who might not have similar tastes as you or your parents. Often when giving gifts you’re not to familar with it’s a good idea to stick with the tried and true name brands.

The other option, especially with something like wine, is to buy something not terribly expensive and local, so that when you give it you can say I don’t know much about it, but I’ve toured this winery and it’s really neat --and the story becomes part of the gift. My parents have both given and recieved wine for that reason.

No specific advice–I’m not a wine drinker. But if you do live someplace where people make wine, and especially if you don’t live in the same geographic area as your parents do, I’d encourage you to think about the novelty value of a local product.

First off, you probably don’t want to ship a bottle of wine to them, unless you’re familiar with shipping wine. US states and some countries have numerous and arcane regulations about who can and can’t ship alcohol to whom. Companies that do shipping may have similarly arcane regulations. If you’d have to ship it, a gift certificate to their favorite local beverage shop is probably a better bet.

If you’re flying to see them and you or they are in the US, remember that you can’t carry a bottle of wine in your carry-on luggage any more :frowning:

Do you know what kind of wine they like? That’s important- people have very different tastes in wine. Even knowing something like if they prefer red or white would be helpful.

A caveat if you’re giving them Chardonnay, especially from California- there are two very distinct styles of Chardonnay. One is a light style, the other is bigger and butterier. The big buttery ones tend to be more expensive, but some wine drinkers (like me) prefer the lighter style.

If you don’t know if they prefer any varietals, stick with the classics - Cab, Pinot, Chard, Sauv Blanc, Bordeaux blends, etc.

Some of my favorites that I can definitely highly recommend:

Pine Ridge - Rutherford Cab Sauv and their Bordeaux-style blend Andrus Reserve are excellent.

Merry Edwards - IMHO, the best Pinot coming out of the Russian River Valley and one of my all time favorite wines and winemakers.

Verite - Bordeaux-style blends from Sonoma County - My personal favorite of the three is La Joie

Chalk Hill - Estate Bottled or Vineyard Selection Chards - both are delicious.

Navarro - Their Estate Bottled Dry Gewurztraminer is only available in the tasting room, at restaurants, or through the website. It’s probably one of my favorite whites.

Those are all Northern CA suggestions. Not sure if you were thinking of a particular region, but the local wines tend to be the ones I have a solid familiarity with as they’re easy for me to try and buy.

I second the Navarro. All of their stuff is good; their Gewurz is even better.

But I’m from New York, so I’m a local (well, statewide) snob. I’d first advise you to buy from your local wineries, if they are any good (all states have wineries; not as many of them are that good yet).

My personal fave: Dr. Chateau Frank Brut (champagne) from the Finger Lakes (NY). It beats Veuve, or at least it did when my wife and I tasted them side-by-side. The Veuve (Yellow label) came out a little crass and cidery by comparison. I also like the Block Three East Cab Franc from Millbrook Winery in Dutchess County, but that’s partly because my wife helped make it.