The holiday season is officially upon us. It’s supposed to mark a time of yuletide cheer and gift giving but… Come on, as chaotic as this year has been, does anyone really have the mental capacity to play Santa’s little helper? No chance.
That’s why we’re here today. And we’re coming with a clear pitch for how you can usher in the spirit of the season and simplify your holiday shopping: Just stuff everyone’s stockings with wine. Seriously, a good bottle of vino just might be exactly what your introverted, cat lady of an aunt needs to lighten the mood during all those holiday Zoom calls.
To help you get a head start on your shopping, we’ve compiled a list of the eight best gifts to give the wine enthusiast in your life. These picks range in price, with the most expensive items reaching up to $100, just in case you want to ball out for someone near and dear to your heart. All of our picks are widely available across the U.S. and can be purchased online via the links in their prices.
Cheers and happy holidays!
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Gift Set
Average Price: $99
One of the most recognized Champagne houses in the world is offering the gift of elegance during the holidays. Hand-blown, rounded wine bottles inspired by 17th-century decor keep the wine safe. The 100 percent Pinot Noir comes from 10 different crus—aka villages that make pristine wine—across the Champagne region of France. So you need something sturdy to keep that good juice secure.
In a nice flourish, the winery tacks on two luxury glasses to best enjoy your sparkling pink rosé.
This is about as close to drinking pink diamonds as you’ll ever get. Glimmers of fruity fragrances dance delicately on the nose while the palate is drenched in flavors of cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. The wine is sharp and with bubbles surging late to round out to a supple and soft finish.
This elegantly fresh and fruity wine is just as beautiful on the sip as it is in the bottle, and it’s even prettier when poured in Laurent-Pierre flutes. While it can be enjoyed right away, this Champagne rosé has an aging potential of up to five years, which means your loved one can save it for a special occasion when you’re in person, together again.
Bollinger’s Special Cuvée
Average Price: $60
Here’s a wine for the stylish and refined person in your life. This blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier is certainly that, not to mention it comes from a premiere Champagne estate that has produced sophisticated bubbly since 1829. What makes Bollinger’s Special Cuvée so iconic is that it’s comprised of grapes sourced from 300 crus, the majority being grand and premiers crus. We’re talking about the absolute best grapes from the most superior villages and plots in Champagne.
This medium-bodied Champagne is truly triumphant. There’s a boisterous aroma of apple and toasted almonds but the palate is rich with notes of creme brûlée and lemon parfait and a melody of stone fruits. A touch of chalk in the finish balances out the sturdy, fine bubbles.
This is a wine that only gets better with time. The more it ages, the more dynamic it becomes—kinda like that special, relative you still need to get a holiday present for.
2018 Mayacamas Hill Block Chardonnay Holiday Special Release
Average Price: $85
This 100 percent Chardonnay isn’t like the others created by Mayacamas, which has been producing spectacular wine in the Napa Vally since 1889. The grapes used in the winery’s Special Bottling Series come from the most unique, small-lot vineyards with soils stocked with chalky, white volcanic ash. That alone gives the holiday bottle a little extra oomph that you likely won’t experience in other selections offered by the winery.
This is a chardonnay with undeniable minerality, thanks to the volcanic soil the grapevines grew in. It opens up fresh and lively on the nose with aromas of flower blossoms and lemon zest. The sip is like a slice of rich lemon meringue pie and a side apple tart. The finish is long and interesting, with a flinty, briny undertone that only seems to elevate the palate.
This isn’t your butterscotch Chardonnay. This is an interesting wine with a lot of character, and it’s one that will likely be a great treat for a pal or relative who enjoys the funkier, eccentric things in life. Better still, aside from the holidays, Mayacamas only releases wine twice a year — the spring and fall — which makes this an exclusive gift.
Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Average Price: $32
The cooler nights and mild daytime temperatures in August 2019 helped the good folks at Ehlers Estate concoct the most expressive vintage of Sauvignon Blanc. The grape’s natural acidity, delicate flavors, and aromas are almost spilling out of the bottle.
This full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc has a pleasing fragrance of orange blossoms, guava, and ripe pineapple, which lean into it’s acidic, silky mineral mouthfeel. On the palate, it’s zipping with citrus flavors like grapefruit and tangerine and subtle hints of lime that extend well after the long finish.
Buy this for the white wine lover in your life. Maybe they’ll thank you for it with a seafood feast to pair the bottle with.
2016 Mi Sueño Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Average Price: $75
The deep, dark garnet hue of this sultry Napa Cabernet Sauvignon develops as it ages for 21 months in 65% new French oak. Then it sits another full year in the bottle before it’s packaged and sent off for retail. All that time aging results in a fine, layered wine that begs to be devoured during the holiday season.
Sensual scents of dark plum, boysenberry, and molasses fill the nose upon opening this bottle, while notes of dark cherry and fig along with black pepper and cacao coat the palate. Silky smooth tannins—the natural polyphenol responsible for the wine’s bite—give the wine structure and body that accentuates the finish.
This is a grown-up wine that’s just begging your father to drink it with his hand-rolled cigar. Or maybe mom will share it with the whole family when she makes her famous casserole. Either way, you’re parents will love this gift.
2017 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District
Average Price: $79
Yes, this is another Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t you know it’s the gift that keeps on giving? That’s because Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. No matter where you get it from, it’s bound to be compelling and charismatic — which makes it a high-impact varietal for gifting.
This dark ruby wine is produced in the Stag’s Leap District. The base is primarily cab sauv, however, it’s blended with five percent merlot, four percent petit verdot, and three percent cabernet franc to give the wine some depth and a splash of juiciness.
This wine is like the Energizer Bunny. It just keeps going, and going, and going. It smells like a bouquet of violets and lavender sprayed with the juice of blackberry and huckleberry, all dressed up with black licorice. The deep flavor profile starts with notes of chocolate and blood orange peppered with cardamom and cassis.
All the supple tannins support the wine’s dense and luxurious structure, which gives it a rather long and opulent finish.
Everything about this wine screams special occasion. The chef in your family will love its propensity for pairing — it will go with any meat dish you can think of or a family feast of Mapo Tofu and spicy delicacies.
The Prisoner Wine Company Saldo 2018
Average Price: $32
There’s a reason why The Prisoner Wine Company is so good at creating interesting wines with such quality and character. They source grapes from some of the most esteemed vineyards in California. The Zinfandel grapes used in this robust showstopper come from plots in Dry Creek, Lodi, and Amador—all of which are areas with a penchant for growing some of the best Zin in the U.S.
This is an experience in mouthwatering red wine. You wouldn’t initially guess it from its aroma of black licorice, cherry, baking spices, and hickory. But somehow, with all its curvaceous tannins and just the slightest hint of red berries, that’s the effect it delivers.
Try the drool test and see for yourself: Take a sip of this wine and leave your mouth slightly open once you swallow the last drop. You’ll be salivating for the extent of the lengthy finish.
Gift this wine to the pitmaster in your life. Grilled chops, grilled steak, grilled chicken, grilled vegetables—this wine will wash down almost anything that’s cooked on the barbecue.
Castello Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG
Average Price: $79
This 100 percent Sangiovese hails from Castello Banfi, one of the premier Italian estates in the Montalcino region of Tuscany. Its dazzling ruby red in color is attributed to the crushed grapes spending 10 to 12 days with skin contact during vilification, aka fermentation. Next, the juice spends four years aging—two of which are in oak barrels made from French and Slavonian oak casks—resulting in a soft and velvety, very fine wine.
You’ll notice the complexities of this wine just from the aromas of violet and vanilla that escape from the bottle as soon as you open it. A hint of licorice and cherry tarts sit at the front while touches of baking spice linger in the background. Its tannin profile is unbelievably soft and refined, and it cloaks the mouth like brand new suede throughout the long finish.
This is a wine for your friend who goes the extra mile to find the stinkiest and most decadent cheeses for the holiday spread. It’s just the right type of Sangiovese that will cut right through all that richness and give pasteurized dairy (or non-pasteurized if you’re about that life) a spiced-up kick. Banfi will even engrave the name of your beloved on the bottle for a few extra bucks, making this a gift option one that can sit on a holiday table with a sweet personal touch.