Gifting wine to the wine lover

November 2017

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list is an arduous annual ritual we all go through. And what to give the person who is a dedicated lover of fine wine? The best of all possible gifts, of course, is wine! But too often we are intimidated by the thought, fearing that our own lack of knowledge will betray us into making an embarrassing faux pas by choosing something inappropriate for the true connoisseur. Fear not – help is at hand!

Most wine lovers embrace a broad diversity of tastes and styles, so whatever your gift, it will be welcomed. And very few of us, even if slightly disappointed, would ever be so churlish as to say so to the giver. So how to make a perfect choice?

Start by finding out where your intended gift recipient regularly shops. That may be the LCBO outlet nearest their home, or they may have established the habit of visiting some other particular store. Fairly simple direct questioning should get you this information. If you are unable to find out where your intended shops, follow the same procedure at your nearest LCBO store: ask to speak with the Product Consultant (who may or may not, of course, happen to be there just when you arrive. In that case, just ask when she or he will be in, and return later.) This is an LCBO staff person whose job is to provide specialized service to those customers with particular needs and tastes. There is a very high probability that the Product Consultant knows the person you are seeking to please, and will have a good understanding of their preferences based on their buying patterns over past seasons. Trust the advice of this Product Consultant; the only guidance you will need to offer is the price range you have in mind for this particular gift.

Now let’s suppose that you have to make this decision all on your own. How to choose, and how much do you need to spend? There is of course no upper limit, but you needn’t spend a fortune; good value wines start under $20. Head for the Vintages section, located at the back of your local LCBO. In the $20 - $40 range, select from any of the wines featured in this column over past issues: a Chianti Classico Riserva, a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva, a Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s Margaret River or California’s Sonoma Valley. Note that all these wines are red; reds are generally more popular than whites and live longer in the wine cellar. If you know your intended prefers white, in the same price range you will find Chablis, or Chardonnay from Niagara or Prince Edward County, or Riesling from Alsace; these are all excellent value in fine white wines. I don’t recommend spending a lot more unless you have the knowledge or good advice to recognize sound value in whatever price range you target. And of course, a bottle of genuine Champagne is never out of place!

If by any chance you happen to visit another jurisdiction – particularly Montréal, or Minneapolis or other big American city – with the opportunity to pick up a rare bottle that is not available through the LCBO here at home, that is a special prize that may cost you a bit more, but will amaze and delight your wine enthusiast friend.

Most of all, relax and don’t worry – your gift of wine will be truly appreciated by the lucky recipient on Christmas morning!

Follow Paul Inksetter’s wine writing on his blog,

© Paul Inksetter 2017

Follow Paul Inksetter’s wine writing on his blog,
© Paul Inksetter 2016

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.