If you are searching for an elegant gift, consider a gift of wine and cheese pairings or the gift of a membership in a wine club. Wine gift baskets are one of the hottest gifts available.
Whether your recipient is a true wine connoisseur or is just becoming acquainted with wines, wine baskets are considered the height of “good taste.”
Types of Wine Gifts
There are almost as many wine types on the market as there are people on the planet. The most popular categories are the Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot types. Wine can also be broken down into reds, whites, and rosès. Wine can also be categorized as sparkling or non-sparkling. Sparkling wines generally include champagnes or spumantes.
The most popular types of white wines include:
• Riesling- These wines are lighter than Chardonnay wines and have the aroma of apples. Rieslings are generally produced in Germany, New York, and California. They are a dry wine (not sweet) and pair well with chicken, pork, and fish.
• Chardonnay- Chardonnay wines are the most popular type of white wines. Chardonnay wines can be either sparking or non-sparkling, sometimes referred to as “still wines.” Chardonnay wines generally originate from Burgundy, France and from California. They may carry the aroma of citrus and may have undertones of toffee, or vanilla. Chardonnay wines pair well with chicken and fish.
• Sauvignon Blanc- These wines are also lighter than Chardonnay wines. They are produced in the Bordeaux district of France, Australia, and California. They carry the aroma of herbs and fresh grass with undertones of pear or berries. They are considered to be a versatile white wine and pair well with chicken, seafood, pork, and salads.
The most popular types of red wines include:
• Zinfandel- The most popular type of red wine. Zinfandel wines can range from a white Zinfandel, also called a rosè or a blush wine, to deep, rich, velvety reds. Zinfandels are only produced in California. They tend to have a berry aroma and often have a “peppery” undertone. They pair well with tomato-based pasta dishes, grilled foods, and pizza.
• Cabernet Sauvignon- This is one of the “lighter” red wines, often used as an introductory wine to those who are unfamiliar with red wines. This type of wine is produced in California, Chile, Germany, France, and Australia. Vanilla notes are common with this type of wine and generally comes from the cask, not the wine itself. It pairs well with all types of meats, cheeses, and desserts.
• Pinot Noir- These wines are highly sought after. The grapes are difficult to grow and blending them takes much practice. They are mainly produced in the Burgundy district of France, Oregon, California, Australia, and New Zealand. They generally have a light, fruity aroma, with undertones of cherry or plum. They pair well with grilled salmon, chicken, and lamb.
Other Wine Gift Ideas
Other types of wines that are currently making the news include several new varieties such as Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.
Prosecco is making wine news for being less expensive than champagne, but with a fruitier flavor, and for missing the “bite” that often accompanies the end of champagne.
White Merlots are making wine news also. They have been around for some time, but have just recently become popular. They are lighter than Red Merlots, but heavier than a Chardonnay. They pair well with cheese and fruit.
The newest wine sensation is the Moscato, the new sweet go-to. This wine was actually made popular by the Italian restaurant “Olive Garden.” They employed the tagline of “liquid frosting.” This wine pairs well with both fruit and cheese. It is the perfect wine for those who like a sweet wine without a lot of “bite.”
If you are searching for wine gifts, any of the above types of wines would be appreciated by the recipient. If you are unsure what type of wine he or she prefers, a rosè or blush is always a good choice, because it is considered an “in-between” wine.
Wine Gift Clubs
If you’d like to give an impressive gift, consider enrolling the recipient in a wine club. Wine clubs generally send out one or two bottles of wine each month. The wines can be specifically chosen by you, so that he or she receives a personalized wine.
The wine delivery can also be chosen with an option that delivers a different type of wine each month. This choice gives the recipient the opportunity to try a wine that he or she may never have tried before.
Wine and Cheese Gift Baskets
If giving wine as a gift, you may want to consider pairing the wine with cheese gift baskets or a club that delivers a different gourmet cheese each month.
Enrolling the recipient in both a wine of the month and a cheese of the month club is a very smart idea.
If making your own wine and cheese gifts, not all pairing will go as easily as you may think. Simply follow and remember these simple rules:
• White wines pair best with soft cheeses and strongly flavored cheeses. You may want to consider pairing a Riesling with Gouda, a Chardonnay with a mild cheddar, or a Sauvignon Blanc with a goat cheese.
• Red wines pair best with hard cheeses and mildly flavored cheeses. Consider pairing a Cabernet Sauvignon with a Camembert, a Pinot Noir with Swiss, or a Zinfandel with a sharp cheddar.
• Dessert wines pair best with a pungent cheese. The Moscato pairs very well with Blue Cheese.