The time is almost upon us. The chill is in the air, the lights are up and the goose is definitely getting fatter … I’m sure I am not the only one who was slightly alarmed when, come early November, I saw a fully decorated Christmas tree and the reality that the festive season was almost upon us came home with a bang.
It seems like this year has flown by. It has been a series of lockdowns, social distancing and tentative travel. 2021 was, for me in any case, a sort of unfurling. If 2020 was the night, 2021 was the dawning of a new era.
New era or not, some things never change. And not to put too fine a point on it, Christmas – and everything that it brings is almost upon us. Get ready for joy, laughter, probably one too many mince pies and definitely one too many mulled wines. But you’ll also need to get ready for the minefield that is getting the right gift. Fail-proof gifts are few and far between, but thankfully we might well have the answer. Read our guide for the top five best wines to give at Christmas, and suddenly giving something under the tree will seem a lot less daunting.
There are some great Holiday special wines you can get through your wine investing app – but which are the best for a gift?
Why Wine Is a Perfect Gift for Christmas?
Wine has long been considered the ideal present. The Ancient Greeks believed it to be manna from heaven, and it is well known that the Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with a plentiful supply to ensure they were well-stocked and well-received in the afterlife.
The beauty of giving wine as a gift is that it never goes out of style. Yes, it has been the go to gift of choice for many millennia but that doesn’t mean it is passé, far from it. In fact, with passion assets topping more than one wish list, we think you actually can’t go wrong with an investable bottle of wine.
Here are 10 reasons why:
- The right wine speaks volumes about how much you care
Whether you are finding the perfect Pinot for your family, the wine you drank at your wedding for your spouse or a vegetarian wine (yes they exist) for your veggie friend, the right bottle says how much you care. Get an investable bottle – which will keep growing in both value and quality as time goes one – and you’ve struck pay dirt.
- There are wines for all occasions
Whatever you’re celebrating, commiserating or just looking forward to the end of a long week, there is sure to be a wine to match your mood. Champagne is always a solid choice when it comes to celebrations and port is traditionally associated with the baptism of children. Even if you’re just giving to yourself, and why not, you’re worth it, wine is always welcome.
- It’s always appropriate
From buying that special bottle for that special someone to putting something in trust for a child (make sure you get a toy too) to sourcing the ideal vintage that celebrates a particular date, a good bottle of wine works on almost every occasion. As long as the recipient is not expecting a diamond ring, or is teetotal, that is.
- Wine lasts
A bottle of investable wine is the gift that keeps on giving. Yes, of course the lucky recipient can drink it now, but the point of wine that is made for maturing is that it will gain in value as time goes on (as long as it is stored correctly – see our how to store wine guide).
- You can support the local growers
Some wines, like the mage Bordeaux and Burgundies don’t really need much support. These are bottles that sell out even before they are ready (it’s a process called En Primeur), so they are not reliant on the secondary or even third party market. However, there are many excellent producers who rely on retail for their existence, so why not look out for a smaller producer and make their day by buying one of their vintages?
- Wine is made for sharing
Wine is a gift that says, “share me.” Drinking a bottle of wine, particularly if it’s an excellent vintage or from one of the famous Crus Classés estates, with a loved one is one of life’s loveliest experiences. By giving someone the gift of wine, you’re not just treating them to a nice bottle – you’re enabling them to share the experience with the people they love.
- It’s a gift that works in all price ranges
The beauty of wines, even investable wine, is that it comes in all price ranges. Whether it’s a prime vintage of Chateau Margeaux or a vin de table, every bottle serves a different and equally important purpose. This means that you can splash the cash if you want, but equally, you don’t have to break the bank.
- Wine has unexpected health benefits
According to the Daily Telegraph, red wine is actually rather good for your health (yes, really). Some studies even go so far as suggesting that it is good for your teeth, keeps you mentally agile and helps you live longer. Where do I sign?
- It never goes out of style
Fashions come and go. Who remembers Tamagotchis, underwear as outerwear and Ricky Marti? Remember acid-washed, ripped jeans? Yes, we’d like to forget them all too. Wine, on the other hand, is and has been mankind’s favourite drink since time immemorial.
- It’s so much better than socks
Some people are notoriously difficult to buy for, and chances are you’ll end up getting them something they either don’t want or even worse, something boring. If the above nine reasons haven’t convinced you that wine is an excellent gift choice for (almost) everyone, then can we direct you to our Collections? These pre-chosen crates are a guaranteed success and simply a click away!
How to Choose Wine for a Christmas Gift?
So, if we’ve done our jobs right, we’ve convinced you that wine is a gift worth giving this Christmas. However, as the big day draws closer time tick tocks on, you might well find yourself caught short at the last minute. Maybe time just ran away with you, maybe you’ve always been a last minute shopper, maybe you just forgot someone? Far from being cliched, a special bottle of wine is a great way to break the ice, say I love you and perhaps, even make a little extra cash on the side.
When offering wine as a gift, our advice is as follows:
Get as much advice as you can
OK, so there are two options here. Using Vindome’s wine guide and live market, you can pick out an investable bottle that can either be delivered or remain in our warehouses, as it gains in quality and, hopefully, value. As a wine nears or enters its drinking window, it reaches its point of maturity and thus enters its drinking prime. This is great news for both wine lovers and investors: on the one hand, the point of wine is to be able to drink and enjoy it, so if it’s a gift, why not appreciate it as it was intended? However, if the intention was to wait a few years and watch your investment grow, then proper storage is a must.
Similarly, with Vindome’s Collections, these pre-built cases are a superb idea for anyone who wants to kick start their wine investment portfolio, but if you’d rather gift the bottles, then why not get them delivered to your door? We guarantee that turkey and stuffing will never have tasted so good!
Regardless of whether you go for a single bottle, a case or a Collection, Vindome’s sales team offers excellent advice for all budgets. These talented men and women are helpful and educated and really know the difference between their Sassicaia and their Sauvignon.
Avoid wines that are too mainstream
Christmas is a special time, so we think that it’s a bit of a shame to gift anything that looks like it came from the local supermarket. If you don’t have a wine investment app then a quick visit to your local merchant will prove priceless. Not only will you be able to get a really special bottle (for a really special someone) but you will also be supporting a local business. Win-win!
Regardless of if you are talking to one of the Vindome sales team or in a local wine boutique, the key to getting what you want is clear communication. So ask questions, then ask more, then ask a few more. Wine lovers are passionate people, so don’t be shy! If you’re thinking of getting an investable bottle, do a little background check too – this means tasting notes, vintage records, producer background. You’d be amazed at how easy the choice is once you’ve read the descriptions.
Take your time, but make it easy
Even if you’re pressed, don’t simply grab the first thing you see. Being thoughtful takes time – and you don’t really know what you want to get if you don’t know what there is to choose from. A measured choice will be ultimately much easier and faster once you know what you want. And if you are using a wine investment app, well then that’s a no-brainer. Simply download the app, create an account, and bingo – Christmas presents, sorted.
When in doubt, buy a biggie
As both wine investors and wine lovers ourselves, we say you can never go wrong with one of the big hitters. That means a fabulous first growth, a Burgundy Grand Cru, a SuperTuscan or go on, why not even a bottle of Screaming Eagle, Opus One or Argentinian Malbec (Vindome has a great Catena Bodega Zapata Collection). Not only are these wines fabulous for the table but, with proper storage, they will keep for years.
5 Best Wines to Gift for Christmas
Whether for drinking now, or investing in for later, here’s our pick of the best five wines you can give this Christmas.
- Opus One 2018 (Napa Valley)
Opus One’s entry into our cellars marks a milestone. As the first American to feature, we knew we needed to get a great wine with an exceptional pedigree. And the Opus One 2018 is ticked all the boxes. It earned a near-perfect 99/100 from James Suckling and 98/100 from Wine Advocate, which called it “a triumph.” The 2018 vintage marks the summit of Opus One’s “Golden Age” and is perhaps one of the finest bottles the vineyard has ever produced. Our advice is to add it to your portfolio as soon as you can, as we guarantee this wine will never disappoint.
- Chateau Latour 2013 (Bordeaux)
This recently released 2013 vintage has been eagerly awaited. The vintage was tricky for all of Bordeaux but if anyone could pull it out of the bag, Latour could and did. Latour – when you are an icon of this calibre, no Chateau is required – is well known for pulling in perfect 100-point scores time after time. Investment potential, long ageability and First Growth famousness have in the past made this wine inaccessible to some, but the 2013 looks set to be an exception. Released in March 2021, Latour 2013 is so far the best value Latour on the market, despite having been called “absolutely gorgeous” by Antonio Galloni, who rated it 92/100 and “one of the wines of the vintage” by Jane Anson of Decanter.com who gave it 93/100. Both these scores are much improved on the 2014 barrel tasting rating of 88-90 by Robert Parker, which suggest time is being kind to the wine. Buy now before it joins the ranks of Latour’s other great vintages.
- Nicolás Catena Zapata 2016 (Argentina)
As pioneers of Argentina’s high altitude wines, Bodega Catena Zapata has consistently been producing superb wines for over one hundred years. Catena Zapata’s gamble of planting vines at high level not only paid off but also led the way for many of Mendoza’s boutique wineries to flourish. Today, BCZ is considered among the best producers in the country. With such a pedigree, it is unsurprising that this 2016 vintage of Nicolás Catena Zapata is an exact reflection of what a great Argentinian blend should be. Made with 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Malbec and 8% Cabernet Franc and scoring in the mid-90s, this wine is concentrated, complex and a classic example of what this producer is capable of. Buy now and keep.
- Rocca di Frassinello, Baffonero 2016 (Tuscany)
This mighty Merlot from the cellars of Rocca di Frassinello looks set to be one of the season’s most exciting. Hot on the heels of the phenomenally successful 2015, the 2016 Baffonero pulled high scores from both Galloni and Wine Enthusiast Magazine (93/100 in both cases). The wine is typical of a SuperTuscan: powerful, rich and intense, it opens with aromas of ripe dark fruit, cedar and mocha. Tertiary flavours include ripe blackberry, espresso, coconut and plum jam alongside fine-grained tannins. Ageing is anticipated at well over 15 years.
- Marchesi Antinori Solaia 2018
From its sloped southwesterly expired position in the sunniest 20-hectare part of Tignanello’s hillside home comes this sunkissed wine bursting with ripe raisins, blackcurrants and cherries. The wine is an intense ruby red colour and its nose offers intense notes of dark, ripe fruit in particular blueberries and black currants. Such depth and elegance, very well constructed, juicy and plush but at the same time this has a quiet personality. A delicious wine. Wait to drink, this has a long life ahead.
Explore our Christmas collections and get the best gift for a loved one!