Saturday, December 5, 2009

Perfect Wine Gift Scenarios

“Men are like a fine wine.  They all start out like grapes, and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with.”  (Sorry guys...)
-Kathleen Mifsud-

The Perfect Gift Wine Scenarios:

You need a great wine gift for your boss.  Your performance review is coming up so you want to get a memorable and impressive bottle of wine.  A wine that will remind your boss of YOUR generosity when he presents the review. You know that your boss prefers red wine so consider the Simi 2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at $49.99.  Yes, it’s pricey, but you might consider “accidently” leaving the receipt in the bottom of the  TJ gift bag.  It might assist with your next promotion.  It’s a big, bold cab with tannins and black currant tastes.

You need a wine gift for your very frugal (cheap) parents-in-law.  Sure they’re frugal, but they grew up affected by the Great Depression, which was even worse than our current economic situation, so cut them a little slack.  You’re visiting the in-laws for a holiday dinner, which will be superb!  You wrestle with purchasing an inexpensive wine that they will appreciate as a great value (but you won’t), or do you get the Mer Soleil Chardonnay ($36.99), which they will consider wasteful?  Perhaps a compromise is in order.  Go with the Wild Horse or J. Lohr Chardonnay, both are just over $10.00 and both are superb.  The Wild Horse is a bit more buttery, while the J. Lohr is a bit crisper.

You need a wine gift for your best friend!  She loves white wine and she loves to help you through your many problems with boyfriends, and you do the same for her.  What a friend! She deserves and will get something special in the white wine category. She’s going to get the Mer Soleil Chardonnay (the one passed on by the son-in-law) at $36.99 a bottle.  You’ll share this wine with your best friend and talk of shared moments during the past year and discuss plans for a wild New Year’s celebration.  This oaked chardonnay has lots of soft butter and green apple.

You need a wine gift for the host and hostess who have invited you to their holiday dinner.  You go to TJ’s and see Tom da Wine Guy for assistance.  My first question, of course, is what entree is being served?  You don’t know, but being clever, we narrow it down to either turkey, prime rib, ham, pasta with red sauce, or seafood.  Given the potentials, a sparkling wine would work but I suggest a Pinot Noir, specifically the La Crema at $21.99 a bottle.  It’s my current favorite Pinot and will work with any of the above entrees.  It’s a fruit-forward Pinot with lots of raspberry and light tannins and has personality plus!

One word of advise when providing hosts with a bottle of wine.  You don’t need to know the entree, in fact, the hosts probably have planned a wine pairing unless they’ve specifically asked you to bring the wine.  Any bottle of wine you bring is your thank-you gift and if they choose to serve it with the meal, that’s their prerogative, but your wine will be appreciated regardless of the meal.  So don’t sweat it.  Just enjoy the meal and the visit with friends.

You need a wine gift for a special service provider.  Maybe it’s your hair dresser, or your manicurist, or your personal trainer; it’s a business relationship with someone you respect and whose service you appreciate, but they’re not your best friend. I would suggest almost any wine in the $8.00 to $15.00 range.  You can select very nice red or white wines in  this dollar range; too many to mention, but ask someone in the TJ  wine section for specific recommendations.

Lastly, you need a wine gift for the office party.  You drew the name of a co-worker that you’re not particularly fond, so what to do?  Do you insult him with a bottle of famously inexpensive wine or do you try to mend fences with a nice wine that you know will be appreciated?  You need to weigh your experience with the co-worker and determine if a “peace offering” will work or will he just see you as weak?  I think that I might play it safe and just go with the insultingly inexpensive wine.  Just kidding!!!  After all, it is the holiday season.  Walk the high ground, get a nice gift in the same range as for the “special service provider.”  You’ll be the better person for it and you can revel in knowing that you did the right thing; the next step is his.

“It was a woman who drove me to drink--and you know, I never even thanked her.” -W.C Fields-

Tom da Wine Guy


At December 5, 2009 at 3:09 PM , Blogger Jacqueline said...

Thanks for the useful info and the laughs!

At December 6, 2009 at 9:42 PM , Blogger Tom da Wine Guy said...

Thank you jkl for your very nice comment. Much appkreciated.

At December 20, 2009 at 5:27 PM , Blogger MB said...

Hello TomDaWineGuy,

First, let me say that this might be a bit of a long-winded post, so please bear with me. I have come to rely on your Monthly Newsletter and have learned that I do become a bit agitated when I somehow neglect to pick it up during my frequent visits to the Trader Joe’s wine section. I read your tips and often pick up some of the suggested wines, as well as adopt a few of the wine-related aphorisms. One of my favorites is Dan Burke’s “You can’t drink wine all day... if you don’t start first thing in the morning.” Anyway, I have been a faithful reader of your Newsletter, but it was only today that I took the time to peruse the pages of your blog and found it equally as interesting and informative as your Newsletter. I wanted to make a comment that is related to your Monday, January 26th, 2009 posting as well as the posting for Monday, November 30th, regarding the references to sensory discrimination and palettes and such. I did visit the site you suggested,, and it was enlightening to discover what the test indicated about my own wine preferences. In terms of what I already know about wine, I fall into the category of question number four where “I know what I like, know a good bit about wine and like learning more.” It is in this spirit of always being eager to learn more, that I wanted to share another site with you that I discovered recently. The blog posts I mentioned reminded me of the site, where a device has been created to help individuals describe and discuss the various wine aromas that are encountered when one decides to engage in conversations about wine. As noted on the site, “The purpose of the wine aroma wheel is to facilitate communication about wine flavor by providing a standard terminology.” Anyway, I thought you and others who are interested might find this site and the wine aroma wheel something that is useful in the never-ending pursuit of wine knowledge and appreciation. That’s about it for now. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, enthusiasm, and expertise about wine, and I will continue to be an ardent fan.

At January 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM , Blogger Tom da Wine Guy said...

Thank you so much for your generous comments. I'm glad that you enjoy the newsletter and the blog.

Yes, I am aware of the wine aroma wheel. In fact, I bought one a couple of years ago, but alas, I rarely remember to use it in a constructive way. I shall need to get it out and use it, because, as you noted, it is a very helpful tool for describing wine aromas.

Hope to hear more from you.

Tom da Wine Guy


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