Every festive season the big question haunts us – Which are the wines to gift? Because you don’t want to be out of pocket on the wines you aren’t going to get a taste of. Nor do you wish to delpete your own wine cellar – those were to drink, not to gift, right! Sommelier Gagan SHARMA gives his two cents on the subject
HOW TO PICK WINES TO GIFT
It’s that time of the year when the festive spirit has set in. In most homes, an old table in the corner is stacked with received gifts and the liquor cabinet runs dry after daily celebrations. One way to make sure that cabinet is constantly refreshed – and that your gift is truly enjoyed – is by gifting wines! Sophisticated gifts that speak of your good taste, wines are well received as presents by most people.
Selecting a wine to gift is easy. Look for a wine that is simple to approach and yet not the most basic of its class. Play it safe by choosing a wine that you are familiar with and would enjoy yourself, but be adventurous while picking styles. Reds have always been the preferred style, but white wines, sparkling wines and dessert wines can work just as well. When receiving wine, uncork them without ageing them too much. And finally, what’s more exciting than an attractive label? If it enticed you enough to draw you to its corner in the wine store, it must be worth presenting too. With these basic guidelines in mind, you can use your imagination to present a wide range of wines this festive season.
MY PICK OF GIFTING WINES
Here’s a selection of wines I’d be excited to receive:
Fratelli Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, India (INR620, available at House of Spirits, Delhi)
Crisp and herbaceous with intense notes of guava and gooseberries, this is one of the most exciting Indian wines to hit the market. With an appealing citrusy finish, it pairs well with creamy pasta and seafood dishes.
Selbach Incline Riesling, Germany (INR1,530, available at Nature’s Basket outlets)
A true example of the classic German style, this wine is off dry and light bodied with sweet white fruit and floral notes, finishing with a refreshing sweet lime citrus note. Mild Indian curries would work well with its flavours.
Carpineto Dogajolo Bianco, Italy (INR1,910, available at Nature’s Basket outlets)
A youthful wine with floral hints and notes of white fruit and orange blossom, this one has a refreshing acidity and a light-bodied appeal. This is a great wine to pair with a cheese platter, chicken salami and mushroom quiches.
Grovers Vineyards La Reserve, India (INR670, available at House of Spirits, Delhi)
Among the most celebrated Indian reds, La Reserve captures the essence of French wine and is a stellar example of quality winemaking. With notes of red and dark fruit, supple tannins and a spicy edge, this one is a mature yet approachable mine. Juicy red meat or spicy Chinese dishes marry well with it.
Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz, Australia (INR1,750, available at all major wine stores)
This big-hearted Aussie Shiraz reveals peppery notes at first sip that mellow into ripe dark fruits, cassis, cherries, sweet spices, oak and velvety tannins. Decant this wine before serving. It pairs well with spicy dishes and fiery curries.
Torres Iberricos Tempranillo, Spain (INR1,800, available at Defence Store, Delhi)
An approachable red that’s easy to appreciate. This medium-bodied wine has notes of perfumed red fruit, plums, sweet berries, subtle tannins, and a creamy, oaky finish. A great sipping wine that would go especially well with tapas.
Zampa Soiree Brut Sparkling, India (INR600, available at all major wine stores)
This is an Indian sparkling wine that enjoys international repute. Fruity, herbaceous, refreshing and citrusy, this is a well-balanced wine that is as apt for celebrations as for connoisseurs. A must try!
Prosecco San Simone Sparkling, Italy (INR1,450, available at all major wine stores)
This Italian bubbly is uncomplicated and easy to enjoy. It has hints of white fruit and sweetlime with an underlying herbaceous flavour. There’s a touch sweet on the finish. It would pair best with mild chicken dishes, seafood preparations, and vegetarian Indian curries.
Torres Floralis Moscatel d’Oro, Spain (INR1,295, available at Defence Store, Delhi)
This wine puts a smile on your face right from the first sniff, enticing you to take a sip without much ado. It has notes of honey, marmalade, orange blossom, cashew, dried nuts, figs and dried apricots. Served it super chilled with chocolate and caramel desserts.