Top ten bottles of wine to gift this Christmas
A bottle of wine can be far more than just a token gift with our expert picks of the best bottles to give
A well-chosen wine makes a great Christmas gift for those hard-to-buy-for people in your life. But beware, as a hastily bought bottle can seem as thoughtless as cheap socks and slippers.
Play to your audience. There's no point in buying that cut-price quaffer that regularly turns up in your shopping basket - especially if the wine lover you are gifting it to would spend twice that on their mid-week tipple.
Equally, a great gift is not about how much you spend but rather how you spend it. Consider the style of wine they usually drink: are they experimental, or more traditional? And then try to find a wine that takes them in a slightly new direction - whether that's by spending a little more, or by choosing something a little left-field. The best gifts are those we wouldn't have bought ourselves.
Remember that most local independent wine shops are willing and able to help you find the perfect wine for your brief and budget. And if you move fast enough to make last orders, you could still secure direct delivery from an online wine merchant.
1 TO SAVOUR
Body Domaine Rene Favre et Fils, Petite Arvine 2015, 14pc, €28.95, selected independents and searsons.com
Adventurous wine drinkers will love this fascinating Swiss white wine with its delicate bouquet, generous body, flinty minerality and tangy acidity. A brilliant pairing for savoury flavours.
2 ASK SANTA
Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone 'Vignes Vieilles' 2012, 14pc, €16.99,Selected independents and lecaveau.ie
A brilliant buy, hailing from an organic vineyard. Generous dark fruit flavours.
3 SOUTHERN STAR
Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015, 13pc, €16, selected independents and jnwine.com
Many South African wine-makers are now producing quality Chenin Blancs without the Old World price tag. A weighty white wine with bright acidity and honeyed notes.
4 SPANISH STANDOUT
Bodegas Zarate, El Palomar Albarino Val do Salne 2014, 13pc, €32.95, selected independents and quintessentialwines.ie.
A treat for lovers of Albarino. Perfumed, complex, delicious.
5 WAIT LIST
Az Ag II Cancelliere, Nero Né Taurasi DOCG 2010, 14.5pc, €36.95, selected independents and quintessentialwines.ie.
This rich, dark and tannic Italian wine is ready to drink but will only improve with age - perfect for a patient wine lover.
6 GOOD BUY
Conde de Valdemar Gran Reserva 2008, 13.5pc, €19.95 (from €33.45), obrienswine.ie
With its notes of vanilla spice, dark caramel and polished wood layered over persistent winter fruits - and its smart presentation box - this is a safe gift bet.
7 SOFT TOUCH
Trimbach Cuvée Frédéric Émile Riesling 2007, 12.5pc, €45, selected independents
Alsace do Riesling very well, in a less austere style than their neighbours in Germany. This aged wine from one of the region's finest producers is soft and juicy but with a taut spine of acidity. Gorgeous.
8 GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING
Justino’s Madeira Colheita 1996, 19pc, €27.99 (37.5cl), selected independents.
Madeira wine will last forever after opening — although I defy any fan of fortifieds to resist this beauty for long.
9 SILKEN TOUCH
Domaine Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage AOC 2014, 13.5pc, €28.95, selected independents and searsons.com
A good Northern Rhone Syrah is one of life's great pleasures but rarely comes cheap. This (relatively) accessibly priced example is silky and savoury with notes of balsamic and peppered strawberries. One to decant before a winter's feast.
10 BERRY NICE
Móinéir Blackberry Wine with Wild Elderberries, 11pc, €23.95, wicklowwaywines.ie
A wintry partner to the label's strawberry wine. Best enjoyed with food to balance its generous acidity: pair with turkey or goose dinner and cranberry sauce, or richer game.