Feature Coverage

Holiday-Gift Wines Guaranteed to Bring Good Cheer

“Want to impress wine-loving friends and loved ones with sophistication as well as thoughtfulness? Lettie Teague separates ho-hum presents from well-considered gifts.

“Is there such a thing as a bad holiday bottle? Some more-tolerant (or less-discerning) wine drinkers might believe otherwise, but I think the correct answer is yes. There are wines that fill your heart and glass with gladness, and there are the wine equivalents of presents purchased at CVS. These are the bottles whose message isn’t so much ‘Be of good cheer’ as ‘I couldn’t care less.’

“Mr. Battipaglia [the manager of Manhattan’s Garnet Wines and Liquors] is a big fan of Barolo, the terrific red wine of the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s a great gift for someone who cares about wine, he said. He’s particularly keen on bottles from the stellar 2010 vintage. And while many Barolos can be quite pricey—reaching hundreds of dollars a bottle—some from smaller producers such as Elvio Cogno can be good deals.

“Barolo was also one of the wines Ian Dorin, wine director of the Wine Library in Springfield, N.J., endorsed as a good gift. He called it ‘proven,’ along with wines such as Brunello, Bordeaux and Champagne, all names that resonate with wine drinkers.

“These wines have ‘great googleability,’ said Mr. Dorin. This is what he and his colleagues say of a wine whose price, score or story—or some combination of the three—will impress.

“A good bottle of non-vintage Champagne is a great deal, and it’s hard to find its price equivalent among other ‘proven’ wines such as Barolo, Bordeaux and California Pinot Noir.”

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Lettie Teague, December 19, 2014
Holiday-Gift Wines Guaranteed to Bring Good Cheer