A wine gifting guide for the festive season

Wondering which wine or spirit to place in which Christmas stocking this festive season? Fine wine lover Dan Nicholl has got you covered

With only a few weeks to go before the big festive break, now is the best time to decide what gifts to give to the various people who’ve made a contribution in your life in 2016.

Alcohol always makes for a great gift, but there are some practical considerations to take into account when making that important purchasing decision. Wine drinkers have personal preferences and attention to this detail is vital when deciding which wine to buy to suit a particular individual’s personal taste.

Having practised the art of wine gifting, Nicholl recommends the following festive buys to complement all the necessary festive purchases you might have – from your father-in-law, mother, boss, partner and best friend. Here’s Nicholl’s suggestions for:

The ‘wine expert’ who always brags about his wines

Mullineux & Leeu Straw Wine 2015 (R350)

Why? South Africa produces some of the world’s finest sweet wines. Jane Austen was talking about Grand Constance 200 years ago, and the sweet wines from Constantia are just as celebrated today. However, to please this particular wine lover, I’d suggest something a little less known and more exclusive: Mullineux & Leeu Straw Wine, made from a single parcel of 35-year-old Chenin Blanc vines.

READ MORE: Younger wine drinkers making a move to Sherry

Your boss

High Constantia Sebastiaan 2006 (R280)

Why? It is important to get the balance right with this gift – you want a gift that ensures your boss views you in a positive light when drinking it, but which doesn’t make it seem like you’re trying too hard. A word of advice: You also don’t want to buy an overly expensive wine or you might give the impression you’re being paid too much. High Constantia isn’t as well-known as some of its neighbouring estates, which makes this a little more exclusive – and both the packaging and vintage are eye-catching – at a very reasonable price. And it’s a lovely Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend. Order quickly, though, as it’s in short supply!

Father-in-law who likes wine, but who isn’t a wine expert

Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni 2009 (R295)

Why? My father-in-law is from Greece, home to some exceptional wine and his brother Gori’s homemade retsina Greek wine (which has notes of Harpic and Handy Andy!) is hard to come by in South Africa, so I’ll go for the next best thing: Italian. Mediterranean wine often speaks to the life and energy of family gatherings in that part of the world, and the Tenuta di Castiglioni does exactly that. It is a bold red blend that’s not heavy, but can still hold its own against the sizeable feast my mother-in-law will prepare for Christmas. A terrific taste of Tuscany, and definitely best bought by the case.