Cool gifts to make for friends

10 wines that make great gifts, from $25 to $125
November 3, 2016 – 02:47 pm
Cool photo gift ideas spring

Being a good guest and a good gift-giver are two very different things, in case you didn't know.

Because you're likable — face it, you are — you get invited to all kinds of holiday parties, and the last thing you want to do is show up empty-handed. You love wine, and so do most people, so you want to bring a bottle to express your gratitude for being included in such an esteemed affair. You want to bring a decent bottle. One that might get opened or might get lost in the pile and end up as part of your host's dinner in two weeks. Either way, it's a gesture.

But a gift. Oh, that is a different game altogether. If you are giving a bottle of wine as a gift — not as an add-on to the real gift, but the very gift itself, with a bow stuck on it and everything — it has to be one special bottle of wine. If your friend is a connoisseur, pick a wine that you know he or she doesn't have. If your friend is just casually into wine, pick a style that you know he or she loves. Or pick a wine that has some meaning to your friend, or to you, or to both of you. I don't know your friends, so I can't help you there.

But if you are basing your pick on quality, I can recommend 10 great bottles. The over/under is $50, with $100 separating the least and most expensive. There's a wine gift for your friends here somewhere. You just have to decide how much you want to spend.


2014 Terlato Pinot Grigio: When wine importer Anthony Terlato brought pinot grigio into the United States, our love affair with the grape began. This one, from northeastern Italy, carries his name. It's fuller-bodied but still refreshing, with floral notes, stone fruit and succulent pear. $25

2014 Kim Crawford Spitfire Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: Here is a wine for anyone who loves the powerful, tangy grapefruit aromas and flavors of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. This winery is practically synonymous with the style, and Spitfire is part of its special, vineyard-specific Small Parcels collection. $26

2012 Crocus L'Atelier Malbec de Cahors: From the traditional home of Malbec — Cahors, France — comes this delightful bottle, which offers lively dark fruit aromas, and flavors touching on incense, spice and black pepper. The tannins are not shy; drink this one with a big, juicy steak. $28

2014 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: Founders Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz have been together since 1988, and they're calling this "one of the finest vintages of this wine we've ever made." Mouth-filling and rich, this 100 percent chardonnay is balanced by citrus, plus nuts and spice that carry through to the finish. $40

2013 Tablas Creek Vineyard Esprit de Tablas Blanc: Paso Robles is known for its Rhone varieties, and Tablas Creek is an iconic producer. This signature white is mostly roussanne, with grenache blanc and picpoul blanc rounding out the blend for a honey-kissed, tropical-fruit beauty that is soft and full of minerality. $45

OVER $50

2011 Pesquera Reserva: This formidable red wine comes from Spain's Ribera del Duero region. Made of 100 percent tempranillo aged in American oak for 24 months and in the bottle for an additional 12 months, this is a full-bodied wine packing plum, leather and cedar. $52

Maggy Hawk Jolie Anderson Valley Pinot Noir: Cherry, raspberry and smoke rise from this wine, but the profile doesn't end there. California pinot noirs can be concentrated and fruity like jam, but this one, grown and produced in Mendocino County's Anderson Valley, is floral and pretty. $66

2009 Tenuta di Biserno Il Pino di Biserno: Mainly cabernet franc, with merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot, this complex eyebrow-raiser from Tuscany has savory notes of earth and smoke complemented by perfume and spice. It's perfect for grilled meats but supple enough to drink on its own. $70

2005 Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne: In 1851, Charles Heidsieck, 29, founded this venerable house in Reims, and a year later he was the first Champagne merchant to visit the United States. This delightful bubbly does his name proud with notes of apricot, brioche and lime, along with cleansing minerality. $110

2012 Carte Blanche Cabernet Sauvignon: Having family business roots in Bordeaux (Chateau Haut-Brion) gives Carte Blanche owner Nicholas Allen one advantage in producing great wine in Napa Valley. Having Helen Keplinger as his winemaker gives him another. This cab offers blackberry, cherry, tobacco and elegance to spare. $125

Once you've picked your bottle, don't forget to wrap it nicely, and include a card or at least some kind of personalized note. We're not just trading commodities here, friends. We're connecting.

Popular Q&A
What are some of the "cool and crazy" ways to make your friend/girlfriend/boyfriend feel special about you apart from giving packed gifts? - Quora

Planning and executing an experience is what most people will appreciate. That you went trough the trouble and time is generally more indicative of putting the other person as a priority, rather than purchasing something.
My wife was working late one time and I cooked a lobster dinner that I set up a short table in our bedroom with  pillows on the floor. The candles and set up surprised her and she still talks about it to others sometimes.
One time I planned a whole garden trip in England for ten days where she didn't have to think or worry about anything as I set it all up. She loved it…

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