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“Just bring a good bottle of wine.” You’ve heard this advice many times over when struggling to find the perfect host gift. But with literally thousands of bottles on the market, the process of finding a “good” one can be quite intimidating—especially if you're buying for someone you don't know very well.
To help you navigate the world of wine, we tapped 21 sommeliers from around the world to share the bottles they personally gift for special occasions. And while taste is ultimately subjective, their list of recommendations offers a wide range of varietals, blends, and price points to help steer any generous party attendee in the right direction.
The Best Bottles of Sparkling Wines to Gift
While it may be instinct to grab the first bottle of Champagne that you find and call it a day, there are plenty of other sparkling wines that are worthy of a pretty little bow and a coveted spot in a loved one’s at-home bar.
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore
“In Italy, we have some very impressive expressions of chardonnay sparkling wine. Trento doc or Franciacorta are the two most important appellations for this style of wine and, of course, it could be a nice gift for a friend.” — Alessio Bricoli, master sommelier at Hotel Hassler Roma
Schramsberg Sparkling Wine
"Created using method champignons which is the traditional Champagne method, Schramsberg has been crafting these magnificent wines for over 50 years in Napa Valley. Schramsberg is [also] the sparkling wine served at the White House” — Katia Del Rio Gacanovic, general manager at Inn at Hastings Parks in Lexington, MA
Veuve Clicquot, 'La Grande Dame' Grand Cru Brut Champagne
“This salubrious selection of bubbles is ready to go in its own gift packaging, changing from each of the production vintages to include a different female artist representative design.” — Dan Cools, wine director of Stake Chophouse & Bar and Little Frenchie in Coronado, CA
Krug Clos Du Mesnil Champagne
“Even after four decades, it still exhibits youthfulness with incredible depth. It is powerful, seductively complex, [and with] vibrant acidity destined for a long haul. A wine with such a reputation only fitting for a very exquisite and special occasions.” — Ahmed Ali, chief sommelier at Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Charles Heisieck Brut Reserve
"With its golden robed color, elegant nose of freshly baked brioche, roasted almond notes combined with sun-kissed exotic fruits and, on the palate, a crunchy texture with flavors of creamy nougat and fleshy fruits like plums and cherries, this Champagne suits most occasions, be it together with food or on its own.” — Michael Oskar Johansson, restaurant manager and sommelier at Hotel D’Angleterre in Copenhagen
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose
“We love gifting rosé Champagne—the blend of red and white grapes makes it appealing to any palate, whether they are red or white wine drinkers. If you can get your hands on a large format magnum, you will wow anyone receiving it and their guests alike.” — Miguel Sanchez Borrego, manager of Cocktail and Couture at Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Pommery Brut Royal Champagne
“Fresh and floral, this [sparkling wine] features notes of strawberries, rhubarb and orange peel and is mainly composed of chardonnay grapes. Perfect for a summer day, brunch, afternoon tea with friends, and more, it delivers exceptional quality without breaking the bank. — Stephanie Torres, assistant director of food and beverage at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut Champagne
“This Champagne house is unique because it is family- and female-owned, which is quite remarkable considering the history of male-dominated estates in France. The non-vintage brut style is of exceptional quality and it has a refreshing and lively taste without being too expensive.”— Mercedes Cowper, sommelier and mixologist at Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C.
The Best Red Wines to Gift
A bolder red can be the defining moment of any celebratory meal with complex flavors that harmonize with the foods they’re presented with. But there are so many varietals and blends that it’s important to focus on the vino’s nuances so that you know exactly what dishes to pair them with. These are the bottles that will undoubtedly play a leading role in any night that’s meant to be remembered.
Patricia Green Estate Pinot Noir
“What makes this bottle and Patricia Green ‘Estate Vineyard’ so special is how environmentally friendly the production of the wine is. Patricia Green practices dry farming, which means that the farmers are committed to organic or high-level sustainable farming.” — Jessica Flam, certified sommelier at Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas, CA
Scribe Estate Pinot Noir
“I rely on a winery I have a special connection with and can share with them in hopes that they make that connection as well one day. I love to celebrate Scribe Winery in Sonoma and find their Estate Pinot Noir to be an excellent option.” — Alexander Wettersten, beverage director at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, CA
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery Old Vines Pinot Noir
“I have been gifting this wine to friends and colleagues in an effort to introduce something new from a region (the Finger Lakes) that I don’t think many people realize has this quality of wine.” — Toni Robertson, executive chef and food and beverage director of Mandarin Oriental in New York
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Calderara Sottana
“I am extremely excited about Sicilian wines, which are not on a lot of people's radar. This wine is made from the nerello mascalese grape, which I think is Sicily's indigenous answer to pinot noir. It's mineral-driven with lots of red fruit, able to be enjoyed on release, but also able to age.” — Morgan LaCroiz, wine director at Twin Farms in Barnard, VT
Poggio Antico, Brunello di Montalcino
“A great producer, Brunello di Montalcino appellation, is highly appreciated in America because of his well-balanced tannins, fruits, and long finish on the palate. You can also cellar this wine for 10 years and it is guaranteed to get smoother and better with time.” — Vincent Feraud, sommelier and director of restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, VA
"This [Super Tuscan] is a rich and powerful blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, aged in French barriques. It showcases a complex nose of red fruits, underlined with notes of vanilla, coffee, and bitter chocolate, followed by a vibrant palate with supple, velvety tannins with quite a long and persistent finish.” — Aodhan Coakley, sommelier and assistant manager at Sheen Falls Lodge in County Kerry, Ireland
Pietradolce Etna Rosso Vigna Barbagalli
“On the nose, the wine is very aromatic and complex with aromas of violet, petal rose, black plum, black cherry, wild ripe strawberries together with earthy notes such as wet leaf and hint of mushroom; the wine also shows balsamic and spicy notes. On the palate, the wine is very elegant and fresh with high level of acidity and firm elegant tannins, which give the wine a great structure.” — Giuseppe Grasso, head sommelier at Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal in London
Librandi Magno Megonio
“I think it depends on the occasion to be celebrated, but with a good red, you almost never go wrong. And as the good Calabrese that I am, I am reminded of Megonio 2019 by Librandi.” — Valeria Pulvirenti, sommelier at the Conservatorium Hotel and Taiko Cuisine & Bar in Amsterdam
Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano
“The grapes from this wine come from Umbria in central Italy, a special wine region with only about 240 acres of vineyards planted. Sagrantino grapes make for a beautiful structure of high tannins wines and, with age, is a wine that you will not forget.” — Rutilio Ruiz, sommelier at Porter House Bar and Grill in New York
Bruno Giacosa Falletto Barolo
“This wine is produced in limited quantities from the Falletto vineyard, known for its superb terroir and low-yield, high-quality grapes. It’s complex and elegant, with notes of cherry, tobacco, and truffle and has great aging potential, which means it can be appreciated for years to come.” — Jason Hedges, beverage director at LT Hospitality
Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon
“One that is perfect for any occasion is Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. It is made by one of the most iconic estates in Napa and helmed by the Novak family, who is industry royalty.” — Logan Griffin, director of food and beverage at Blackberry Mountain in Walland, TN
“It is a very special bottle. To me, the most beautiful expression of zinfandel grape varietal. [It's] sunkissed with a nose of blackberry, cloves and spices, rich and ample yet elegant. It has a pronounced minerality, solid tannins and a profound finish. A wine you cannot forget.” - Marianne Diemer, sommelier at Hotel Lutetia in Paris
The Best White Wines to Gift
When gifting wines, don’t rule out a high-quality, crisp, and refreshing white—after all, it's the perfect accompaniment to any outdoor soiree. And while only one of the 21 sommeliers chose a bottle of white wine for gifting, its unique origin is what makes the wine so special.
Otronia Corte de Blanca
“Usually, when we refer to Mendozian wines, people always think of malbec, as their predominant grape is, in fact, malbec. The Corte de Blanca is a delicious blend of gewürztraminer, pinot gris, and chardonnay. It is a very floral and fruity wine with great acidity and minerality. Definitely a wine that pleases everyone who tries it!” — Antoine Paul, sommelier and assistant general manager of Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
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