Want to break the banality of gifting usual gifts? If you look beyond chocolates, sweets and gifts that are usually re-cycled, wine is a nice option. But choosing the perfect bottle for the occasion can be tad tricky. You can’t buy some 50 bottles of those heinously expensive French and Italian wines that top your fancy. And, of course you don’t want to give out stale, corky wine that has spent months in a ship to reach your city where there’s no guarantee of weather control. Hence, experts suggest taking a breather from your imported wine fixation and giving home-bred varietals a try this time.
You can go for Grover Vineyard’s La Reserve, which is getting a thumbs up from wine lovers across the world. Priced at a surprising R670, it’s a nice blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, a good buddy for all your spicy curries and biryanis. Another option is She Rose by Nirvana Biosys, a zingy, pink bubbly for the ladies that comes for R470 a bottle. It comes with a screw cap, so you don’t have to fuss around looking for an opener.
Drink and food expert Sandeep Arora suggests Four Seasons Blush and Four Seasons Barrique Reserve Shiraz (priced at R470 and R850 respectively) for the festive season. Chef Marut Sikka’s recommendation for Diwali is Sula Vineyards Dindori Reserve Shiraz 2008, priced at R750.
Easy on your pockets, these wines are interesting enough as a Diwali gift and nicely jazz up those spicy festive feasts. And, if you still insist on imported stuff, choose from New World wines.
Countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Australia offer some okayish wines that are affordable for multiple purchases. Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet from Australia (R875), and San Medin Cabernet Sauvignon (R1000) from Chile are decent options. Even the Californian Bel Arbor Merlot brought to India by Brown Forman, priced at R1,000, is a good option. And if you can loosen your purse strings a little, beverage expert Kamalaksh M’s pick is Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, priced at R1,500. Fresita, a dessert wine that’s a blend of strawberry pulp and Chilean sparkling wine, priced at R1,820 is also a nice festive choice.
When you go wine shopping
Go for easy-to-drink, simpler wines that can be enjoyed over the next few days in the festive season. The wines you decide to buy should also be readily available in the market — you certainly don’t want to spoil all the festive fun hunting for names that draw blank faces from the person at the sales counter. Do not buy ready-made hampers that wine shops sell during Diwali as they have mostly dead stock — the inferior quality, lesser-known brands they try to get rid of. So, it’s always safer to get your hamper made — pick up an affordable wine from a popular brand, buy multiple bottles, and get them gift-wrapped.