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15 best Christmas gifts for wine lovers: From tasting hampers to club memberships

Give them a real reason to toast the festive season

Siobhan Grogan
Friday 01 October 2021 11:26
<p>We searched for presents out of the ordinary, that would be a welcome change from a standard supermarket bottle</p>

We searched for presents out of the ordinary, that would be a welcome change from a standard supermarket bottle

It’s all too easy to make a last-minute dash to the corner shop to pick up any old bottle of vino when you’re out of festive gift ideas.

But any real wine connoisseur will appreciate something a little more thoughtful when it comes to their Christmas present, whether they’re devoted to red, white or the odd glass of fizz.

This year, to help you swerve the fail-safe sauvignon blanc, we tried out a range of wine-based treats that will thrill any oenophile, from your boss to your best friend.

We largely skipped single bottles – unless there was something extra-special about them that merited inclusion – and instead focused on unusual, useful or plain extravagant presents guaranteed to delight this Christmas. Some are ideal for wannabe wine experts hoping to discover a new drop while others are the perfect way to spoil occasional weekend drinkers.

How we tested

We looked for gifts we’d be happy to give the wine lovers in our life, and ones we’d be equally chuffed to receive on Christmas morning. We particularly searched for presents out of the ordinary that would be a welcome change from a standard supermarket bottle or for those that would feel like a real treat, even to someone used to fine wine.

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We considered value for money, presentation, taste and the sheer luxe factor to ensure each one of these presents will be very gratefully received.

The best Christmas gifts for wine lovers for 2021 are:

The Online Wine Tasting Club

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Even wine aficionados love the chance to discover a favourite new bottle and this online wine tasting club is a great way to give a dedicated drinker their dream night in. One-off tasting boxes are the perfect, reasonably priced Christmas gift but the club also offers subscription packages that work out a little cheaper if you’re feeling extra-generous.

Choose from The Discover series for wine tasting beginners or The Adventurer series for those who already know their sancerre from their sauvignon. Six 100ml samples are sent in lightweight, low-carbon packaging that even fit through the letterbox if you’re sending from afar this Christmas.

Each box has a theme, such as wines from Northern Italy or Portugal, though we tested the superb pinot masterclass. This included three fruity whites and three especially stonking reds which proved a fascinating insight into how this grape can vary with climate and winemaking techniques.

It’s the accompanying online masterclass from Jamie Smith (a certified sommelier) and Alex Taylor (a winemaker) that really makes this our stand-out gift though. These can be joined live or streamed later and are fun, non-intimidating and really informative, and full bottles are also available to buy online if you discover a new favourite.

TODO: define component type HR

Gusbourne brut reserve magnum 2015, 1.5l

Best: To impress

Rating: 9/10

Whether you’re buying for someone with expensive taste or want to treat someone who loves a good glass of bubbles, a magnum always impresses. This hefty 1.5l bottle is twice the size of a regular bottle of wine and arrives in a smart gift box that is guaranteed to wow under the tree.

Even better, the Gusbourne brut reserve 2015 is a delight to drink too, made by winemaker Charlie Holland from chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir grapes grown in the heart of Kent. It’s packed with fresh lemon and red apple flavours with a hint of biscuit and medium acidity that make this spectacular sparkling ideal on its own before Christmas dinner. If it goes down really well, you’ll be sorted for their next birthday present too as it’s also possible to buy guided tours and tastings at the Gusbourne estate.

Personalised jubilee landscape cellar book

Best: For collectors

Rating: 8/10

If you’re stumped over what to buy someone with a seriously impressive cellar, this book is a gorgeous no-brainer. Hand bound in embossed card with lizard print, it has thick, gilded pages to allow them to record all their favourite vintages, with space to include the date and place purchased, tasting notes and even the occasion each bottle was opened. It comes in a dark plum or rich purple colour and can be personalised on the front at no extra cost.

For anyone with an extensive (or expensive) collection, this will help them keep track of exactly what they’ve drunk and creates a precious, long-lasting record of the wine they will enjoy in years to come.

Zwilling wine bottle cooler

Best: For white wine drinkers

Rating: 7/10

Dedicated white wine fans know there’s little worse than a warm glass of your favourite tipple. So if you’re sharing a bottle with others, it needs to stay in the fridge between drinks or stand in a bucket of ice that drips all over the table every time it’s poured.

This could be the answer to all your prayers as this clever stainless steel cooler has dual-walled construction that keeps wine perfectly chilled without any ice or water. It doesn’t look like much for the price, but we were thrilled – and a little baffled – by our still-cold bottle when we went back for a second glass, making this our new dinner-party essential.

If you really want to treat the white wine lover in your life, throw in the Zwilling sorrento set of 2 double walled white wine glasses (£24.95, Zwilling-shop.com) too. These traditionally hand-blown glasses ensure wine is not affected by room temperature or hand warmth but kept blissfully chilled while you drink. It’s the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

i heart Wines personalised i heart prosecco

Best: Personalised gift

Rating: 7/10

This is a lovely way to let someone know you’re thinking of them this Christmas, without breaking the bank. Deliver a bottle of i heart prosecco straight to their doorstep but add a personal flourish by customising the label with a picture and message that will mean something to them. It’s very easy to upload your image and order. Plus, the label is a surprisingly good quality when it arrives, with a clear photo inside the heart.

If they can bring themselves to open the bottle and drink it, they won’t be disappointed either. This light, effervescent prosecco has a gentle floral fragrance and fizzes with peach and apple flavours that make it slip down a treat. A winner all around.

Ramekins & Wine monthly food & wine tasting box

Best: For foodies

Rating: 9/10

Give the gift of a great night in with this ingenious food and wine pairing box. Every box includes six 125ml bottles of wine, plus, six perfectly paired pots of food and extensive tasting notes about the wines. A bag of moreish crostini is also included to eat alongside. There’s a new box each month that makes a truly indulgent present, or you can book it as a private dining experience to really spoil a group of friends.

Nothing else is needed to enjoy. Pots and bottles come numbered and our notes advised us that three of our ramekins of food would be better heated, so we popped them in the oven for five minutes before eating. Our mini-dishes included whipped goat’s cheese with anchovy pesto, 53 day dry-aged ribeye with peppercorn and caramelised onion and, our favourite, a delicious curried roast chicken with celeriac cream and apricot.

We were bowled over by the quality of the food and the sheer intensity of flavours packed into the teeny ramekins but especially loved just how well each dish matched the accompanying wine. Treat anyone stuck with the Christmas cooking to this and they’ll be forever grateful.

Denby greenwich/regency green white wine glass, set of 2

Best: Failsafe gift

Rating: 7/10

Not sure what to buy a hard-to-please friend or relative? If you know they love to wind down with a glass of wine at the weekend, you can’t go wrong with these elegant glasses from Denby to make every sip special.

These weighty goblets are made of mouth-blown glass and would look fantastic on the table at a dinner party but we’d be thrilled to use them every day too. They’re reassuringly chunky to hold, yet feel suitably delicate to enjoy wine properly, especially as they hold a pleasing 270ml. The striking turquoise stem also makes a real statement and is much more vibrant in real life than in pictures. There’s a coordinating dinner set available too and better still, they go straight in the dishwasher after use.

Honest Grapes taste lab kit 4

Best: For fine wine drinkers

Rating: 9/10

Anyone who prefers to drink the good stuff will love this top-notch tasting experience. The kit includes four generous half-bottles of restaurant-quality French wines that are hard to better including a Chablis, Bordeaux, Cotes du Rhone and a wonderful fragrant sancerre with lingering floral notes.  There’s also a tasting sheet, a couple of packs of salted pretzels to nibble alongside and a link to the Honest Grapes tasting video featuring the company’s founder Nathan Hill, which you can watch whenever suits you to sup.

This is very easy to follow, even for someone new to wine, and includes some useful advice on wine tasting in general. It’s very enjoyable to swill and sip alongside Nathan on the video and the notes advise there’s plenty of wine for four to six people to join the session, so the recipient of the box can make the tasting a real festive occasion. If you’re lucky, they might even ask you to join in too.

Dukeshill wine and cheese hamper

Best: Christmas treat

Rating: 8/10

Dukeshill was founded over 30 years ago and holds a Royal Warrant to supply its renowned cured hams to the Queen. The luxury food store also offers a range of smoked fish, fresh meat, preserves and puddings and this hamper proves you can’t go wrong with the classic cheese and wine combo.

It arrives in an attractive wicker hamper and includes a decent slab of Isle of Mull cheddar, a knockout Cote Hill blue cheese, a box of multi-seed crackers and a jar of fig and apple chutney. This is all washed down with the included Chateau Argadens Bordeaux, a rich, oaky wine chock-full of black fruit and the real star of the show for any red lover. It’s a fantastic gift for anyone looking to put their feet up and indulge over Christmas, though we wouldn’t judge you if you treated yourself either.

Hattingley Valley classic reserve NV luxury gift set

Best: Gift set

Rating: 8/10

Hampshire’s Hattingley Valley is now one of the UK’s most successful wineries, famous for its fizz which has picked up countless awards and is now exported around the world. Get major brownie points from anyone who loves their bubbles this Christmas by presenting them with a chic Hattingley Valley gift set, available to order online from October.

It looks so good you won’t even need to wrap it to go under the tree, in a substantial midnight blue box embossed with gold butterflies. Inside, there are two Hattingley tulip glass flutes, a bottle stopper to keep those precious bubbles in and a corkscrew. It comes with a choice of four different boutique sparkling wines too, from the signature classic reserve NV for £59 to the King’s cuvee 2014 for a costlier £99. Whichever you choose to give, this gift will add a sophisticated sparkle to any Christmas celebration.

Spanish Wine Club quarterly case

Best: Wine club

Rating: 9/10

Any wine lover would be ecstatic to be bought a membership to a wine club, for a truly indulgent gift this Christmas. Make their year by signing them up to the new Spanish wine club from independent importers Spanish Wine Direct and they’ll receive a case of 12 bottles (worth £140) of all red, all white or mixed wine every three months.

It’s no bog-standard collection of bottles either. We were really impressed by the range in our case, which gave us a great insight into varied styles from around Spain and introduced us to new wines we hadn’t tried before, as well as including several from small winemakers.

As an extra bonus, Spanish Wines Direct send an introductory free bottle after the first payment and regular offers including; promo codes for money off other bottles, invites to Zoom tasting session and exclusive access to wines. Payments are spread over each month so you won’t have to stump up a huge upfront cost – although you can also buy a one-off case with a surprise selection instead if you don’t want to take out a subscription.

Macknade the perfect gesture hamper

Best: For anyone who needs pampering

Rating: 7/10

We all have a loved one in our life who deserves a bit of me-time. Whether it’s your frazzled mum, your stressed-out wife or a friend planning to host a cast of thousands over Christmas, this hamper is a lovely way to let them know you appreciate all they do.

It has everything they’ll need to slow down and relax, including; a hand-poured pillar candle, a large bar of 72 per cent dark chocolate from Choc Affair and a 35g tub of Floragy radiant clay face mask (£11, Floragy.co.uk). Givers can add an extra face oil and handmade soap if they’re feeling generous too.

The real highlight is the full-size bottle of Simpsons Chalklands classic cuvee (£24.44, Vivino.com), a delicate pale golden sparkling from Kent with distinctive floral nose and pear notes. All they’ll need to do is turn off their phone, pop the cork and run themselves a bath.

Fortnum & Mason the wine quartet wicker

Best: For wow factor

Rating: 8/10

If you’re buying for someone who loves the finer things in life, you can’t go wrong with a Fortnum & Mason hamper. Though the store on London’s Piccadilly is renowned for their teatime treats, they also stock an exquisite selection of own-brand wine from some of the world’s most interesting growers.

This delightful wicker basket is a dream introduction to some of their best. It holds two bottles of red and two of white and we were over the moon with the selection. There’s a refined fruity pouilly fumé, a bright, acid Bourgogne blanc we think would go a treat with the turkey, as well as a velvety rioja crianza crammed with vanilla and spices. Finally, there’s also a surprising spätburgunder, a medium-bodied red with smooth tannins from the Pfalz region of West Germany. Beats supermarket plonk hands down.

Vintage Roots mixed rosé case

Best: For your BFF

Rating: 8/10

Long summer nights drinking rosé with your best friend might already feel like a lifetime ago, but remind them of good times together this Christmas with a fantastic case of mixed rosé from the UK’s leading organic wine merchant. This is an outstanding collection of pinks that are a huge improvement on the teeth achingly-sweet corner shop zinfandel. It’s a great chance for any rosé devotee to try different flavours and discover a new favourite too.

The case includes two classic French offerings from Rhône and Provence, an Argentinian cabernet/malbec and Vintage Root’s own “wild thing” brand from Spain which raises money for the Born Free Foundation. There’s also a surprisingly refreshing biodynamic sparkling from Austria and a juicy rioja rosé made from tempranillo and grenache grapes. Of course, there’s no obligation to wait until the sun returns to crack them open either.

Sea Change Christmas day pack

Best: Gift with a conscience

Rating: 7/10

Christmas isn’t always the most eco-friendly time, so do your bit when buying pressies by choosing this suits-everyone gift from Sea Change. The brand donates to marine conversation charities with every bottle bought and uses minimal packaging, eliminating plastic wrapping around the cork and choosing renewable plant-based closures and label paper made in part from grape waste.

This Christmas Day package covers every festive vino need in one and includes three exceptional bottles we’d be happy to open on the 25th. There’s a vegan-friendly prosecco that will work a treat with canapes (or all on its own for present-opening), a zesty French sauvignon blanc to go with the turkey and an indulgent, spicy French malbec you could sink with the Christmas pud. And it’ll be available to buy online from November.

The verdict: Christmas gifts for wine lovers

Whether they rave about reds or are fixated on fizz, any of these gifts will be welcomed by a wine lover this Christmas and we found it very hard to choose a favourite. However, we loved The Online Wine Tasting Club for its eco-friendly packaging, fun online tastings and excellent wines. And if you really want to dazzle a drinker? You can’t go wrong with the Gusbourne brut reserve magnum 2015 for sheer, wouldn’t-buy-yourself decadence. After all, it is Christmas…

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