Christmas is all about eating, drinking and being merry. It’s the time of year where we splash a little extra cash to make our friends, family and colleagues feel loved. If you’re planning on giving wine as a gift, now is the time to put your old favourites down and step things up a notch. After the year we’ve had, everyone needs something extra special. That’s where our twelve wines of Christmas come in. Each one has its own ‘X Factor’ – these aren’t your everyday wines. From big blockbusting reds to high altitude whites, this is our pick of the best Christmas gifts for wine lovers.
This blockbusting Barolo makes quite an impressive red wine gift. It comes from the excellent 2015 vintage – possibly the best vintage for Barolo this decade. This deep ruby wine spent 30 months in oak and was then aged in bottle to allow its powerful flavours and aromas to mellow and mingle. Expect flavours of black cherry, raisins, Christmas spice and a savoury touch of leather. This award-winning wine will happily age for another 20 years, making it an excellent present for any wine collectors in your life.
This exceptional wine is a Gran Selezione – a type of wine that’s only made in the very best years. Each grape used to produce this Chianti Classico was grown in one vineyard: in an area of Tuscany known as Il Corno (the horn). Five months of lees aging, followed by 20 months in barrel, gives this wine an exceptionally well-rounded taste. Red berry fruit, spice and vanilla are the main flavours and it has incredibly velvety tannins. One for real Chianti connoisseurs.
Deep, rich and complex: this wine is a true masterpiece. It comes from a vineyard in one of the best cru regions of Neive, which is itself one of the most important areas in the Barbaresco DOCG. Grapes grow on a south-west slope and gently ripen in the afternoon sunlight before being hand-picked in October. The wine has a truly powerful flavour, thanks to the two years it spends aging in French oak barrels. Flavours include dried blackberries, tobacco, leather and nutmeg with a supremely long finish.
Rich Amarone with lots of finesse and acidity – delicious now but will also age beautifully. This wine comes from a small family winery, located in San Pietro in Cariano in the Classico area. The Rubinelli family has been producing wines on this estate for a hundred years, and this wine is an excellent example of their long-standing winemaking tradition. Nicola Scienza, Rubinelli’s winemaker, crafts this wine to have a lot of finesse and elegance. It has plenty of acidity to balance out the powerful flavours of half-dried Corvina and Corvinone.
Made only in the very best years, from the very best grapes, Pecchia is a truly exceptional single-varietal Sangiovese red wine. The vineyard of Gagliole is organic, and located in Panzano in the mountains of Chianti. Every September the grapes are harvested by hand and brought to the cellar, where they are carefully sorted. Only the best berries are picked for Pecchia.
On the nose, the wine is elegant and very complex, with beautifully integrated aromas of red cherry, blackberry, redcurrant, liquorice and aromatic herbs –mint, fennel and cloves – with reflections of chocolate and vanilla. On the palate, the wine is dry, bold and fresh thanks to its high acidity. Succulent tastes of red cherry, liquorice and mint dominate, with a long lingering finish. Thanks to its pronounced aromas of fruits and berries, this wine will age beautifully in the bottle.
Sacrantino is a bold and powerful wine with flavours of rosehip, blueberry cake, black plum, old leather and sandalwood. It offers an outstanding complexity of flavours and a smooth and velvety mouthfeel. The grape used, Sagrantino, is one of Italy’s most tannic and it’s really hard to master – which is why this wine is so exceptional. Aged for a long period of four years, Sacrantino is among the best wines of the area: it has won Gambero Rosso’s “three glasses” in 2020 and “two red glasses” in 2021, as well as “Three golden stars” by Veronelli.
Christmas is the best time of year to bring out the dessert wine, and what better than Decanter’s “Wine of the Year 2020”? Hailing from Sardinia, it’s a truly delightful digestif packed with intense flavours of pineapple, mango and honey. It’s made in the passito method: the grapes are harvested early when they’re still full of zingy acid and are dried in the cellar. As the water evaporates, the flavours and sweetness of the grapes become more concentrated.
This single vineyard Pinot Noir Riserva comes from the Dolomite Alps in Alto Adige, and is extremely delicate and delicious. Aromas of rose petals and cloves add a fragrant and festive twist to the classic flavours of dried strawberry and cranberry. This is an ideal red wine gift for people who prefer lighter tipples.
This Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva has very complex, deep and rounded flavours of Christmas pudding, cocoa and milk chocolate. Having aged for seven years it’s well developed, and the tannins are silky and mellow. That said, the wine has enough potential to continue its evolution: it still bursts with vibrant flavours of black cherry and blackberries supported by fresh acidity.
This Lagrein Riserva wine by K. Martini comes from a vineyard in the Gries area of Bolzano. This land has been the best-known historic cru for Lagrein since the 11th century. Ian D’Agata writes “at that time the monks of the abbey at Gries were the most famous local producers of the wine – not surprising, considering that the terroir of Gries is the one true grand cru for this variety”. I picked this Lagrein Riserva because in my opinion it’s one of the best examples of this wine: in 2020, Decanter Magazine named it “Best in Show”, and in 2021 it continued its winning streak and brought home the Decanter Silver Medal.
Lagrein wine is dark and deep. It’s known as Dunkel – dark- in German. “Maturum” offers rich flavours of sour black cherries, blackberries and sweet prunes. It has silky, dense tannins, and is packed with flavours of Darjeeling tea, black pepper, dark chocolate as well as balsamic notes.
Intensely flavoured and packed with silky tannins, this pure Cannonau wine is a delicious introduction to Sardinia’s flagship grape. Cannonau has gained international fame over the past few years due to its high level of antioxidants and the role it plays in the Sardinian diet. Matured in large oak barrels for two years, this deep ruby red wine boasts rich flavours of ripe back plum and cherry, underpinned by herbal nodes like sage and thyme.
What’s Christmas without a bit of sparkling? If you have a Champagne lover in your life, surprise them with the Italian version. Unlike Prosecco, Franciacorta is made in a very similar way to the famous French fizz. Like blancs de blancs Champagne it’s made from Chardonnay, but it spends twice as long aging on its lees – giving it that delightful brioche flavour. Ripe peach, honey, butter and almonds round out the flavour profile. Cheers to that.
Prepping for Christams? Order your wine gift for free delivery now
Whether you’re looking for red wine gifts or something lighter for the white drinker in your life, we recommend getting your order in early. While we do offer free next day delivery to Mainland UK, things do get quite busy during the run up to Christmas. We also offer free gift-wrapping, so you don’t need to stock up on wine bags. Just request it in the “Checkout” form when you make your purchase, and we’ll do the rest.