Whether you’re planning to give a wine club gift to that special wine lover in your life or you’re just looking for a nice bottle of wine to gift to a business partner or close friend, giving wine can be difficult to get right. Here’s our Sommailier guide to how to give the perfect bottle of French wine every time.

1. Start with what they normally drink

If you’re giving wine to close friends and family, you probably already know what they like to drink. If you’re feeling adventurous and you know they like to try new things, try gifting them a bottle of something that they wouldn’t normally purchase. For example, if you know they love earthy red Bordeaux, try choosing a savoury Chinon. This French red wine is made in the Loire Valley with Cabernet Franc, one of the grape varieties that’s traditionally used in red Bordeaux blends.

2. If in doubt, go classic

Giving wine as a gift is a bit trickier if you don’t know the recipient very well, like a business partner or your new neighbours who just moved in. In the former case, consider asking colleagues for recommendations or even ask them outright what types of wines they typically drink at home. In the latter scenario, it’s best to stick to classic, easy-going choices that everyone likes. Great options include a crisp rosé from Provence, a simple red from the south of France like Languedoc or the Cotes du Rhone, or a fresh Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.

3. Think about their favorite foods

A really thoughtful way to choose a wine gift is to think about your recipient’s favorite foods or even how they like to drink their coffee. If they love flavours like dark chocolate and coffee, consider giving a red Bordeaux from Saint Emilion which is predominantly made with Merlot or a spicy Syrah from the Rhone Valley like the Chateauneuf-du-Pape Roque Colombe wine which our French wine club members might remember from our recent shipment.

Similarly, those who prefer to drink their coffee black without sugar will probably enjoy more intense wines, while those who love to add a generous helping of milk and sugar will prefer more easy-going wines like the Domaine Montangeron Fleurie red wine from the region of Beaujolais which also featured in our recent French wine club shipment. For those with a particularly sweet tooth, you could even consider an off-dry Riesling or a full-blown dessert wine from Sauternes or Barsac just south of Bordeaux.

4. Spend smart

Probably the hardest part of buying wine as a gift is knowing how much to spend. On one hand you don’t want to come across as a cheapskate, but on the other hand you want to get plenty of bang for your buck. How much you should spend really depends on how much you want to impress your intended recipient, how much they know about wine, and your budget. Obviously, you will expect to spend more on a nice gift for a new business partner than you would on a easy-drinking bottle to take to a friend’s house.

As a general rule, expect to pay more if you’re set on gifting a top quality bottle of Burgundy or Bordeaux. If you’re happy to go with a less famous region to find an amazing, underrated wine at a great price, try places like Beaujolais for light red wines, Minervois or Corbieres for smooth yet bold reds, and Muscadet on the Loire Valley for crisp seafood-friendly whites.

5. Ask for help

If you’re really stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our French wine club founder, Laurent, is always happy to assist those looking for the perfect French wine to gift to a loved one or business associate. He comes from a long line of Bordeaux winemakers, so you can rest assured he’ll find the perfect French wine gift for you! You can contact Laurent by emailing laurent@sommailier.com.

If you happen to be shopping for a wine gift in a good independent wine store, the staff should know their wine selection inside out and will be able to suggest wines that you might not have considered. They can also give you hints on which wines represent particularly good value and which will best suit your recipient’s taste preferences. Many wine stores also regularly have bottles open to try in the store, so you can check it’s the right kind of wine to give as a gift before you buy.

6. Consider a wine club subscription gift

If picking out the perfect bottle still sounds like an impossible task, why not consider a wine club subscription gift? Depending on which option you choose you can send your lucky recipient a box full of wine every quarter or as a one off, so you can be sure they’ll find something they love! It’s also a great way of learning about wine and discovering new wines which you might not necessarily pick off the shelf.

We offer a range of different options to help you find the perfect wine club subscription gift. You can choose between three or six bottle boxes which can either be delivered as a one-off gift or as a regular quarterly delivery. If your intended recipient only drinks red or white wines, you can also opt for all whites, all reds or a mixture of the two.

All of our shipments include attractive wine cards that describe the French wines you’ll find inside and have tips on pairing ideas. We source all of our wines from small French producers and they undergo a rigorous testing process by our tasting team to ensure we’re giving you delicious wines that you won’t find anywhere else in the United States!

Has this whetted your appetite to learn more about French wine? We’re here to help! Why not check out our French wine club. Every three months we send direct to your door three or six bottles of boutique French wines which have been carefully selected by wine experts in France along with detailed information about each wine and food pairing ideas to help you really discover French wine. And as if that wasn’t enough, we also have a wine club gift option for that special wine lover in your life!