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Majestic Guides: The Fine Wine gift guide

Category: Majestic Guides


The Fine Wine Gift Guide

In short:

As we edge closer to Christmas, finding the perfect gift can be a tricky business. Majestic are here to make it easy – at least when it comes to the wine lovers in your life. Here’s a guide to seeking out the best fine wines to gift this festive season.

For someone who appreciates the finer things, receiving a bottle of fine wine might be more than a gift. Cracking it open and enjoying it can be a memorable experience. Let's explore the world of fine wines – what makes them special and why they're an excellent choice for spreading festive cheer.


What Are Fine Wines?

Fine wines offer a lot more than your average bottle. Crafted from carefully chosen grapes, often from premium vineyards, these wines have likely undergone a meticulous process before it’s made it onto the shelf. Many wine drinkers see the price tag as the defining mark of a fine wine. For some, it could be a £12 bottle, for others £30, or even £50, to fit the category. But how is the price determined, and what actually makes it a wine fine?


Fine wines are made with the very best grapes, are produced with extra care, and often come with the potential to age. But ultimately you can recognise a fine wine by its taste. The world’s best fine wines are extremely well-balanced. Every element; acidity, sweetness, tannin, body and alcohol coexists in perfect harmony, without overpowering the others. The ideal balance will vary with each individual wine. In a crisp white Chablis, for example, everything might be restrained: expect a light body met with lean fruit and flint flavours, and fresh acidity. In a warm-climate premium red wine designed for ageing, such as bold reds from California, that might mean powerful tannin, plentiful fruit, punchy alcohol levels and full body. For example, Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley balances rich, ripe flavours with robust structure from oak and firm tannins. Along with their complexity, the telltale sign of a fine wine is getting a sense of place with every sip. This is referred to as ‘terroir’ – the specific plot of land where its grapes were grown. 


The price tag of a fine wine is usually much more than your everyday bottle. They are more expensive due to factors including limited production, prestigious vineyard locations, meticulous winemaking techniques, and extended ageing. Fine wines often represent the pinnacle of quality, reflecting a wine region’s unique characteristics. Rarity, craftsmanship, and the potential for long-term cellaring contribute to their elevated price.


Top Choices for Christmas Fine Wines

Consider wines from famous regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne to really impress the wine lover in your life. Explore reds made from classic grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy whites made from the always-elegant Chardonnay. Whether shared with loved ones or given as a thoughtful gift, these wines add that extra touch to the magic of the season, creating moments that will be cherished:

Domaine Fouassier 'Cuvée Calcaire' Sancerre

The Fouassier family are part of the fabric of Sancerre. Their estate, one of the oldest in the region, is now managed by the family’s tenth generation. Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is made with nature in mind. Biodynamic winery practices are all based around the lunar cycle in an effort to produce the best possible expression of the terroir. Once you've tasted it, you'll see it doesn't disappoint. Expect fresh flavours of green apple, creamy citrus and a distinct mineral character that makes it an ideal match for creamy goat’s cheese, smoked salmon or seafood dishes.

Cambria ‘Katherine's Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley

Santa Maria Valley is a coastal region in California’s Santa Barbara County. Thanks to its cool and breezy climate, the area is renowned for producing fresh and elegant wines. This sustainable estate is looked after by owner Barbara Jackson, plus an all-female team which includes her daughters, Katherine and Julia. The family consider this single-vineyard Chardonnay to be the equivalent of a Burgundy Grand Cru – all thanks to the complexity found in the plot’s 50-year-old vines, and the vineyard’s prime location. Discover notes of white peach, lemon zest, green apple and citrus blossom. Add toasty flavours of crème brûlée from its time in oak, and you’re in for a seriously complex white that’ll pair beautifully with poultry dishes.

Catena Zapata 'Catena Alta' Malbec, Mendoza

Nicolás Catena Zapata was the first ever South American to be named Decanter Man of the Year. He introduced high-altitude Malbec to the world, helping make Argentinian expressions of the grape a household name. Catena Alta is a collection of wines made in limited quantities from carefully selected vines in Catena’s best vineyards. These prized bottles are best enjoyed after three years of maturation and will continue to improve over at least a decade. This Malbec is aged for 18 months in oak, making it rich and supple. Expect bold and complex notes of black fruits, mocha and vanilla. It’s wonderful with meaty pies, spiced roasted pork, and an array of cheeses and charcuterie.

Château Batailley, Pauillac

Château Batailley is one of the oldest estates in the Médoc. Its first vines were planted in the 16th century. The château was quick to gain a reputation for quality wines and it was recognised in the prestigious 1855 Bordeaux Classification as a Fifth Growth. Over the past few decades, there has been an even greater emphasis on quality of fruit, making it even more special. It’s a classic Pauillac with intense flavour, great structure and ripe tannins. You’ll find it fresh and earthy, with pronounced notes of cassis, forest-floor, tobacco and chocolate. Delicious food pairings for earthy Bordeaux like this include roasted meats, rich vegetarian dishes and hard cheeses.

Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos, Hungary 50cl

Let’s not forget fine dessert wine. Tokaji is Hungry’s answer to Bordeaux’s Sauternes. And just like Sauternes, Tokaji is often referred to as ‘the wine of kings, and the king of wines.’ Tokaji is produced by blending hand-picked shrivelled or 'aszu' berries with top quality base wines. Approximately 1 kilo of harvested grapes is needed to make a standard bottle of still wine. Acknowledged as one of the region's top winemakers, Karoly Ats combines tradition with modern technology to create an award-winning collection at Royal Tokaji. This bottling has a nose of orange peel, dried figs and cinnamon spice. The wine’s sweetness is well-balanced by fine acidity and a refreshing finish. Try it with your favourite blue cheese, fruit-based desserts and, of course, Christmas pudding.

Ali Mountjoy
Majestic Copywriter & Wine Club Lead - WSET Level 3

Ali first gained a taste for everything ‘wine’ when she moved to France after university. Upon returning to England a few years later, her equal love of good food led her to work as a sommelier in some of the country’s best restaurants, including Gidleigh Park, Rick Stein’s, Texture and Lucknam Park. Ali gets just as much pleasure from writing about wine as she does tasting it.