For your sweetheart Nothing says love like Champagne, especially if it’s pink (Veuve Fourny Rose Brut, $49.50, Tastings). Champagne is frivolous yet complex, flirty yet romantic, naught yet nice, so whether it’s a fresh relationship or a well-worn marriage, it always sends the right message.
For your boss Buying a gift for your employer can be tricky—buy lavishly and she’ll think you earn too much, but buy cheaply and she’ll think you lack class. A basic Bourgogne in white or red (Louis Max Bourgogne Chardonnay Beaucharme 2008, $18.95, Feast! or Chorey Bourgogne Rouge Vieilles Vignes 2008, $24.99, Wine Warehouse) is a prudent yet stylish choice.
For your mother-in-law Whether you’re new to the family or still trying to prove your worth, you want to show her how sensible you are. You spend your money wisely and locally. Viognier is a delightful value in Virginia (Jefferson Viognier 2009, $24.99, Jefferson Vineyards). With fleshy fruit and a hint of sweetness, it will keep the MIL in your good graces.
For your rowdy uncle He smokes cigars and drinks eggnog-spiked bourbon, so he’ll need something as loud and American as he is. At 14 percent-plus alcohol levels, a Zinfandel (Rosenblum Paso Robles Zinfandel 2007, $21.99, Harris Teeter) will keep his buzz going and his hangover at bay until well after he’s dressed up as Santa and had all the kids on his lap.
For your kooky aunt She’s a hippie visiting from Portland, so get her something artisanally made and certified organic. Even better if it’s a veggie-friendly wine made by a Buddhist winemaker (Canneta Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2009, $14.79, Rebecca’s Natural Food).
For your i-banker brother He lives in San Francisco, makes millions in his sleep, and collects cult Napa Cabs, so get him a vintage port (Dows Vintage 1985, $129.95, Tastings) to sip while watching the market and maybe he’ll spread the wealth next year.
For your hipster cousin She lives in Brooklyn and drinks PBR, so get her a Greek wine (Boutari Moschofilaro 2008, $26, Orzo Kitchen and Winebar) and tell her that it’s an obscure grape that no one’s ever heard of.
For the wine aficionado Wine is a religious experience for her, so get her what the Italians call a vino da meditazione (a meditation wine). A wine like Amarone (Begali Amarone 2006, $44.99, Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet) that’s made with grapes that are dried for 100 days is a beauty worth contemplating.