The most important thing to consider when buying anyone a bottle of wine, is what the person you are buying for likes. This is true whether the wine drinker is 21 or 91.
That said, tastes evolve over time. Especially when it comes to wine. The longer a person has been drinking wine, the more particular these tastes may be. Therefore, it’s hard to recommend a good wine for a mature wine drinker. You not only will need to know which varieties he or she prefers, but what price range you feel comfortable spending.
There are many websites that can assist you in your selection process. One held in highest regard by many wine enthusiasts is www.winespectator.com, which also publishes a magazine and a yearly guide to the best 100 vintages. You might also ask the manager of a well-stocked liquor store what he or she would recommend.
One fact to consider, however, is that younger wine drinkers often don’t like heavy red wines. Grape skins contain a lot of tannin, which is a naturally-occurring acid. As tannin breaks down, it converts the sweet grape juice into a bolder-flavored wine. The key is letting the wine age long enough. A white wine has very little tannin and will probably be ready in about a year. A red wine will need three or four years, and often more to age properly. Many wines, unfortunately, pass their prime before the tannin breaks down enough for the wine to taste good.
The darkest red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, can taste like acid to an immature pallet. That’s especially true if the wine hasn’t aged long enough to break down the tannin. Tannin also can cause sensations of sourness, dry mouth or even an upset stomach. And even when the wine has matured, the flavor is so different from non-alcoholic beverages, it takes some getting used to.
As people mature in their drinking habits, they typically will develop a higher tolerance for tannin. Typically, they still won’t like the taste of it. But they’ll appreciate how tannin brings out the flavor of the properly aged wine. They may even be able to describe the subtle nuances of flavor between two bottles of the same variety.
But some will never develop a taste for tannin’s attributes. They will live to old age preferring the lighter varieties of grape, such as Reisling. Some will even have a life-long preference for the highly sweet, low-tannin varieties that taste more like soda pop or juice than wine.
Another factor that will impact a mature person’s preferences is income. Let’s face it. A bottle selling for $10 or less isn’t going to taste as good as a bottle selling for $45. That’s true no matter what you’re selling. The better something is, the more in demand it will be, and the higher price it will attain.
The young person who is just starting out in a career, or who is raising a family might have no knowledge of this. It won’t be until the kids are grown and on their own that mom and dad discover the improved flavor of the more expensive wines.
Although each mature wine drinker is different, if you know what they like, they’re not hard to shop for. So get on the Internet. Or hop in your car and get to the nearest wine store. A great gift is waiting.
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