Unwined: Office Secret Santa Gifts Suck
Wines to wow your coworkers with (while staying within budget)!
First off, I love Christmas. I’m the guy who started his Christmas shopping in September and loved every minute of it. My house smells of Christmas and mulled wine from November 26th until Boxing Day; I have ALL the Bing Crosby Christmas records (and the Twisted Sister one to round out the mix). So when the social committee at work asks me if I would like take part in the Secret Santa at work, they are always shocked when I say NO, utter a Bah Humbug and get back to work.
Secret Santa sucks in a workplace. We all get guilted into it and most people participating half-ass it. The budget is usually set at $10 and, let’s face it, you’ve re-gifted the Starbucks candy cane mug so many times that literally everyone in the office has owned it for one holiday season. Never fear—I am here to save your office holiday and maybe score some points with your co-workers. Here’s your secret weapon: You can get some pretty good wine in a half bottle.
No, I’m not talking about those little bottles that you get on an airplane, but honest-to-goodness decent wine. They obviously cost less than their full-sized companions. Half bottles are great if you’re cooking a fancy dinner at home and you want to pair your wine with one course or if you just don’t feel like sharing with anyone. Here are a few options in a few different price ranges.
2010 Château des Charmes Chardonnay (38828)/2011 Cabernet Merlot (38810) – $5.95 – The wines from Château des Charmes are among the best in Ontario when it comes to your economical options. If you’re sticking strictly to a $10 budget this would still leave you $4 left over to do something with. The truth about these wines are that they are both easy drinking and crowd-pleasing. The unoaked chardonnay has lots of apple and citrus notes while the cab-merlot is fruit-driven and smooth on the finish.
2014 Flat Rock Twisted White – 273292 – $9.95 – This blend of riesling, gewürztraminer and chardonnay is floral and fruity. If you’re going to be doing your Secret Santa at a Christmas party, it’s unlikely this bottle will make its way home. This sneaks in just under the $10 threshold, and it’s from a high-quality producer.
2013 Tawse Spark Brut – 404558 – $14.95 – This is the wine you are going to buy if you have ended up with the boss as your Secret Santa. Delicious and easy-drinking, this wine has apples and citrus notes with a nice creamy texture on the mid palate. If you’re the curmudgeon in the office who didn’t take part in the Secret Santa you can always gift this to yourself … which is something I just may do.
2013 Colio Bricklayers Late Harvest Vidal – 470369 – $11.95 – I’m generally not a fan of gifting dessert wines at Christmas because if it isn’t opened for the meal it’s likely going to be re-gifted. But a late-harvest wine is a very good affordable substitute for ice wine. It’s about half as sweet as regular ice wine, but you still get the flavours of honey and citrus you would expect. This would be the Secret Santa gift that will make you seem like you spent more money than it seems. Most people who see the tall skinny bottle will automatically assume that it’s expensive.