If you’re buying a bottle of wine as a gift for a wine-lover, then it can be a particularly challenging task. The best advice if this is the case is to ask the recipient what style of wine they like (as in full-bodied or light-bodied, reds, whites, or sparkling. This will give you a little room to play with.
You can then either go to a specialized wine shop and ask for advice, or you can try to choose something within the range that you are given by them. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
If you are buying it for a dinner party that you are a guest at then you can choose something that is a little bit more of a crowd-pleaser. Unless the host has specified what you will be eating then you probably don’t need to worry about pairing it well. If this is the case, a light-bodied red wine like a Pinot Noir will go very well, or else a versatile medium-bodied red like the Spanish Tempranillo.
If you are buying the wine as a gift for someone that you don’t know very well- for example, your children’s teacher – it’s probably best to play it safe and get a crowd pleaser as above. If you know them a little better then you can customize a little more. For example, if you know they are a big coffee drinker then you can probably go for a red that is a little more full-bodied, and if you know they have a bit of a sweet tooth, you can opt for a sweeter wine.