For the wine enthusiasts in your life who seem to have everything, the most memorable gift is one you can make yourself. Rather than buying them yet another waiter’s corkscrew or monogrammed glass, you can give a curated Champagne gift basket unlike any they’ve seen before. Even if the person on your gift list has a fully-stocked cellar, a carefully-selected basket of fine Champagne and accessories will make their holiday season unforgettable. These baskets also appeal to casual wine drinkers, so you can make one for nearly anyone on your gift list this year.
Creating your own Champagne gift basket is easy when you know which wines to include and which accessories will make the basket feel luxurious and thoughtful. In this guide, we’ll offer you recommendations on the best wines to buy for everyone on your list, allowing you to craft a one-of-a-kind basket from scratch.
Why You Should Make Your Own Champagne Gift Baskets
There’s no shortage of pre-made Champagne gift baskets on sale during the holidays. After all, Champagne is festive and immensely popular, which makes it an ideal holiday gift. However, there’s a problem with these pre-made baskets. Most of them contain just one bottle or split of Champagne that you could easily find in any grocery store around the country and they skimp on the other components of the basket, like food and accessories. Not only that, store-bought Champagne gift baskets aren’t tailored to your particular gift recipient’s preferences.
The gift will mean more when your recipient knows that they can’t find anything like it anywhere else.
This is why you should make your own gift baskets from scratch. The gesture shows your gift recipient that you put thought into their present and gives you the freedom to pick out wines that you know your friend, loved one, or colleague will adore. The gift will mean more when your recipient knows that they can’t find anything like it anywhere else. Moreover, if your gift recipient is a wine enthusiast, they’ll appreciate being given a rare vintage from a renowned house rather than the same non-vintage bottles everyone else gets in a typical pre-made basket. The most important component of a fine Champagne gift basket is the quality of the wine itself.
The Anatomy of a Perfect Champagne Gift Basket
To create the best Champagne gift baskets from scratch this holiday season, it helps to stick to a theme or category for your basket. A few options include wine-centered, food-centered, or sample baskets featuring a wide range of wine styles. The basket you create ultimately depends on the gift recipient’s preferences.
For example, if your friend is getting into collecting fine Champagne for the first time, give them a curated gift basket filled with six splits from some of the best Champagne producers. This lets them sample wine from a range of Champagne houses to discover the ones they enjoy the most.
However, if someone on your gift list is already an experienced Champagne collector, they wouldn’t have as much use for such an introductory gift basket. Instead, they would appreciate being given a basket with just two or three standard-size bottles of age-worthy, vintage Champagne, especially wines that are hard to find on the market.
The wine itself should take up most of the space in the basket, as it’s the most important component.
To make your own custom basket, take a look at the three main categories in greater detail below:
This type of basket is ideal for someone already familiar with Champagne or for whom wine is always the star of the show. This no-frills basket is more practical than festive. It contains all of the gifts you need to enjoy fine Champagne from the comfort of your home.
To make this basket, first select at least two standard-size or magnum-size bottles of Champagne. If you can fit a third bottle in the basket, even better. The wine itself should take up most of the space in the basket, as it’s the most important component. The bottles you choose should also match your gift recipient’s preferences and be high in quality (this is the time to splurge on an aged bottle of vintage Champagne, like 2003 Dom Pérignon P2 Plénitude Deuxième). To fill in the rest of the basket, include practical items like a cork stopper designed specifically for Champagne, a Champagne saber, invitations to exclusive winery tasting events, or a full year of professional wine storage services.
Another option is to create a gift basket centered around perfect food pairings. This is a great gift for people who think of themselves as foodies or for anyone on your gift list who wants to learn more about pairing wine with food. Your goal is to create a complete, restaurant-quality tasting experience in a single basket.
To make this gift, start with just one or two quality bottles of Champagne that you want to showcase and work backward from there. If you pick two bottles of Champagne, make sure they are similar in flavor profile and style so the food complements both. For example, brut or extra brut Champagne often pairs best with citrus fruits, creamy cheeses, or buttery shortbread cookies (the acidity cuts through the richness of the dessert). Meanwhile, demi or doux Champagne pairs well with tarts, chocolates, and other sweet snacks. It’s a good idea to follow the same structure as a charcuterie board: include a mix of different textures, like cheese spreads and crunchy crackers, as well as different flavors, like sweet jam and savory foie gras.
If your gift recipient isn’t very familiar with fine Champagne, deciding which bottles to include in the gift basket can be difficult. Should you go with yeasty Bollinger or the freshness of Pierre Gimonnet et Fils? Since your gift recipient doesn’t have a lot of experience with Champagne, they might not know which style they prefer.
In this case, your Champagne gift basket could contain a sampling of as many different types of Champagne as you can find in small format bottles. Using smaller bottles lets you fit more of them into the basket, so your gift recipient can try each of the wines without committing to drinking an entire standard-size bottle of each. This will also give them a sense of each Champagne producer’s house style, which may inspire them to seek out other labels from those producers.
Choose at least one wine with a floral, delicate style and at least one that is rich and yeasty.
To make this basket, select anywhere from four to six small bottles showcasing a wide range of producers and styles. Choose at least one wine with a floral, delicate style and at least one that is rich and yeasty. The rest should fall in between these two. You can also attach cards to each bottle with tasting notes to help guide your gift recipient and encourage them to identify the dominant flavors in each wine. Along with the small bottles, include a few snacks that pair well with all Champagne (such as shortbread cookies and rich, semi-soft cheeses). As a thoughtful touch, place a gift card to an online wine retailer in the basket so that they can buy larger versions of whichever wines they enjoyed most.
One of the best things about a Champagne gift basket is its flexibility. For close friends and family, you can go all out, adding lots of extras that you know they’ll enjoy. For a coworker or new friend, you might make the basket simpler and smaller, with just one bottle of wine and a few other components. If you’re not sure which wines to include in your basket, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations below to help you get started.
The Best Vintage Bottles for Champagne Gift Baskets
When it comes to wine-related gifts, it’s difficult to beat a bottle of age-worthy vintage Champagne. One of the benefits of choosing vintage Champagne is that your gift recipient can either drink the wine now or lay down the wine for a few years and pop it open at a future celebration. Wine collectors in particular love being given fine wines they can store for some time, as these gifts feel more special. They not only get the surprise of being given a rare Champagne, but they also get the satisfaction of watching that bottle slowly age in a cellar or professional storage year after year. When they do finally open the bottle, it will remind them of how thoughtful you were. If you give more than one bottle of the same vintage, your recipient will also be able to taste how the wine evolves. Most fine vintage Champagne can also be drunk young or old, so your gift recipient will have full freedom to choose when they enjoy the bottle.
If your gift recipient doesn’t yet have a place to keep their bottles, then you can also include a gift certificate for professional storage in the basket.
While this type of wine gift isn’t for everyone, it’s an excellent option for people who already have many bottles in storage or who want to try cellaring wine for the first time. If your gift recipient doesn’t yet have a place to keep their bottles, then you can also include a gift certificate for professional storage in the basket. Paying for a few years of professional storage encourages them to wait until the wine has reached its ideal drinking window before opening it.
To create a Champagne gift basket from age-worthy vintage wine, consider vintages that are relatively young, but that have aged for at least five years already. This gives your gift recipient the chance to store the bottles for a few years without burdening them with a wine that will take decades to reach its peak. Here are a few options:
- 2015 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Spécial Club Oger Grand Cru Brut
- 2012 Vilmart et Cie Rosé Emotion 1er Cru
- 2012 Bollinger La Grande Année
- 2013 Domaine André Robert Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Terre du Mesnil
Or, if you would rather give your gift recipient a wine that has already reached maturity and requires no additional storage time, consider one or two of these more mature wines:
- 2000 Bollinger La Grande Année
- 2002 Dom Pérignon P2 Plénitude Deuxième
- 2005 Dom Pérignon
- 2004 Taittinger Brut Comtés De Champagne Blanc De Blancs
Vintage Champagne is a great option for any gift basket because it’s more difficult to find than non-vintage Champagne. As a general rule, when you shop for wine as a gift, it should be a bottle that your gift recipient wouldn’t find at just any corner store or local wine shop. Moreover, many producers only offer vintage Champagne when the weather is especially favorable, so these wines are generally very high in quality. As long as you buy wine from a top producer, you won’t have to worry about researching every vintage in-depth before you buy. These wines can make perfect gifts for even the most selective palates.
The Best Non-Vintage Bottles for Champagne Gift Baskets
Non-vintage Champagne is a great choice for food-centered wine baskets because the right foods can significantly enhance the flavor of these wines. For example, non-vintage Moët & Chandon is delicious on its own, but when paired with a cheese platter, the nuttiness of the wine comes through more strongly. Non-vintage wine is also the ideal choice if you want to build a basket of small format bottles in a wide range of flavors and styles since most fine Champagne producers offer split or half-bottle sizes of their non-vintage wine. Some non-vintage bottles even have significant value on the secondary market as well, particularly wines made by top houses or ones that were crafted using labor-intensive winemaking techniques. So, whether you’re making a basket for someone who is new to Champagne or someone who already has a sizable collection, non-vintage wines are a great choice.
Even if you don’t know which types of Champagne your gift recipient likes, you might be able to guess based on other wines they drink.
If you’re looking for excellent non-vintage bottles for a Champagne gift basket, consider the following:
- NV Krug Grande Cuvée 168th Edition
- NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé
- NV Gosset Brut Grand Blanc de Blancs
- NV Vilmart et Cie Brut Cuvée Rubis 1er Cru
The non-vintage bottles you choose will depend on your intended recipient’s preferences. Even if you don’t know which types of Champagne they like, you might be able to guess based on other wines they drink. For example, if they love fine Burgundy, then they might enjoy some of the more aromatic wines, like the Billecart-Salmon. If they prefer rich, full-bodied California Chardonnay, then creamy wines, like Krug, will likely appeal to them.
Putting Together Your Champagne Gift Basket
As long as you choose Champagne from a high-quality producer, then the wine should speak for itself. However, to make sure that your gift looks as polished as possible, follow these additional tips:
- Pick a color scheme that complements the wine’s label. For example, Veuve Clicquot’s iconic orange label goes well with rich, dark browns, shimmery golds, and deep greens. If you have many different wines in the basket, you can also use a single color for the ribbon, filler material, and any wrapping paper you use to make the basket look more cohesive and sophisticated. Neutral shades like black, white, grey, and navy unify a colorful Champagne gift basket.
- Place durable, quality bar towels at the bottom of the basket as filler. Towels protect the bottles, stemware, and other fragile accessories from getting damaged in transit.
- Put the Champagne in last, after non-wine items (like snacks and accessories). You should keep the wine on its side under cool, dark storage conditions–such as in a cellar or professional storage–for as long as possible. Put the bottles in the basket no more than two hours before the gift exchange. As an added benefit, the Champagne should still be at or near serving temperature when you give it, so your recipient can drink the wine right away if they choose.
- Seal the basket with clear cellophane so your gift recipient can see what’s inside. You could also go without a seal entirely.
With so many incredible wines available online, there’s no reason to buy a pre-made gift basket. You can make your own gift that is much higher quality–and is a better value–than anything you can find in the store. Moreover, a personally curated gift will make your recipient feel truly special. By following our tips, you’ll create memorable, beautiful Champagne gift baskets that everyone on your list will adore.
Whether you are starting your high-end wine collection or adding to an established portfolio, Vinfolio is your partner in buying, selling, and professional storage. Contact us today to get access to the world’s finest wine.