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Here are a few suggestions, by decade.

Ray Isle
Updated November 19, 2018

There’s a classic wine-business joke that suggests you should buy a case of wine for your child’s birth year. You cellar it away, then, when the kid finally goes off to college, you breathe a sigh of relief, sit back, and drink it all yourself—every last bottle. But, cynicism aside, buying someone a gift that speaks to their birth year is a lovely, generous thing to do. And what better gift than great wine or aged spirits? Here are a few suggestions, by decade.

Gifts for
 People in Their 20s


Look for top Bordeaux from the Médoc in 1990 and 1995 or Pomerols from 1998. Napa’s 1994 and 1997 vintages shone; so, still, do many of the underrated 1998s, like the fragrant ($179). Or for someone on the scary border of their 30s, consider the spicy, seductive (from $600)—a dram or two, served neat, certainly ought to soothe their alarm.

Gifts for
 People in Their 30s


If the birth year matches up, great Bordeaux from 1982 or 1985 is an excellent choice (the , with its evocative graphite and blackberry notes, is about $300). Or Madeira: The toffee-rich ($210) and the zesty ($245) and are both sublime. Or ballpark your loved one’s decade with a bottle of Graham’s luscious ($120). 


Gifts for
 People in Their 40s and 50s


Kopke recently released a string of beautiful, very old single-vintage tawny ports—though never refer to someone in their 40s or 50s as “very old,” unless you enjoy icy looks. Vintages from the 1950s and ’60s are available, such as the hauntingly aromatic ($240). Or, for that special person turning 50 this month, hunt down . It runs $6,250, but if your recipient is a single-malt lover, they’ll be utterly thrilled. (Of course you’ll be utterly poor, but what the heck!).

Gifts for
 People in Their 60s and Older


For folks in their 60s and beyond, consider Château de Laubade’s remarkable vintage Armagnacs—bottles are available dating back to 1893. That year is, admittedly, stupendously expensive, but if anyone you know is 125 years old, they deserve it. More realistically, vintages from the 1940s and ’50s can be found for around $1,400. Or consider something like the honeyed ($1,000), a sublime blend of different barrels aged 50 to 60 years. Alarmingly pricey, true; but if you’ve got a big family and everyone kicks in $50 or so, you’re there. Just make sure you have a glass ready when your Gran opens that bottle.


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