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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I wanted to gift a wine to a boss who is a wine connoisseur, and I thought I found a great one: Caymus Cabernet Special Selection 1990. I paid a pretty penny for it, but now I'm worried that maybe it's past its prime. What do you think?

—Maureen U., Stockton, Calif.

Dear Maureen,

By most accounts, that’s a terrific bottle of wine from a very well-regarded producer and a great vintage. But it is a 26-year-old terrific bottle of wine, and I’m guessing if you looked it up, there might be some folks out there who have tried the wine and think it has seen better days.

Gifting a bottle of wine for someone can sometimes feel like you’re buying them something personal, like a bottle of perfume or cologne—the concern is that it might appeal to you, but not to them. If you don’t know what the recipient likes to drink, then I usually recommend picking something that’s meaningful to you. I love getting a bottle of wine that’s infused with some meaning, even if it isn’t the most expensive thing out there. Tell me it’s your favorite Sauvignon Blanc, your house red, or you discovered the producer while on vacation? Love it.

I can’t promise the boss will like the wine, but I think it’s a good choice. If nothing else, he or she will know the brand if they know about wine, so they’ll also know the price tag. I’d include a note, or give an explanation that you were looking for something special that no one would be able to just pick up at the wine store—and you can add a comment about the wine being ready to drink to acknowledge its age.

—Dr. Vinny

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