It is the season of giving—wine giving, that is. Finding the perfect gift for a wine lover can be quite tricky. I have heard many times how hard it is to buy for a wine novice, lover, connoisseur and even the expert. My job is to make your gift giving a little easier. So here are some gift ideas that any wine lover would enjoy.
Wine books are not just for someone who wants to become a sommelier or wine connoisseur. "Wine Wars" by Mike Veseth is a fantastic, witty read that tells the story of wine market trends, like Two-Buck Chuck and Costco. Also, the book discusses globalization and how this affects wine enthusiasts with a “rich but overwhelming array of choices.”
Another book that I recommend is "Perfect Pairing: A Master Sommelier's Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food" by Evan Goldstein. "Perfect Pairings" is one of the best pairing books that I have bought recently. The book provides reasonable explanations for why certain wines pair with certain dishes. Also, the book provides recipes with specific producers within all price ranges.
Some other books are:
—"How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto"
—"Wine Lover's Companion"
—"What to Drink with What You Eat"
Many times when I go out to dinner, I like to bring my own wine. It can be embarrassing to bring in a wine bottle in a paper bag that you got from the liquor store. Have no fear, I have a few selections that are perfect for the occasion. Built NY makes some great wine bags for one or multiple bottles of wine. Also, wine bags are insulated, so you do not have to worry about your cold wine getting warm. However, if you want to splurge on someone and buy them the ultimate and luxurious wine bag, Mulholland Roadtrip Outfitters is the way to go. Their wine bags are made from quality leather that “comes with a semi-rigid insulated nylon liner designed to keep chilled wine or champagne at temperature and to protect red wines from temperature extremes.” I wish someone would buy me one for Christmas.
The perfect stemware is essential when enjoying a nice bottle of wine and is a wonderful gift for someone. Riedel makes some of the best wine glasses in the business, and they are beautifully crafted for wine. The Riedel Wine Series Mixed is a nice gift because it provides a variety of wine glasses to start a collection. On Amazon.com, these sets run from $35 to $90.
All this talk about wine accessories and we haven’t even talked about wine itself yet. Well, there are many options to choose from when it comes to wine gift giving. One thing I like to keep in mind when buying wine gifts is deciding between big names or obscure finds. Big name wines are for someone who knows enough about wine that they will be impressed by your choice or for someone who wants to splurge a little bit and try the best. Then, there are obscure finds, more for the wine geek or someone wanting to try something different. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
Here are some choices of both big names and obscure finds:
—Vueve Cliquot Yellow Label
—Stags Leap Wine Cellars Artemis '09, Napa
—Caymus Vineyards Special Selection '07
—Shafer Relentless '08, Napa
—Colgin '08, Napa
—Super Tuscan Orma '07, Tuscany
—Jonata ’08, Todos
—Ladera '07 Howell Mountain, Napa
—Gorman Winery The Pixie '08, Red Mountain, Washington
—Hamilton Russell Vineyards '09, Hemel-En-Aarde, South Africa
—Chateau Sociando-Mallet '99, Haut-Medoc
I hope these gift ideas help you on your search for the perfect gift. Remember that at the end of the day, it's the thought that counts. Cheers!
Michelle Richards is a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Along with hosting wine tastings for local organizations, she serves up wine goodness at St. John’s Restaurant. Your can contact her by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.