It is the holiday season, and it is time for my annual wine gift giving guide. I know how hard it is to shop for the wine lover in your life; we are kind of picky. Here are some of the gift ideas that I have found the most helpful this year.
• "Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours": This is one of my favorite books of 2013, written by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz. Hands down, this is the book to have if you are in the wine industry. "Wine Grapes" is a complete compendium of all of the grape varieties in the world. Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without this book.
• "Secrets of the Sommeliers" by Rajat Parr: This is a fascinating book dedicated to showing the world the deep relationship between wine, sommeliers and producers. Any wine lover that likes great stories, expertise and information will enjoy this book.
• "Somm": If you need a gift for someone who wants to go through the sommelier program, buy them this book. A reviewer said, "'Somm' takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into the mysterious world of the Court of Master Sommeliers and their massively intimidating master sommelier exam."
Wine gadgets are becoming increasingly more popular. Personally, I am a purest at heart; however, these gifts have been huge hits!
• Corkcicle: Corkcicle is an innovative product that keeps white wines chilled and brings room temperature reds down to a more suitable "cellar" temperature, eliminating the need for an ice bucket.
• Vacu Vin Concerto wine saver system: The wine saver system is a tool that almost every restaurant uses to save their wines by the glass. It comes with one pump and four savers. This gadget is perfect for saving bottles of wine for a couple of days, as well as money. I am always disappointed when a wine has not held up as long as I would like it to.
Glassware is as important to many wine lovers as what is inside. My personal collection ranges in style and price.
• Crate & Barrels Edge wineglasses: These wineglasses are among my all-time favorite. They are perfect for the modern wine lover. Cylindrical in nature with a flat bottom, they come in several styles, including flutes that are perfect for celebrating New Year's.
• Riedel Vinum wineglasses: It is no secret that Riedel makes some of the best wineglasses in the world. They also come with an expensive price tag. However, during the holidays, Riedel offers reasonably priced gift sets. Macy’s and Amazon run some of the best prices, so I would start there first.
• Govino shatterproof stemless: Stemless wineglasses are becoming a huge hit. Some wine connoisseurs think they are an outrage and against everything wine represents. However, I think everything has a time and a place. Govino is a great new brand that provides shatterproof wineglasses that look like crystal. Also, they have a thumb notch on the side of the wineglass for better holding purposes. The best part about them is that they don’t come with a huge price tag.
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. This was a huge hit last year!
I have a surprise for you! Riverside Wine and Spirits is giving 10 percent off of wine purchases to anyone who says that they have read this article today. I know, it is pretty cool. The fine print is that this only applies to purchases made today and does not apply to any liquor, beer or the cold room. Besides that, it is a pretty awesome way to save some money.
• Grgich Hills chardonnay
• Staglin Vineyards cabernet sauvignon
• Tignanello Super Tuscan
• Black Tears malbec
• Cade Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon
• Colgin Estate cabernet sauvignon
• Spottswoode cabernet sauvignon
• Kistler pinot noir
• Dom Pérignon rosé Champagne or vintage 2004
• Wimmer Roter Veltliner
• Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina
• Egly Ouriet Grand Cru and Premier Cru Champagne
• Tyler La Encantada pinot noir
• Tensley Colson Canyon syrah
• Domaine Chevillon
• Brovia Villero Barolo
• Jean-Louis Chave Silène Crozes-Hermitage
• Jermann Red Angel on the Moonlight pinot noir
• Jonata Vineyards Todos cabernet franc
• Jonata Vineyards syrah
• Buccella Mica cabernet sauvignon, 2010
Remember that at the end of the day, it's the thought that counts. Don’t forget to use that 10 percent off of your wine purchase at Riverside Wine and Spirits—today only.
Happy holidays! 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. You can contact her by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.
Updated @ 3:07 p.m. on 12/13/13 for clarity.
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.