There are all sorts of wine lovers out there, from the casual sipper to the cork dork to the serious collector. Wondering what to buy your wine-loving friends and family? Read on for some great gift ideas. TOP ROW
• 1 How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto, By Eric Asimov, $12 - $15 from Amazon: Eric Asimov is The New York Times Wine Critic. This is a lovely, heartfelt read, definitely more of a personal journey than a 'wine information' book. Lots of endearing stories about his first trip to France with his family, his college wine experiences, how he became a 'newspaper man' like his dad, and so forth as he learns to love wine.
• 2 Stemless Wine Glasses: "O" Tasting Set, $60 from The MoMA Store: I just love this set of five stemless wine glasses. Five different shapes and sizes, recommended for different wines. The set includes one of each - Chardonnay, Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir/Burgundy, Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux, and finally Shiraz/Syrah. Of course you can mix it up and try your Shiraz in the Chardonnay glass - that is all part of the fun.
• 3 Luigi Bormioli Punted "Thumb" Decanter, $24 from Target: Wine decanters can be horrendously expensive. Some are worth it, but others not so. Here is one decanter that is both tremendous value and cool to boot. It is hand blown with a comfortable spot for your 'thumb' when pouring. It is a good size, and will easily hold a full bottle of wine.
• 4 Metrokane Candy Apple Red Vertical Rabbit Corkscrew, $50 from Amazon: As a rule I prefer the traditional waiter style type of corkscrew where you have to do all the work. But I love the bright red color of this new Metrokane Rabbit model and it does work, consistently and easily. Pulls the cork on in 4-5 seconds.
• 5 Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz, $112 from Amazon: Okay, on the pricey side for a book, but it sure is worth it. Just published, I bought my copy about a month ago and I use it every day. A tome to dip in and out of as you come across the obscure grape variety, or simply to find out more about your favorite varieties. You will learn all sorts of wonderful things, such as the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon's parents are Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc!
• 6 Schott Zweisel Enoteca Bordeaux Wine Glasses, Set of Six, $200 from WineStuff.com: A lovely gift for someone who loves classic, stylish stemware. I have long been a fan of Schott Zweisel. I've recommended the Bordeaux glass, as it tends to be the most universally adaptive to other wines, both red and white. These are handblown and lead-free crystal. Very fine glass, yet resilient and durable.
• 7 Decanter Drying Stand Plus, $30 from Wine Enthusiast: This is a simple gadget but a very useful one. I don't actually have one (yet), but I soon will--my sister is getting me one for Christmas. It is really useful for draining the last few drops of water out of the decanter after washing it.
• 8 Vouette & Sorbée Blanc d'Argile NV Champagne, $99 from Astor Wines: This is one for one for the Champagne geeks. Vouette & Sorbée has become quite a sought after cult Grower Champagne. Sought after because of its tiny volumes of hand-crafted Champagnes - the base wines are all oak fermented and aged. Vouette & Sorbées vineyards have been certified biodynamic since 1998. Some of the cuvées run well into the $100s - so this 100% Chardonnay, Blanc de Blancs is really relatively good value.
• 9 Magnum of 2010 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Boeschen Vineyards, $176 direct from the winery: A magnum is such a wonderful bottle size to serve when you have special, larger gatherings. Last year a dear friend gifted us a magnum of the Boeschen 2007 vintage, which we opened and thoroughly enjoyed at Thanksgiving. The current available vintage is the 2010 vintage. This is a beautifully crafted and elegant Napa Cab.
• 10 Wine for Dummies - 5th Edition, by Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW and Ed McCarthy, $16 from Amazon: Forget the 'dummies' part, this book is packed full of very useful stuff. Thorough and detailed, it takes you through the world of wine, the grapes, how they are cultivated, how the wine is made and matured, different wine styles and how to navigate your way around the wine market. This is the 5th edition of Wine for Dummies and it just came out. While I have no commercial interest in this book, I was its technical editor, so I have read it in minute detail from cover to cover!
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne
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