As more and more Americans enjoy wine, giving wine and wine related gifts has also grown in popularity. From the special gift to the fun stocking filler, here are some ideas that have caught my eye, including some special (and some not-so-expensive) bottles for last-minute hostess gifts.
Stocking fillers — less than $25
• 2002 Pommery POP Gold Champagne (187 ml) - $17.99 – Whimsical, single-serve vintage Champagne wrapped in gold, and comes with a straw 'ready-to-sip'. A lovely little treat to find in your stocking on Christmas morning. Perfect for breakfast. If you feel the 'Gold' is a little extravagant you there is always the NV POP for $10.99 or the Pink POP Rose for $12.99.
• 2007 Château du Champ des Treilles Blanc, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, $14 - A great value white Bordeaux from the westernmost part of the region. The owners farm their vineyards biodynamically and are are two of the most passionate winemakers I know. A classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
• 2008 Albariño, Fefiñanes, Rías Baixas, Spain $22 – A very elegant and minerally Albariño. Gorgous floral and peach aromas,
• • 2007 Wild Oak Chardonnay by St. Francis Winery $25 – Tastes more like a $40 dollar wine. Lean, elegant, Full bodied, ripe, crisp, oak very well integrated – toasty but not overt. Long length, clean refreshing palate – great food wine. We had one at Thanksgiving and it was a roaring hit with the turkey.
• 2008 L'Ancien Terres Dorées Beaujolais, Jean Paul Brun, $14 – Savory, unoaked, earthy, lots of flavor on mid and back palate. Subdued at first then opens up in the glass and becomes very interesting. Not a majorly complex wine, but very interesting and definitely terroir driven.
• 2008 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny, Loire Valley $16 – A consistent lovely Cheverny. A blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Chardonnay. Fresh, grassy and minerally with some lovely Chardonnay roundness..
• Riedel 'O' Stemless Glasses – Set of 2 glasses (varying sizes / styles) - $25 – By now you all know what fans we are of the stemless 'O' series. Great, versatile gift.
• Retractable Foil Cutter Corkscrew $15-$20 – one of the most useful corkscrews, as it has a nifty foil cutter.
Stocking filler books(all available from Amazon)
• Wine For Dummies, Mary Ewing-Milligan, MW and Ed McCarthy $15 – an excellent introduction for beginning wine enthusiasts. Don't be put off by the name.
• The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil, $13 - another great beginner book, Comprehensive coverage of all the world's wine regions.
• 1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die, Neil Beckett and Hugh Johnson $25 – A very interesting read. Not just a list of the authors' favorite wines it includes many intriguing, historical, and influential wines.
Sure to please interesting gifts — $25 to $50
• 2006 DARE Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa valley $40 - DARE by Viader Cabernet Sauvignon. I have long been a fan of Delia Viader and all her wines, made up on Howell Mountain, in the Napa valley. This is one of the more moderately priced offerings.
• 2004 Ruffino Ruffino Chianti Classico Ducale Gold Label Riserva- $40 – Possibly 'The standard' for Chianti Classico wines. While it is drinking beautifully now, the gold label 'Oro' also ages gracefully developing great complexity.
• 2007 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, "Telegramme" Châteauneuf du Pape, $35 – With Burgundy wines becoming prohibitively expensive I am buying more and more wines from the Rhone Valley. 2007 was an excellent vintage. Great wine.
• 2007 Château La Nerthe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, $50 – similar story for white Châteauneuf. It is more rare than the red. Wonderfully layered with flavor and complex. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, and Clairette. Drink now or hold 3-5 years.
• 2007 Clos du Mont-Olivet Châteauneuf du Pape, $35 – A wine that friends shared with us recently. So enjoyable I decided to include it here. Complex, layers of fruit, spicy, heady. Great structure – while ready to drink now, it should improve over next 3-5 years.
• The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition, Edited by Jancis Robinson, MW, $45 (Amazon) – The definitive Wine Bible (at least it always has been for me). With more than 3,000 entries on every aspect of wine from vine pests to specific grapes, this hefty tome has something for everyone.
• World Atlas of Wine, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, MW, $32– Another excellent reference book, with detailed colored maps of all the world's wine regions. Another 'bible' in our house.
• Vinturi Wine Aerator, $39.99 - Based on the principle that when the speed of a moving liquid is increased the pressure of the liquid decreases (Bernoulli's principle). For the wine toy collector.
Moderately extravagant — $50-$100
• 2006 Napa Angel, Aurelio's Selection by Montes Cabernet Sauvignon, $95 – I wanted to include this as it is a relatively new venture from Aurelio Montes, renowned owner/winemaker of Montes in Chile. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from some of the best vineyards in the Napa Valley. We enjoyed this wine over Thanksgiving. My notes read; Wow! powerful, rich, intense with great fruit concentrated, firm ripe tannins, very long and smooth finish. While very enjoyable now, this wine will improve and develop lots more complexity with up to 10 to 15 years cellaring. Aurelio also makes a Napa Angel Reserve which is a little less expensive at $55 which is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah. It is more forthcoming at the moment but will age at least 8-10 years.
• 2002 Champagne Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France, $70 – Roederer has always been one of my favorite Champagne houses. I last enjoyed this particular wine, earlier this year, while visiting the House of Roederer in Champagne. Pure elegance and finesse in a glass. Really great value for the quality.
• 2005 Château de Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, $99 – Highly regarded classic producer in Châteauneuf. A big, full-bodied wine, which will improve over next decade.
• Inside Out Champagne Glasses by Alissia Melka Teichroew, $65 for a set of 2 glasses. (From the MoMA Store) – I included these as my husband bought them for me last year. These are fun and whimsical. They have a simple water glass-shaped exterior yet iconic glass silhouettes are revealed when filled. Made of durable mouth-blown borosilicate glass, which has an insulating effect. Dishwasher safe.
• Infinity Wine Rack by Ron Arad, $85 (From MoMA Store)– I am a huge fan of anything by Ron Arad (Oh, how I long for one of his divine chairs, which are beyond my budget) – I will have to content myself with this cool wine rack. Curved and modular, this wine rack easily fastens together in varying shapes to form rings for storing bottles. Made by Kartell of polypropylene. Sixteen pieces per set. One set can accommodate up to 10 bottles. Multiple sets can be joined together.
Money's no object, splash out — $100+
• 2000 Conterno Barolo Cascina Francia, Serralunga d'Alba, DOCG Barolo, Italy $105 – I am so in love with Barolo wines these days. Made from 100% Nebbiolo it is perfumed, elegant, aromas of tar, roses, forest floor. Great acidity. Showing beautiful development but can improve further.
• 1992 Guigal La Landonne Côte Rotie, 13% $400 – We had the pleasure of savoring this wine recently. It really showed how wonderfully Côte Rotie develops over time. Vintages more easily accessible on the market are 2000 to 2004 which range from $200 to $400 / bottle. La Landonne is a single vineyard Cote Rôtie with great cellaring capacity.
• 2005 Opus One, Napa Valley, $180 - The result of a partnership between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild to create a Bordeaux style blend in Napa Valley. Classic Bordeaux wine blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec.
• 2006 Château Pontet Canet, AC Pauillac $160 – While 06 is not as lauded as Bordeaux 2005, I tend to favor the restraint of the 06's. From one of my favorite producers. Intense nose, structured palate, concentrated and very long. Too young to drink yet. Hold at least five years. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 62%, Merlot 33%, Cabernet Franc 3%, Petit-Verdot 2%
• Champagne Armand de Brignac (Multi-vintage) – $270 / bottle – the highly sought-after luxury cuvée by Cattier Champagne. Packaged in a gold bottle, it sports a pewter card-spade with an A on it instead of a label. This gave rise to its nick-name "ace of spades". A firm favorite on the music and celebrity circuit!.
• 2002 Champagne Roederer 'Cristal' - $200 / bottle – Another legend and definitely a celebrity Champagne. However, Cristal will always hold a special place in my heart, as when I was a student in France in the mid 1980's my friends and I used to save up for a bottle of Cristal once a fortnight! While, it certainly has celebrity status, it is always consistently top quality with great ageing potential.
• Riedel Aladeo Decanter, $350 - beautiful decanter created to commemorate Riedel's 250th Birthday. Unique and challenging shape. Mouth-blown with 24% lead crystal. No two decanters look exactly alike.
• Jean Dubost Laguiole Stag Horn Waiter Style Corkscrew $150 – A one of a kind Waiter Style Corkscrew in a stag horn finish. The blade and worm are stainless steel and the handle is made from naturally shed stag's horn with a blend of hues that makes each one unique. It comes in a beechwood gift box with a tan leather case. Dishwasher safe. One day I will own one of these!
• Peugeot Les Impitoyables Champagne (Set of 2) $120 - "Les Impitoyables" (The Uncompromising) glasses are specially designed to maximize the pleasure of tasting wine. According to Peugeot, the dimpled design on the outside of the Peugeot Les Impitoyables Champagne glasses causes light to refract. Featuring an elliptical curve of the glass, with the apex a third up the bowl, combined with a deep 'V' at the stem encourages the carbon dioxide to continually effervesce and brings the aromas of the wine quickly to the nose. I vividly remember a comparitive Champagne tasting, tasting the same Champagne from an 'Impitoyable' glass and a Riedel Champagne glass. The bouquet was more pronounced from this glass. Extravagant, but for the person who has everything it might be the perfect gift.
• Wine Classes - What better gift for a wine enthusiast than a wine course. From the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) – $275 to $ A very highly recognized international wine education program. Courses held throughout the United States. Foundation courses start at $275 (A two class program) , Intermediate Certificate ($415 for an eight week program), Advanced Certificate ($1400 for the 16 week program ) and the two year Diploma program. More information from the International Wine Center
• Wine Enthusiast Silent 28 Bottle Touchscreen Wine Refrigerator, $300 (from Wine Enthusiast) – Wine fridges don't come cheap – but are very useful if you live in an over-heated urban apartment and have some good wines that you want to keep for a while. This is a freestanding model – so you can put it anywhere and fits 28 bottles.
• Philip Stein Wine Wand, $325 to $500 - The wand is a glass tube with encapsulated glass crystals and uses imbedded natural frequency-based technologies. The wand is placed into a bottle or glass of red wine. Not cheap, but perhaps a nice gift for the wine geek who has everything.
Until next week have fun shopping.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, DWS, is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. She hold the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and is a candidate in the Master of Wine Program.
(Images: Producer, manufacturer or supplier websites)