Boozy Holiday Gift Guide
The holidays are quite suddenly upon us, which means that if you're anything like me, you are scrambling to come up with ideas for thoughtful and personal gifts for your family and friends. And if they're anything like me, they'll appreciate any number of wine-related presents. So without further ado, I give you the Boozy Holiday Gift Guide for the wine enthusiast in your life, novice to nerd.
Coravin 1000 Wine System
This little gadget allows you to pour wine from a bottle without removing the cork. A thin needle is inserted into the cork and wine can be poured directly from its spout. Once a bottle has been opened, oxygen will begin to change and eventually oxidize the wine. The Coravin prevents that and is particularly useful if you want to enjoy a glass of a collectible wine. $299
Who doesn't need a sweet looking decanter? I've found a few fun options to put some flash on the table.
Maxwell & Williams Sensation Wine Decanter
Its beautiful design is very stare-worthy. $54.99
Splurge: Molecule Decanter
Super modern and it can decant two wines at the same time. $425
Crate & Barrel Cocktail Sidecar Carafe
Mini carafes for everyone at the table! $1.95 each
Personally, I can never have enough wine glasses. These are my two favorite places to buy them from:
Crate & Barrel
Totally affordable and they are available in shapes that will make you want to keep refilling the glass.
The glasses are tailor made for specific grape varieties to accentuate their aromas and flavors. A bit of a splurge, but you can feel and taste the difference.
There are so many stoppers out there that you shouldn't have any problem finding one suited to the most specific of interests. For example....
Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Wine Course
This is the book that I first picked up when I wanted to start learning more about wine. It's both easy to read and full of nerdy information. $19.82
The World Atlas of Wine 7th Edition
And this is my Bible. A gift more suited for a wine geek because it seems to require at least some intermediate wine knowledge to get through it, but it's also a great quick reference for the wine regions of the world. $34.74
Fear not, I've also come up with some ideas of wines to give to the people on your list!
For: The Fancy Pants
2010 Red Burgundy
This is one of the best recent vintages for Burgundy, particularly in the Cotes de Nuits region. Look for wines from these appellations, especially those that are designated "Premier Cru": Vosne-Romanee, Nuits-Saint-George, Gevrey-Chambertin, Vougeot, Fixin, Flagey-Echezeaux, Marsannay, or Morey-Saint-Denis. This is the wine that you want to get for the connoisseur in your life. $30+
2009 or 2010 Bordeaux. Both 2009 and 2010 were excellent vintages and show ripe and intense red fruit. I recommend the appellations of Haut-Medoc, Saint-Emilion, and Pomerol. If you want to take it up a notch (and a few dollars), opt for one of the producers of the finest wines in Bordeaux. They are known as First Growth Bordeaux: Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, or Chateau Haut-Brion.
Haut-Medoc, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol: $20+ ; First Growth Bordeaux: $600+
For: The Wine Bar Lurker
Clos Martinet Menut Priorat 2011
This remains one of my favorite value wines from the Priorat. I've come back to this wine again and again for its velvety tannins and rich, round flavors of black cherry, raspberry, blueberry, cocoa, cinnamon, and vanilla. At a cool $19.99, it knocks it out of the park for its price point.
Pascal Janvier Jasnieres 2014
Jasnieres is a tiny subregion of the Loire Valley and the producer makes only 2100 cases of this wine each year. Fortunately, it's not terribly difficult to find online! The wine is aromatic and shows complex notes of green apple and citrus, along with a really nice floral character. It's a great choice for an elegant and uncommon wine. $17-$20
For: The Foodie
I've selected two options that are known for their stellar quality and food-friendliness. The Foodie in your life should enjoy drinking either of these!
Arguably Italy's most famous wine, this is a full bodied red with beautiful notes of red berries, rose, and hay. It's meant to age for decades, so if you really want to impress, select a 2001 or older which will be ready to drink. $40+
Wines from this region are made with 100% Chardonnay and are not typically oak aged. You can expect a Chablis to have crisp flavors of green apple and lemon and show a mineral character that comes across as steely or stony. $17+
For: The Bacon Lover
Who doesn't love bacon, really? If they like it on their plate, they'll enjoy it in their glass as well. These wines are my personal favorite choices for a meaty red wine.
Stark Conde Cabernet Sauvignon
This South African wine is unfiltered, so it's very full bodied and complex with a nice round texture, plus just enough notes of bacon to leave you wanting more. If you're gifting a Bacon of the Month membership to that special someone, wrap this bottle up with it. $23
Couloir Straight Line Syrah
Every wine that I've tried from this Santa Barbara producer has made an impression on me, particularly the Straight Line Syrah. It has a great balance of red fruits and smoked meat that is just freaking delicious. $25
For: The Hipster
M. Chapoutier Collection Bio Costieres de Nimes
This is a silky-textured, fruity, spicy red wine made with grapes that are grown in the coolest way possible - biodynamically. The practice of biodynamics views the vineyard as one organism, from the soil up, and that it should all be kept healthy using solely natural methods with no chemical intervention. Without dropping too much science in this post, it essentially promotes a natural balance of "flora" and a true expression of the place that the wine is from (its "terroir"). I had the opportunity to meet the winemaker of M. Chapoutier and he excitedly spoke about the sexuality of yeast, so you know he's legit. $12
Scribe Skin Fermented Chardonnay
Not only does this come in an unusual, squat 500ml bottle, but the wine is fermented with its skins, giving it a full body and some tannin. It's unique, unexpected, tasty, and the only way it could be more hipster is if there were a beard on the label. $33
For: The Adventurous Palate
If there's someone in your life that likes to eat or drink anything and everything, consider choosing one of these wines as their gift. They are a bit polarizing because they both have certain traits that are intense, but why not throw a little sense of adventure under the tree this year?
Not long ago, I wrote about Madiran. It's a very tannic and rustic wine with flavors of wild berries, plum, and herbs. The high tannins will leave you licking your gums, but it's so oddly enjoyable! $12+
This wine is all grapefruits and flowers. Found almost exclusively in Argentina, this grape produces wines that have a rather intense perfumed aroma, balanced by delicate citrus flavors. $15+
When in doubt, always choose Champagne. You really can't go wrong!
Happy Holidays and Merry Everything, my dear readers!