It’s mid-December and for most of us it’s crunch time with the checklist, gift list, party list and of course on my special people list … gifts for the wine lover. For those on this list, gift buying is more of a challenge than just grabbing a bottle of wine. To make tackling the list a little easier, I’ve scoured the gift world and my notes from the past to find some unique gift ideas for values and splurges.
Wine Enthusiast Double-Wall Iceless Wine Bottle Chiller (about $20) A sweating ice bucket is an eyesore (and safety hazard if the water makes its way to the floor). That’s why I like this iceless chiller. It has thermal-insulated walls that will keep a wine bottle chilled for about 3 hours without the exterior condensation that most chillers create. It has a simple design with acrylic walls and a stainless-steel trim.
Wine Across America, A Photographic Road Trip by Charles O’Rear (about $30) I love giving books as gifts because they are enjoyed throughout the year, and this is one of my favorites. While enjoying a friend’s bottle of out-of–state wine, renowned wine photographer Charles O’Rear and his wife, Daphne, were inspired to photograph America’s wineries. Eighteen months and 50,000 miles later, Wine Across America shows their journey, drinking in the passion and pride of winegrowers, winemakers and wine sippers from New England to California and everywhere in between. It features all the states, providing a spectacular photographic journey and uncovering the unique personality each region offers.
Fusion Wine Glasses ($40 to $70 for a four-glass set) It happens to even the best of us … wine-glass breakage. Maybe it’s from a stumble, a slip, an exuberant toast at a dinner party or a casual meal with family. Crash! Tiny shards of glass are everywhere. But maybe not anymore. Fusion wine glasses are made with European crystal and fused with super-strong magnesium, forming a durable, lightweight, graceful wine glass that is break-resistant. The glasses are made in many sizes and styles. The company claims a 10-year warranty against breakage and that the glass will not cloud or dull.
The Napa Style Venetian Tumbler (about $70 for a set of six) I must admit this is one of my favorite wine presents. We enjoyed them so much we have since given them as gifts and ordered several more sets. Many Old-World wines are best enjoyed not from a fancy wine glass but from a tumbler. The glasses are very delicate to the touch but can still withstand a toast. Each tumbler has a distinct design of raised dots or lines. Champagne flutes are also available.
Le Nez du Vin Aroma Kits ($100-$400) I was given the aroma kit as a gift from my husband and have used it for more than 10 years. The kits help to develop the sense of smell while creating a common language when describing wines. Each vial has a distinct aroma such as orange, strawberry, coffee, lemon and even earth. With the controlled exposure to specific scents, you learn a better range of descriptors common in wines from around the world. The kits range from a master kit to ones geared to red or white wines, wine faults and oak casks.