Best wine gifts of 2012
We’re down to the wire. One a few days left of holiday shopping, and you still have that one person on your list. It’s the wine lover. You know the one, always bringing incredible wines to your house just to share and enjoy. The one that jumps up from the dinner table shouting “Wait! I have the perfect wine to go with this dish!” while they sprint to the basement leaving guests holding their forks frozen in mid-air. You know who we’re talking about!
So to help you out, here is The Wine Company’s list of top gifts for the wine lover in your life. Any of these gifts will bring a smile, a pause, and a hearty thank you from any lover of the vine.
Good stemware is essential to enjoyment of wine (and that wine can be fine wine or daily juice). We’ll be writing and showing more about stemware in the upcoming months, but for now here is the analogy that seems to resonate with people the most (and it’s 100% accurate): stemware is simply a delivery system for the senses. It’s a way of carrying the aromas and flavors in such a way as to give maximum pleasure. This is the same purpose as a stereo speaker. You can have the best music playing on a top level turntable, piped through an expensive Yamaha amplifier, carried through Monster cables. But, if the speaker is poor quality, the sound is pour quality. The speaker, like the wine glass, is just a delivery system for the senses.
The best all purpose Riedel stem is the Overture Magnum. This is our go-to glass at the office for dinners and events. It simply does a great all-purpose job for a wide variety of wines. If you want to step up to the next level, look for the Riedel Vinum line of stemware, which is made with specific varietals in mind.
You can find the Overture and Vinum lines at fine wine shops throughout the state. Note: these are different than the stems from Riedel sold at big box stores; the Overture and Vinum lines are higher quality and will give you better results in the end.
If you want buy a special somebody a special bottle (in the $45 to $100 range), seek out Grower Champagne. We’ve been writing quite a bit about this category lately, mainly because we can’t contain our enthusiasm (nor can The Heavy Table in their article about Grower Champagne). As a gift, it’s perfect: distinctive, delicious, and comes with a good story. Check out our posts on Gaston Chiquet and Gimonnet for lists of who has these wines.
A GOOD WINE BOOK
This has been a great year for wine books, and here are our three favorites for the wine lover in your life (note: the Amazon links are non-affiliate links).
A Vineyard in Napa, by Doug Shafer
“We all have our unique stories as to how we came to the Napa Valleyand chose to call it home. But the Shafer family history is a truly compelling tale and their journey is equally as inspiring. One doesn’t have to be a wine connoisseur to appreciate John Shafer’s story. His son Doug makes it clear why Shafer Vineyards has become one of the iconic wineries in the Valley–and in the world–today.” -Thomas Keller
Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, by Jancis Robinson
This gigantic tome, recently released, has been the most anticipated wine book in years. A decade of research went into the history and genetic makeup of over 1000 vines, and the results are presented in an amazingly beautiful style. At $110, it’s one of the more expensive options on this list, but for a wine lover this is the gift of the year. Called by The Guardian “A fantastic Christmas present for any wine geek, and one that will provide an endless source of fiendish questions for quiz-setters.”
How To Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto, by Eric Asimov
The New York Times wine critic has produced an elegant volume of wine memories, sure to help idle away the upcoming winter weekends for many wine lovers.
“Eric Asimov sees through the snobby froth of 100-point scores and tutti-frutti tasting notes to the realities of wine, ‘staple grocery and occasional star,’ as he calls it. How to become America’s most trusted wine critic? Read it here.” (Hugh Johnson )
“In his highly personal, utterly unpretentious book, Asimov makes clear that the most important thing about wine is enjoyment. Any deeper understanding–and for him food, culture, farming, and more count for a lot–depends on it.” (Ed Behr )
SANTA WINE PANTS (pictured above)
Okay, so maybe not the equivalent of Grower Chamapagne, Riedel Stemware, or Jancis Robinson’s book, but if you are heading to a friend’s house for some holiday cheer, who can resist this? Totally cool and amazingly affordable. You can buy them through an outfit called HomeWetBar.com.
We hope our little list helps your in your shopping. If you are looking for any of our wines in particular, be sure to contact us and we can let you know where in Minnesota you can find them.