Some holiday gift ideas for the wine-lovers on your list.
By Louis Marmon
Gazette Newspapers December 2, 2009
Holiday gift suggestions for wine-lovers can range from the functional to the extravagant. Glassware is always appreciated and the lightest stemware I have ever used is from the Ravenscroft Crystal “Invisibles Collection.” Nearly weightless, these hand-blown lead-free crystal glasses come in a variety of shapes to enhance the flavors found in specific varietals. The web site (www.ravenscroftcrystal.com) also contains other gift ideas such as wine accessories, decanters and glassware specific for spirits.
Other stemware gift options are the hand-painted decorative Designs by Lolita glassware. There are patterns for nearly every holiday, occasion and personality including birthdays, weddings, divorce, flirts and “red hot mamas” (www.thelolitastore.com). Martini and margarita glasses feature a drink recipe on the base, and each glass comes individually packaged in a matching box.
Karen MacNeil’s “Wine Bible” is one of the finest wine books published in the past several years. The easy-to-read reference book that avoids jargon while remaining comprehensive includes chapters explaining fundamentals like “What Makes Great Wine Great” and “Tasting Wine Like a Professional” along with sections on most of the world’s major wine producing regions. Another excellent book is Natalie Maclean’s “Red, White and Drunk All Over,” a thoroughly engaging and entertaining tour through the world of wine. She writes with a perfect blend of enthusiasm, knowledge and humor about her journey from vineyards to bottles and beyond. Along the way, she shares what it is like to work in the wine trade and offers tips on issues like wine storage (www.nataliemaclean.com).
A self-proclaimed “bubbly girl,” Maria Hunt’s love of Champagne and other sparklers inspired “The Bubbly Bar,” her collection of cocktail recipes based on sparkling wines. Beginning with the essentials needed to make a good bar drink, she leads readers through the classic cocktails like Champagne Cocktail and Kir Royale to variations such as “Bubbletinis,” “Fruitful Fizz” and “Happy Endings” designed for dessert. Written for all levels of expertise and illustrated with striking photography, it would be welcomed by any sparkling wine-lover.
Tesseron Cognacs are bottled in “lots,” which indicate the average age of cognac combined into that particular blend from its library of reserve stock. A perfect way to experience these outstanding cognacs is by purchasing a gift collection containing four miniature bottles of lots 90, 76, 53 and 29.
Many wine-lovers also would enjoy a bottle of single malt whisky. The Macallan 17 year Fine Oak is aged in a combination of ex-sherry American oak and French oak barrels along with ex-bourbon American oak barrels. Some other excellent bottles recently tasted include The Balvenie 17 year old Madiera Cask, Japan’s Suntory Yamazaki 18 year old and New Zealand’s Milford 10 year old. The Classic Cask 35 year old Rare is simply gorgeous, but for a less expensive option, consider The Glenrothes 1991 or The Dalmore 15 year old.
The Bordeaux Wine Tour is the ultimate gift, a wine-lover’s dream vacation that includes accommodations on the grounds of the beautiful Chateaux Coulon Laurensac and guided private tours with tastings at first-growth Bordeaux properties (www.Bxwinex.com).