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2015 holiday wine gift guide

2015 holiday wine gift guide

Yes the Wine Sack is chic, but also ridiculously expensive.

This year’s holiday wine gift guide, despite my best efforts to find something incredibly silly, mostly sticks to the basics. And, as always, keep in mind that you ?re buying someone a gift they will like, and not something you think they should like because you know more about wine than they do. The 2015 holiday wine gift guide:

? Wine openers: Still don’t feel comfortable with a waiter’s corkscrew? The Vinomaster ($40) is a sturdier version of an old reliable, Metrokane’s Rabbit, and at more less the same price. I was impressed with how well put together it was, though it’s not quite as intuitive as the Rabbit. The Barvivo corkscrew ($15) is a nifty turn on the traditional waiter’s corkscrew, with a more flexible double hinge.

? Wine books: I would be remiss without mentioning Jon Thorsen’s “Reverse Wine Snob: How to buy and drink great wine” ($18), which follows up on the work he does on his Reverse Wine Snob website, regularly ranked among the top five most influential wine websites on the Internet. Also intriguing: “American Wine: A Coming-of-Age Story” ($30), by Tom Acitelli, which tries to tell the story of the U.S. wine business from the 1960s to today in English and not winespeak. It mostly succeeds, and has generated some criticism for its explanation of the growth — and popularity — of high alcohol wines.

? Wine: This is the year for something different, a wine made with grapes or from a region that you might not buy often (or at all). How about the Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling from Australia ($15, sample, 12.5%), a dry wine full of petrol and lemon? Or the Domaine Serol Les Originelles ($15, sample, 13.5%), a gamay from the Loire in France that is as fresh and intriguing as it is unusual?

? As silly as we’re getting: The ridiculously expensive Wine Sack ($70), which gives you a way to carry your box wine with you in a fashionable black carryall. The bladder inside the box that holds the wine slips inside the Wine Sack, and the bladder spout fits in an opening on the Wine Sack. Why ridiculously expensive? Because the point of box wine is how cheap it is, and do we really need an accessory for it that costs as much as 3 1/2 boxes? But it does look chic.

More about holiday wine gifts:
? Holiday wine gift guide 2014
? Holiday wine gift guide 2013
? Holiday wine gift guide 2012
? Expensive wine 79: North Star Merlot 2010

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Holiday wine gift guide 2014

Holiday wine gift guide

Silly yes, but who wouldn’t get a kick out of the High Heel Wine Bottle Caddy?

? Holiday wine trends 2014

If you go by my email, the hottest holiday wine gifts this year are accessories — every day has brought yet another news release with lots of exclamation points and breathless prose. But gadgets, as always, are not at the top of the Wine Curmudgeon’s recommendations. Because the math rarely works out: How many $100 accessories are worth 10 bottles of quality $10 wine? This year’s recommendations are after the jump: Continue reading

wine advice

Mother’s Day wine 2014

Mother's Day wine 2014Keep two things in mind when buying Mother ?s Day wine 2014. First, wine as a gift requirea a different apprioach than wine to drink with brunch. A heavy red wine with scrambled eggs, no matter how much Mom likes heavy red wine, may not be the best idea. Second, don’t forget our wine gift-giving guidelines ? ?Don ?t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like.

Hence these suggestions:

? Lamberti Vino Spumante NV ($14, sample, 11.5%): Surprisingly pleasant Italian sparkler at a not bad price with sweetish strawberry fruit, decent enough bubbles for spumante, and light body. The quintessential brunch wine.

? Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola Stemmari 2012 ($8, purchased, 13.5%): Solid red made with nero d’avola grape that speaks to how far Sicily has come. Five years ago, I would have raved about its sour cherry fruit and hints of dark herbs. Today, it seems simple, though it’s still a fine value and quite enjoyable.

? Jules Taylor Pinot Gris 2012 ($19, purchased, 13.5%): Another quality effort from one of my favorite New Zealand producers. Light and delicate white fruit, far removed from the fruit-forward style of the Pacific Northwest but just as interesting.

? Fowles Wine Stone Dwellers Riesling 2011 ($20, sample, $12.9%): Modern style of Australian riesling, with lots of candied lemon balanced by an almost bubbly acidity to make a medium dry wine. Very nicely done, if you don’t mind spending $20 on riesling. And you probably don’t for Mom.

More about Mother ?s Day wine:
? Mother ?s Day wine 2013
? Mother ?s Day wine 2012
? Expensive wine 62: Chamisal Chalifa Chardonnay 2011
? Wine of the week: Zenato San Benedetto 2012

Image courtesy of Cheeky Chicago, using a Creative Commons license

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Holiday wine gift guide 2013

The Wine Curmudgeon didn’t think there was a need for this year’s holiday gift guide. After all, what else could anyone want to give other than the cheap wine book?

But when I asked around, I was stunned to find out that this was not the case. The consensus: “Jeff, there are more things in the wine world than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

So, after the jump, gift suggestions, as well as the all-important gift guidelines: Continue reading

Winebits 259: Holiday gifts

Some suggestions from around the cyber-ether for wine-related holiday gifts:

? Less than $25: From the Reverse Wine Snob, who nicely mixes the practical — the always sensible Vacuvin gift set, which has shown up here in years past — with the silly. How about a life preserver for wine bottles?

? Less than $20: The legendary Sandy Silfven offers seven wines that provide quality and value, including a Tasca d ?Almerita nero d ?avola from Sicily, and we know how the Wine Curmudgeon feels about Sicilian wines. Best yet, she pairs the wines with holiday entrees.

? Not especially cheap at all: But anyone who ever watched the classic BBC comedy ?The Good Life ? will appreciate a Fortnum & Mason Christmas wine hamper. That ?s what Margo would have done, of course.

Holiday wine gift guide 2012

A few ideas for the wine drinkers on your list. Some general pointers:

? Don’t forget the wine gift-giving guidelines: “Don’t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them wine they will like.”

? The Champagne and sparkling wine glossary to make sense of cava and cremant and all the rest.

? Most gadgets never get used after the first couple of times. My rule of thumb: Is the gadget worth its price in quality $10 wine; that is, is a $40 gadget worth four bottles of wine?

Suggestions after the jump:

Continue reading

Holiday wine gift guide 2011 redux

Still stumped? Never fear. The Wine Curmudgeon has you covered:

? A wine club membership, which doesn’t have to be expensive and can offer the person on your list a chance to try wines they might not normally try. Wine club do’s and don’ts are here.

? Our annual holiday gift guide, which has links to several previous gift guides, as well as a link to the Wine Curmudgeon’s gift giving guidelines.

? The holiday wine category, which has links to all of the posts about holiday wine. And yes, it’s allowed to adapt a Thanksgiving wine for a Christmas or New Year’s gift.

? The expensive wine category, which has links to all of the posts and reviews about expensive wine. Because, frankly, if it’s an expensive wine that I liked, odds are that it would make a nice gift.