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:
As always, remember that you’re buying someone a gift they will like, and not something you think they should like because you know better or are smarter or a better person.
? Books: This has been a particularly wine geeky year for books. Even though many are well done, they’re so specific — natural wines and Brunello, for example — that they aren’t going to appeal to most of us. Fortunately, there is Tom Stevenson’s “Buy the Right Wine Every Time,” which takes wine guides in a direction they’ve never been. It’s the complement to the cheap wine book — hundreds of recommendations of quality inexpensive wine by one of Britain’s top wine critics, and someone who never used to bother with cheap wine.
? Wine: This year, think geographically. If the gift is for someone who likes California merlot, for instance, consider buying them merlot from France or Washington state in the same price range. This can be a lot of fun with chardonnay, since it’s produced in almost all of the world’s wine regions and each region’s chardonnay tastes a little different. In this, you don’t have to spend a lot of money — three or four $10 bottles will do the trick. If you’re lucky, the person who got the gift will ask you over to do a tasting.
? Something different: This seems like an odd choice for someone who dislikes gadgets, but there’s something about the High Heel Wine Bottle Caddy ($20) that strikes me as worth buying. The leopard spots, perhaps? And it also comes in black croc and sequin red. Or cheap wine as a fashion statement?
? Maybe even a decanter? I’ve gone around and around on this, since most of the wine I drink doesn’t require decanting (and I didn’t buy the two decanters I own). But the retailers I talked to this season said the only accessory they recommend is a decanter, and the Enoteca Classico ($17) fits the bill. It’s inexpensive, has a wide enough mouth to reduce the chances of spilling, and has a wide enough base to allow the wine to decant. Yes, it’s difficult to clean, but most decanters are. And since it does cost so little, you can use it for a weeknight bottle of $10 Hall of Fame wine and feel like you’re one of those people with a lifetime subscription to the Wine Spectator.
More about holiday wine gifts:
? Holiday wine gift guide 2013
? Holiday wine gift guide 2012
? Holiday wine gift guide 2011
? Expensive wine 61: Adelsheim Elizabeth ?s Reserve Pinot Noir 2011