Monday, December 16, 2013

Wine Lovers Gift Ideas a Conversation on Minstrel & Muse Audio Art Magazine

Minstrel & Muse Audio Art Magazine.

What could be finer than unwrapping the gift of wine?

I was happy to be invited back to Minstrel and Muse - Audio Art Magazine, to talk about wine gifts. With only 9 days until Christmas these are becoming last minute gift ideas. I've provided links to some of the products we discussed today. I'm coming off of a cold, so I apologize if I was a little fuzzy. We touched on many of the subjects listed. I hope this helps you in selecting the perfect gift.

Here's the link to the audio program. Enjoy!

There are so many wines now available to the consumer that I find it difficult to choose. When I go wine shopping I seldom purchase the same wine twice. There are just too many temptations. So, when I receive the gift of wine, that difficult part of choosing is removed. Instead I have the anticipation of the reveal. Ripping away the wrapping paper I have the joy of discovery; vintage, varietal, region and country. Some wine gifts will be tenderly tucked away into a temperature controlled environment, others promptly placed in the fridge to chill and possibly one to open that same day.

For me wine has an inestimable quality, that does not mean it has to be expensive. When choosing a wine gift for someone, it helps to know what they like. That being stated, a suitable wine gift does not have to be a bottle of wine to be appreciated.







Gifts for those New to Wine

Wine Glasses: A good set of wine glasses is invaluable to the appreciation of wine. I proved this to myself when I evaluated 5 different glasses. If your intended gift receiver is using heavy, out of balance, inappropriate wine glasses, buy them a set of quality wine glasses. I like the Riedel glasses. The Riedel Overture Red Wine Glasses are flexible enough for both red and white wines. It will increase their appreciation of wine and limit the spilling when swirling the wine in their glass.
Riedel Ouverture Magnum Red Wine Glass, Set of 6 plus 2 Bonus Glasses

Waiter's Corkscrew: A good stocking stuffer is a decent corkscrew. Also referred to as a waiters key, you'll want to select my favorite double-hinged corkscrew. They are inexpensive and make the process of pulling a cork out of the bottle a non-issue. A gift that will be used many times.
Pulltap's Professional Double-hinged Waiter's Corkscrew with Pulltap's Logo.

Aerator: Vinturi wine aerator. This little gadget makes a difference in the flavor of red wines. If you don't have the time to decant your wine, then Vinturi your wine.
Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator

Wine Folly Wine Posters: Colorful, informative and affordable. They are on my list.
Basic Guide to Wine Poster
120 Wine Descriptors Infographic Poster
The Color of Wine Chart

Books on Wine

If your budding oenophile is voracious about everything wine, then buy them books on wine.

For those new to the concepts of the proper manner of serving, storing, and drinking wine then I recommend the Dummies guide to wine. It covers most of the pertinent need to know subjects and prepares you for most social situations involving wine.
Wine For Dummies

Another book I recommend is the Wine Bible. The Wine Bible is broken into countries, hitting all of the major wine producers and most of the minor ones.
The Wine Bible

For those interested in learning about Washington wine and wineries, then the must have book is Paul Gregutts, "Washington Wines and Wineries: The Essential Guide."
Washington Wines and Wineries: The Essential Guide

A book on my wish list is "The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste." By Jon Bonné. "A guide to the must-know wines and producers of California's "new generation," and the story of the iconoclastic young winemakers who have changed the face of California viniculture in recent years."
The New California Wine: A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste

Also on my list, for the serious wine reader, is the World Atlas of Wine, 7th edition. By Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson,"...the most essential and authoritative wine reference work. Reflecting the changing nature of the wine scene, the Atlas details developments in climate, technique and fashion as well as new regulations made over the last six years."
The World Atlas of Wine

International Wine of the Month Club shipment.
Wine Clubs

If you know that your gift receiver is a fan of a particular winery - you could consider giving them the gift of a wine club membership. Many wineries provide multiple shipments of wine to their wine club members. You will likely have to select either a Red Wine, White Wine, Reserve Wine, or Mixed Wine club membership. This can be tricky to do, since most clubs auto-renew each year. Call the winery first to discuss options.

One of the clubs I sampled and reviewed this year was the "International Wine of the Month Club." Every month members receive two Estate bottled wines. You can choose either 2 red, 2 whites or 1 of each every month. Included with each shipment are Cellar Notes, detailed wine profiles with comprehensive tasting notes, detailed vineyard histories and suggested food pairings. A fun way to taste, learn and appreciate wine. I also like the club because they are part of MonthlyClubs.com.

Gourmet Chocolate of the Month Club shipment.
Gourmet Cheese of the Month Club shipment.
Pinconning, Roncal and Bourdin Goat cheese.
MonthlyClubs.com also offers Beer, Cigar, Cheese, Chocolate and a Design your own club. The Design your own club allows you to ship or skip in any given month, you determine the schedule and product combinations; Beer one month, Wine the next, skip a month then Cigars, Chocolate and perhaps Cheese in November. A word of warning - I was out of the office Friday because of my cold, so I was not there to pickup my cheese shipment. The cheese spent the weekend in the warm office, so was not in great condition today, Monday, when I took it home. The chocolate truffles were absolutely fine - yum - Swiss Amaretto truffle. Raspberry truffle delectable too.


Mixed Case of Wine

World Traveler: You could put together an international case for the fan of world travel. Choose bottles from Chile, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Greece and any other gems you find. They can travel the world of wine at home.

Pinot Lover: If your gift receiver loves Pinot Noir, then put together a collection of Pinot from California, Oregon, New Zealand and France. Quite the sampler pack and they will be very grateful.

Washington Wine Fans: Of course my recommendation includes a mixed case of wines from Washington State. Share gems from some of the founders of the Washington wine industry, include bottles from: Chateau St. Michelle, Barnard Griffin, Leonetti Cellars, Hogue Cellars, Woodward Canyon, L'Ecole No. 41, Bookwalter, Claar Cellars, Bonair, Kiona, Badger Mountain/Powers winery and Hedges winery.

A Proper Wine Gift does not have to be Expensive

I received a unexpected bottle of red wine from a friend last year. A bottle you can find on sale for about $11 - $13. It was a wine I had not purchased before. I was not sure what to expect, but found it to be very tasty and truly I enjoyed it. It was so good I bought more, reviewed it and found that many now consider it their favorite house wine. I'm now a fan of that winery. Because of that one bottle of wine. << link to post if you did not notice that it is a link.

Thank you for reading and listening. And special thanks to Minstrel and Muse for inviting me back.

Here's the link to the audio program if you missed it above. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Cheers!