The time is here once again for the WINEormous Holiday Gift Guide. The 2018 edition is here with lots of wonderful ideas to please the pickiest food and wine lover on your list.
Who doesn’t love bubbles at the holidays? We have plenty of recommendations! Martini & Rossi‘s Collezione Speciale Prosecco and Speciale Asti are lovely gifts, packaged in an elegant box in glittering cut glass bottles. They have been producing sparkling wines for decades and both retail for about $25. How about gifting a bottle of Martini & Rossi Prosecco and Asti with a pair of Riedel Veritas Champagne glasses. The glasses retail for about $35 each and the bubbles sell for around $10.
Riedel Varietal Specific wine glasses make wonderful gifts. If you ever get the chance to attend a Riedel demonstration, I urge you to do so. You’ll taste wine in a regular wine glass, called the joker, and then in a Riedel glass designed specifically for the grape variety you’re drinking. I’ve seen many a skeptic get their minds blown. The difference is remarkable. The Riedel Performance Riesling glasses retail for $59 a pair.
A gift membership to the International Wine of the Month Club is sure to delight! All wines are estate bottled and carefully selected by a team led by Don Lehay who brings 40 years experience as a wine educator, syndicated columnist and wine importer to the table. Not only can you gift wine club memberships, there are also beer, cheese, chocolate, cigar and flowers clubs with various levels to choose from to fit most any budget. (Editor’s note – A sample pack of cheese and cigars are enroute. I will post when they arrive)
Another way to drink your beverage of choice is with a 14 ounce Diamond White wine glass from Swig Life. It’s dishwasher-safe, has a non-skid silicone base, is double walled and vacuum sealed and will keep beverages cold for nine hours or warm for three hours. Swig Life glasses come in a variety of colors and styles. The 14-ounce glass retails for $25.95.
I’ve selected several wines to recommend for a perfect gift this year. Jordan Winery‘s 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a winner. Jordan Chardonnay dates back to 1979. Aged in French oak, it boasts stone-fruit flavors, balance, bracing acidity and a long finish. Expect to pay around $33.
If you prefer Napa, Stags’ Leap is always a good choice. The 2016 Napa Valley Chardonnay is gently whole-cluster pressed and comes from the cooler regions of the southern Napa Valley. 25% is fermented in stainless steel, another 25% in new French oak and the remainder is aged in seasoned French oak. The wine is smooth and well-balanced and sells for $30. You’re gifting history in the glass as the winery’s first vintage was 1893.
If you have someone on your list who thirsts for knowledge, how about the Wine for Dummies book? Contrary to its title, it’s not a dumbed-down guide to wine. Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan have written a comprehensive guide to wine that includes wine regions around the world. pairing wine with food and ordering wine in a restaurant to name just a few. Now in its 7th edition, it retails for $24.95.
Going back to bubbles, Champagne is always a good gift choice. Moët & Chandon is one of the most prestigious names in Champagne. Their Nectar Imperial rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, it’s a beautiful salmon color. With tropical fruits and stone fruits on the nose, it offers pineapple and mango on the palate and is an ideal match for spicy foods or blue-veined cheeses. Expect to pay between $45 and $50.
If you want yet more bubbly options, there’s Mionetto, established in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto. I have two offerings for you: the Luxury Cartizze DOCG and the Prosecco DOC. The Luxury Cartizze comes in a beautiful, etched bottle and is a golden color with apples and pear on the nose and is soft and creamy on the palate. The Prosecco is made with certified organic Ghlera grapes. It offers green apple on the nose and is crisp and refreshing on the palate. The Luxury Cartizze sells for about $16 and the Prosecco DOC goes for about $10.
Big Betty always puts a smile on my face. This year she offers an extra large XL Champagne flute, which holds an entire 750 ml bottle and the Pinot Protector which you can think of like a wine condom. The flute looks just like a Champagne flute, except much larger. The Pinot Protectors come foil-wrapped in a box of six with the warning “If you’re small enough to use this on yourself: Don’t.” They make an air tight seal on an open wine bottle and they’re reusable. $13.99 a six-pack. The flute sells for $14.99 and both are available from Amazon.
If you haven’t ventured into the world of international wines, I have some unique ideas for you, starting with the wines of Gaillac. The region has southwest France’s oldest vineyards. The 7,000 acres of vines have both Mediterranean and maritime influences. Gaillac wines ranges from white to red to rosé, sweet to dry and sparkling. These are excellent wines at a great value, ranging between $10 and $20 a bottle.
Look for part two of the 2018 holiday gift guide in the next day or so. Cheers!
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. WINEormous is the recipient of the Luxury Travel Guide’s Wine Tour Operator of the Year award for Temecula 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the Lux Life Mag Best Customised Wine Tour Operator Temecula for 2019. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.