Sunday, 29 November 2015

The wine lover’s gift guide

Who doesn’t love wine, or knows someone who loves wine, or is sitting right now next to someone who loves wine? 

There are, of course, different types of wine lover.  There’s the ‘I love what I like’ wine lover – like me – who doesn’t know a huge amount but recognises something good when it appears. 

There’s the ‘I know what I like’ wine lover, who knows quite a lot and frequently manages to lay their hands on something superb which cost less than you’d think, and a few bottles of something really special. 

And finally there’s the ‘I know exactly what I like and I’m going to tell you all about it’, otherwise known as the wine bore.  I wouldn’t try gift buying for this one – you are fatally bound to get it wrong.

Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine Guide 2016Le Creuset Active Ball self pulling corkscrewAlessi limited edition corkscrewLe Creuset waiters friendAtelier du Vin Developer 2 wine aerator
Buying gifts for wine lovers is the same as every other area, find something clever, decorative and useful that they’re going to want to use immediately.  On the whole don’t spend a fortune, you may be trying to be too clever, but who can have too many – good – corkscrews?  Who doesn’t need a copy of Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book each year?  Who wouldn’t love to be signed up to the pro version of Wine-Searcher so when they fall in love with a new wine in a restaurant they can track it down in a flash?
Coravin 1000 wine systemVinturi red wine aeratorGeorg Jensen wine stopper and pourerSommelier Gift SetChateau Musar Gaston Hochar, Bekaa Valley, LebanonThe World Atlas of WineAlessi Ice BucketRiedel wine glassesWine Searcher Pro Version SubscriptionRiedel Amadeo Decanter
There are a couple of quite special gift ideas here – tried and tested.  Riedel’s Amadeo decanter is beautiful and very clever – a wine talking point.  It is a pain to clean – best to use kitchen towel - and you have to be very careful, but it’ll decorate your kitchen or sitting room as long as you have it.  It’s to be used as well, not just decorative. 

Then there’s the one bottle I’ve included, an unusual Cabernet Sauvignon Chateau Musar from Lebanon which is a favourite in my house.  This is sometimes easy sometimes hard to track down but always very good, not unreasonable and another talking point if given to someone who likes rare finds.  Less expensive than probably my No 1 favourite – Roar Pinot Noir, which you can find using Wine Searcher in the US but not right now in the UK.
Le Creuset wine accessoris cooler sleeveLe Creuset Vitesse Carafe systemWine bottle thermometerVinnebago thermal flask for winewooden wine rack
Finally there’s the Vinturi wine aerator.  This is not a gimmick although some wine experts may sniff at it.  But it really works.  Straight out of the bottle into your glass in perfect form.

Wine glasses are difficult.   Riedel are perfect to drink from and much loved by wine experts.  If you’re giving glasses to someone who really loves their wine don’t be tempted to give coloured glass.  They’ll definitely sniff at that.