Holiday wine gifts for high-maintanence wine lovers

Deck the halls with Kracher, Lohr and Gruet, fa,la,la,la,la,la. (photo-Hiroshi Shoji)

Wine lovers aren’t easy to please when buying holiday gifts.  Their friends and loved ones live in terror that they will buy the wrong wine or the wrong vintage, upsetting the sensitivities of the demanding ‘connoisseur’.  So instead of wine, why not give something wine-related to satisfy a high maintenance wine geek.

Recently, I spied a visiting French wine maker wearing a tie sprinkled with frolicking images of bulldogs, grapes, wine glasses, wine bottles and the letters ‘RP100’.   Ah, the perfect gift for males who only drink wines rated 90 points and above by the world’s most influential wine critic, Robert Parker. Available at Parker’s website, the description says that 100% of the proceeds from tie sales goes to The Wine Advocate Fund of Philanthropy to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the AppleTree Institute.

Who says that wine lovers lack a sense of humor?   In “John Cleese’s Wine for the Confused” DVD, John Cleese, of ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ fame, wittily, but gently guides beginner wine lovers through the endless maze of grapes, regions and wine brands.
A wine enthusiasts must-see is Jonathan Nossiter’s long, long movie ‘Mondovino’. A fascinating and eye-opening series of interviews with of some of the international wine world’s main players, several who dig their own graves with their tongues.  Advanced warning, Nossiter speaks 7-8 languages fluently in the movie, so get a DVD with sub-titles you can read. It is also a good idea to split the movie into 40 minute segments, spread over a couple of nights.
For impatient wine buffs who can’t wait 30-50 minutes for white or sparkling wine to chill, there is a wide range of electric wine chillers. Some look like standing wine coolers, while others are horizontal.  Wine buffs obsessed with correct temperatures might fancy an Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting Wine Thermometer. Impressive for whipping out at a wine shop or restaurant to laser your about-to-be-purchased wine checking if it has been kept at the correct temperature.
Wine people who love games are in luck, as suddenly there is an explosion in wine tasting party games. Even a ‘Murder Mystery Party – A Taste for Wine and Murder’, a who-dun-it dinner party complete with instructions of pre-dinner shopping, secret clues and a murder to solve.
Wine traditionalists, snug in their beds, dreaming of joining a burgundy-colored, velvet-robed European wine tasting society might want the gangsta rapper Bling of a Silver Tastevin dangling from a chunky chain.  Used in French wine cellars to taste wine from the barrels, the tastevin’s shallow, silver saucer’s dimpled surface reflects a wine’s color by candlelight.  Being made from silver instead of glass insures no shattered shards flying through the air if it hits the stone floor of a wine cave.
Another traditionalist must-have is the antique-patterned Hanging Cork Bottle Accessory. Hung like a necklace around the neck of a wine bottle or a decanter, a silver plated chain links two silver grape clusters proudly clasping a cork like a crown jewel.
However, if you feel brave and do give wine, give something unique, bold and luscious, and definitely a cut above the rest. Our survey for December is, ‘What is your favorite Holiday wine?’
1998 Kracher from Austria (photo-Sandra Shoji)

 

(Copyright 2010, 2011-Sandra Shoji, ”サンドラ ショージ” )

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