Holiday Gifts For The Uncommon Connoisseur
We all have ‘that’ friend; someone that exceeds the healthy boundaries of love for wine. With a cellar that seems to regenerate more quickly than bottles can be extracted and bookshelves buckling under the weight of volumes with titles that read more like an atlas than a book spine, this friend is the ultimate collector of all things related to the romantic and complex world of wine. Most certainly this collector has been inundated with decorative bottle stoppers, wine bags for travel, coffee table and bottles that are doomed to gather dust – in a bad way. Don’t let a gift for your wine lover wind up forgotten in a kitchen drawer! Listed below are three gift ideas that will delight the most studious or eclectic lover of wine in your life.
The Spirit of Christmas Past
There are few frustrations in the wine world greater than pulling a cherished bottle from your cellar to find that the cork is crumbling. The traditional tool to retrieve a crumbling cork is an ‘ah-so’, a two-pronged instrument. The dual prongs are meant to slide between the cork and the inside of the bottle, gently hugging the cork as you pull. However, this is often a test of dexterity and patience with older bottle. A normal corkscrew is right out as the downward pressure may further degrade the cork, potentially crumbling it into the bottle.
Enter the hybrid cork remover The Durand. Brilliantly designed to include both a helix corkscrew and a two-pronged ah-so, this is without question the key for collectors with older bottles. With The Durand, a stabilizer bar assists the helix corkscrew by resting across the opening of the bottle. The two-pronged ah-so is then gently inserted around the cork and pushed downward until the hand rests on top of the stabilizer bar. Using the added support of both systems allows for the removal of fragile cork from the bottle without crumbling or much manual dexterity. This tool is a literal lifesaver for rare, old and fine wines and is the tool most coveted by wine hosts around the world.
For more information or to purchase visit: Thedurand.com
Retail price: $125
The Spirit of Christmas Present
Following the ‘Somm’ movie craze, wine professionals and enthusiasts alike were inspired to hone their ‘blind tasting’ skills. Whether viewed as a unique sensory gift or the world’s most coveted party trick, the ability to identify a wines variety, origin and vintage simply by tasting is an impressive skill. Professional sommeliers rely on sensory cues including smell, touch, sight and taste to illustrate the story of the wine. However, when visual cues are removed from the tasting process, participants can struggle.
For the ultimate blind tasting test, the wine lover in your life needs the Riedel Sommeliers Blind Blind Tasting Glass. Each 13 ounce glass is made of opaque black blown crystal, obfuscating all visual cues and allowing the taster to rely on their other senses. More than just a test of skill, this glass can be a learning tool to help exercise your other senses without the aid of your eyes. At $79 per glass, this is the perfect gift for your loved ones with sommelier dreams.
For more information or to purchase visit: Riedel.com or Amazon.com search for Sommelier Blind Blind Tasting Glass
Retail price: $79-95
The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come
If only enjoying wine was as simple as listening to music – after one great song, press a button to get another great, yet totally different one. There are meals where the spicy, high alcohol and jammy notes of California Zinfandel may compliment one course and the elegant and nuanced beauty of a Burgundian Pinot Noir are perfect for the next. But committing full bottles surely means sacrificing some wine to oxidation, right? Not anymore! The wine lover in your life can pour a single glass from any bottle without pulling the cork and committing to a bottle in whole.
The Coravin is a wine preservation system that inserts a needle through the cork, allowing the juice to pour through a pressurized spout. Unwanted oxygen in the bottle is replaced with the inert gas Argon. The Argon allows the wine to remain unharmed by oxidation for weeks to months as opposed to the handful of days that uncorked wine degrades at. The system comes in wide range of styles and prices to fit the needs of every wine collector.
For more information or to purchase visit: Coravin.com, Amazon.com or wine retailers near you
Retail price: $199+ (gift model recommendation: Model One Essentials Gift $299)
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Gift memberships are available for the Re:Fill Growler Club. Sign the wine lover in your life for a unique club model that allows them one complimentary growler fill from the Re:Rooted wine tap system a month for 3 months. Members also recieve deep discounts on additional purchages and early access to events and classes. For more information visit Rerootedwine.com/wine-clubs
Open the bottle that you’ve been holding onto for a special occasion, eat every last cookie on the plate and always remember that wine brings us all closer…the naughty and the nice!