Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For the Wino on Your List

For anyone who is wondering what to get the wine lover on their list this holiday season, for anyone who is going to ask me the same question over and over again - what should I get the wine lover on my holiday list this year - and for anyone who is thinking of asking me or anyone else what to get the wine lover on their holiday list this season, the answer is very simple... In fact, you have already answered it.

If the questions was, "what should I get the wine-trinket lover this holiday season" or "what should I get the person who loves wine-themed kitchenware this holiday season," the answer may be different. However, I speak for all wine enthusiasts when I say what all wine lovers really want for Christmas is wine.

Yes, that $60 vacu-suck/pump wine opener is neat, but if the person has become the "wine-lover" on your holiday list, they already know how to open the bottle. Similarly, the wine-lover on your list doesn't need a cheap wire frame that is shaped like a wine bottle for their corks, silicon replacement corks that look like Star Wars characters, charms to distinguish wine glasses from one another, a necktie with wine names and labels on them or even bedazzled wine glasses.

All of these purchases seem like a great idea after two or three different wine tastings. That is why every winery on the planet stocks them. But all these gifts, while well-intended, won't be as appreciated and may not even go to use. I have a good-sized box of wine accessories that I have been given over the years tucked away in a closet. I doubt I am alone.

Unless the wine-lover/wino on your list has specifically asked for a new corkscrew, bedazzled wine glasses for special occasions or any number of other wine-related items, get them wine. It will be much more appreciated than any sort of wine-related gift could be.

"But I don't know anything about wine," is a common reply when I tell people to forgo the gimmicks and just give the wine-lover on their list wine. To that, let me just say that it doesn't really matter. It's the thought that counts. If you aren't a wine lover, you aren't expected to be one. Nor are you expected to shell out more than you are comfortable with to get an exclusive wine.

One of the great things about the current state of the wine industry is you can get really good, interesting bottles at just about any price range. I have sung the praises of Chilean Merlot in a previous post. You can get really good bottles of the stuff for under $10. If you are looking to spend a bit more, there are plenty of options under $20, under $30, under $40... You get the point. What's even better, if you are shopping for a wine-lover and know nothing about wine, staff at whichever wine store you go to will be happy to help you.

The few suggestions I would give is stay away from wines with cartoon animals on the label, and during colder months, more people drink reds than whites. Sparkling wines are always a good alternative - and given the growth in cavas from Spain and some really good domestic brands - sparkling wine does not need to be a bank-breaking gift, either.

If you choose to go with the tried and true, Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Barolo from Italy, the famed wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy or the Rhone are always great go-tos.

If you want to get your wine-lover something from an less well-known appellation, try Pinot Noir from Oregon, Carmenere from Chile, Malbec/Merlot blends from Argentina, Pinotage from South Africa or Petit Verdot from Virginia.

Whatever you get for the wine-lover on your list, they will appreciate it. It's always easier to find space for another bottle of wine than it is to cram yet another trinket into a box of wine-related gifts of Christmas past.

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