For those who are puzzled over what to get the wine enthusiasts on their shopping lists this year, fear not. I’ve assembled an array of gifts I can assure will make almost any wine lover happy, since I wouldn’t mind seeing any of ’em under my own tree.
Reluctant Trading wine bags
These handsome canvas totes make for easy stocking stuffers and will be stylish accessories when popping over to a friend’s place for dinner. Inexpensive enough to gift along with a bottle for your host, yet sharp enough to keep for yourself.
The New Wine Rules
(from $11.38, Amazon)
From the renowned American wine writer Jon Bonné—who is currently a senior contributing editor at Punch magazine—comes this book subtitled A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know that covers the basics of wine without being the least bit patronizing or dry. New rules, which come with tidy philosophies tacked along with them, include why a good wine-store employee should be your best friend and doing away with a search for the “best” wines in favour of hunting down “good” ones.
Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Reserve Brut 2009
($39.90, Blue Mountain Winery)
Sparkling wines make everyone happy, so gems like Blue Mountain’s ’09 Reserve Brut should easily fill recipients with glee. This Champagne-style, traditional-method blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir rested in the winery’s cellar on the post-second-fermentation lees until August 2016, when it was disgorged and aged one more year before its recent release.
All of that time in close contact with the spent yeast makes for a very creamy mouthfeel and plenty of freshly-baked-sourdough notes to go along with its elements of lemon curd and orange marmalade. It’s one of my favourite British Columbian wines I’ve tasted this year; hopefully, whomever you gift this to will be keen to share. It is also available locally in private wine stores.
Alessi Red-Wine Glasses
($40, Vancouver Special)
Most of the time when imbibing at home, I opt for stemless glasses. Any concern about hands on a glass’s bowl warming white wine too quickly are alleviated by my not exactly sipping said wine too slowly. Such glasses are casual and fun, and breakage is way less likely when there isn’t a stem involved.
These Jasper Morrison–designed Italian glasses are quite attractive while carrying enough width and depth to get a good swirl on. Pick these up as a set of four at Vancouver Special (3612 Main Street), where you can also find white-wine and water glasses as part of the series.
Champagne boxed book-and-map set
(from $48.97, Amazon)
Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region is a sophisticated boxed set of Peter Liem’s tome and regional maps—and a must for any Champagne fan in your life. The book has in-depth profiles of the place, the wines, and the people behind them; it comes with gorgeous photography; and it is destined to be a great conversation piece when spotted on any coffee table or shelf.
Looking to add a bottle of the stuff? You could do much worse than Pierre Paillard’s Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru ($56.99, B.C. Liquor Stores), a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made entirely from estate fruit and coming in at a great price.
Zalto Carafe No. 75
($89.99, New District)
There are plenty of whimsically shaped decanters on the market, but my money is on those offering both simplicity and elegance. They do just as good a job; simply slowly ease the wine from bottle to decanter, give it a good swish around, and you’re set. There’s no need to keep it tucked away in the back of a cupboard; this broad-shouldered Zalto edition looks so smart it deserves to be shown off.
Tuscan wine study tour
(US$4,295, Wine Scholar Guild)
I get it. This suggestion isn’t for regular gift-giving, but there are some out there who splurge big-time around the holidays, right? C’mon: how awesome and memorable would your Christmas be if you received this six-day wine-study tour in May 2018 in Tuscany with master of wine Jane Hunt? In addition to visiting iconic producers like Ornellaia e Masseto (formerly Tenuta dell’Ornellaia) and Tenuta Tignanello and destination regions like Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico, indulge in local gastronomy, snooze in four-star hotels, and soak up the sun.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out the Georgia Straight's 2017 holiday gift guide here.