2009 ~ No. 12
Holiday Gift Guide
For the wine lover or the experience seeker, the hard-to-please
or the hard-to-buy-for, there is something for everyone in
this gift guide. I have tried to find items that are unique,
inspiring or just plain fun. Use it wisely, and happy shopping!
Giving someone a bottle of wine and box of chocolates is so
old-school. Try a chocolate-dipped bottle of wine instead!
Goosecross Cellars in Napa Valley wraps a bottle of their
cabernet in cellophane then dips it in a half pound of milk
or dark chocolate. A second layer of festive wrapping completes
the package. Recipients break the chocolate by removing the
inner wrap from the neck down, then uncork the wine and enjoy.
or by calling 800-276-9210. $60
The Hands-On Experience
Ever wanted to harvest grapes or work a crush? King
Ferry Winery, maker of Treleaven Wines in King Ferry,
New York offers “working tours” for groups of
up to six people. These special tours are available throughout
the year and offer a chance to get up close and personal with
the winemaking process. This experience includes a personal
tasting with the winemaker, owner or tasting room manager.
Call 315-364-5100 or 1-800-439-5271 to schedule. $250
Get a really close up view of your favorite wine with a microscopic
portrait of Chablis (pictured), Champagne or red or rose wine.
BevsShots blends art and alcohol by using a high-powered microscope
to photograph images of wine, spirits and beer. The resulting
modern art is placed on canvas or gallery-grade paper. Order
$19.99 for photographic prints; $49-549 for fine art.
Get It In Writing
Turn an ordinary bottle of wine into an extraordinary gift
with a simple signature. David Stevens of 750
Wines in St. Helena has great relationships with some
of Napa’s most sought-after artisan winemakers and wineries
– and persuades them to sign bottles for his customers!
Availability (at press time) includes a gift set of the 2007
Robert Foley Vineyards Claret, the 2007 Hourglass Blueline
Cabernet and the 2007 Switchback Ridge Merlot crafted by winemaker
Bob Foley. Have a special request? Just ask! Call 707-963-0750
to place an order. Prices start at $300.
If your idea of a wine rack involves squares, think
again. Designed by Gideon Dagan, these racks are interesting
on their own and a modern sculpture when snapped together
(see photo.) Made of injection molded transparent ABS polymer,
each unit holds 9 bottles. Each individual rack measures 19"
l x 19" w x 8.5" and comes in orange or amber. Available
24 or by calling 888-806-2424. $75
Wine Barrel Cuff Links are crafted with wood taken from actual
wine barrels used at premier wineries in Napa and Sonoma.
Rustic and naturally hued from the wine it once held, the
wood is set in sterling silver. Available online.
Wine and perfume don’t usually go together – but
in this case, they are nearly the same thing. Salud Scent
Studio has created a line of perfumes that echo the aromas
of wine. Fragrances include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot
and Syrah. Order online.
$22 to $34 per bottle
Well-Dressed Wine is Wearing
The Aspen Wine Chiller is hand-crafted from stoneware clay
and designed to resemble the trunk of an aspen or birch tree.
It is perfectly sized to hold a bottle of wine and enough
ice to keep it cool as you sip! Order online.
For the Person Who Has Almost Everything
in Healdsberg offers the wine lover’s fantasy tour.
This package for four begins with a helicopter tour of the
vineyard and Sonoma’s Pacific coast. Once you’re
back on the ground, one of StoneStreet’s wine educators
leads a tasting of the estate’s single vineyard wines,
comparing and contrasting flavors and nuances. Call the winery
at (800) 355-8008 at least two weeks in advance to book this
For the Person Who REALLY Has Everything
Go off the beaten path and head to the wilds of Scotland for
your own bottle of bespoke Scotch. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime
experience at The Dalmore,
where Master Distiller Richard Patterson will personally blend
a bottle of Scotch based on your personality, tastes and preferences.
The Scotch comes in a hand-crafted case, and this extravagant
holiday for two includes four nights in Scotland, first-class
airfare and transfers, city and country tour, private barrel
tasting of resting casks, and a day of falconry with Mr. Paterson.
Contact Laura Baddish at 212-221-7611 x304 to arrange. $85,000
Art and wine become one thanks to artist Robin Antar, who
created the Wine Knot. It stands on its own as a work of art,
or holds two bottles of wine at the ready. The first sculpture
was hand-carved from a solid piece of stone; a cast was made
and used to create resin versions. It measures 16”h
x 11” w x 9”d and can be custom ordered in a variety
of colors. Order online.
If you never remember to chill a wine bottle until dinner
is on the table, the ravi is your new best friend. This unique
product fits around the neck of a bottle and chills the wine
up to 12 degrees as you pour. Just keep the middle insert
in the freezer so it’s at the ready. There is even a
feature that allows you to control the temperature –
perfect if you need just a slight chill in the glass! Click
to find a retailer near you. $39.95
They Go Together…
Infuse your cooking with Vino Cotto, a naturally sweet cooked
wine syrup crafted from an authentic Calabrian recipe. The
family-owned company has been making this old world treat
for four generations in Italy and since 1970 in Massachusetts.
With its flavors of plum and raisin, it is perfect drizzled
on everything from chicken to cheesecake! Order online.
Your Own Wine Cabinet
Treat yourself to the ultimate in wine storage with a custom
wine cabinet from Vinotemp.
These handmade wood wine cabinets can be made to blend in
with any surrounding. Use a base model as a jumping-off point
or start from scratch, picking the size, color, hardware,
custom details, cooling system and more. Call 800-777-8466
to discuss the best options for protecting your wine collection.
Prices start at $1,395
Luxury skincare company ARCONA offers a wine hydrating mask
to nourish and rehydrate tired skin. It contains wine extracts
and Resveratrol, which combine to offer anti-aging, anti-inflammatory
and antioxidant properties. Who knew – wine is good
for you inside and outside! Available online.
Just say no to silver foil wine bags! Instead, show off the
beauty of the wine label –and your thoughtfulness –
with these gift tags crafted from recycled wood. A silk ribbon
ties around the neck of the wine bottle, making for an elegant
and festive presentation. Inspired by old school paper shipping
labels, these labels come in dozens of colors and patterns,
with a solid side for writing a personalized message. Order
$2.99 to $4 each
The Perfect Ending
In addition to crafting wine, Arbor Hill Winery in New York’s
Finger Lakes region offers a line of wine-based finishing
sauces, including Cracked Peppercorn Cabernet, Lemon Caper
Chardonnay and Vidalia Onion Riesling. Order online
or call 585-374-2870. $5.50 per bottle
Farmstead Follow Up
finally, finally I got to taste two sample bottles from Farmstead
Wines. Both were good, and wines with the Farmstead label
are certainly worth seeking out.
Renato Fenocchio Barbera d’Alba 2006:
Loved this from the first sip. Earthy and aromatic, with soft
strawberry flavors giving it some charm. It was a pleasure
to drink this wine and I was really sorry when the bottle
was finished! Price: $40 Rating:
Martin Arndorfer Gruner Veltliner 2006: Yummy
aromas with soft floral flavors on the palate. Shows nice
acidity and a hint of minerality. Sip this one quickly, though
– it faded as it was sipped over the course of two hours.
Price: $35 Rating: C3
Prices are estimated retail. The wines are
rated A to F for quality (C is average) and 1 to 3 for value,
with 1 a wine that tastes better than its price, 2 is neutral
and 3 is a wine that isn't up to snuff for the cost