Gifts for the wine lover
If you're a procrastinator like me, you probably still have shopping to do. But happily, it's easy to choose gifts for the wine lovers on your list. To make things easy, I'm devoting this week's edition to a survey of wine and wine-related gifts. I'll include some Web links for your convenience. With the understanding that I don't want to make this bulletin overly commerical, I'm including both some of our advertising partners and some quality merchants who have no connection with The Wine Lovers' Page.
WINE ACCESSORIES: Most wine lovers would welcome another corkscrew, whether it's a fancy French Laguiole model, a sleek Screwpull or even just a sturdy waiter's model. Artisans on the Web, http://aoweb.com/frameset.html, is an excellent source for corkscrews, including the Laguiole.
WINE GLASSES: If price isn't an object, many wine enthusiasts consider Riedel glasses, made in Austria, among the finest available. Riedel's website, www.riedel.com, tells about the glasses and where to buy them around the world. Looking for budget wine glasses? The large glasses available at Mikasa outlet stores, www.mikasa.com, are often sold for under $5 a glass, an amazing price for quality glassware.
WINE SOFTWARE: For the computer-using wine lover, software programs abound. Wine Technologies, www.winetech.com, one of our advertising partners, offers the popular Robert Parker's Wine Advisor and Cellar Manager on CD-ROM. Developed in conjunction with the wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. and derived from his newsletter, The Wine Advocate, it combines an extensive database of wine information with a Visual Cellar Manager for keeping track of your own wines.
WINE BOOKS: We're proud to host Jeff Kellgren's respected wine-book catalog on The Wine Lovers' Page. It now features secure online ordering for "New and Noteworthy" books, which you'll find at www.wine-lovers-page.com/kellgren/new.shtml.
WINE ITSELF: Finally, it goes without saying that any wine lover will be pleased with a gift of wine. See "30 Second Advertising Partners" below for links to the California Wine Club and Ambrosia Wines, both California-based firms offering online retail sales and monthly "wine club" shipments wherever the law allows. And of course, for last-minute shopping, your local wine store is likely to be less crowded than the mall!
What's your idea of a perfect wine-related gift? Tell me your thoughts at email@example.com. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine. Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like to comment on our topics and tasting notes, suggest a topic for a future bulletin, or just talk about wine.
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Here's a decent Bordeaux at a midrange price that wouldn't make a bad "stocking-stuffer" for a wine lover on your gift list. Dark ruby in color, it offers ripe cherry-berry aromas, a bit shy at first but opens up with a little time in the glass. Tart, clean fruit flavors, a bit austere and softly tannic, but like the aroma, rewards a little time spent swirling, sniffing and contemplating. Youthful but approachable, this - and other similarly priced 1995 Saint-Emilions - makes a good gift choice because it can be enjoyed now (especially with appropriate food on the table) but would also reward a little cellar time. U.S. importer: H. Dennert Distributing Corp., Cincinnati. (Dec. 14, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: Bordeaux shows an affinity with lamb, and this one is no exception, pairing well with a boneless leg of lamb braised with aromatic spices.
Even here in wine country, the gift of wine is the ultimate gesture of friendship. At Ambrosia, we think there is no gift that says the things you want to say better than wine. We have hundreds of wines priced from $10 to $300. Just go to www.ambrosiawine.com/ambrosia2/finewines/gateway.asp and select your price category. Can't decide which wines to send? Why not send a subscription to one of our wine clubs? We have seven clubs priced from $25 to $139 per shipment. Go to www.ambrosiawine.com/ambrosia2/wineclubs/gateway.asp for complete descriptions of each club. Can't get online right now? Call us at 1-800-435-2225 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order.
California Wine Club, www.cawineclub.com, is the perfect, affordable way to get two different bottles of excellent wine every month, along with its fun and fact-filled newsletter Uncorked. Commercially unavailable, these wines are like secret treasures we hand-select from California's small, award-winning wineries. Join for as many months as you like, or use The California Wine Club as a special, unique gift for friends, family, customers and colleagues. You can reach the Club at the link above or, in the U.S., by calling 1-800-777-4443.
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
If you'd like to talk about wine online with fellow wine enthusiasts around the world, we'd be delighted to have you visit the interactive forums in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. If you're from another part of the world and don't feel entirely comfortable chatting in English, visit our International Forum and introduce yourself in the language of your choice.
Vol. 1, No. 47, Dec. 13, 1999