Completing your wine gifts

So it's coming down to the holiday wire and you need something fast. Anyone can give a bottle of wine – and it's a thoughtful gift – but how about something little more creative? Give wine AND and something edible to go with it. It will fill out the gift bag or basket and leave them smiling.

Eight ways you can stand out amongst the wine gift fray:

1. Choose a sweet Riesling and package it with a small package of nuts and dried apricots. Choose from this list of outstanding Riesling producers.

2. Tart, grassy Sauvignon Blanc, given with a fresh chevre goat cheese. Classic, timeless, delicious. Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc or Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc are both under $20.

3. Spicy, full-bodied Syrah/Shiraz with a seasoning package for chili. No, I wouldn't bring a packet of spices to a chef or anything, but every home cook needs a little help, right? They are in the spice section at the grocery store. Try Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz or Dead Letter Office Shiraz.

4. Pinot Noir and a small package of smoked salmon. This might sound counter-intuitive but the saltiness of the smoked salmon makes a fantastic companion to the acidity of Pinot Noir. Wine suggestions: Heron Pinot Noir or A to Z Pinot Noir.

5. Half bottle of port wine and a small box of chocolates. Everyone loves chocolate but not everyone knows port makes chocolate better. Didn't know that was possible, did you? Reliable port producers: Warre, Taylor-Fladgate, Dow, Fonseca. If sweet isn't what the dentist ordered, you could also give a hunk of blue cheese with the port.

6. Sparkling wine and a wedge of brie or Camembert. Here's a list of sparkling wines in all price ranges and a fave cheese is Saint Andre. Ifyou want to take it the next level, give a print out of this article on how to store cheeses.

7. A bottle of massively juicy Zinfandel blend and salty, spicy sausage. Apothic Red Zin and Syrah blend is easy to find.

8. For something completely off-the-wall, combo Oreo cookies and a bottle of Malbec. Trust me, it works (read the post). Los Alamos Malbec and Crios de Susana Balbo Malbec.


Dec. 21, 2010

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