7 Wine Lover–Approved Holiday Gifts That Aren't Another Bottle
Ruffino Luminaria, Mondavi wine dyed bandanna, Clef du Vin
At some point it’s going to happen. You’re going to have to attack that Christmas list of yours. And at some point you’re going to get to the person on the list who’s “into wine." Then you’re stuck in the same spot you were in last year: do you get a bottle of wine and hope a nose won’t be turned up at it? Or do you get a wine gadget of some sort that might very well go unused?
Here are a few gift ideas for the wine aficionado on your list that aren’t corkscrews, glasses or stoppers:
Genesis Wine Preserver
Now we’ve all seen those pressurized wine dispensers in supermarkets and wine bars where the wine is on tap with its box or keg behind a glass window. Well now you can have one of those in your home. Genesis is first home-use, single-bottle preservation and dispensing system designed for both still and sparkling wine. Each unit includes three “IntelliCorks”: two for still wine and one for sparkling, as well as two canisters of Wine Gas – enough to pressurize 24 bottles. After you pull the cork and insert your Genesis “IntelliCork” / dispensing spout into the bottle, you insert the bottle into the Genesis unit to be pressurized with wine gas, and that’s it. According to the good people of Napa Technologies, your pressurized wine will last for two months. (Two weeks if the wine is sparkling.) $500, order online here.
Clef du Vin
Sometimes the best way to get a bottle of wine ready to drink is to decant it. By creating more surface area, a wine is able to oxygenate which, in a way, is aging the wine very quickly. There are gadgets out there that do the same thing by pulling air through the wine while it’s being poured, but Clef du Vin takes quickly aging wine to a molecular level. By using a blend of metals that react with the acids in the wine, Clef du Vin can age any glass of wine by one year per second. For every second the Clef du Vin tab is submerged in your wine, another year of aging has passed. Now, unlike natural aging where color drops out of the wine, there is no color variation when using this product. And while it’s hard to say how well it works, since you’ll never really know what a given wine will taste like in five or ten years, it’s pretty clear that this gadget obviously does do something. Just a few seconds in any glass of wine leaves even the most astringent cabernet sauvignon feeling softened and mature. If you know someone who loves wine gadgets, then this is definitely one to put on the list. $90, available to purchase online at Amazon and other outlets.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Denim Shirt
Every wine lover has a few shirts tucked away in the back of the closet that have been stained by an over zealous swirl-splashing from the glass. This season, Robert Mondavi Private Selection, has partnered with Crawford denim to create the Vintner Shirt, a Crawford denim shirt with collar and cuffs that have been stained red with Robert Mondavi Private Selection’s new wine: 2013 Heritage Red Blend. This shirt is perfect for hanging out on cool fall evenings in wine country, or just spending a little extra time in the cool chill of your home wine cellar. $135, order online here.
Ruffino Modus Luminaria
Iconic Tuscan winery Ruffino has released a limited edition lantern gift box to showcase their 2011 Modus Toscana, a blend of 50% sangiovese, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot. The Modus Toscana has notes of cherry, lilac, baking spice, mushrooms and gravel on the nose, with a healthy note of black currant, orange peel and ripe blackberry on the palate stiffened up with a sparse tannic dusting. This is a wine that warms you from the inside out on a cool night and will pair well with all red and white meats, as well as cured meats and cheeses. This bad boy is two gifts in one: the Ruffino box for the ’11 Modus is black wood covered by an ornate golden sleeve that becomes a decorative lantern by placing a votive candle in the center. $89, purchase online here,
Vintage Tea Works
For the tea and wine lover, Vintage Tea Works offers an array of wine-inspired teas created by deconstructing the flavor profiles found in wine varietals. Do you know a tea drinker who loves a big, oak-heavy California chardonnay? Then they’re going to love Vintage Tea Works oolong chardonnay. A full-bodied blend of tropical papaya, citrus and vanilla rounded out with cinnamon for just the right amount of toasty oak. How about someone who loves pinot noir? The rooibos noir is a light and fruity herbal blend with notes of blueberry, raspberry and red flowers. The assortment also includes: White Tea Riesling, with honeysuckle, jasmine, apricot and lemon; Green Tea Sauvignon, with notes bright notes of grapefruit; Black Tea Merlot, with currant, plumb, licorice and violet; and Pu-erh Cabernet, with black cherry, clove, vanilla and spice. Each canister of tea yields between 20 and 35 cups and prices range from $16.99 - $18.99 each. Purchase online here.
Wine-infused coffee? If you were thinking that it has to be from Napa, well then you would be right. Where else? By re-hydrating Arabica coffee beans with wine, and then drying them for a second time before roasting, creator Rick Molinari has combined his two favorite things and created actual wine-infused coffee. Production is small, and I’m told the coffee hasn’t actually hit the market yet, but rest assured that you can still order this creation via their website with delivery in time for your stocking stuffers.
ZinZig, The Wine Tasting Game
There’s one major difference between beer drinkers and wine drinkers: beer drinkers have drinking games! Anything can be a beer drinking game — a TV show, a card game, a plastic cup and a ping-pong ball. I guess wine doesn’t have those because there’s too much of an image of maturity and class associated with wine drinking. Thanks to ZinZig, the wine drinking board game, though, now wine drinkers can let down their hair and have some fun too. All you need are three bottles of wine and up to six friends to play and you’ve got a drinking trivia game like no other. Similar to Trivial Pursuit, each player picks his or her winemaker and a deed to a winery before beginning, and then must answer trivia questions. In addition, each player also has to pass blind tastings as well before collecting your widgets, which in this case are the things you need to produce your wine. The player who collects his or her barrels, grapes, bottles and corks, and then gets back to the winery wines … I mean wins. $35.00, purchase online here.
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