December 20, 2012

Last-Minute Gift Guide

It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's also December 20th.  Only a precious few days before Christmas!  If you are like me, there may be a few lingering folks on your list.  I have amassed a few gift ideas that should be easy to find (or make!) for the wine lovers and novices on your list.  These are all accessories or books; the next post will highlight the wine itself.

For the red wine lover:

I love this little guy.  Vinturi makes some awesome, fancy wine aerator towers that look they are a rejected prop from a sci-fi movie, but this compact little guy wins my heart--and fits in most budgets.  I personally own this one and use it to aerate every glass of red I drink.  Patience is not my strong suit, so I love a little help getting reds to open up without it needing to sit for an hour.  Plus:  the sound it makes when wooshing through the aerator is strangely satisfying.  I have done a taste test and can vouch that aerating does, in fact, make a difference.

For that friend or loved one who has a really hard time opening a bottle of wine:

I have the the Waring Pro Wine Opener and love it.  Like I mentioned above, I am not the most patient in the world, and love the ease of opening a bottle in a few seconds.  This is also great if you know someone who keeps a lot of older wines in their collection--the ease with which it opens wine would reduce the chance that an older cork would split and crumble into the bottle.

Stocking Stuffer or Secret Santa Gift:

This is a great little stocking stuffer.  This is the wine preserver I usually use, and it keeps it fresh for the next day (I don't usually want too much longer than a day or two).

Books for the Wine Nerd:
Oz Clarke, Grapes & Wine:  This is a comprehensive guide to pretty much every varietal.  The wine lover will learn something and use this as a reference guide, but those who are thirsty to learn more would really benefit from this book.  It's like a great crash course in wine, and I can't recommend it enough.

Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, What to Drink with What You Eat  and The Food Lover's Guide to Wine.
I can't say enough about these two tomes.  Indispensable research guides for foodies.  They offer wonderful and unexpected pairings in an unpretentious manner. Love, love, love. 

The Crafty Gift:
Thank goodness for Pinterest!

After a quick search for wine cork crafts, I saw an ornament idea that seemed too easy--I was sold.  I painted the ends with glittery nail polish--though I'm sure some clear nailpolish and actual glitter would work, too--and then glue gunned the corks into a tree shape. (Before I glued them all together, I screwed into one cork a teeny hook I'd found at Michael's when I made pasta ornaments last year.) Glued on a bow, and voila! This took me less than an hour and all with things I already had, although if you need to run out for those hooks, they don't really break the bank.  Disclaimer: I am terribly not crafty.  I'm creative, but crafts usually take me forever, and I make a mess, and something always goes wrong.  This project, however, was TRULY foolproof, even for me.

So: stay tuned for some wine and food gifts you can give, as well as some wines to go with your holiday feast!

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