Trying to decide what to give the wine lover in your life for Christmas?
Well the obvious choice is wine. A safe shortcut in choosing a wine would be to go to a good wineshop, tell them your budget, together with whatever knowledge you have on their preferences, and they will do the rest (they will generally package it up quite nicely too, if they aren’t too busy).
Eminent wine writer Tomas Clancy listed his top wine shops in last week’s Sunday Business Post, and included were 64 Wines, O’Brien’s, Redmonds, Jus de Vine, McCabes and Cellars Wine Warehouse.
Choosing wine for a wine lover can be a bit daunting however, and sometimes it’s a bit like bringing coals to Newcastle. I always think that the best gifts to receive are those which you wouldn’t normally treat yourself to. Stylish and functional wine glasses designed to enhance wine styles, such as those made by Riedel, and the more affordable Rona glassware, fall into this category. Smaller stocking fillers would include champagne stoppers, VacuVin wine preservers, wine charms, and these are available at good wine shops and in department stores.
Wine experiences give the recipient something to look forward to in the New Year. Consider a wine tasting – the next big one coming up is the New Zealand Wine Fair in mid-January, in Dublin. Tickets cost €15.
A once in a lifetime treat would be a private wine tasting in your own home, with Premier Wine Training. This would also make a great ‘girls night in’ if you haven’t managed to see each other over Christmas. Prices start from about €25 per head.
A wine tasting day or a wine course will certainly give any wine lover a real thrill. Premier Wine Training offers a range of wine courses. A one day wine tasting course is the most popular option, giving the recipient a choice of dates (Saturdays), without committing too much of their time. A 4-week wine course covering Grape Varieties (the most important influence on the style of a wine) is also available, at €180. A 6-week course on Wine Regions will transport you vineyards throughout the world, and costs €240. Alternatively, give a gift voucher, from €50 upwards, for a wine lover to select their own course.
Books are always a welcome gift. Old favourites include pocket wine books, written by Oz Clarke or Hugh Johnson. Both are widely available in bookstores and on-line and cost around €10. Oz Clarke’s ‘Let me tell you about wine’ (about €15) is beautifully presented, and allows the reader to dip in and out of chapters on grapes, regions, food and wine matching, and offers sound advice throughout.
Alternatively, a magazine subscription to Food and Wine (published in Ireland) will provide reading, recipes and recommendations throughout the year, for just under €40.
Whatever you decide on, remember the saying which is so true for wine lovers: “For a gourmet wine is not a drink but a condiment, provided that your host has chosen correctly” – Edouard De Pomaine, French author.