Are you pressed to find last-minute, perfect holiday gift for a wine lover or developing wine appreciator? Ideas:
A decanter makes a decidedly dandy December gift. Decanters come in various shapes, sizes, prices; all expose wine to air. Aeration significantly improves most reds, especially Bordeauxs and other Old Word wines, but even Champagne benefits (and bubbles remain).
One decanter needed, even if you open more than one bottle. Decant the wine, let it breathe while you rinse the bottle, return wine to the bottle. “Double decanting” aerates and allows you to know which wine you pour while appreciating label artwork.
Quality stemware is another great gift. Don’t go for everyday, dishwasher-safe stuff. Give a goblet destined to be someone’s treasured glass, one that never ventures within hailing distance of a dishwasher. Bordeaux tulip, large bowl, capable of holding 16 ounces or more—although never, ever fill it. When you fill one-third full, plenty of wine is exposed to air. Swirl, put your nose inside bowl, inhale to experience aroma—a major part of enjoying wine. The big bowl also does its part for aeration. Swirl, smell, sip. Swirl, smell, sip. Enjoy how wine evolves.
You don’t have to splurge on higher-dollar Riedel or Spiegelau ($40-$100 per glass), but the recipient will remember your generosity every time they reverently hand-wash their treasure.
If your friend or loved one already has a decanter and favorite big-bowl glass, the obvious play is a spectacular wine. Suggestions:
• Meeker Merlot Handprint. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot blend from Sonoma. Happy holidays. $40
• Altmura Sangiovese Napa Valley. Wonderful expression of Sangiovese in Napa, no easy task. Spectacular aroma, spectacularly delicious. Merry Christmas. $45
• Far Niente Chardonnay. North Coast Napa, lemon, buttery apple fruit, long finish, zesty finish. Happy New Year. $140