Holiday Wine Gifts 2014

Fifteen days ‘till Christmas. If you are a disciplined, organized woman you may be wrapping up your shopping and just need a couple of items to complete your list.

If you are typical male, you probably are 14 days away from thinking about what to do.

Whatever, presenting present possibilities for wine lovers.
• Wine club. Wine merchants, wineries, even Wall Street Journal proffer wine clubs. There are many upsides. Joy lasts 12 months—hall-of-fame gift territory. Strong reason to gift yourself.

Wine clubs deliver value-added elements. Wines you never heard of. Wines you can’t get at a grocery store. Wines to expand your palate. Descriptions by experts to expand your wine wisdom or help you impress friends, or both.

Most fun may be tearing into the box like a delirious 10-year-old discovering treasure. Then savoring your ecstatic child experience while swirling an exotically mature beverage.

• Swirling wine presents second gift suggestion: stemware. Glass you employ to drink wine influences experience of wine. It may not be Mr. Spock logical; nevertheless, it is true.

Clear glass allows for appreciation of color. Thin glass somehow evokes higher quality. Shapes—flutes for sparkling, smaller glasses for white, big boys for reds—enhances nose experience, focuses bubbles (sparkling), slows warming (whites), promotes decanting (reds).

Riedel is go-to glass if you must compensate for some perceived faults with a Rolex and an expensive car. No question Riedel makes superb stemware, but others make wine glasses that serve as well and leaves you resources to invest in stuff you pour into the glass. Probably enough to join a wine club.

Tasting notes:
• Pali Charm Acres Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013. Deliciously clean, direct, bright; flowers, honeysuckle, nectarine, peach; drinks like higher-priced French chablis. $19
• Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Chianti Frufina Riserva 2011. Wonderfully smooth, very ripe fruits; cherry, raspberry, roses, strawberry, spice; delicious. $30
• Orin Swift Mercury Head Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. Red fruit, plum, black cherry, spice, cedar; refined nose, elegant balance and acidity. $104

Last round: It is five o’clock. Do you know where your wine glass is?