21-12-2015

Wine gifts and tools for the sommelier & collector

Also have a look at this extended wine lovers/sommelier gift list

As it often the case when people reach this point in December (or in about seven days in Europe for Three Kings), you have a list of people you might still need gifts for and they’ve got you scratching your head because they’re one of those, you know, fancy wine people. If you do indeed have one of these people, maybe it’s even worse and you have a sommelier or a collector that’s got you stumped.

It’s tough to recommend getting them a bottle of wine as there is a high chance of it being scoffed at. You shouldn’t worry about this as you can tell them it was either the expensive Napa Cabernet you knew nothing about or a shitty sweater. When put in to those terms, they just might get your point, suck it up, and fruitcake the wine on to someone else. Who knows, they might even drink it.

If you’re still of a mind to try and give them something from the wine world that they might not have (but seriously, they probably already do) then here is a list of suggestions.

For starters, take a look at this list of sommelier tools. If you don’t want to take the time to do that, then just look for a nice corkscrew, an Ah-so, polishing cloths (more of a “stocking stuffer”/”I hate you” option), or a decanter. You can be rest assured that something in there will at least be useful. The corkscrew will probably be the least so ironically as anyone who works in wine usually has about 50 of the damned things because it is a rule that you absolutely, under no circumstances refuse a free corkscrew as inevitably your favorite one will get “borrowed” at some point.

If none of those options grabbed your attention, then maybe a Champagne stopper. While they don’t really stop oxidation, they are indeed a bit useful as they keep the carbonation a long enough to eke out just a touch more fun from your bubbly.

Picking up a set of blind wine tasting sleeves tells your sommelier or collector, “I get your wine obsession and I honor it.” You know that they do things like brown bag wines with like-minded friends so give them a set of these to take their tasting exercises to that next level.

What says, “I don’t get your wine obsession at all” is a wine aerator. They don’t really work and are a gimmick. Anyone who loves wine has (or will now be given) a decanter. Wine folks also know how to swirl wine in their glass for the same effect. Better yet, there’s the centuries-old trick of just enjoying the wine over an evening. Holy crap…

While a wine stain remover might send a mixed message, anyone who loves wine will begrudgingly accept it because we spill. We spill a lot in fact which is why we usually wear all black (beard optional, sleeve tats not) and don’t smile because our teeth are stained too.

If you think a bottle fridge is a good idea, make sure to get a big one so that it can’t be returned easily. But don’t one that’s too big so that it will encourage your wine loving gift recipient to invite you over to help “clear the archives” from time to time. Bring your own wine stain remover lest you really look like a mooch.

Then we come to the ultimate gift for wine people on your list, the Coravin. This is a tricky gift, mainly because the individual in question will probably already have one as this little device has changed a huge amount of the wine world. Long gone are the days when you needed to finish a Côte de Nuits Grand Cru in one evening lest it spoil. Now you can be miserly and drink a needle drag of it for months. Probably not unreasonable if you’ve dropped 300 large on one bottle of wine. The good thing about potentially giving a Coravin is that the Model 2 just came out and nothing says, “I care about you so much!”/”I don’t know what the hell to give you!” like blowing $350 on a gadget for someone. The bad thing is that unlike finding the perfectly-sized bottle fridge, giving one of these most definitely means you will not be sharing in any of the wine goodness. It should really be called the Mine-a-vin. Toss in a pile of gas cartridges for extra love points.

Of course, an easy option is to pick up one of our Vinologue wine guides because they’re such a specialized publication for people who really love wine that you’re bound to be loved for it. Plus, there’s the chance you might be asked to tag along on the journey to one of the regions we cover.

So that’s a rundown for you. Hopefully it helps. If you’re still really stumped, get a Monopol Barolo corkscrew. Your gift recipient probably won’t use it but it will look cool in their pile of implements and they’ll most likely appreciate that.

WINES

Álvaro Palacios - L’Ermita 2016
Very light red cherry, raspberry, tea leaves, dried fennel, light touch of anise, bay leaf, dried flowers, touch of fig compote, truffle. Exceptionally light and delicate on the palate, very very fine red fruits, integrated tannins, plush with a slightly buttery, velvety aspect, very long finish.
85% Grenache 14% Carignan 1% "Others" · 15% · 1160EUR
97+ 3 Stars

Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Álvaro Palacios - Les Aubaguetes 2016
Linear plum and dark cherry notes, powdery cocoa, orange peel and blossom, raspberry at the base along with minor vanilla and dark spice touches. Delicate on the palate, light touches of dark fruit, good wealth of tannins yet held in check, medium plus acidity, very long finish. Needs much more time in the bottle.
77% Grenache 21% Carignan 1% Grenache Blanc 1% Macabeu · 14.5% · 455EUR
95+ 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Aquila del Torre - Primaluce 2015
Bruised yellow apple, bit of fig compote, chalky mineral notes, and hazelnut. Light oxidized touches that work to embellish the wine. Rich palate that carries lovely texture with the age of the wine.
100% Sauvignon Blanc · 13.5%
93 2 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars