Buying the right gift for the wine lover in your life isn't easy. Many people assume a bottle of wine is the correct answer, but that can be tough to pick out. Do you know what they like and do you have any idea how to choose between this one and that? Buying for someone else can be tough. Getting away from the bottle and looking at other accessories that every connoisseur will use and appreciate is often a safer bet. Check out these recommendations for great gift ideas.
High Quality Corkscrew
The most essential tool for consuming wine is the corkscrew. You have to open the bottle before you can enjoy its delicious contents. Every connoisseur will already have a corkscrew, but finding one that is high quality and nicely designed is always a great gift. Every wine drinker needs more than one corkscrew as they eventually get dull, lost, misplace, or borrowed. Giving this gift when they already have one is okay. It will get used eventually.
Coravin Wine Access System
This gift idea is only for that truly special someone (as it is not inexpensive). The Coravin Wine Access System is a revolutionary device that allows you to sample a wine without removing the cork. This system has solved one of the biggest dilemmas in wine consumption: when is the wine perfectly aged and ready to go? Before the Corivan System, answer this question was a bit of a guessing game. Once the cork is popped on a bottle, the wine has a lifespan of one to three days on average. Replacing the cork and trying to suck out the air with a vacu pump might increase the lifespan a small amount, but the wine is no longer able to continue aging. With the Coravin System, the wine can be tasted and still continue to age in the bottle.
The Coravin System also allows you to share samples of an expensive wine without opening the bottle. This is great for restaurants that want to serve tastings for a lesser price than purchasing a full glass.
Amazon Price: $34.95 $10.95 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 10, 2015)
Aerators help oxygenate the wine while pouring into the glass. The effect is similar to decanting, but much quicker and only small portions at a time (however much you pour). These are great for heavier and younger red wines that are ready to consume straight from the shelf (little to know aging). It provides a fast way to "open up" the wine and get the aromas and flavors activated. The most popular brand and the one I use is the Rabbit, which sells for around $25.
Amazon Price: $299.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 10, 2015)
I use my aerator fairly frequently since I drink predominantly Cabernet, Syrah and Malbec.
For nicer red wines, a decanter is essential to opening up the aromas and flavors. Aerators are great for the younger reds, but the finer wines need more time and more surface area to develop. That is where the decanter comes in to play and is a great gift idea. Decanter are kind of like corkscrews - you need more than one and they occasionally need to be replaced when chipped, broken or borrowed.
Final Touch makes a decanter that also acts as an aerator. I can't attest to how effective this really is, but it makes sense. The wine is aerated while being poured into the decanter, where it will continue to sit and open up. My assumption is that this quickens the process. The Amazon reviews are strong and aerating before decanting won't hurt the wine, so this could be a nice, slightly unique gift.
If this doesn't look elegant enough for the gift's recipient, look at more traditional decanters as an option.
Decanters are great and I use them all the time. Cleaning them is not so great. The narrow opening and wide base make it difficult to scrub away stains on the inside. And nothing is more embarrassing than serving your guests with a dirty looking decanter.
Riedel, a leading maker of fine wine glasses and accessories, makes cleaning beads for decanters. Simply fill the decanter about half full of water, add some beads and swirl for a minute or two. The beads will knock loose any sediment, dirty or residue to then be easily rinsed out. The beads are reusable.
There are so many gadgets and accessories targeted for wine lovers. Sometimes the hardest part of gift purchasing is not knowing what your wine lover has or needs. If a product doesn't seem like the right type of gift, consider these alternatives:
1. Wine tasting: Here in the Pacific Northwest wine tasting is only a thirty minute drive. Drive out to a nice vineyard for a few tastings and then relax with a glass or bottle afterwards. You don't live in wine country? Find a local bar or wine shop that offers tastings and appetizers.
2. Restaurant: Find a restaurant known for their wine selection and treat your wine lover to a nice dinner. If they prefer red wines look for a nice steakhouse.
3. Buy a bottle: When all else fails, give buying a bottle a try. Gather as much info as you can in regards to their preference and take that info to a local wine shop. They will help you pick out something unique and special.