It’s Christmas Eve. If you have not yet completed your shopping and have a wine lover (like me) on your list (hint hint), here are a few ideas that you might want to keep in mind as you madly dash around the stores.
Wine – buying wine for a wine lover is not as intimidating as you might think. The fact of the matter is that no one knows every wine in the world and there is always that one odd, unusual wine that is just waiting to be discovered. Ask at your wine store for something from Eastern Europe or Lebanon or Greece. These areas are under-represented and are often a bargain to boot ($-$$$).
Corkscrew – the corkscrew at the left of the photo (the one doing Jumping Jacks) is, in my opinion, one of the worst designs out there. The ratchet or “waiter” corkscrew is small, easily popped into a pocket or purse (for travelling emergencies) and works far better, especially with drier corks or when a cork breaks in the bottle neck. These corskscrews are available at any department store, home store, kitchen store and most liquor stores ($10-$40).
Bottle Stoppers – it does occasionally happen that a bottle of wine is not fully consumed (even in my house), and needs to be stopped. You can buy pretty decorative ones (that don’t seal as much as just close) or more practical ones that close the bottle well enough for transport. You can attach one of these to the bottle you might be bringing as a host/hostess gift or just as a small token for a colleague or casual acquaintance. They too can be found at most department, home, kitchen or liquor stores, as well as gift shops and craft stores ($5-$25).
Champagne Stoppers – you really should not re-stop a bottle of champagne. This is not a scientific pronouncement. This is personal note. Open it. Drink it. But there may be times, especially if driving is involved, when it may be necessary to do so. A regular stopper will be forced out by the escaping bubbles and you need one that will grip the lip of the bottle and hang on for dear life. These are a little more difficult to find but CA Paradis carries a variety of them as do most wineries that produce bubbly.
Aerator – occasionally a bottle of red wine can benefit from aeration. There are a huge variety of aerators on the market today from this small on-the-bottle one, to larger free standing ones. If you know someone who likes big, bold red wines and does not have the patience to age them, this could be a great gift. CA Paradis carries a variety as does HomeOutfitters and, sometimes, the LCBO ($30-$200).
Wine glasses – glasses break, espcially in my house and especially around the holidays. It’s always nice to have some extra glasses on hand, or sizes and shapes that are unusual. You don’t need a different shaped and sized glass for every wine as I have mentioned before, but it is nice to have at least 4 different types. You can buy wine galsses everywhere, including grocery stores and dollar stores. The thinness of the glass and the shape of the glass is what attracts me to a wine glass. I like Riedl but there are many companies that make lovely wine glasses. The sky is the limit on price, too ($1-$300).
Wine carafes – an older wine can often be improved by decanting, leaving the sediment in the bottle. A younger wine can be aged by exposing it to air in the decantation process. Decanters come in a wide vareity of shapes and sizes and can be simple or bold. Like the glasses, they can range from inexpensive to hundreds of dollars. I find CA Paradis or HomeOutfitters the best place in Ottawa to buy them.
Wine Fridge – for the truly loved one on your list who does not have a cold room or a wine cellar, you can buy a wine fridge for them to store their wines. Wine fridges, the small ones, are more for keeping your wines at the right temperature for serving. It’s an expensive way, in my opinion, to age your wines. However, it is still much better than ageing your wines in the hot furnace room or in your bedroom closet where they will suffer from the heat. You can buy reasonably priced wine fridges at Home Depot or Costco or even Loblaw’s. More expensive wine fridges can be ordered on-line or through speciality kitchen stores like CA Paradis.
As for me? If you are in need of a last-minute gift idea for me, I would just love to hear what wines you are enjoying this year. Comment on the blog, email me or tweet me; I love to chat about wine.