Every year, I struggle to think of gifts to buy my wine lover, He Sips. So, this year, I've set out to make the holiday season easier by compiling this list of 10 GIFTS for OENOPHILES.
FOXY Wine Charms
6 charms for $35 plus shipping
With these artistic charms on your wine glasses, your guests won't care what you're pouring. An instant conversation-starter, FOXY charms--made by Kerri Lawnsby of Leander, TX (that's near Austin; so you know they have to be cool)--are sure to win over your holiday guests. These fused glass wine charms come in an array of colors and designs. I think they make the perfect hostess gift (hint, hint).
$7.50 a bar
The perfect stocking stuffer. You've never eaten a chocolate bar that looks this pretty. Sulpice, owned by Anne Palermo, is a Chicago-based chocolate company and the exclusive manufacturer of hand-painted chocolate bars. My favorite is the Chai flavor, which is painted with an orange-red color that sparkles. This bar is milk chocolate that tastes like chai tea with flavors of caramom, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and black pepper. These chocolates are as delicious as they are beautiful. So, pick some up for all the stockings you need to fill!
All You Need is Wine
In addition to having a great name, this party game is sure to entertain your holiday guests. All You Need is Wine is a blind wine tasting game in which players practice the 5 Ss of wine tasting: Sight, Swirl, Smell, Sip, and Savor. The game comes with tasting tip sheets, tasting note sheets, numbered wine bags, paper wine glass tags, and pencils. If you've never tried blind wine tasting, it's a ton of fun--and this game gives you all the materials you need. New Years Eve has never been so much fun--try it!
Seed Body Care Products
Slathering my hands with the Seed hand lotion was like dipping them in butter but without the grease; this lotion is so thick with a hint of citrus smell. Seed products are grape seed enriched and 100% natural. Grape seed oil is rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and phytosterols, which help reduce the signs of aging, act as anti-inflammatories, and plumpen (in a good way!) your skin. These products are a great gift for a co-worker, mother-in-law, or lotion-lover--and really, how many Bath and Body Works products can you give someone before they get sick of them. Try Seed instead.
100 Perfect Pairings, by Jill Silverman Hough
If you've ever wanted a recipe book that paired food with wine--this is it! 100 Perfect Pairings is the perfect book for the food and wine lover. The book is organized by 12 wine varietals (both white and red); for example, in the "sauvignon blanc" section, you'll learn recipes that pair well with that grape such as "minted pea bruschetta" and "celery root and scallion soup with croutons." Plus, along the way, you'll learn valuable tips about wine. This book is full of amazing recipes and pairing suggestions, and the book is user friendly and full of photos.
$4 or 3 for $10
Since the last time I wrote about 33 Wines, creator Dave Selden has been getting a lot of press. Real Simple, included them in their 33 stocking stuffer ideas, and I concur. If you've got a wine lover in your family, this is the gift to stuff his or her stocking. For sure. You won't find a hipper wine journal out there. Perfect for your hipster wine friend. Do hipsters drink wine?
Pack of 10 for $29.90 (other quantities available)
He Sips already loves these. The company sent us a pack of 10--and they were gone in a week! Resveratrol is a element in red wine (it's found in the skin of red grapes) that is an anti-oxidant and has been found to have many health benefits. The WineTime bar--made of dark chocolate, dates, and almonds--claims to have has much Resveratrol as 50 glasses of wine. Good for you--and they taste great! If you like chocolate and wine (and who doesn't?), these bars are for you!
Good, Better, Best Wines: A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines
By Carolyn Evans Hammond
Grab this pocket-sized book on your way to the grocery store--and you'll save yourself from those excoriating minutes in the liquor section of Jewell, wondering what wine to buy for dinner or what bottle is best to take to your friend's holiday party. Good, Better, Best wines will help you. The book is separated into five sections: "Wine Basics," "White Wines," Red Wines," "Rose and Sparkling Wines," and "Bargain Wines, Dessert Wines, and Party Wines." Within each part, readers will find pictures, descriptions, reviews--and most importantly, a price breakdown of the most widely available wines in grocery and liquor stores.
Sommelier Carolyn Evans Hammonds ranks each bottle as "good," "better," and "best." I found this book extremely useful for grocery store trips. The perfect gift for someone who wants to know more about wine and struggles to choose the right bottle.
I bought this wine game for He Sips years ago, and we still love playing it. This isn't Candy Land. It's not even a rough game of Scrabble. It's more like Trivia Pursuit meets Monopoly--but it's all about wine. For the serious wine drinker, only. You've really got to know your stuff.
A Bottle of Wine
If you're still stuck. You can always give your wine lover, a good bottle of wine. There are so many to choose from, of course. But might I suggest a good bottle of sparking rosé for the holidays. Here's a few of my favorites, at various price points:
Croteaux Cuvée Sparkle, $24, http://www.croteaux.com/
Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rosé, $17-20 (Binnys usually carries this wine)
Chateau d'Escalans Whispering Angel, $14-18 (Again, check Binnys)
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé, $70, http://www.laurentperrierus.com/cuveerosebrut/index.htm