WineInk: Gifting Wines for the Holidays
It’s that time of the season for holiday shopping. If you, and those you love, love wine, then the answer to the “what to buy” question is relatively simple. Figure out a budget, go to your local wine shop, peruse the shelves and buy a bottle. There is no one who doesn’t appreciate the gift of wine. And most wine merchants will wrap it for you.
The only caveat is that you should spend the time to pick a bottle that is a bit personal, or has meaning. Perhaps one that you have enjoyed in the past with the person you are gifting. Or if you know they have traveled to a wine region or have a favorite grape, try to select something from that milieu. It can be fun and it shows you care enough to give something that they can relate to.
But of course there are other ways to gift wine than just a simple bottle. So we thought we would offer a few options, for various budgets.
How about giving La Dolce Vita? If you are so endowed, consider gifting your wine-loving friend a wine estate in Gaiole in Chianti. For $16,609,325, you can buy a 43,000-square-foot stone castle with its own DOCG and IGT certified wine production facility. Sixteen suites and six apartments and a winery that can produce up to 70,000 bottles of sangiovese awaits. Contact Sergio Greco at Sotheby’s International at +39 055 075 1888. I’m sure he would welcome your call. Or stop by the Sotheby’s office in Aspen, where they would be happy to put you in touch.
If you follow this column you likely know about the destruction of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley’s Glass Fire this fall. Long before the fire, the Meadowood team had planned a winter residency at the Farmhouse at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. From Jan. 6 through the end of February, the team from the three-Michelin-starred TRM will be creating six-course meals for $495 per person, plus, plus, plus. And the opportunity to pair these with some of the best wines from the Santa Barbara wine region will be unparalleled. This will be a hot ticket so you best jump on line at ojaivalleyinn.com. Oh, be sure to say hello to former Aspenite Connie Thornburg, who has just become managing director at Ojai Valley Inn.
Speaking of fires and such, buying wines direct from Napa producers is a fine way to send wines to far-flung friends and help those who were in harm’s way. A great, appropriate offering would be a Mi Sueno “Red Lovers Gift Set” ($140). You may know the wines as a “by the glass” option at the White House Tavern here in Aspen. This two-bottle boxed set is an elegant gift that includes the 2017 Mi Sueño El Llano Red Blend (the wine poured at the WHT) and the 2016 Mi Sueño Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a personalized note card and ground shipping. store.misuenowinery.com/shop
Duckhorn was at ground zero of the Glass Fire, but fortunately survived. Some say miraculously. To celebrate, how about an etched “Merry Christmas” bottle of the 2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot? A classic that can be ordered directly from the winery ($89) and shipped to your merry merlot lovers. duckhornwineshop.com.
The best way to keep a bottle fresh through the Twelve Days of Christmas is with a Coravin wine system. A Coravin fits over the top of your cork and inserts a needle that injects an inert gas that preserves the wine, allowing you to pour a single glass of wine without spoiling the contents of the bottle. Perfect for trying out your best bottles without opening them. Four Dogs Wines in Basalt has the Coravin Model One in stock in the shop for $199.97.
If you are looking for a gift that will keep on giving, how about a subscription to Jimbo’s Liquors in Basalt’s newly established wine club? In the new year, members will receive a curated selection of three or six wines per month, 10% off in-store purchases of club releases, tasting and winemaking notes, and food & wine pairing suggestions. And once the world returns to normal, there will be in-store wine tastings as well. Call Jimbo’s at 970-927-3360 for info.
Finally, if you are looking for a stocking stuffer, you can’t go wrong with a silver-plated Ah-So. The simplest and most effective wine opener there is, for just $9.95. Using a two-pronged approach, these babies can be found in local shops and you can get free shipping at Belmint.com.
Whether your budget is in the millions or the single digits, a gift of wine is always well received.
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Longtime Aspenite Mark Howard’s new memoir, “A Rewiring Life,” chronicles a life of change across five decades in Aspen.