WINE RELATED CHRISTMAS PRESENTS 2017
I’m often asked about any wine related presents I might recommend for the lady who wants to surprise her man, and indeed, vice versa for the man who is keen to please his lady. And, as it’s the 1st of December – here they are!
Many of us love wine and all that’s associated with it, so here are some recommendations for you to buy as stocking fillers and/or full-on presents. Not forgetting, of course, that often, with wine presents, the giver and the recipient both benefit in equal measure!
Let’s start with the paperwork. This year I had the great honour and pleasure to travel to Bucharest, Romania to join the judging panel of the International Wine Contest Bucharest 2017. A fantastic trip, judging excellent international wines with likeminded eminent wine judges – and indeed, socializing with them too, at the various scheduled events and visits.
I was part of a super group of friends of various nationalities – East and West Europe and even an Aussie! Mike Mazey is an Aussie wine-maker and English teacher now living in the Czech Republic (it’s a long story!). He is the Lead Author of an impressive small group of wine orientated scribes whose book ‘Wine Words’ I would highly recommend. ‘Wine Words’ can be bought online (www.winewordsthebook.com/en/).
Although written with a view to help those for whom English is a second language progress in the professional wine world it is also a great read for people who are native English speakers who want to learn more about wine in a fun way. It includes an online video library and looks at the world’s wines as well as focusing on specific wineries in both hemispheres. There are plenty of contributions from Masters of Wine and Wine-Makers themselves.
Perhaps one of the testimonials on the cover sleeve says it best: “The Wine Words bookand online video library is a wonderful collection of wine insights and clear explanation of wine terminology, that will enlighten and delight those wanting to build on their wine knowledge. . . . . .” Nick Butler, Bottle Green LTD, England. I have a copy and really enjoy it!
Then there are the guides. By far the most comprehensive is the Guía Peñín (the Peñin Guide) whose tasting panel tastes around 20,000 wines each year for inclusion in the guide. Originally in Spanish only, it has proved so popular that it is now printed in English and in German and it also has an online version. www.guiapenin.wine . You’ll find that it is well organized with interesting sections extra to the huge list of wines and their marks out of 100. Considered by many to be the ‘bible’ of Spanish wines.
Don’t forget Señor Andres Proensa though – the Proensa Guide is for me indispensable. Los Mejores Vinos de España is always on my office desk – it’s smaller than the above, restricting itself to just those which the panel considers the top 500 wines in Spain. www.proensa.com . It is also online.
Now what about wine accessories? I have two possibilities for you. Lazenne, specialises in wine travel accessories; and Avina in wine tools.
www.avina.com makes beautiful corkscrews which really will be ideal presents. They work perfectly, suiting all preferences. Their designs are as sensational as the wines whose bottles they open, effortlessly and with style. You’ll also find bottle stoppers (including for Sparkling Wine), and more, with still more products being developed. The presentation and packaging is excellent too! I use them exclusively!
www.lazenne.com specialises in protective, airline approved luggage to keep your wine bottles safe in the hold of the aircraft. It’s simple but effective – airport security won’t bother you and when you arrive your bottles will be in one piece, ready for you to enjoy them as you did when tasting before you bought, in any of the world’s wineries! There are a number of different fashionable designs to cater for varying numbers and sizes of bottles, including sparkling wine bottles. I use one!
Now, wine tourism – Enoturismo, whose humble beginnings contrast dramatically with what’s on offer now! Many wineries have their own boutique accommodation, Casa Rural style, which is of course perfect as there are no drink-driving restrictions.
If it is sheer luxury you are after, not too long a journey from the Costas and making medal winning wines I’d highly recommend Casa Boquera (www.casaboquera.es), Yecla, Murcia. A small, family owned boutique luxury hotel whose restaurants are overseen by a Michelin Starred Chef, Casa Boquera sits amongst its own vineyards and is beautiful! I’ve been, of course, as well as friends to whom I’ve recommended it.
So, several suggestions for wine related Christmas presents – and I hope you enjoy any that you choose!