Archive for the 'wine gifts' Category

Gift wines: iconic America

I was chatting with a friend over the weekend and he said that one of his co-workers was leaving the company to return home to Sweden. My friend wanted to give his co-worker a gift of three “iconic, American wines,” so he gave him a bottle of Schramsberg reserve 2000, Caymus Special Selection 2004, and Far Niente Chardonnay 2005. A very thoughtful gift, indeed!

Which three wines would you give if you were giving away three-packs of iconic American wines?

What do wine geeks want for Father’s Day?

With Father’s Day closing in this Sunday, inquiring minds might want to know: what do wine geek dads want as gifts? I polled three wine bloggers who are celebrating their first Father’s Day.

The Brooklynguy: “I would love to taste Krug NV.” This Champagne is a about $125 (find this wine)

Josh of Pinotblogger: “One thing I’d like to receive for father’s day would be a couple more Riedel wine glasses. I break far more than my fair share. :)” [Hmm, maybe Josh should try the impact resistant glasses? -Dr. V]

Lenn of Lenndevours: “My dream present would be: Sherwood House Vineyards a 36-acre vineyard in Mattituck. Cost: a cool $4.1 million. The realistic one: An afternoon in wine country with my wife and son…along with a lunch from Village Cheese Shop and local wines.”

Ah, sounds nice especially since I’ll be in Bordeaux this Sunday away from Mrs. Vino and our son. But if they still wanted to get me some wine related paraphernalia…I’d love a corkscrew that the TSA wouldn’t take away from me when I forget it in my carry-on. But in the event that is not available, I’d settle for the Chateau Laguiole with a handle of red stamina wood (about $129). But I wouldn’t want to sacrifice THAT one to the TSA!

Reader mailbag: what to get a colleague to celebrate a promotion? (budget edition)

Dear Dr. Vino,

I’m finishing my Ph.D. and my committee advisor has just been appointed the new Dean of Liberal Arts at [name withheld]. I’d like to get him a nice bottle of wine (he loves Spanish wines normally, he travels to Latin America frequently, and is an American history buff) that can be afforded on a grad student budget (~$30). What would you recommend?


Hi Amy, Read more…

Putting stemware to the test

It’s not often I retrieve a box from UPS on the doorstep, open it, and dump the contents in the sink. But that’s what I did the other day.

Fortunately it wasn’t wine. Instead it was crystal. Eegad–had I lost all sense with too much Sancerre? No, I was actually trying out some glasses that I purchased called Tritan Forte made by Schott Zwiesel. They claim to be unbreakable, or at least “impact-resistant.”

Granted, I didn’t want to have crystal shards flying around the kitchen so I somewhat wimped out and let one glass fall two or three inches–a height that would have shattered many stems. But this Forte was indeed tres forte and it didn’t even crack thanks to a lead-free crystal that has titanium in it. The best news may have been the price–eight stems for $60 from Wine Enthusiast catalogue (via Amazon has a wider selection). A deep bowl and tapered top makes it sleek, elegant as well as functional.

We decided to put several stems to the test. Heck, now that even Target has a line of Riedel crystal stemware, high quality wine glasses appear poised to be the hot gift for the holidays this year. So we lined up some other contenders for the Forte: Riedel O, Riedel Vinum, and Bottega del Vino. Here at the Dr. Vino world headquarters, we enjoyed the excellent Chateau Cesseras, AOC Minervois La Liviniere, 2001. I’m not sure of the price since it was a gift from a friend who brought it back from the south of France but the wine has an excellent balance, with wonderful aromatics and southern French jamminess.

Starting with the biggest glass, I recently received a press sample of the Bottega del Vino Rosso Burgunder ($48 per stem). Wow. It is the Cadillac Escalade of wine glasses, sparkling and towering over the others. One friend who is 6’7″ loved it christening it “le chalice.”

While I would definitely agree that it is impressive to look at and puts whoever holds it way at the top in the game of ostentatious one-upmanship, I’m not convinced that it’s the best vessel, particularly for everyday use. I found that the aromas dissipated too easily, thanks to the flared rim on the glass. And it looks so brittle that an enthusiastic clinking of glasses during a toast might bring more than good wishes raining down on your companion.

The squat Riedel “O” glass ($19 for 2) looks like a Weeble Wobble for grown-ups. The aromas were better concentrated in this glass than in the Bottega. But without a stem, I got goobery fingerprints all over the bowl and the wine started to warm up in the glass since there was no stem to hold. This glass is not good for cocktail parties therefore–try it while seated at the table if at all to avoid warming up the wine.

The Riedel Vinum Zin/Riesling glass that I use as a frequent red-white crossover vessel in this case provided the excellent results and was the runner up. Not as big a bowl as the other three but it captured the aromas and was goober-free. At $38 for 4 on Amazon, the price was comparable to the Tritan Forte. However, since I have (dangerously) broken many a Riedel stem while hand washing, the Tritan Forte edges it out for apparent durability. It’s an excellent glass for everyday use around the house that doubles as a great gift. I’ll drink to that.


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