Want to bring a hostess the perfect bottle of wine, but feel baffled by the rows of choices? Wine sommelier and author of the Wine Club, Maureen Petrosky, has some great ideas for every wine lover on your list this holiday season.
For the risk-taker
Test their wine know-how by tasting blind and see if they really can tell the difference between the $8 bottle and the $80 bottle. (The Wine Tasting Party from Red Envelope, $75).
Wine picks: Think outside the box — steer clear of that boring old Chardonnay and pick up something new for this adventuresome someone:
- Montecillo Spanish Rioja, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, $10, $15 and $25
- Pinotage: A big, bold red from South Africa, $17
- Osborne Pedro Ximenes Spanish Sherry: Don't fret at the sound of sherry — this is a sensual sip sure to satisfy any sweet tooth — try it over vanilla ice cream!, $14
Fun and flirty
Think bubbles instead of baubles when flirting this holiday season. A gift set is the perfect way to toast the holidays. Try a traditional Champagne from Laurent Perrier with two tulip style flutes for $35 — the ideal romantic touch for under the tree.
Looking for a gorgeous piece of crystal that won't break the bank? Crystal decanters usually go for over $200 a pop, but the Vivid Crystal Decanter is only $39.95. And for glasses that make serving wine easy — Symphony Stemware has the name of the appropriate wine etched right into the base of each glass. ($59.95 for a set of 4).
Big and bold Looking to make this year memorable? Whether you live in a Manhattan box in the sky or are looking to build your dream home, everyone can have a little wine cellar of their own. From a six-bottle wine fridge — perfect for those of you always looking for creative ways to maximize your space — to giving the gift of a cellar under the tree. A gift certificate for a wine cellar in the amount you choose is the ultimate splurge this season. (6 Bottle Silent Wine Refrigerator, $149.95; 16 Bottle Wine Refrigerator, $179.95; wine cellar gift certificates; www.wineenthusiast.com).
Picks sure to please or impress the connoisseur on your list:
- Wente Vineyards The Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon from Livermore Valley CA: This super sexy red is so luscious you'll want to get some in your cellar right away! $60
- Patz and Hall Pinot Noir, Pisoni Vineyards: This is the creme de la creme for Pinot lovers (Pinot Noir was recently made even more famous from the movie "Sideways"), $75
For the techie
For the person who loves gadgets and gizmos, the Wine Master Deluxe handheld wine resource lists up to 10,000 wine reviews and tasting notes to make shopping for wine super simple — like a Palm Pilot for wine geeks ($39.95). Every year, updated software with the year's new reviews on wine and spirits is available for $12.95.