In this consumer driven world that we live in, you would think that Christmas would be a time of gentle reflection and spirituality. A time to think about the futility of over abundance and contemplate how we can all pull together as the human race and be as one. Anyone? Anyone?
Erm – no. At least not in our household. Christmas is, rather sadly in my opinion, a moment that commands the perfect present. Yes, it’s all about family and being together and all having a jolly good time but by golly there are some grumpy faces around my lunch table if I’ve got the wrong gift.
Without even adding in the hours and hours I spend trawling the internet for present shopping, the holiday season is often a hectic and stressful time; far more so than my desired moment of quiet self reflection. What with family obligations, the parties, the (often horrendous and unnecessary) expense and the cold, dark days, who has time to spend searching for gifts for their loved ones?
Which is where we come in. From one wine lover to another, we’ve rounded up the best luxury wine gifts to give the budding oenologist in your life (and that includes yourself). We guarantee they’ll be oohing and aahing well into the New Year.
Fine Wine Collections
Christmas presents are always rife with the potential for disaster. Whether you’re shopping fthe wine-loving person in your life (who is picky about what they drink) or making the Christmas party rounds and looking to show up with something other than a bottle, you’ll need to carefully consider your options when it comes to getting the most bang for your Bordeaux.
One of the very best gifts you can get is a wine collection through a wine investing app.
You can order one of these wine collections directly online, which is great news for those who are time poor. If you haven’t already, simply download the Vindome app, go to Collections and hey presto – a plethora of bottled perfection right at your fingertips.
Vindome’s wine Collections are great for buying as gifts for the future. These carefully selected cases of 6 or 12 bottles of investable wine have been built up by Vindome’s team of specialists in order to make your life – as well as that of the lucky giftee – literally richer. Even better, they suit all budgets and investment horizons so there’s definitely something for everybody.
There are three fantastic benefits to buying a collection:
- They’re easy. Simply click on the Collection that you want and bingo, job done. There are lots of Collections on vindome.net’s website to suit different budgets and time investment horizons.
- They’re secure. The provenance of all wineson the platform is guaranteed and the cases stored in state of the art in-bond wine cellars. This is good news for the wine investor as not only is the wine’s history traceable but you know that it has been stored in optimal conditions, essential when it comes to selling later on.
- They’re dynamic. These Collections are constantly being updated and added to, meaning you can update your portfolio with new and attractive investment opportunities in a matter of minutes.
The beauty of offering fine wine as a luxury Christmas gift is that the closer it gets to its drinking window, the higher the resale value is, both in terms of price and potential. Thus your options are very large: either get a Collection that is still in its maturing stage for less, but patience will reward you eventually or opt for something that is either in or close to its drinking window, meaning the giftee could sell on and return a (lower) profit fairly rapidly. And they even get a little lesson in fine wine trading too!
What’s more, Collections can be sent to the address of your choice meaning that if you want to deliver the drink in person you can. But our suggestion is to give a gift certificate and keep the wine in bond, gaining both value and quality. Collections are, put simply, a gift that just keeps on giving.
Link to: How to Decant Wine Anchor: decanting
Any good wine aficionado worth their salt knows that a good wine needs a great decanter. Not only do these objects look very pretty sitting on your drinks trolley, but a good decanter is an actual necessity for the serious wine lover.
The benefits of decanting wine are twofold:
There are two main reasons for decanting wine. The first is tangible: fine wine that has been stored and maturing nicely will naturally create solids during ageing. The primary purpose of decanting therefore is to separate the clarified wine from these solids. The second purpose of decanting is to increase the oxygen in the wine, in order to release certain compounds found within the bottle. Both have a positive effect on the flavour, texture and aroma of the wine.
Decanting wine needs to be done with great precision and care, particularly if you’re dealing with a Grand Cru or a Cru Classé. This means slowly pouring the wine from its bottle into the decanter, without disturbing the sediment at the bottom.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Tilt the neck of the bottle toward the decanter.
- Keep the bottom of the bottle below an angle of 45 degrees to prevent the wine from gushing forth (and disturbing the sediment).
- Pour the wine into the decanter at a steady pace. Look for any sediment that approaches the opening (shining a light or candle can help).
But before decanting, can we suggest having a little taste first? Try the wine straight from the bottle so that you can analyse in three parts: mouthfeel, aromas and flavours. Then, and only then, pour the rest into the decanter – let it sit for 15, 30 and 45 minutes, trying a glass at each stage. See which taste you prefer. Note that you should be able to detect taste differences along the way. If this seems like too much of a process, a default decanting time with reds is one hour before serving.
There are many luxury decanters on the market, but the Riedel Ultra is a must-have for Cabernet lovers. Not only does this beautiful decanter look pretty darn good, but it has a wide base for maximum exposure to oxygen. The decanter is extremely well designed but is amazingly elegant at the same time. Additionally, the decanter’s capacity very comfortably fits a full standard 75cl bottle, with plenty of room for the wine to breathe. Its gently flared neck also makes for easy pouring. Handwashing is recommended, but this decanter can also go in the dishwasher in a pinch. I’d keep it under the tap though.
Luxurious Wine Openers
It’s very true that a bottle of white or red is everyone’s go-to when in doubt. There are some amazing wines out there, so why not splash the cash on a big, bold Bordeaux? But what if you want to do something different this time?
If your wine loving friend enjoys drinking, rather than investing in their bottles, then let’s assume that they appreciate a good bottle. And not the kind that comes with a screw top. Anyone with a wine collection worth its salt will undoubtedly have several older bottles that will need to be opened with care. So, while a simple “waiter’s friend” style corkscrew might suffice for that bottle of Beajolais Nouveau, it might not be able to handle the crumbly cork of a Lafitte ‘72.
Enter the luxury corkscrew. There are many of these on the market and as lovers of wines that are over 10 years old we know how annoying it can be if your corkscrew can’t handle the crumbly bits of cork that are par for the course with old wine. As mature wines need to be opened with more care and attention than younger wines, a simple waiter’s corkscrew just won’t suffice.
We are particularly fond of a Durand corkscrew. The Durand basically combines the classic waiter’s corkscrew with horizontal compression from a forked Ah-so-style wine opener. This way, you can’t rip the middles out of your corks if they happen to be crumbly, nor can you accidentally push the cork into the bottle if they happen to be a little loose.
Need to chill wine in a hurry? Then why not invest in a luxury wine chilling wand? Chilling wands are the latest in luxury fads for wine lovers and can cool a single glass of wine to its ideal serving temperature up to 20 times faster than your fridge. The concept has yet to take off in Europe, but Stateside they are all the rage. Place your chilling wand inside your wine glass to keep it at the proper temperature for as long as needed. The Chilling Wands included can chill a glass of wine almost instantly and are usually made in stainless steel with the leak-proof, non-toxic gel.
Although not strictly a chilling wand per se, we are fans of the corksicle – an enormous icicle that you put in your bottle of blanc to keep it cool on a hot day. Beware of this though – while it is great fun, ice by its very nature is made for melting, so you might find your wine will become diluted as the meal goes on. That’s fine for your run of the mill Chardonnay, but if you’re talking about a Chateau d’Yquem 2011, we suggest keeping the ice on the outside.
Wine Tasting Journals
Ever been sipping a gorgeous bottle of Burgundy and thought that you’d definitely remember the name once you’ve left the restaurant, only to find you have amnesia as soon as you get back homeThe glory of fine wine is that there is so much of it. In between your Bordeauxs and your Burgundies, your Chardonnays and your Chablis’ and your Malbecs and your Merlots, it’s easily understandable that you might get a bit confused from time to time.
If this is the case, why not consider keeping a wine diary? Wine journals are the best way to keep track of your tastings, and you can add details such as nose, palate, and ageing window etc… Keeping a wine tasting journal can help you track the wines you love and the wines you didn’t like quite as much. Over the years, these entries will help you build a balanced portfolio of wines you love, not just those that offer the best returns. Which is very important, considering that wine is a passion asset, so why not be passionate about it!
Start by purchasing a journal notebook, this simple note book in which you catalogue each bottle will help you build your appreciation of wine as well as help you remember the great wines you’ve drunk and would like to add to your portfolio.
There are some beautiful wine tasting journals on the market. You could even make one on your own, either by keeping notes in your phone or on your laptop. But, where is the love in that? If, like us, you prefer to go old skool and put pen to paper, then why not invest in a gorgeous, leather bound journal such as one from Rustico. Bound in lovely soft leather, the journal has 96 pages that are made from premium, rough cut paper.
We love everything that Rustico makes, and this diary is really top notch quality. It feels great, smells great, looks great – class all the way around and we love it.
If you are still not sure what to get for you or your loved ones, explore our Christmas collections and get the best gift for a loved one!