Tag Archives: Holiday gifts

Four last-minute holiday gifts for vino lovers

19 Dec

Six days until Christmas! Do you know where your shopping list is?

I promised I’d be back with a few last-minute gift ideas for your favorite wine lover/foodista. Real quick, because I know you’re rushing to the mall, here are four fun ways to say Feliz Navidad:

1. Don’t you hate it when you’re at a party and your wine glass decides to go mingle with 30 other glasses? I’ve tried to identify my wayward glass by the shade of the lipstick stain on the rim, but that never works unless I’m wearing coral or some other funky hue. A cool set of wine tags will solve that dilemma and save you from the Ick Factor of drinking out of someone else’s glass. My husband and I received this set as a wedding present eight years ago. Each tag has the name of a different Latin dance on it. There are lots of fun options available online or at your favorite local wine shop. Cha-cha-cha!

2. Nothing says I love you like stinky cheese. The stinkier the better! Give your favorite foodista a little cheese with their wine with a Cheese-of-the-Month membership. In a perfect world, the nice lady I met at the Mercado San Camilo in Arequipa, Perú  would be able to import her cheeses stateside. But we have plenty of options here, including  Greenwich Village landmark Murray’s Cheese Shop, which offers four-, six- and 12-month packages of 3 cheeses per month.

3. Road trip! Yes, you can give a road trip for Christmas. I’ve gifted my husband with trips to Napa Valley and California’s Central Coast. This is the gift that gives both ways, if you manage to invite yourself along. I know these are tough times, so if the price tag of a wine and food weekend is a bit steep right now, use the power of suggestion by giving a copy of Baja Wine Country or La Ruta del Vino de Baja California. These detailed, colorful and informative guides to Baja California’s Ruta del Vino are a helpful tool to inspire your next wine tasting adventure. Available in Spanish and English, for a mere $12 per book plus shipping, your partner/friend/spouse will be so impressed by your thoughtfulness that they may just invite you on a road trip to el Valle de Guadalupe. ¡Buen viaje!

4. Tired of the same old wine scene? Want to add spice to your life or your BFF’s? Looking for something exotic with a Latin accent that will make your friends stare in wonder and awe when the wrapping comes off? Pisco is the answer. Yes, in homage to the land of the Incas (and mis padres), there’s nothing like Peruvian pisco to add a little variety and excitement to your next cocktail party. This attractive package also looks great under the Christmas tree. Bartender not included.

(El full disclosure: My husband is a great man for tolerating my camera’s roving eye. In fact, putting this photo on my blog was his idea. I swear.)

Feliz Navidad and happy shopping, chicas!

Holiday gifts for vino lovers

8 Dec

¡Ay, caramba! Seventeen shopping days ’til Navidad, chicas y chicos!

Señorita Vino feels your pain, which is why we’re soothing your pre-holiday stress with our first annual Holiday Gift Guide for Vino Lovers. Of course, a glass of wine probably works better, but you’ve got gifts to buy, so don’t get too relaxed there, cowgirl (or cowboy). We’ve combed the vineyards and wine shops of the world – virtual and real – to bring you some fun, delectable, practical and educational-but-not-boring gift ideas for your favorite vino lover. Even if that person happens to be you.

If you’ve read El Full Disclosure, all of the items below were selected randomly by me, and purchased with my own dinero, unless otherwise noted. Should you be inspired to buy any of the featured items this holiday season, spread the holiday amor and tell ’em Señorita Vino sent you.

So here you go, in no particular order, our picks for this year’s best gifts for wine lovin’ newbies (and you more seasoned folks, too). Feliz shopping!

1. If you think life is all fun and games, so is learning about wine! I picked up Viti Vini in the gift store of a San Luis Obispo tasting room last month to add a little oomph to my wine studies coursework (not that the material was boring – I’m just an over-achiever). But I’m also a giving kind of a chica, and I realized that a good friend of mine may appreciate it more than I would. The  party hostesses and hosts on your gift list might enjoy a new addition to their cocktail party repertoire. As an alternative, you may want to buy your own game, bone up on some useful wine facts and figures, and be the cocktail party repertoire. $24.95 at VitiVini.com.

2. Wine and chocolate go together like Diego Forlan and a soccer jersey. No need to feel guilty about indulging this holiday season with Wine Lover’s Chocolate. This takes the guesswork out of pairing chocolate and wine, because they’ve done it for you! The collection features chocolate with varying percentages of cacao made to pair with a particular red wine varietal. I bought the formula made to pair with Pinot Noir for my husband. I stumbled across it at Alapay Cellars in Avila Beach, Calif. last month, but it’s also available online at $5.99 a tin, or $18.95 and up for variety packs.

3. Ah, vino…what gift says Feliz Navidad better than a nice bottle of wine. I could go on and on recommending scores of world-class wines I’ve had the privilege of tasting this year, and I hope to post more wine reviews in 2012 (Señorita Vino has started her New Year’s resolutions list). But for now, I wanted to recommend the 2009 Bonarda Earth First from Mendoza, Argentina. The reason is simple: I’m giving two bottles to my father for Christmas (Shhhhh! It’s a surprise). This is what we poured at Thanksgiving this year, and I only wish I could have recorded my dad’s reaction, because he said it with such gravitas: “Éste es un vino excelente.” Bonarda is becoming a hot grape in Argentina, giving Malbec a run for its money. If you like fig and raisin flavors, bold tannins and luscious fruity aromas, you can’t go wrong. What’s more, I’m highly selective about the wines I give my father, and this one is a winner. Earth First is an organic wine, so the granola crowd on your list will appreciate it. I found it at Uncorked: The Wine Shop in Hermosa Beach, Calif. for $13.99

4. One of my favorite memories is of my dear friend “Joy” (not her real name) who, at a holiday bacchanalia, attempted to uncork a bottle of wine while walking down a flight of stairs. She took a graceful tumble but managed to right herself, bottle (and ego) intact. If you have friends like Joy who like to show off their multitasking skills, or others who couldn’t work a corkscrew to save their lives, take the pressure off by giving them a wine opener that doesn’t require a Ph.D. to operate. My husband bought me mine for Christmas last year, and it’s among my top 5 most frequently used kitchen gadgets. This one’s called the Compact Wine Opener, and it sells for $40.00.

A little somethin’ for the stocking: Don’t you hate it when a rogue piece of spinach commandeers your front teeth, and no one around you has the decency to say anything? If you love red wine like I do, you may have noticed the chompers start to take on a purplish hue after a few sips. Hopefully people around you are too tipsy to notice, but do a friend – or yourself – a favor and don’t leave home without your Wine Wipes. Tear open a pack, discreetly wipe, et voila! You’ve got the whitest teeth in the room. Until your next glass, that is. (El Full Disclosure: I was handed a few Wine Wipes as samples at a wine festival this summer). $6.99 for a 10-pack at Amazon.com.

Stay tuned…last minute gift ideas for your favorite Vinorita or Vinorito are coming up!

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