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The Vinous 2018 Holiday Gift Guide
BY ANTONIO GALLONI | DECEMBER 8, 2018
Looking for that perfect gift for the wine lover in your life? We’ve got you covered with a selection of gifts ranging from new books, to glasses, maps and much more.
Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine by Jason Wilson
Readers of Vinous will no doubt be familiar with Jason Wilson's excellent writing as demonstrated in his recent coverage of spirits. If you enjoyed reading about Armagnac and Calvados, and especially if you were somewhat unfamiliar with them before, then you'll also enjoy Jason's latest book, Godforsaken Grapes. Jason takes the reader on a journey through Europe and beyond, at each stop quenching a thirst for information, and indeed wine, with offerings made from the more unusual grape varietals. Written as a personal memoir, though ending up as a guide for the curious, Godforsaken Grapes will be sure to amuse the adventurous wine lover in your life, and perhaps also inspire them to raise a glass of Mondeuse Noire. ($26).
The latest book from Oz Clarke, the popular British wine communicator and longtime host of the BBC's Food and Drink show, is part memoir, part guide, always interesting and ever amusing. I could go on but instead I'll simply quote in full Neal Martin's words from the book's back cover: “Food and Drink was compulsive viewing because it opened a nation’s palates to the joys of wine, opened their eyes to a rapidly expanding world of winemaking. Oz Clarke democratized wine. Once the preserve of middle-aged men in pinstriped suits pretentiously swirling their claret, Oz demonstrated that wine can be enjoyed by everyone. Even posh wine. Oz was like “us” and, if he liked wine, “we” could like wine as well. Oz’s sheer love of, and infectious enthusiasm for, wine have made him an educator and communicator without equal over many years. His knowledge, razor-sharp palate and humour are driven by a resolve to help as many people as possible to drink better wine.” ($30).
The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste by Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay
This newest book from sommelier-turned-winemaker Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay is a very personal exploration into trying to understand why wines taste the way they do. Parr and Mackay take the reader on a trip through a series of regions in a book that is part travelogue, part discussion of terroir and part an analysis on how we taste wine. The focus is on Europe and specifically the classic regions of France, with touches of Italy, Austria and Germany. In any book, choices of regions and producers are very personal. Parr and Mackay make no secret of where their deepest interests lie. So, rather than lament the relatively brief sections on Bordeaux or Piedmont, readers should, for example, relish the chapter on Burgundy, which distills a tremendous amount of information into bite-sized sections that offer enough depth to be of interest to both the casual and expert reader. The Champagne chapter is another highlight. More than anything else, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste is a beautifully written book that transmits an enormous amount of passion and wonderment with all that wine has to offer. It is a delight to read and highly recommended. ($40).
Barolo MGA Vol. I: The Barolo Great Vineyard Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition by Alessandro Masnaghetti
Barolo, with its ability to produce complex, multi-dimensional, ageworthy reds, is one of the world’s most fascinating wine regions. For years, Alessandro Masnaghetti has enchanted us with breathtaking books and maps that explore the vineyards of Barolo to a degree that has never been possible before. But one piece of the puzzle in understanding Barolo has long been missing: a thorough study of its geology and soils. Leave it to Masnaghetti to shed light into this complex and fascinating subject in the just-published Second Edition of his book Barolo MGA Vol. 1. I can’t recommend the Second Edition of Barolo MGA Vol. 1 enough. It is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to discover all the nuances that make Barolo and its wines so special. ($90).
Vinous Napa Valley Vineyard Maps
Creating reference-point vineyard maps of Napa Valley and other American winemaking regions was something I wanted to do for many years. I am thrilled to partner with renowned cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti to bring you this collection of Vinous Maps of Napa Valley. These are the most detailed vineyard maps that have ever been produced of the vineyards of Napa Valley. The Collection presently includes seven maps: St. Helena & Conn Valley, Oakville, Pritchard Hill, Rutherford, Stags Leap, Howell Mountain and Yountville. Vinous Maps are available in a handy, folded format, full-size poster format suitable for framing and special autographed Collectors’ Edition. In 2019, the Collection expands to include maps of Sonoma Valley and more regions within Napa Valley. Vinous readers can take advantage of special pricing on folded and poster maps now through 3pm December 14. (Regularly priced $25/folded map, $50/rolled map, currently 30% off until 3pm EST, December 14).
Richard Brendon/Jancis Robinson Wine Glass
This new, all-purpose glass is a collaboration between celebrated designer Richard Brendon and Jancis Robinson MW, who needs no introduction to Vinous readers. The Wine Glass, part of the Jancis Robinson Collection that includes two decanters (one for old wines and one for young wines), a water carafe and a water glass, is designed to work well with every type of wine. The design is quite elegant, while the glass is very nicely proportioned in both size and feel. I found it to work best with white wines and Champagne. Red wines showed well, too, although the slightly narrow aperture felt like it constricted the aromas just a bit on aromatic reds. The boxed set of two glasses makes for a very attractive gift. ($100 for a set of 2 glasses).
The Durand Corkscrew is a must-have for wine lovers who enjoy drinking older wines. Two blades work alongside a conventional corkscrew mechanism to extract even the most fragile, brittle corks. Sufficed to say, the Durand has saved many an older bottle from the terrors of a lost cork. ($125).
Vinous Classic Gift Subscription
Give the gift of (wine) knowledge this holiday season with a Classic subscription to Vinous. Our team of critics spends months of the year on the road to bring Vinous readers the most up to date and in-depth insight into the world's major wine regions. Just as Vinous is the go-to destination for wine enthusiasts around the world, a Vinous gift subscription can make it become so for the wine lover in your life. A Classic subscription gives full access to the Vinous website and the apps, where you can look up reviews on the go. And if you use any of these services, you can also link your account to Delectable, CellarTracker and WineOwners. Tip: the gift subscription email is sent immediately to the recipient. You can send the email to yourself to get the gift link that you can pass on whenever you like. ($140).
Coravin takes their revolutionary wine preservation system to the next level with the recently-released Model Eleven. Coravin allows consumers to enjoy a bottle of wine without pulling the cork. A surgical needle accesses the wine through the cork and replaces it with argon gas. As an inert gas, unlike oxygen, argon doesn't react with the wine so it is preserved until the next time the bottled is accessed. The new Model Eleven includes Bluetooth connectivity to the Coravin Moments app, which uses Delectable’s label recognition technology and allows users to save impressions on wines as well as track a wide range of Coravin functionality, including monitoring argon gas capsule levels and choosing between Sip and Glass serving sizes in Pouring Mode. ($1000).
For more gift ideas be sure to take a look at previous editions of our Gift Guide.
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