Family, friends, thirsty advertisers, retailers and restaurateurs are all wishing “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year.” The season of joy, giving and gratitude is here.
For many, the stress of deciding what to gift can leave them with a “deer in headlights” feeling. Don’t fret; there is an array of options ranging in price from sensible to ridiculous.
For great stocking-stuffers, wine accessories are conveniently small in both size and price tag. These include wine keys, stain remover, aerators, glass charms, wine preserver systems and drip-free pourers. Decanters, while not stocking-friendly, also make nice kitchen decorations in addition to being useful for aerating young wine and removing sediment from aged wine. Many local retailers offer the gift that keeps on giving: monthly wine club memberships.
Thinking about that premium bottle of wine?
Something to consider when purchasing an expensive bottle is whether the wine is going to be enjoyed now or in 10 years or longer. Either way, your preferred retailer can assist you. When searching for a wine that is ready to consume now, it’s best to seek out a New World wine. California, Oregon, Washington, Argentina, Chile, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand make amazing wines that drink well upon release and can age well up to 10 years.
Selecting a wine that is destined for aging 10 years or longer requires careful selection of region, grape varietal and vintage. The longest lived wines come from Europe. For cabernet sauvignon and merlot drinkers, your best option is Bordeaux, France. Some of the longest lived wines come from Bordeaux and have a life upwards of 30 years if selected from the right vintage. For pinot noir and chardonnay drinkers, Burgundy, France, makes reds that last 20 years or longer, depending on the vintage and producer. The chardonnays of Montrachet typically last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. For Spanish wine lovers, Rioja offers wines that are already mature. Gran Reserva’s are typically 5 to 10 years old upon release and are by far the best value. For the lover of nebbiolo, look no farther than Barbaresco and Barolo of Piedmont, Italy. These explosive and long-lived wines can hold up to 30 years from top producers, sometimes longer.
Sure, these wines can be very expensive and will require patience for them to mature, but the reward is worth it. The other option is to seek out wines aged at the winery in their perfect cellars. These are slightly more expensive but don’t require the wait.
Curious what to bring to a New Year’s Eve party? While it’s admirable to bring that fancy bottle of true Champagne to the party, it will likely be lost amongst party-goers. If you are attending a small gathering of close family and friends, true Champagne is justified. However, if attending a larger gathering of 10 or more, it’s best to bring a Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco or a domestic sparkler. They’re far more affordable and won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth by over-spending.
Alan Cuenca is an accredited oenophile and owner of Put a Cork in It, a Durango wine store. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.