Dear Santa:

I have been a good boy this year. I drank up all the wine in my glass because it would be a waste to leave it when there are poor people in the world going around sober.

As I sipped, I pondered. So I have a few ideas on what you might get me (or any of my fellow oenophiles) as gifts or stocking stuffers.

Gran Selezione Chianti. A bottle of wine (or 12) is always welcome. I have taken a liking lately the new Chianti designation for wines of special quality. If you can find it, Santa, I favor the “Castello di Gabbiano 2012 Bellezza Gran Selezione.” It’s a lovely offering marked by some licorice and dark fruit flavors, with oak and tannins nicely integrated, usually around $30-35 it. If you can’t find that one, I’m sure I’ll be happy with your choice of one of the other Gran Selezione Chiantis. (Which are also good for that long, cold night in your sleigh.
Now, Santa, when you’re transporting my wine, I can’t think of anything better to keep it safe in the sleigh than the VinGarde Valise. You can stuff it with 12 or 8 bottles, depending on the model. We reviewed it earlier this year (along with what VinGarde claims is a stolen design by Wine Enthusiast $249-$359, depending on size and model) at vingardevalise.com.

Of course, I need to preserve my wine. I mean, when you live single, you can’t knock back a whole bottle every evening. (Well, I have, but that’s another story.) There are so many systems out there, Santa, you have to search to find the ones that are naughty and the ones that are nice – and I have.


I like the Wine Saver Carafe by Savino. Insert a floating disc, pour in the bottle, and put the stopper in. Pour a glass, then put the stopper back in. The disc floats on the surface of the wine, minimizing oxygen, with a stopper to seal the carafe. It works pretty well, with no batteries, lights, or cartridges. A bottle lasted several days. $42.95 for the glass version, $24.95 for the plastic version (good for poolside), on The Grommet.

Speaking of poolside (well, I do live in Florida – suggest you ditch the heavy red suit when you get here) – we can always use unbreakable drinkware for pool, beach, or picnic. The “Stack n’ Go Vino” stacking wine glasses are pretty cool, and easy to transport. $10-$14, for 2 depending on color, on Amazon.

Bottle Bubble Ice Bags are great for the picnic basket. These sturdy flexible plastic bags keep a bottle of wine cold very nicely. Just put ice (or, as I prefer for faster cooling, ice and water) in the bag and insert bottle. Chills and keeps the wine chilled. $15 for a set of two on The Grommet.

And to keep the pesky bugs out of the wine, can you stick some Ventilated Wine Glass Covers in my stocking? These covers have a screen to let the wine breathe while keeping critters out. $18.00 for a set of 4 at The Grommet or $25 at Coverware.


Do you have trouble getting a wine carafe clean, Santa? I do. I would like a Magnetic Spot Scrubber Glass Cleaning Tool by Cuisipro. Drop the small magnetic scrubber into the decanter and use the other one to move the interior magnet to clean out pesky spots a brush cannot reach. $10 at The Grommet or Amazon.

Finally, something for you, Santa, when finally get home and relax. Your choice of the Spinning Whiskey and Spirits Glass ($21.95 at The Grommet) which spins on its base to aerate the contents — and catches the light rather niftily.)

Or the NEAT Aroma-Enhancing Spirits Glass ($13.95, also at The Grommet). This is a different take on the traditional whiskey glass, designed to open up aromas while keeping some of the alcohol burn at bay. The designers say “science has built a better glass,” and I tend to agree.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a (cheers!) good night.

 

About The Author

Gary Thomas
Wine Review Editor

Gary Thomas is also a longtime professional journalist, and former senior correspondent at the Voice of America. He was the wine columnist for the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, TX, and has freelanced wine articles for other publications, including the Wine Spectator. He has spent much of his long journalistic career working overseas, managing to cadge needed wine in the hardiest of circumstances and unlikliest of locales, even in places like Pakistan and Iran.

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