Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas gifts – Published 25.11.11

Christmas is only a month away, in fact one month today, so it is time to start buying gifts for the special people in your life if you haven’t already done so. Because this is a column about wine of course I am going to tell you to buy something wine related but it doesn’t have to be a bottle of wine, there are lots of choices for you. Two of my favourite gift-buying places arePage & Blackmore Booksellers on Trafalgar Street and Casa del Vino on Hardy Street. At page and Blackmore you will find a nice selection of wine books that will please any wine loving person. They stock two great books from the person I consider New Zealand’s leading wine writer, Michael Cooper. His annual Buyers Guide to New Zealand Wine ($39.99) is a bible for every buyer of wine, if you have a cellar or just enjoy good wine then this should sit beside your favourite chair. It without doubt is the most comprehensive book that reviews and rates multiple vintages of New Zealand wines.
For something a little lighter Cooper’s 100 Must-Try New Zealand Wines ($34.99) to use his words “.. is to give you a diverse and stimulating array of New Zealand wines to choose from, regardless of whether you are in the mood for a wine of sublime quality, or looking for something new and exciting, or just thirsting for a bargain.” Well laid out and packed with easy to understand information and recommendations this makes a great gift.
Just around the corner at Casa del Vino you are spoiled for choice; Ann has everything from premium glassware to special bottles of liquid nectar that will satisfy every taste and budget. If the special person you are buying for loves a particular variety of wine, chardonnay for example, then why not buy them a couple of glasses designed specifically for that wine.
Riedel make a range of premium glasses designed to enhance every variety of wine, and the right glass does make a difference. To help you choose Ann has a display of glasses and because they can be quite expensive (RRP$55+ a glass) you can buy them in packs of two and she has 10% off all Riedel glassware before Christmas.
If you don’t want to stretch to $55 in cost then check out the range from Spiegelau, another premium maker but their glassware start at about $20 a glass and goes up from there. One really good idea is a tube of four stemless glasses.
Of course Casa del Vino also sells wine and they have plenty of treats. How about a magnum (1.5ltr) of the 2008 Te Mata Coleraine for $185 in a presentation box? Or maybe a magnum of bubbles from Pol Roger for $220, the special person you are buying it for may even share it with you. If you have a whiskey lover in your house then a single malt from Bruichladdich in a presentation box with a purpose designed whiskey glass for less than $100 will be perfect.
Both of these stores have plenty more delights for you to buy the wine lover in your life or maybe you could just treat yourself this Christmas.

I have been drinking

Dibon Cava Brut Reserve - $18.95 at Casadel Vino
Recommended retail price for this Spanish delight is about $25 but Ann has it at this special price just about all the time. Bright, fresh, powdery minerality and with a twist of citrus this sparkling wine is simply delicious. Perfect for every occasion this summer.

Saint Clair Family Estate 2011 Gruner Veltliner – RRP $21.50
As winemakers are coming to grips with one of the newest varieties to be planted in New Zealand and the vines get a wee bit of age the finished wines are getting better and better. This example from Saint Clair smells like gewurztraminer, has pear and soft apple flavours similar to pinot gris, a texture in the mouth reminiscent of chardonnay and a lovely citrus finish, almost like riesling. This New Zealand produced Gruner Veltliner (grew-na velt-leena) is proof this new variety has exciting potential and is one to watch for.

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