The Noble Writ: Gifts for the Wine Lover

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On the book front, my top recommendation remains the latest version of The Oxford Companion to Wine. Its comprehensive nature and frequent updates make it an incredible resource for anyone interested in wine. If your wine lover is interested in more specialized topics, the University of California Press has a wonderful catalog of wine titles of the highest quality.

Do be aware that the wine industry is very dynamic, so books that are more than a couple of years old may have limited utility if your goal is planning travel or searching for current-release wines to sample.

Wine Gadgets

There seems to be an entire industry cranking out new "technologies" to assist the hapless wine drinker. Forgot to chill your wine? There's a gadget for that! Don't want to be bothered cellaring a wine for a decade or two? There are dozens of gadgets that promise to do it for you instantly! As you might expect, virtually all of these are at best unnecessary. At worst they border on outright deceptive advertising.

click to enlarge The Noble Writ: Gifts for the Wine Lover
Dave Nelson
Rather than fueling this parasitic market, I suggest purchasing an item no wine lover can ever have too many of: a decanter. They're beautiful, varied in shape and size, infinitely practical and come in a wide range of prices. Simple, well-made glass decanters can be found starting at around $30, while those with bigger budgets can leap into the world of crystal decanters. Do know that by far the most-used decanter in my repertoire is a glass "duck" decanter that probably cost near the low end of the price range, while the least-used is a gorgeous, but really heavy and awkward, hand-blown Riedel crystal model that was a wedding present.

If you know some of the particulars of your wine lover's likes and dislikes and would like a more specific wine shop, book or newsletter recommendation, feel free to drop me an e-mail and I'll do what I can to help.

Dave Nelson is the author of the blog Beer, Wine and Whisky. He writes about wine every Tuesday.
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