Wine Lover on Your List?
By Jennifer Cossey
“My best friend is having us over for Christmas and my wife and I wanted to get him a thank-you gift for his generous hospitality. He loves wine but seems to have all the gadgets. What do you give the wine lover who already has everything?” —Tyler in Newberg
I’ll approach this question as if one of my friends were asking what to get me. As a self-proclaimed “wine geek,” most of my friends would be a little (unnecessarily) daunted to buy me something wine-related, but the good news is there are plenty of options, and for every budget.
What I am talking about here is older wine. A few local wineries make their library releases available at different times of the year, the holidays often being one of them. A few, like Eyrie and Sokol Blosser, actually have the wines available for sale in their tasting rooms. The staff is well versed on the subtle differences in vintages and can be a great asset when trying to select a wine. Don’t be surprised to spend a few hundred dollars on a single bottle, but I can guarantee that if your friend likes Pinot Noir, he will be blown away by the gesture.
Super premium tasting
Many wineries in the Willamette Valley (which is basically your backyard) offer these premium experiences for a modest fee ($15 to $45). Usually they include tours of the winery, a private tasting of wines not poured in the tasting room and, sometimes, food pairings. Set a day to taste with your friend, but instead of the normal tasting room experience, give him a tasting experience on steroids. Wineries like Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, Dobbes Family Estate and Domaine Drouhin are just a few offering these (reservations are often required), but many places are happy to arrange something even if they don’t advertise it; just ask ahead.
It seems so simple — almost unbelievable — but the truth is, if he drinks wine at home, he uses wine glasses, and if he uses them, I’d bet my last dollar that he breaks them with a fair amount of consistency (as is the case in my home). A couple of crystal (not glass) glasses from producers like Riedel or Stölzle will be greatly appreciated in his house (or mine).
A friend once gave me a small cork board as a gift. She hot-glued used corks onto a piece of wood and added a chain on the back. Simple enough, but I still have it up in my kitchen, and I think of her — thank you, Sarah — every time I see it. There are several easily accessible craft ideas for the use of corks on the Internet. Don’t have the corks you need? Hit up your local restaurant and ask them to save their corks for you and, in about a week or so, you’ll have plenty.
If I were your friend, I’d be happy to receive any (or all) of these holiday offerings, but in the end, remember, the best present is the gift of your friendship … so he had better share that vintage wine with you (and me, for that matter).
Holiday Cheers, Jennifer Cossey
I look forward to receiving more of your questions. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your questions, and I’ll see you next month!