- Sarah O'Kelley
Wine Nerd Gift Guide
It's the most wonderful time of the year!? Or is it the most stressful time of the year? In some way we all put undue amounts of stress on ourselves during the holidays, but there’s one stress I can help alleviate. Gift ideas for the wine nerd in your life!
#1 CHEESE! (See pretty pic above!) All of us wine nerds know that sitting down for wine & CHEESE is a near cure-all! But the key is finding terrific cheese that really stands up to your terrific bottle! Begone the days of searching hopelessly in the grocery story deli case when all you will truly find is mass produced brie and cheddar. Rather, hop online and place an order with my absolute fave cheesemongers: Counter Cheese Caves, aka Nora Granger & Eric Casella! They are based here in Charleston, SC, but they ship all over! They specialize in small creameries (mostly based in the southeast). All of their cheeses come with handmade cards that give detailed tasting notes and pairing ideas! You can order a one-time holiday gift or a cheese club subscription (my platonic ideal in the gift world)! One of my top picks from their site: the Southern Sampler for $75 (plus shipping). Deadline to order is Sunday, December 18. (P.S. You can read my Q & A with the founders from a few years back regarding Holiday Cheese FAQ!)
#2 Pretty Glassware! Look no further than Estelle Colored Glass to support an awesome (and female owned!) business this holiday season. I am certainly not the first to be totally taken by South Carolina native Stephanie Summerson Hall and her rainbow of hand blown glassware and cake stands! You can find her wares on a variety of websites (from West Elm to Food 52) or order directly from her own site. I will admit that us wine nerds can be weird about colored glassware for super serious wines, but when it comes to making a Champagne cocktail I can imagine nothing more lovely than her iridescent coupes, which are $95 for a pair!
#3 The Nerdiest Subscription: Noble Rot Magazine! As an aspiring wine writer myself and reformed journalism major, I am just as picky about wine magazines as I am about wine! I totally get that most widely distributed wine and food magazines are seeking to appeal to a broad audience and consequently stick to pretty beginner wine topics (my blog is guilty of this too)! But if you have a serious wine nerd in your life then look no further than Noble Rot magazine. This lovely British quarterly was started in 2013 and has subsequently opened wine bars under the same name. While there’s definitely a strong focus on natural wines, you will also find classics and just seriously well written articles on a variety of topics. Add in savvy graphic design and weighty card stock that just feels good to hold! It’s roughly $84 for four issues (shipping included).
#4 The Ultimate Natural Wine Club! Is natural wine still the “it” topic in the world of wine? I lean towards, ‘YES!” And I am not even a natural wine fanatic. But I think interest continues to grow (alongside general interest in healthy living). So, if you have heard your partner-in-wine mention a desire to learn a bit more about this somewhat abstract category I highly recommend checking out Alice Feiring’s wine club! Alice Feiring is a noted wine writer and partners with a small New York wine shop to get her wine picks out to areas that might be natural wine deserts! I had a subscription myself for several years before opening my own shop, and I felt that this was one on-line wine club that truly lived up to the hype! These days there are several, larger scale wine “natural wine” subscription services that might pop up first in your google searches. But trust me Alice is the REAL DEAL! I also highly recommend her “Dirty Guide to Wine” (all about soil types with Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier) and her new memoir “To Fall in Love, Drink This”. The club is $75/month for 4 to 6 wines (plus shipping); so it’s not a small price tag, but you can always just gift a couple of months (or even one month)! (If you want to learn more about natural wine check out my past blog on the subject!)
#5 Local Wine Shop Gift Card: Last but very far from least, visit your own local bottle shop and simply purchase a gift card. While gift cards get a bad wrap (pun totally intended!) – I guarantee you that this is one that will NOT be thrown in the junk drawer and forgotten. Plus, all of us wine retailers truly appreciate EVERY purchase during the holiday season!
Cheers to less stress and MORE fun! Happy holidays y'all!
P.S. Click here for a round-up of all my post holiday posts – from pairing ideas to a couple of recipes!