Get Started

Solve Your Gift-Giving Dilemmas with Great Taste(s)

Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy the holiday shopping rush that hits every time this year. I love buying gifts for people – especially when I feel like I have found just the right present for a loved one. But sometimes things can get overwhelming – especially if you have a tough person on your list to buy for. So to help you out, here’s a list of my top suggestions for some tasteful and tasty treats that will solve some of your toughest gift-giving dilemmas.

The Hard-to-Please Brother-in-Law


My brother-in-law is definitely into wine, but he can be pretty picky about what he likes to drink. So to avoid giving him something he’ll stick in the back of his wine fridge, this year I’m going with a really nice decanter. A top quality decanter like one from Schott Zwiesel or Ravenscroft is great for someone who likes to drink young, tannic wines, of which Tom happens to be a fan. Decanting a wine into a different container is a great way to give it an opportunity to open up and breath. And it also looks beautiful on the table.

Ravenscroft Cristoff Single Decanter

Your Child’s Teacher

When my son’s teacher found out that I was a wine educator, she had a lot of questions for me. While she likes wine, she said that she doesn’t always know what to try and that she tends to drink the same wines over and over. To help her discover some new choices, I am putting together an assortment of different wines for her to taste this holiday season. I’ve chosen three wines (two reds and a white) that are all very versatile, food-friendly and delicious: a Beaujolais from France, an Amarone Della Valpolicella from Italy and an Albariño from Spain.

2011 Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau Half Case

Your Foodie Best Friend


For someone who has been with you through thick and thin, the holidays are a nice time to say thank you for being a friend. My best friend recently confided that she has a secret longing to be on Top Chef, so I figured what could be better than all the ingredients for a really special meal? This year has been an especially hectic one for her, but she’s always been there when I’ve needed her, so I am going to splurge a little on a bottle of great Champagne and a lobster dinner for her. It will beat last year’s mani/pedi gift certificate hands down.

Hancock Gourmet Lobster Dinner

Your Younger Sibling

My baby brother just bought his first house, and the cabinets are full of random leftover glassware from his college days. So this year I’m giving him a set of good quality wine glasses. Not only are these good for grown-up entertaining, but the right stemware can really enhance the smell and taste of a wine. I’ve always been partial to glasses from Riedel and Spiegelau. Both producers make lines that won’t break the bank, but are of very good quality. Look for glasses with a thin, flat rim and tulip-shaped bowl. And if you want to be an extra good sibling, you could also include a drying rack for the glasses.

Schott Zwiesel “Fine” Bordeaux Glass (Set of 6)

The Parents Who Have Everything

Coming up with a unique gift for my parents is always the toughest job on my list. This year I’ve decided that I am going to go for something a little different. Instead of buying the latest gadget or gizmo, I’ve decided to give them an experience they are sure to enjoy. So I’m on the hunt now for the perfect local gourmet class or short trip for them. Right now, I’m leaning towards signing them up for an evening of wine and cheese, but if I can swing it, I might try to send Dad and Mom on something a little bit more exotic, like a weekend trip to somewhere fun.

Your Favorite Aunt


I credit my Aunt Cindy with exposing me to all things epicurean. Every year at the holidays I like to send her a little something that is sure to please her palate. She doesn’t drink wine, but she is still into learning about aromas and flavors. So this year I’ve decided to give her a tea sampler. Not only do I think she’ll enjoy being able to discover some new blends, but it’s a gift she will be able to share with her friends.

Harney & Sons Tea Tasting Set

The Next-Door Neighbor

One of the things I notice a lot is how many of my friends don’t have the right tools for opening wine. In fact, just the other day while at my neighbor’s house for drinks, I discovered that she doesn’t have a very good corkscrew. So this year, to thank her for all the times she’s collected my mail and looked after my plants, I am going to give her a quality lever-style corkscrew and a fun bottle of wine to use it on.

2008 J. Keverson Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The Boss

My husband’s boss (I’ll call him Mr. X) is an interesting guy. He knows what he likes (full-bodied red wines) and isn’t all that interested in discovering anything else (he hasn’t tried a white wine in years). While I usually like to give people unusual and different wines so that they can discover something new, when it comes to Mr. X, I know that it is usually best to play it safe. But this year, I’ve picked out something that will satisfy Mr. X’s love of red wines and my desire to educate: a pair of wines that will be both familiar and original. The wines are both Cabernet Sauvignons, but from 2 different vintages. This way, Bill’s boss will get his favorite grape and he’ll also get the experience of tasting both a young and an old example of Cabernet. I call it the best of both worlds!

1997 & 2007 RustRidge Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Duo

Happy shopping!


TastingRoom Get Started

Top Stories