How to Select an Exceptional Wine as a Present

Wine Basket

Finding the perfect gift for that special occasion can be difficult to find, especially if the person is quite picky. However, wine always makes an incredibly elegant present, regardless of the occasion— perfect for everything from anniversaries to birthdays, a perfect token for a small dinner party, or even as a welcoming gift for a new neighbor. However, not all wine is the same, and not all wine will conform to the individual tastes of whomever you’re giving the gift to. However, the following are a few tips on selecting the perfect wine in ensuring your gift is a spectacular one!

White Wine for Something Lighter

Figuring out individual tastes is definitely a difficult task. So if you’re unsure of the type of wine to purchase as a gift, choosing a lighter wine like white wine is probably the best choice, especially for individuals who do not drink regularly. Some of the most popular wines include Moscato, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio because of their sweetness and intricate pairing with common household dishes including chicken and salmon. They are also light and stay away from complex or confusing flavors that red wines offer.

Why Not Give Wine Baskets or a Gift Set?

Wine gift baskets are exceptional in terms of buying something that the individual will like and simply offering a great quantity and variety of wine. In this case, it’s alright if you have no clue what the recipient’s tastes are because you’re offering multiple items at the same time. If you opt to buy a wine basket with only a few wines, however, including cheese and dark chocolate is a special inclusion that can bring your basket to a whole other level. This type of gift is also great for parties where you believe the recipient would want to share the gift with attendees.

Gift baskets with wine are also a simple yet meaningful gift. The Veuve Clicquot gift set is one such gift basket that includes a delicious Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne inside an aesthetic faux leather wine bottle carrier. And thought it includes one bottle, the pure design of the entire package is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Red Wine for Something Bitter

Sometimes, light wine just doesn’t cut it. If you’re thinking of giving wine to someone who is an avid wine drinker, then perhaps buying something with more of an intricate blend of flavors or a tinge of bitterness could go a long way. Red wine is perfect in this case, as many do offer a nice blend of complex flavors. However, it is best to avoid buying such a wine if you know for a fact that the recipient is not so experienced with wine.

Give Something Rare or Uncommon

If the individual you are giving wine to is known to be quite the wine enthusiast, perhaps buying something rare or uncommon is the best way to leave a lasting impression. Of course, rare wines tend to be much more expensive, but speaking to an expert at a wine retailer is the best way to be on the right track when it comes to buying a wine that is both affordable yet exotic.

Final Thoughts?

Before choosing a wine, decide what your budget is, what type of experience the recipient has with wine, and the type of flavors you want to wine to express. Whether you want a wine that has more complex flavors, or offer a simple yet elegant gift set like the Veuve Clicquot gift set, doing a bit of research and asking a retailer for their advice can go a long way in ensuring the perfect gift for the perfect occasion.


Can Wine Bottles Really Impact the Taste of Wines?

Wine Bottles

Can wine bottles really impact the taste of wines? That seems to be a question on a lot of wine enthusiast minds these days, as they ponder the thought of this question one could only imagine the thought of wine being stored inside a dirty, contaminated bottle.

Wine bottles, generally created of glass, they provide a great deal of communication when it comes to the general aroma of the wine. They are designed in a large array of sizes and some were named after the Biblical kings and other important figures in history.

The standard wine bottle size should contain 750ml, although there are some that come in much larger sizes. A wine bottle is commonly sealed using a wine cork however what is becoming popular nowadays is the use of screw-top caps. Yet, there are still numerous methods being invented and used to seal a wine bottle.

The many wine producers in Germany, France, Spain and Portugal follow the custom of their locality particularly in selecting the bottle’s shape, which is appropriate for their beverage. In the European continent, a lot of wine manufacturing areas has developed a wine bottle, designed uniquely for that region. This has then become the conventional wine bottle of that place.

There are several varieties of a wine bottle. The Bordeaux, sherry and Port group are high-shouldered and straight-sided, coming with a prominent punt. Sherry and Port wine bottles may have bulging necks to gather any residue.

The Rhone and Burgundies wine bottle variety are tall bottles with smaller punts and sloping shoulders. Rhine, Alsace and Mosel wine bottle style are tall and narrow with few punts.  Meanwhile, for the champagne and wine bottle for the rest of the sparkling wines; they are wide and thick-walled, with sloping shoulders and prominent punt.

In Germany, they use the Bocksbeutel wine bottle shape to store the wines of higher quality, coming from Franconia (Franken), a region for quality wine situated in the north west of Bavaria. Many South and North American, Australian and South African producers of wine choose the shape of the bottle they prefer, associating it to their wines. For instance, if a wine producer who thinks his wine is related to Burgundy, he/she may opt for bottles in Burgundy style.

Other wine producers choose distinctive style of bottles for selling purposes. Home winemakers may utilize any shape and design of a wine bottle as these factors do not necessarily influence the finished product’s taste.

For the colors of wine bottles, there are also traditional shades being used. For Bordeaux, dark green is used for red, while for dry whites a light green is the shade being used. Sweet whites use a clear color. The Rhone and Burgundy uses a dark green shades. Alsace and Mosel use dark or medium green and Rhine uses an amber color.

Generally, wine bottles have dark colors as this can shield the wine from heat and light exposure and may affect its taste, however, more recently white and green colored bottles are becoming very popular with most manufactures.

Although wine bottles can come in many shapes, sizes, and color, their main purpose is to keep the wine that’s inside fresh and cool, so that when opened, it goes down silky smooth.


The Wines of Colorado

The Wines of Colorado

My wife is getting further along with her pregnancy (19 weeks already!) and we’ve been hit with the realization that our days of nice, quiet dinners out on the town are numbered. We’re excited and as ready as we’ll ever be for this next chapter. In the meantime, we’re aiming to finish the current chapter with a bang! Our recent Saturday night excursion was to The Wines of Colorado, a wine retail shop and restaurant located in unincorporated Cascade. Cascade is just a few miles west of Colorado Springs and less than a mile from the entrance of the Pikes Peak Highway (where crazy people do this).

The Wines of Colorado has a very large selection of Colorado wine and several of the wines can be sampled at no cost. I didn’t want to keep my hungry, pregnant wife waiting too long, so I only sampled three to four wines before dinner. One of these wines was the 2010 Winery at Holy Cross Abbey Cabernet Franc, which won Best of Show in the Governer’s Cup/AWS Colorado Wine Competition earlier this year. It was bold and impressive, and I’m inspired to make a pilgrimage to the Abbey in a few weeks to taste the rest of their lineup and re-taste the Cab Franc.

After tasting, it was time to select a bottle for dinner. I opted for the 2005 Guy Drew Meritage, based solely on my knowledge that Guy Drew is a very respected Colorado producer. Wines purchased from the retail shop can be brought into the restaurant without a corkage fee. As a wine consumer that sometimes–ok, oftentimes– complains about the markups/corkage fees in restaurants, this was a breath of fresh air.

The restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating, with the outdoor seating looking out over a beautiful creek that trickles down the Pikes Peak foothills. It was chilly, so we ended up sitting indoors. Perhaps we were subconsciously influenced by the buffalo on the sign, but we ended up splitting a bowl of buffalo chili and each ordered a buffalo burger. The food was good and inexpensive. The one fault that I found with the restaurant was the wine glasses. They were the same small tasting glasses that were used in the retail shop. My glass came out piping hot, and upon taking a whiff, it was obvious that it was just taken out of the dishwasher. Thankfully, the detergent odors did wane after a few minutes and did not interfere with my enjoyment and assessment of the wine.

Guy Drew’s 2005 Meritage is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 22% Petit Verdot. Black cherry was practically jumping out of the glass, with blue fruit, baking spices, and faint vanilla in the background. It’s ripe and friendly with a moderate oak presence and it’s drinking very young. There’s plenty of balance and some gripping tannins on the back palate. The fruit comes from Montezuma County in the southwestern corner of Colorado, home to Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners area. At a retail price of $19.00, I think it’s fairly priced. I rated it as Recommended (86-89) and a 3/5 value.

The Wines of Colorado is my kind of place and I would highly recommend it to anyone passing through the Colorado Springs area. Most of Colorado’s wineries are located on the less populated Western Slope, so Front Rangers and tourists get the opportunity to sample many of Colorado’s finest wines without having to make the trek across the Rockies. My parting recommendation–make sure that you sample these wines after braving the Pikes Peak Highway rather than before.

Wine Competitions

Colorado Wine Competitions

Wine Competitions

The number of Colorado wineries has been increasing steadily and now exceeds one hundred. Two recent competitions were held to showcase and evaluate the wines of Colorado vintners. While not all participated by entering, those who did evidence that, overall, the quality of their offerings continues to improve and some are making wines that could win medals in competition they entered. Continue Reading

Kosher Wine

Kosher Wine: A Theological Quagmire

Kosher Wine

Jewish dietary laws, commonly known as Kosher, cover what a Jew who follows them is permitted to eat and drink and even what foods may be consumed with what others. The origin of the laws is found in what is commonly called the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible but nowhere therein is found a specific reference to Kosher wine. The rules governing viticulture for and the making of Kosher wine initially were developed by scholars in the Second and Fourth Centuries C.E. who wrote commentaries on the Old Testament which were compiled as the Talmud. Those writings have been expanded, refined, and reinterpreted since by other scholars. As with any rules governing religious practice, not all scholars or leaders agree. What follows are the basic rules. Continue Reading