Gentlemen, please listen: I know you’d love to go into one of the many naughty or next-to-naughty lingerie shops and purchase some “barely there” outfit for your lady for Valentine’s Day. That’s fine, if you understand it is your Valentine’s gift to yourself! And you still need to buy something for your wife/girlfriend/fiancée/mistress (not that I’m advocating adultery, mind you!)
The same goes for chocolate. While a small box is certainly appreciated, we know the 5-pound box you buy for us, is really for us to share with you! Again, it’s a perfectly wonderful gift, unless your lady has proclaimed herself to be on a diet. But keep in mind if you’d like to enjoy the Valentine’s evening — buy her something, for her!
Ladies: this is entirely different for you. If you want to go buy yourself something naughty, and present yourself to your love on Valentine’s night, I’m guessing they’ll be few complaints. And if you want to buy your love a big box of chocolates, put a glass of wine on the night stand, and like Samantha from Sex and The City did with sushi, lay naked with a trail of chocolates across your body — again, I’m betting on very few objections. He’d probably prefer it to the 17th pair of lip-print boxer shorts.
But if you’re looking for other Valentine’s Day gifts for wine lovers, we have a few suggestions for you. We’ve also provided links to take you directly to on-line shopping!
A Weekend in San Francisco. If you’re like us, and a number of other wine lovers, you’ve left your heart there. What better way to show the one you love, that you really love her, than a visit to the City by the Bay? And for a perfectly romantic place for a evening with wine, might I suggest Harry Denton’s Starlight Room atop the Sir Frances Drake Hotel.
Trip to the Day Spa. Nothing says “I love you” like a relaxing massage, a glass of wine and a little pampering. If you’re not gifted in the fine art of a relaxing rub-down, ask a friend to recommend a day spa. Many of them sell packages that include facial, manicure, pedicure and massage. Some include body wraps and mud baths. And many include side-by-side couples massage, complete with a light lunch and a glass of wine! Hmmm. I can feel that tension melting away already!
Chocolate for Wine Lovers. These are fabulous little tins of indulgence, Wine Lover’s Chocolate Collection , come from the San Francisco Chocolate Company. Drops of dark chocolate with increasingly rich cocoa intensities are packaged in six signature Wine Country tins; each 3.5 oz. tin is also labeled with the wine varietal to which that specific chocolate is ideally matched.
A Little bit of Nature. And I don’t mean a kitten, unless of course your Valentine loves cats. I mean flowers. But try a little originality. Find out your Valentine’s favorite flowers — don’t just opt for a dozen red roses. My favorite roses are the hybrids rather than your standard long-stemmed red. But mixed bouquets can be beautiful, as can orchids, or daisies, or violets. One year I even got Joe a little bonsai tree. And a Wine Grape Bonsai would be extra special!
Wine Spectator: Every wine lover needs a subscription to Wine Spectator. The magazine is packed with information, looks great on your coffee table, and an on-line subscription gives you access to all the wine ratings directly on your PDA! Stumped about whether to buy that bargain the guy at the local wine shop has recommended? Just pop the wine name and vintage into WineSpectator.com and get the description and rating. And find bargains before your friends via Wine Spectator advance, delivered via e-mail every month.
Decanter Magazine is an up market magazine on wine and spirits, published in over 90 countries on a monthly basis. The magazine content includes news from the industry, vintage guides and wine recommendations. Decanter organizes the annual Decanter World Wine Awards.
Wine Aerators: Wine aerators take the countless hours away from opening up red wine by decanting. This great device introduces air into the wine while it passes through the aerator, turning four hours into seconds. There are a number of different styles available. I like the pewter blowfish from Wine Enthusiast, which also offers the Sea-rrific Pewter Sea Horse Aerator as well as an octopus. For a sleek, professional aerator, try the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator.
Ice Sculpture Wine Chiller: This is the perfect gift for the Martha Stewart in all of us. The Oenophilia Ice Chiller for Wine mold can freeze plain water, or it can be dressed up for any occasion by adding fruits, ornaments, flowers, or food coloring. This unique product is wonderful for everyday use: chilling beverages, mineral water, or wine bottles. Includes ice mold and bowl with bottle stand that collects all melting ice.
Wine Refrigerators: The Cuisinart Private Reserve Countertop Wine Cellars are a great way to keep your wine ready at the perfect temperature. I picked up the Cuisinart 6-bottle Private Reserve for Joe one Valentine’s Day, but they have larger models available. The great thing about Cuisinart is the 3-year warranty. If you need a replacement, just call them up, and they’ll send you a new one in just a few days.
Sommelier Tools – Every wine lover needs a decent wine opener. We’ve purchased a number of different varieties but find the easiest to carry and operate is the basic waiter’s corkscrew. These include a knife to cut the foil, the corkscrew and are either single or double hinged. We collect them from various wineries, and they work well in both natural and synthetic corks. For a really special gift, choose the Laguiole Wine Waiter Steward Sommelier Corkscrew with Olive Wood Handle and Leather Case.
Riedel Crystal Stemware: Riedel offers crystal stemware in a number of styles, weights and price points. We attended a tasting sponsored by Riedel, and you really can taste the difference in wine poured into lead crystal. For that guy or girl who has everything, why not surprise with a Riedel Sommeliers Maxi Bordeaux Grand Cru, Single Stem. Riedel also offers a number of decanters styled for that practical wine lover like the Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter as well as the artist who loves beautiful, yet functional pieces like the Riedel Amadeo Decanter.
Le Nez de Vin is a gift for the ultimate wine connoisseur. These aroma kits allow wine lovers to recognize and identify the aromas most commonly present in wine; thus, improving your appreciation and enjoyment of wine. Kits include the Le Nez du Vin : 54 arômes, collection complète en français (coffret). Companion kits are also available, including the Le Nez du Vin Faults and the Le Nez du Vin The Aromas of Oak. This brand new kit contains 12 key scents and a booklet to guide you through the various stages that wine undergoes as it matures in oak barrels. Also available is the Le Nez du Vin : “Clin de Nez”, 6 arômes (en français).
Films & DVDs: There are a number of entertaining films and instructional videos about wine, and the wine industry. Here are just a few:
- Bottleshock: Before a (then) little known Paris wine tasting in 1976, most people had no idea that California was producing world class wines. That changed when a British ex-pat in Paris organized a wine tasting of the best French versus the best Californians – against all expectations, California won both best red and white and nothing in the wine world has been the same since. Bottle Shock makes a great gift!
- Sideways: In this intoxicating, intelligent comedy, that made Pinot Noir the next Shiraz, director Alexander Payne (Election, About Schmidt) serves up “one of the best movies of the year” (Entertainment Weekly) about the ups, downs and sideways journeys of life. A wine-tasting road trip through California’s famed Central Coast takes an unexpected detour as Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) hit the gas en route to their mid-life crisis. The comically mismatched pair soon find themselves drowning in wine, women… and laughter until it all goes “Sideways”
- A Good Year: A Good Year is a feel-good movie that highlights the beauty of France as much as it does its stars. The movie provides a languid, gorgeous viewing experience. Director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe–who first worked together on the Academy Award-winning Gladiator–are reunited in this romantic film, which is based on Peter Mayle’s book A Year in Provence. Crowe plays Max, a workaholic London bonds trader who doesn’t know the meaning of vacation. When his uncle dies, leaving him a picturesque estate in the south of France, Max views it as an opportunity to cash in the vinery and pocket the profits. Once there, Max falls under the spell of the land, the town, and a local woman.
- Wine for the Confused: In Wine for the Confused Cleese says, “Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you what wine you like, because people have different tastes and we shall honor that.” The point of the program is clear and simple: to help you find and describe wines you like; to show how to buy wines at a good value; and to provide tips on how to get the most enjoyment from the wines you do buy. With this attitude, his considerable charm, and his gentle wit, Cleese is the perfect host for this material, and right off the bat he strikes just the right tone–instructive, but light-hearted. The result is delightful.
- Mondovino Mondovino is billed as the ultimate film about wine and wine culture, Mondovino offers an unprecedented look into the conflicts, conspiracies and alliances of the wine trade. Filmed by award-winning director Jonathan Nossiter, Mondovino has sparked controversy in its theatrical run among wine producers, distributors and consumers as it shed light on the esoteric world of wine. Hailed as “Fahrenheit 9/11 for the grape” by MSNBC.
Wine Clubs: If your gift recipient resides in a state that allows direct shipment of wine, maybe a gift membership to a Wine Club is in order. Nearly every winery and wine shop offers a Wine Club membership. But make sure you check their shipping policy and procedure. And look for a club that offers short-duration memberships, as well as the standard automatic renewal.
Gift Certificates: If you just can’t decide on a gift for that special person, why not choose a gift certificate to his or her favorite wine bar or wine specialty shop. Not only is it a thoughtful gift, but you might just get to join your significant other to enjoy a glass or two!
There you have it! Just a few ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts for your favorite wine lover. If you take our suggestions, come back and let us know how well your Valentine liked the gift!