February 14th falls on Sunday this year, and I would bet some of you will be waiting until Saturday to go shopping. But for those of you who want get to Hallmark before everything is picked over, you might start thinking about gifts as well.
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!
Well wouldn’t you know that while I was posting that last year, Joe was buying me a 10-pound bar of dark chocolate. And we’re still using it for hot chocolate, ganache and a number of tasty desserts! Because there was no way I could eat that much chocolate even if I shared it with the entire family.
Ladies, if you’d like to buy yourself a little something naughty as a gift to your valentine, by all means, go for it. In fact, Victoria’s Secret is having a sale! Beats the chocolate cigars and the lip-print boxers. But get to the mall before Saturday, because then the place will be a zoo.
If you’re looking for a Valentine gift for your favorite wine lover, we have a few suggestions for you. Some of them are repeats but we’ve added some new ones as well.
Wine. Give in to your lover’s Pinot envy, and select a luscious Pinot Noir. Some of our current favorites include Alexana, from Oregon’s Willamette Valley; Anaba, Bedrock Wine Co., Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Olson Ogden Wines from California; and Juris from Austria.
Or perhaps some dessert wine? Nothing says “I love you” like a bottle of Sauternes, Late Harvest Gewurztraminer or Late Harvest Viognier for those who prefer white, or a Port or Port-style wine to pair with chocolate.
Eye Candy. Into the Earth: A Wine Cave Renaissance. This is not just another coffee table book — although the photography is fabulous — but an incredible journey into the history of wine caves in California. Written and photographed by Daniel D’Agostini with Molly Chappelllet, with a foreword by wine expert Hugh Johnson, the 240-page book includes stories and images of never-before-photographed caves, those of familiar wineries as well as those closed to the public. The perfect gift for wine connoisseurs, it presents the inspiration behind each cave and the process to create it.
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.
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. But we love the sample we got from Spin Wine.
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.
A Little bit of Nature. And I don’t mean a hamster, unless of course your Valentine loves little tail-less rodents. 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!
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).
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. Already, I can feel that tension melting away!
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.
A Visit to New Orleans. With the Saints’ Super Bowl win on Sunday, there is more love in the Crescent City than ever before. Visit the French Quarter. Do a little gambling at Harrah’s. Dine at one of New Orleans incredible restaurants like Emeril’s Delmonico or Besh Steak. And make sure to romance your valentine with a carriage ride or a little live jazz at the new Irvin Mayfield’s Playhouse.
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 your significant other might just share a glass or two!
Just a few ideas for Valentine gifts that might just make your someone special feel like you’re truly a saint!