In the spirit of giving, Uncorked is proud to offer its 2004 guide to wine-inspired gift-giving that's sure to please the beginner as well as the more advanced wine wonk on your holiday list.
The Wine Lover's Companion: A wine encyclopedia in excess of 3,500 wine terms in an easy-to-understand style. Also includes helpful information about a variety of related topics such as how to order wine in a restaurant, understanding wine labels and the fundamentals of wine tasting. Approximately $15.
A 2005 pocket wine guide: Handy compilations when visiting a local wine bar, enjoying a wine tasting with friends, or shopping the aisles at your favorite wine store. These books typically condense a lot of information into a small format and can provide a quick overview of wine. These books are usually published annually by such wine notables as Food & Wine Magazine, Oz Clarke, and (my favorite) Hugh Johnson.
From $13 to $20.
A subscription to erobertparker.com: An excellent resource for ratings and information from perhaps the most respected wine critic in the world and editor of the renowned The Wine Advocate, whose well-respected ratings are noted on local store shelves as "WA." For one year, it's $99 (or $29 for 90 days).
Quality corkscrew: The Screwpull Trilogy Corkscrew is top of my list this year for its combination of good product design and high-quality product experience. For folks who need a jumpstart, the makers of the Rabbit corkscrew have created a handy starter wine toolkit that includes a smaller version of the Rabbit corkscrew, foil cutter, drip-stop ring that sits on the bottle neck to prevent dripping and a wine/champagne sealer. Rabbit wine toolkit: $35; add $20-$25 for the Screwpull Trilogy corkscrews.
Online wine course at www.winespectator.com: Long known as the magazine for wine lovers, the Wine Spectator recently launched its online school with classes like "The ABCs of Wine Tasting," "Understanding Wine," and "The Wines of Australia and New Zealand." $39-$195.
Label-Savers: Highly adhesive stickers allow you to save labels from your favorite wines. Great stocking stuffers. $15 for 20 labels.
Great Tastes Made Simple by Andrea Immer, former beverage director of Windows on the World and now host of Fine Living show bearing her name. Her book is an in-depth look at the art and science of food and wine pairing. $30.
Pocket Guide to Wine Pronunciation: This small, handy reference book by C.D. Thomas, provides pronunciations for more than 1,200 wine words. A great tool to build confidence in venturing into uncharted -- and often difficult to pronounce -- wine geographies. $5.
Don't forget to treat yourself as you treat others this holiday season. Cheers to a happy, safe new year!