"Are your holiday fires slowly dying as you search for some good buying? Fret not, for we offer a list of tried and truly unique gifts for the wine and food lover on your list. These aren’t necessarily the “HOTTER THAN HOT GOTTA HAVE IT NOW” gifts you’ve seen advertised for months, even though all are either on a store shelf or easily ordered via phone or Web.
Think of this list as a Riedel wine glass filled with a single vineyard Pinot Noir and that HOTTER THAN HOT gift list as a rumrunner in a crafty Crate and Barrel tumbler. The latter offers great fun, fast pleasure and easily assured acceptance. The former lingers longer in memory with the same subtle satisfaction you will find in these products.
Imagery Art for Wine
By Bob Nugent and Joe Benziger
Think coffee table book for your wine bar. Artist/curator Nugent and winemaker Benziger share a glorious collection of the best of the best labels that have graced the bottles of the luscious namesake red wine of the Imagery Estate Winery. Alongside each image is an artist narrative that recollects the experience of enjoying the juice and recreating that pleasure on the label. Be selfish and enjoy on your own or embrace this readable art and celebrate its spirit of creativity and inspiration with those that share that passion found in glass and now in print from Imagery.
Heirloom Tomato Cookbook
By Mimi Luebbermann with photos by Robert Holmes and Dan Mills
It’s tomato terroir in Indiana as the soil and climate create bumper crops in home gardens and in commercial fields like those of tomato giant RED GOLD. So when I opened the book I was skeptical. How could an heirloom tomato be better than a homegrown fruit? Duh, Jill. Heirlooms ARE homegrown as they come from seeds of generations past lovingly passed from gardener to gardener. This collection offers easy to use gardening tips so you can grow your own, plus a visually inviting portfolio of dishes to create and instructions to do so provided by an array of outstanding chefs whose dedication to LOCAL bumps them up yet another notch in the food world. www.kj.com
I open the visually pleasing packet and all three corkers fall to the floor, jumping out as if to say, TRY ME! TRY ME! I choose the serene maroon stopper, saving the delightful sparkling stoppers for entertaining. I plug it in to sample all of the things the copy on the back of the package says Haleys will do. And it does. I unplug and try the same on a 1.5 liter bottle. Again, success.
I even tested it in the freezer one night when a warm red wine needed immediate chilling. Haley came through with no damage to the corker or the wine and it did its job of aerating, filtering and easily corking the bottle. The info says it does the same for bottles of vinegar and oil. I’m still so pleased with how it works on my wine I haven’t taken the time to try it elsewhere. www.winecorker.org
WMF Wine/Prosecco corkscrew
If you really want to jingle someone’s bells and make them your year-round mistletoe object then get your hands on this piece of functional art. It clamps easily to any bottleneck, which means sparkling wine drinkers don’t have to worry any more about popping the cork. The corkscrew glides through with no manhandling on my part. Yes yes yes to this and other WMF products. www.wmf-usa.com
Masala Dabba/Classic Indian Cooking
This sleek gathering of seven essential spices is the yin for the yang book, Classic Indian Cooking by Indian food diva Julie Sahni. See this pair as the perfect value gift or put it high on your Wish List if you want to savor and explore intoxicating spices and soul satisfying, simply divine dishes. www.surlatable.com
MOUSEPAD # 105
If you have a new mouse in the house or want your old to become a cellar dweller then here is how to snare the cheese and not get caught in the trap.
Pentad Group offers a bevy of fun, affordable, personalized wine items. I like the custom computer pad that sports your chateau/winery/vineyard or wine name. At 20 bucks plus tax, I figure this is the most Burgundy acreage I’ll ever be able to afford.
You’ll find other fun but practical products at www.labeloff.com.