Top Five Wine Gifts for 2010

1) The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator:

Vinturi Wine Aerator

Tired of decanting wine and waiting for an hour for your wine to be just right? Well, the Vinturi Wine Aerator is quickly supplanting the old decanter and wine funnel routine. Not only does it take less time to “open up” your wines, now you can decant as needed or by the glass.

Vinturi makes aerators for both red and white wines. Traditionalists might be in an uproar, but if you’re dealing with a crabby oenophile, just let them do a taste test. The Vinturi Wine Aerator outperforms in wine tasting after wine tasting, its effect is unmistakable. However, this wine tool is used to best effect on wines that need aeration (see this link for an explanation of the practice of wine aeration).

For one-hand operation get the optional Vinturi Tower. It should also be noted that the wine aerator has a tendancy to overflow if you’re not paying attention and to drip when not in use, another reason to get the Tower or the Deluxe Gift Set. Price: Under $40.

2) The Oster 4207 Electric Wine-Bottle Opener:


The Oster 4207 Electric Wine-Bottle Opener is true wine opening for dummies. There’s no trick or technique for removing the cork, it’s push-button simplicity.

Often wine gadgets can be intimidating, especially wine openers, but this corkscrew won’t make you look like an idiot and it can open most wine bottles. However, what makes it simple and easy to use is also its weakness. This wine opener is electronic, so it needs to be charged after opening 30 bottles. It has cordless operation, but its recharging base takes up counter space. It may also have trouble with some artificial corks, not removing them from the bottle necessarily, but extracting it from the corkscrew afterwards. Efforts to remove the cork may break it, but this wine opener is cheap enough to replace quickly. Price: Under $25

3) The Nuance Wine Finer:


At first blush, the Nuance Wine Finer may seem like just another Vinturi Wine Aerator copycat, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s an effective wine aerator (especially if you trust the recommendations of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen), but it’s also 4 wine tools in one.

Danish designers combine an aerator, filter, non-spill pourer, and stopper into one do-it-all instrument the size of a fountain pen. Just insert the Nuance Wine Finer into your bottle and pour. Wine flows through 32 aeration vents while an inner stainless steel screen filters out sediments and cork. Stand your bottle upright and the pourer catches any drips. Top your Wine Finer with the stopper to enjoy a glass later. Wine aeration without the mess, one-hand operation without a tower, wine filtration without extra equipment…and at a lower price, the Vinturi better watch its back. Price: Under $30.

4) Grandi Vini: An Opinionated Tour of Italy’s 89 Finest Wines:


It might be overly ambitious to try to distill the very varied and complex Italian wine landscape down to the 89 best, but Joe Bastianich is clearly an ambitious guy. Once best known as the partner of chef Mario Batali and the son of chef Lidia Bastianich, both tv stars, this increasingly influential restaurateur now owns 20 restaurants throughout the United States and 3 wineries in Italy as well as several wine and food shops (including the hugely successful Eataly, Manhattan’s new Italian food Disneyland).

Grandi Vini  is not for novices, for an introduction to Italian wine, Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy, by Joseph Bastianich and David Lynch, is a good choice. Grandi Vini should start more than a few well-lubricated arguments. Sassicaia and not Ornellaia? Fontanfredda and not Vietti? And why are there only three wines from Joe’s beloved Friuli? Is Brunello still Brunello? These are questions which deserve to be argued, Italian-style, with lots of shouting and hand-waving, or possibly contemplated with a glass of one of Mr. Bastianich’s own wines in hand. Price: Under $25

5) Riedel ‘O’ Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux Stemless Wine Glasses (Set of 2):

Riedel O

As Featured in “O” The Oprah Magazine (April 2007), the Riedel Stemless “O” Wine Glasses are the newest revolution in glassware. Founded in 1756, Austria’s Riedel Crystal is the world’s premier manufacturer of wine glasses for the fine wine connoisseur.

However, these wine tumblers are part of the company’s first attempt at producing a lower priced wine glass for casual entertaining. Like Riedel’s prestigious Vinum series of glasses, Riedel “O” tumblers are specifically designed to enhance the flavors and aromas of a particular grape varietal. The only difference is that the tumblers are missing their stems, and they are machine made of lead-free crystal, making them slightly less delicate to handle, more modern in appearance, and easier to fit in smaller cabinets, mini bars, picnic baskets, and the dishwasher. Price: Under $25.

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