Still looking for the perfect gift for the wine lover on your list? People are often reticent to give a bottle, worried about matching the recipient's personal taste. Consider buying a book on wine or a wine accessory instead. Or go out on a limb and give them wine. With a little input, your favorite wine merchant can help you make the right choice. Here are a few suggestions.
When it comes to wine books, you can't go wrong with Jancis Robinson's The Oxford Companion to Wine. The list price is $65, but you can find it for closer to $40 if you shop around. (Being a proponent of buying local, I'm not going to say where, but think South American river.) The Washington Post dubbed it "the greatest wine book ever published." It's the Bible for those in the business, and if you use it as a reference, you can become an instant wine expert.
One of the hottest wine accessories last year continues to sizzle: the Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator.
Simply hold it over your glass, and when you pour the wine through, it creates a swirling vortex of bubbles, which allow the wine to breathe. Both flavor and aroma are intensified. It works especially well with young red wines, but this year, they've added a Vinturi specifically designed for white wines. Expect to pay around $40 each.
If you decide to give a bottle, consider buying Idaho. The valley wine scene has really heated up in the past few years, and the wines have developed a following. That's nice to see, but it means that some favorites have already sold out. Not to worry, though. There are still lots of good choices out there. Here are a few: 2007 Cinder Cabernet Merlot, $27; 2008 Coiled Syrah, $27; 2007 Fraser Cabernet Sauvignon, $28.50; 2008 3 Horse Ranch Viognier, $18.99; 2008 Vale Riesling, $12.99; 2005 Vickers Chardonnay, $14.99.