Mike Casey

2018 Top 10 Wine-Lover Holiday Gifts

Mike Casey
2018 Top 10 Wine-Lover Holiday Gifts

Chances are you have an oenophile on your holiday list yet not sure what to get them. Have no fear as we’ve compiled a broad array of sure-to-please items for the most discerning juice connoisseur.  



1) Montana Artisan Wine Key - There might be nearly as many wine keys for sale as there are bottles of wine, running the gamut from cheap to precious. Having tried many of them, I can say Montana Artisan is a perfect balance of deft utility and impressive craftsmanship. It will quickly be something you reach for every time you open a bottle and admire with each pull. Go plain wood, inlay or request a custom design if someone was really good this year. $110 Shop here




2) Zalto Universal Glasses - There’s a 99% chance your oenophile is currently drinking out of Riedel glasses which we do ourselves (and love). However, we were turned on to Zaltos by a somm a few years back and they are incredible. These hand blown beauties have a universal shape which will accommodate any red or white (even champagne is amazing) all coddled by paper-thin crystal. Oh, and the bowls match the angles of the earth (24°, 48° & 72°) which ancients Romans believed enhanced the taste of wine. You might be rolling your eyes but we can say they are a favorite of ours when enjoying a special bottle and do make a noticeable difference in taste and feel.  $60 (each) Shop here




3) Laguiole Saber - Nothing punctuates a party like sabering a bottle of bubbly (or two). Though it might seem like something only the highly-skilled should attempt but it’s actually fairly simple if one learns proper technique AND has the right tool for the job. I’ve sabered plenty of bottles using the backside of a butcher knife and also large ceremonial blades worthy of an Arabian prince but the one I own personally and choose to use most is a modestly sized and priced one by Laguiole - it always does the trick and is easy to carry in the wooden case.   $80-$299 depending on finishes. Shop here




4) The Sommelier Prep Course - There are tons of wine books out there and many adorn my shelves but few are as useful as this one. Not because I plan to get certified anytime soon but the knowledge contained within the 480 pages is incredibly diverse yet easy to read and reference. Glossy coffee-table wine books are great but are typically too dense and often just collect dust. To the contrary, this one will quickly become dog-eared from use and truly up your game of wine knowledge and appreciation.  $28 Shop here

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5) Zalto Axium & Mystique - Decanters might seem like an obscure item but they are actually quite useful for wine old and new.  While the core purpose is to aerate juice that has slept for a decade or more, they also open up young “tight” wine that has yet to fully blossom.  Either way, having a quality decanter on hand is key for any oenophile. There is quite an array of them running from cheap and pointless narrow carafes to opulent works of hand-blown art. In between lies the best for the job, ones that have a neck to aerate as you fill them and then have generous surface area to help breathe life into wine and awake every nuance.  Though vessel aside, it’s crucial to know the nature of wine your decanting, as it will determine how long and vigorous one should decant which could range from minutes to hours.  $119 - $134 Shop here




6) Coravin Wine Preserver - We never have a problem finishing a bottle but we often wish to try a glass of a fine vintage without drilling all 750ML, especially with a coursed meal. Coravin solves that problem elegantly and efficiently by siphoning out wine through an ultra-thin needle and replacing the void with argon gas. Somms swear by this tool and many restaurants offer fine vintages by the glass thanks to this technology. This wonder gizmo doesn’t come cheap but will make for incredible gift for those true collectors and wine aficionados. $299 - $999 Shop here




7) Corvi Wine Cooler - Whether you’re enjoying rosé, Chardonnay or Sauv B, keeping it cool to the last glass is key (especially on a summer afternoon). We’ve tried many methods: metal coolers are great but warm very fast, gel sleeves are fairly worthless and awkward to handle - concrete is hands down the best. There are many out there like Angle 33 which we like but Corvi was our choice given the slimmer design making it easier to carry and also looks smart table-side. $99 Shop here




8) BottleGuard 3 Bottle Carrier - There are many options for toting wine to a party or restaurant but this BottleGuard carrier is a our favorite for many reasons. It carries 3 bottles instead of 2 which is ideal for a restaurant meal, so you can have a white and then a progression of 2 reds (or just more wine!). The neoprene material is soft and durable which makes toting easy and carefree versus the hard leather cases. Lastly, it’s a great value at $45 with a monogram.  Shop here (or $39 on Amazon with no monogram)



9) Spanish Porron - Just because beer funnels are long in the rearview mirror doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with wine! While you can use them as pitchers, they are meant to be held over your head and stream wine directly to the source, sans glass. It takes some practice and would limit to table-style wine but they are a bbq party favorite. Though we highly suggest starting with white wine to master the technique (or wear a red sweater). $26  Shop here




10.1) Wine Pour Discs - The cheapest of wine accessories, yet maybe the most valuable and elusive. Buy a bunch and gift generously to never worry about red wine circles or drips ever again. $6  Shop here


10.2) Wine Glass Pens - Some may call them tacky but if you’re having more than four people over for wine, it can be a sanity-saver to not hear, “Is this my glass?” fifty times and going through 3x the number of stemware versus party goers. $9  Shop here


10.3) Wine Folly Tasting Wheel - For when you are sensing a “hint of flint” or “forest floor”, you can check exactly what tasting notes actually apply. $9  Shop here


Hope this helps cross a few names off your holiday shopping list! 

Cheers and Happy Holidays,

-Mike Casey // The 29