Giving holiday gifts to wine loving friends can pose a few problems, not least economic, particularly here in the land of outrageous excise taxes on Bacchus’ blessed beverage. A bottle of prestigious Taittinger Comtes de Champagne or Dom Perignon will set you back 8,000 to 13,000 baht—a costly frivolity likely forgotten in less than an hour of that festive opening pop.
Not that the gesture of giving collector-quality wine won’t be appreciated, however, with few exceptions—former US president Nixon and his penchant for drinking only Chateau Margaux comes to mind—because even those with substantial cellars relish the opportunity to drink wines from a global palette of producers. Gift bottles of Aussie shiraz from say, Two Hands or Hardy’s and a California chardonnay from Duckhorn or Chateau Montelena will garner praise and respect.
That said, a wine lover’s thirst isn’t confined to just the contents of a bottle but ranges to all things related to the enjoyment of wine. Here are three alternative gifts to give your wino friends this Christmas:
A Device That Pours Without Pulling The Cork
One innovative gift now available in Thailand is a scientifically developed sampling device branded Coravin. Using a precision needle, it allows the withdrawal of wine through the cork for sampling while injecting an inert gas into the emptied space inside the bottle. It’s a very practical item for those with cellar collections who want to monitor the condition of their ageing vintages or just enjoy a few sips without having to open each bottle. Watch how it works here. More information at coravin.com.
No self-respecting wine collector will be without at least one shelf filled with books and periodicals about their passion, a fact not ignored by Kinokuniya and Asia Book shops in major shopping malls. Authors of popular compendiums and encyclopedias focusing on wine are always welcome gifts. Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson’s World Atlas of Wine, 7th edition is a great reference and handsome coffee-table adornment. Robert Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide, 7th edition is a useful assessment of the many thousands of palatable wines available worldwide. For the serious oenophile, Jancis Robinson’s 1,300-page Wine Grapes is a documentary treasure trove of information about nearly every wine grape in existence.
Lastly, not to be ignored are a number of periodicals covering the latest news of note in the wine world. Leader among them, according to critics and consumers, is Decanter, the British magazine read by nearly everyone who has ever opened a bottle of wine. While true fans of the red and white probably frequent the magazine's website in their daily research, it's fair to assume that print is a novelty of a certain value in this day and age and will surely be a well-received present. Cheers!
Adapted from the original print version in the December 2017 of Thailand Tatler magazine.