Category Archives: Gift Ideas

Top 10 “Suggestive” Wines For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about sending clear and defined messages to those we love….

  • In a new relationship?  Keep the message basic and sweet
  • Been married for years?  Spice it up with something fun
  • Asking out your latest crush?  Time to be BOLD

Nothing says “Be Mine” more than a cleverly crafted wine label.   If all else fails, you at least get to enjoy the wine!  Here are our top 10 wines to give your loved one:

Continue reading Top 10 “Suggestive” Wines For Valentine’s Day

Setting Wine Goals for the New Year

The end of December is a time for reflection on the year that has come and gone, as well as a way to set our sights on the brand new year before us. Many of us use this as a time to set goals for ourselves. Whether these goals are financial, fitness focused, or lifestyle in general, this period of our lives are beneficial towards cleansing us of the bad habits, ruts, and routines of the past, and helping us refocus our wishes, hopes, and desires for who we are as individuals.

Why not take this same outlook and apply it towards your wine journey? Continue reading Setting Wine Goals for the New Year

Champagne 101

’tis the season… for Champagne of course!

Champagne reigns as the gift-of-choice during the holidays, and for good reason.

True Champagne, the real stuff from the actual region of Champagne; there is nothing like it. Just drinking it ignites all of your senses. It reflects joy, celebrations and happy gatherings of friends and family.

Should you choose to stock up on Champagne this season (and I hope you do) think of this as your cheat sheet on buying the ideal bottle, whether it is for you or for a gift.

The facts about Champagne & tips on how to read the label

The grapes
There are 3 grapes used to make Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Some wines have all 3 grapes, some have only one or two.
On the label you may see the following:
Blanc de Blancs – means “white of white” and is made only of Chardonnay; lighter in style & crisply delicious – this is a great apperatif or with seafood. A great producer is Salon
Blanc de Noirs – means “white of black” and is a white champagne made from either Pinot Noir or both Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes); usually fuller-bodied than blanc de blanc, this style enjoys the ability to match with a variety of foods.
Rose – could be only one grape or all three, but must contain some % of a red grape – that’s where it gets the pink color! Also a great match with food – and good for any reason you might be in the mood for pink.

Non-Vintage vs. Vintage
Non-vintage wines are exactly what they say they are – not from a particular vintage. They are blends of a few wines from different years. Remember, Champagne begins as a blend of still wine. If the Chardonnay of 2011 is not acidic enough, they’ll pull some of the 2010 or 2009 Chardonnay and blend it in for acidity. The goal is consistency. So that the NV of Veuve Clicquot you buy this year will be consistent with the one you bought last year. Most NV Champagne represent a house “style” that the winemaker tries to maintain so that the consumer knows what they are getting. NV wines should be drunk within a year or two of purchase.

Some years the vintage is so delightful that the houses of Champagne declare a vintage year. The blend is made only from grapes in that vintage – no adding of back vintages allowed. Vintage wines are low in supply and high in demand, and therefore a bit more pricy than that NV. Most vintage champagnes can age about 10 to 15 years, sometimes longer. Some houses don’t even release their Champagne until 10 years later because of the amount of bottle aging they prefer – Dom Perignon released their 2004 vintage about the same time Krug released their 2000.

Other label tid-bits
Premier Cuvee or Tete de Cuvee – means the top of the top, the best blend of the house. Some good examples include Krug’s Grand Cuvee, Bollinger’s Grand Annee and Charles Heidsieck’s Champagne Charlie
Premier Cru and Grand Cru – Some vineyards in Champagne, like other areas of France are labeled Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyards. If a house purchases all of its grapes from grand cru or premier cru vineyards, they may put that on their label.

Levels of Sweetness
Extra Brut – Bone dry
Brut – very dry, but with more dosage
Sec – Still very dry, but with a hint of sweetness
Demi-Sec – technically means “half dry” but really is half sweet
Doux – sweetest of the Champagne, more rare, often more expensive, and a delicious balance of sweetness and acidity.

And now, our favorites!

Under $40
Ayala Brut 
Pommery Brut Royal

Under $70
Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee
Louis Roederer Brut Premier
Gosset Grande Reserve

Under $100 
Beau Joie Champagne Brut
Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut

And of course, my all time favorite…
Champagne Krug Cuvee


Ideal Wedding Gifts

Tis the season! Wedding season that is. Since so many people now live on their own before they get married, they are well-stocked with plates, silverware and linens. So instead of going the usual “registry” route, we often look for something really worthwhile to give, and wine gifts are definitely worthwhile.

At, we have a few options to impress the happy couple. First, wine clubs. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and we have three excellent options:

Discovery Tour – an entry-level club designed to introduce wine lovers to the most popular grapes and regions of the world. Each month has a different theme.

Wines of the World – my personal favorite, this club helps wine lovers expand their palate, tasting incredible wines from all over the world – some more well-known, others slightly off-the-beaten-path.

90 point rated – the club for the connoisseurs who love wines that are age-worthy and top-quality. This club delivers two red wines each month, some worthy of a while in the cellar, others very drinkable right now, but aptly suited for fine dining.

Each of the clubs are available month-to-month, but for wedding gifts, we recommend giving a 3-month, 6-month or 12-month subscription.

In other gifts, we highly recommend:

Wedding Milestone Trio – put together after many requests for wines that would be appropriate for opening on specific anniversaries, the Wedding Milestone Trio has three wines, one for the first anniversary, one for the third and one for the fifth. One bottle of bubby & two reds. High quality wines, each meant to celebrate and enjoy wedding milestone anniversaries.

Wedding Bells, Dom Perignon, & Godiva Truffles Gift Set – who doesn’t love bubbles and chocolate? Right at a very popular wedding gift price point, this gift is a bit of luxury for the couple to share, and absolutely appropriate for the couple who already has everything!

Decanters – A decanter is such a great gift as it is something people rarely buy for themselves. Decanters not only come in handy for aerating wine, but they are beautiful to serve any wine in, whether it needs aeration or not. It’s like giving crystal, but these decanters are more modern and sleek and will be more likely used on the table.

So branch out from the typical registry and surprise the newlyweds with some good vino gifts to get them started.



Gift Ideas: Decanters and Aerators

The purpose of decanters is to bring air to a wine, to allow it to “breathe.” A little air can be a great thing for wines, especially the big, young wines that need to open up. This action helps a wine open up, allows the molecules to start dancing, the aromas to explode, the flavors to brighten… The classic way to bring this about is using a decanter, which allows air to more surface area of the wine. But there are also some devices on the market that speed up that aeration process, particularly if you have not had enough time to decant a wine, or if you want to just have a glass of wine aerated. These devices are fantastic gifts and great to have in the cellar.

Watch this video to see what options you have to give your wine a little air!