The Unassuming Wine Bros
Holiday and New Year’s Gift Ideas
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
The holidays are a time for giving and the approaching New Year is a time for new beginnings. This holiday season, there is no better way to treat your favorite wine aficionado than with a wine-related gift.
We are The Unassuming Wine Bros (UWB) – Patrick and Vigo - two regular guys who love everything about wine, including writing about it. Our goal is to explore the nuances of wine, share our adventures with you, and have a little fun along the way.
Here are the UWB’s 2020 official holiday wine-related gifts recommendations:
What better way to tell your favorite wine drinker that the holidays can come more than once a year than through a wine subscription. With prices ranging from very reasonable to “Wow”, this is a great holiday gift that can last throughout the year. The two that we especially like are:
1. California Wine Club, www.cawineclub.com:
If you have a California wine lover in your life, this is the gift idea for you. The membership calls for three shipments (you can go up to 12) throughout the year of two bottles of delicious small vineyard wines with packages beginning at $40.95 per shipment. Along with the delicious wines, you also receive a winery guide with the winemaker’s details and tasting notes and access to the club's wine consultant, who can answer wine storage and serving questions. The membership also provides that if you don’t like the selection received, you can contact the club and receive another bottle that suits your palate. This is the perfect gift for any California wine lover.
2. Winc, www.winc.com
Winc seems like the perfect wine club for millennials, but you can be a boomer and still enjoy its monthly wine selections. The monthly subscription is around 13 dollars per bottle, and you receive three bottles of wine selected through your palate profile. Yes, much like a dating site, Winc is the match.com of wines. Unlike California Wine Club, Winc selects wines throughout the world, so it’s not surprising to have a California, Portuguese, and Italian selection all in one box. Winc is a fun and easy way to give your favorite wine lover a wine adventure every month.
Nothing annoyed us more when we were kids than when our grandparents gave us books for Christmas. We would have literally preferred a pair of Christmas pajamas. However, as time has gone by, we have learned that books are an excellent gift. Here are two great wine books that we enjoy:
1. Wine Folly: Magnum Edition
We both own Wine Folly and each of us routinely uses it. If you’re new to wine, it’s a great learning tool. If you’re an intermediate or expert wine drinker, it’s an excellent reference tool. Well-written with lots of practical illustrations, it’s an extremely useful book that won’t be used just as a drink coaster. As an added bonus, you can pick up a copy and support a local Lakewood Ranch wine business at the same time at Fine Wine and Tastings on Main on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.
2. 99 Bottles: A Black Sheep’s’ Guide to Life-Changing Wines (Amazon 25 dollars)
As a former professional soldier, Vigo likes nothing more than sharing stories of his life’s adventures. 99 Bottles takes the same slant by having legendary sommelier Andre’ Hueston Mack share his stories about 99 wines that changed his life. Mack discusses wines that are both accessible to the everyday wine lover and that are esoteric and rare. If you are looking for a book with fascinating wine stories, this book is perfect.
Here are our suggestions for white and red wine glasses as a gift.
White Wine Glass, Spiegelau Vino Grande White Wine Glasses (Set of 4, Amazon 51 dollars)
The standard white wine glass is shaped like a tulip and tends to be smaller than a typical red wine glass because white wines do not require as much aeration. And because white wines should be served and consumed at a much cooler temperature than red wines, a smaller glass is generally used for white wines.
Red Wine Glasses, Spiegelau Vino Grande Burgundy Wines Glasses (Set of 4, Amazon 46 dollars)
Unlike the tulip-shaped white wine glass, the red (Burgandy) wine glass is shaped like an upside-down mushroom. This bowl shape with a thin rim assists in the aerations of the red wine. The more aeration of the wine’s esters and aldehydes, the better the wine tastes and smells (bouquet).
Donna F. from Lakewood Ranch wrote: “Your pork chop pairing was of particular interest to me. You chose two wines I would have never considered and have made me want to try a Chardonnay with grilled pork. I’m familiar with Grgich, used to belong to their wine club, have been to the winery, and met Mike Grinch many years ago. They make great wine. I would not have considered the Pinot for the reasons you stated, too light. I would have gone for a bigger red with the pork, maybe a Syrah or red blend. However, one of my favorite meals is grilled salmon with an Oregon Pinot Noir (Elk Cove, Archery Summit, Cooper Mtn, or Montinore). By the way, the Oregon Pinot Gris (especially Elk Cove) is pretty wonderful. Always enjoy your columns; keep them coming. It sounds like you have a lot of fun doing the “research” for your column.”
UWB: Donna F. we are always glad to know that our wine ideas are enjoyed by everyone in our community. In regards to your love of Oregon wines. As emphasized in some of our articles, I’m a huge California wine fan, and Patrick is a European wine aficionado with particular emphasis on Italian wines. Oregon, in this case, has been overlooked by both of us, and Patrick is busy making selections from the Oregon region for our upcoming article. Our hopes are we find some wine gems from Oregon we can share with all our readers.
Lola N. from Lakewood Ranch wrote: Hi guys! During the holiday season, I hear a lot about "mulled wine." Can you tell me what, exactly, it is, and do you have a recipe for how to make it?
UWB: Mulled wine, which the Germans call Gluhwein (translation “glow wine”), is a spiced wine beverage usually made with red wine and various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of it. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. As I have consumed my fair share of mulled wine while stationed in Europe, it’s a beverage that needs to be enjoyed with caution because warm wine passes through your stomach wall faster than cold wine. Mulled wine is available in pre-bottled form, but making it on your own, I’ve noticed, always tasted better. The following is my favorite mulled wine recipe:
(1) 1 Bottle Red Blend Wine
(2) ¾ Cup Water
(3) ¾ Cup Sugar
(4) 1 Cinnamon Stick
(5) 5 Whole Cloves
(6) 5 Star Anise
(7) 1 Fresh Orange
(8) If you want to kick it up a notch, add a shot of brandy, bourbon, or cognac
Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and heat at a low simmer. Continue to stir till you see steam rising from the wine. Once hot and steaming, strain out all the spices and serve in a heat resistant mug. Enjoy, but drink slowly.
As we welcome Christmas and the New Year, we all can be honest that we’re all thankful to see 2020 go and harken in 2021. It’s been rough on all of us, and I’m sure we’ll use 2020 as the benchmark of things that could be worst. “Yea, it’s bad, but it’s no 2020”, I’m sure will be used in our verbal lexicons for years to come. Patrick and I would like to thank you all for reading our wine muses and look forward to a New Year and new wine adventures.
Let us know whether you agree, disagree, or whether you prefer other gift ideas. We'd love to hear your input and suggestions and are always thrilled to receive your feedback, information, and opinions. We can be reached at VigoandPatrick@gmail.com.
This article was originally published in Around The Ranch newspaper on December 16, 2020.