Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wine Toys, Tools and Tips for the New Year

Of all the New Year's resolutions I make, the one I'm most eager to fulfill is to learn more about wine. Even though it's part of my job as wine educator and speaker, the pursuit of wine wisdom is as fun as it is elusive. Whether it's just the two of you, among friends or away from home, the formula of wine + good people + good food = some of life's most precious moments. 
If you too are game to learn more about wine in 2012, here are a few more resources to get you on the road to deeper wine appreciation. For those who'd rather pour than ponder, take a class with us to learn more about pairings or delve deeper into Italian wines or Pacific Northwest wines at our next Wine Essentials tasting classes. Give a gift certificate or keep the great gift ideas below, and in Part 1 of this post, in mind for the wine lover in your life. After all, Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  

Wine Toys and Tools That Really Work

Wine Aroma Wheel
This laminated 8-1/4" learning tool created by Dr. Ann Noble is a must-have for wine lovers. The copyrighted wheel helps you develop sensory memory for aromas and flavors in your wine glass. By wiring what your nose smells to words and categories, the wheel provides an essential bridge from wine tasting to wine smarts. Keep it handy alongside your wine collection or in the kitchen. Start at the center, move outward and use often. Available at Cooking with Class for less than ten bucks.

Classy Wine Aerators
Beautiful limited-edition wine aerators uses a unique "tiny bubbles" technology to instantly aerate your wine so that it's ready to drink when you are. The artist series, hand-painted and tastefully decorated with Swarovski crystals by Nancy Webb, come in three versions: purple fruit, green leaf and red flower. Each aerator is numbered and boxed with a mini-brush, travel pouch and embossed certificate. Available at Libertine, at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells.

Drop Stop
Package of four flexible pour disks that goof-proof wine service. Pour like a pro without spilling a drop. Disks are disposable but why waste them? Just rinse and store to get months of use out of each one. Available at Cooking with Class.

Want more stuff to read? Wine columns in major newspapers are worth a regular read, as are wine-related magazines such as Food & Wine, Saveur and Imbibe . Here are wine-focused publications available in print, online and via mobile devices to tap into:


Wine Spectator
The hands-down pick for learning about wine, the industry and digging deep

Online and Mobile

Wine Spectator
The online version gives quick access to ratings, special articles, vintage charts, tons more. Mobile apps for iPhone and Android are easy to use for on-the-go info.

Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Idaho wine news, food and travel tips

Some good stuff here, much of it free

Alder Yarrow’s often-esoteric wine blog with links to printable tasting tool, aroma card

Learn Italian Wines
Tom Hyland’s blog, a goldmine for Italophiles

An e-magazine with an edgy, sexy take on wine, beer and spirits. Presents jazzy, good info and tips in an easy-to-read format. Travel and dining tips, shopping and sass. 

Coming soon: 2011 wines to remember