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Holiday wine gift guide 2013

The Wine Curmudgeon didn’t think there was a need for this year’s holiday gift guide. After all, what else could anyone want to give other than the cheap wine book?

But when I asked around, I was stunned to find out that this was not the case. The consensus: “Jeff, there are more things in the wine world than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

So, after the jump, gift suggestions, as well as the all-important gift guidelines:Which, in a nutshell, is that you should never buy someone a gift because you think they should like it. The gift isn’t for you; it’s for them.

• This was a terrific year for wine books, and that has nothing to do with mine. “American Wine,” written by Linda Murphy and Jancis Robinson, is a ground breaking survey of U.S. wine — not just California, but throughout the country. It’s a remarkable achievement. Kermit Lynch, regarded as the best wine importer in the business, has re-isssued his classic “Adventures on the Wine Route,” and it’s almost as enjoyable as a Kermit Lynch wine. Michael Steinberger, a fine wine writer, has published “The Wine Savant,” which is worth reading even if the publisher blurb uses the word oenophiles and his cutoff for cheap wine is $25.

• I’m not a big fan of wine gadgets, preferring to spend the money on wine. And how many times will you use the wine bra? That said, the Coravin made every wine blogger and writer who tried it this year drool all over themselves — though, given its $299 price, it should have. The Coravin lets you pour wine without removing the cork, which is certainly nifty. But is it 33 times better than a quality waiter’s corkscrew? Something else that is too often overlooked? An ice bucket, believe it or not, which goes a long way toward chilling wine quickly. My favorite is a dough bucket from King Arthur Flour — cheap, spacious, and watertight.

• A regional winery wine club, where the recipient can try wine from a local winery. This is one of the best ways to introduce someone to regional wine, and many wineries offer an inexpensive program for just that purpose.

• A gift card for a restaurant with quality wine list or wine flight program, where the restaurant serves similar wines by the glass for one price (and a tip ‘o the Curmdugeon’s fedora to the Serious Eats blog for this one). This is a chance to try wine you might not normally taste, and that’s always a fine idea.

More about holiday wine gifts:
Holiday wine gift guide 2012
Holiday wine gift guide 2011
Expensive wine 52: d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2008
Expensive wine 47: Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 2006

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