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Somm Gifts 2012

by Emily Bell with Jeff Harding
December 2012

There's a nice bottle of wine, and then there are the tools, tastes, and terroirs most precious to the professional sommelier. Here's a holiday wish list culled from the professionals—spanning the gamut from functional to fanciful—to guide you through buying for the cellar rat and/or professional wine geek in your life. In many cases, prices vary depending on vendor.

Henry Tuke Champagne Sabre

What: Henry Tuke Champagne Sabre

Pricetag: $40,056
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Mike Scaffaldi of Plume at The Jefferson Hotel – Washington, DC
Why: This is most the amazing champagne sword in the world. I can be a sommelier and feel like Conan the destroyer.

The Amo Eno Wine Bike Rack

What: The Amo Eno Wine Bike Rack

Pricetag: $588, but we found a similar item on Etsy for $34
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Mike Scaffaldi of Plume at The Jefferson Hotel – Washington, DC
Why: I ride my bike 10 miles each way to work and this seems like a perfect way to transport my favorite beverage.

Code 38 Stealth Corkscrew

What: Code 38 Stealth Corkscrew

Pricetag: $495, other versions available
Whose Wish List: Sommelier June Rodil – Austin, TX
Why: If Santa thought I was a really, really, good girl this year...he would get me this. If a corkscrew could be described as a stone. cold. fox. It would be this.

Zalto Champagne Glasses

What: Zalto Champagne Glasses

Pricetag: $59.50
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Mike Madrigale of Bar Boulud – New York, NY

Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris

What: Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris

Pricetag: $75
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Mike Madrigale of Bar Boulud – New York, NY
Epicurean Apparel T-Shirts

What: Epicurean Apparel T-Shirts

Pricetag: $28
Whose Wish List: Caleb Ganzer of db Bistro Moderne – New York, NY
Why: I'm really digging these t-shirts from Epicurean Apparel for the holiday shopping season. In the restaurant business, we work very hard, and we party hard, too. At work we're serious, but when we get the rare day off, we're light-hearted and playful, like these T-shirts. They're a great gift for the food and wine lover in your life to wear when they, occasionally, get to dress casually!

Wine Cradle

What: Wine Cradle

Pricetag: Varies
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Paul Einbund, Frances – San Francisco, CA
Why: I am hoping to find (receive) a really cool wine cradle. You know, one of those snobby things you lay a bottle down in to be pretentious?  When you decide to open up an aged bottle of wine and you didn't think far enough ahead to stand it up and let it rest 48 hours, one of those cradles is exactly the ticket. Too many old wine experiences are dramatically lessened by bad decanting or handling of the bottle ... my 7 cents.

Riedel Black Tasting Glasses

What: Riedel Black Tasting Glasses

Pricetag: $67/glass
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Julie Dalton of Wit & Wisdom – Baltimore, MD
Why: I'm asking Santa for black tasting glasses from Riedel. One of the most profound blind tasting exercises I've ever had was when Larry O'Brien, MS, blind tasted me using black glasses. It's amazing how much we depend on sight to help us determine the wine! It really makes you focus on the aromas, flavors and structure of the wine.

The Durand

What: The Durand

Pricetag: $125
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier, Rouge Tomate – New York, NY
Why: The coolest wine key on earth!!! 

Amaro Montenegro

What: Amaro Montenegro

Pricetag: $29.99
Whose Wish List: Restaurateur Director Joe Campanale of Dell'Anima, L'Artusi, and L'Apicio – New York, NY

Yarai Seamless Mixing Glass

What: Yarai Seamless Mixing Glass

Pricetag: $52.95
Whose Wish List: Restaurateur Director Joe Campanale of Dell'Anima, L'Artusi, and L'Apicio – New York, NY
Why: Simply the most beautiful cocktail mixing glass.

Kubota Hekiju Junmai Daiginjo Yamahai

What: Kubota Hekiju Junmai Daiginjo Yamahai

Pricetag: $61.99
Whose Wish List: Restaurateur Director Joe Campanale of Dell'Anima, L'Artusi, and L'Apicio – New York, NY
Why: This is an old-style ambient yeast fermented Sake, the natural wine of the sake world!

Havana Club Rum

What: Havana Club Rum

Pricetag: $33.69
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Kyle Ridington of The Mark Hotel – New York, NY
Why: I have been obsessed with rum for the past year. As of this weekend, I got close to reaching the bottom of my only bottle of Havana Club, so if anyone would care to replenish my “Rum Wall” and smuggle me a bottle along with a Cuban cigar or two I would be forever gracious. But from a legal standpoint I could settle with a vintage 1980s Rolex Oyster. 

Zalto Denk'Art Crystal Stemware

What: Zalto Denk'Art Crystal Stemware

Pricetag: Varies
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Thomas Pastuszak of Nomad – New York, NY
Why: The Zalto family's history of hand-blown crystal dates back six generations, and each piece of their crystal is a piece of art: beautifully balanced and incredible to drink from.

Mondovino, The Complete Series

What: Mondovino, The Complete Series (DVD)

Pricetag: $59.95
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Brent Kroll of The St. Regis – Washington, DC
Why: This movie doesn't have the commercial appeal of a “Sideways” or “Bottle Shock,” but it’s 100 percent right for a wine nerd. I don't think I've ever heard of any film documenting a wine consultant behind the scenes or Parker's direct impact in Europe. Even if you agree or disagree with the direction of the movie, it’s extremely thought provoking.  

Mondovino, The Complete Series

What: Code38 Stealth Wine Key Holster

Pricetag: $49 (with purchase)
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome – Aspen, CO
Why: Santa was very nice to me last year and brought me an engraved (monogrammed actually, cause that's how we do in the South), Code38 Stealth wine key. I would like to add the newly available holster to my wish list.

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, How to Love Wine by Eric Asimov, and Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla by Peter Liem

What: Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, How to Love Wine by Eric Asimov, and Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla by Peter Liem

Pricetag: $175, $24.99, and $29.95 respectively
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Why: Can never have enough books.

Sur la Table Vegetable and Fruit Garnish Set

What: Sur la Table Vegetable and Fruit Garnish Set

Pricetag: $99.99
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Why: Just because sometimes it's fun to get fancy.
Fagor Portable Induction Burner

What: Fagor Portable Induction Burner

Pricetag: $149.95
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Why: Until I can afford a six-burner range with hood, I will always need more stove top-space.

Martinique-style Swizzle Sticks from Cocktail Kingdom

What: Martinique-style Swizzle Sticks from Cocktail Kingdom

Pricetag: $17.95
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Why: These are great stocking stuffers and people are always trying to swipe mine.
Collection of Handmade Aprons from Etsy

What: Collection of Handmade Aprons from Etsy

Pricetag: Hippity Hop Polka Dot Apron, $9.95; Lemon Orchard Full Apron with Flounce & Belly Pocket, $32.00; Retro Chic Apron/Michael Miller Fifties Apron, $32.00
Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Why:
So I can look cute while making a mess and also channel my inner Donna Reed. (Cupcakes in one hand, a martini in the other, dear.)
Rare Wine Company

What: Rare Wine from the Rare Wine Company

A bottle each of the 1977 Fonseca, Gould Campbell, Graham's, Taylor Fladgate, Dow & Croft Vintage Port (various sources, between $130-$260 per 750ml bottle) and a bottle of the 1977 D'Oliveira Terrantez Madeira (Rare Wine Company, $125.00). My birth year wasn't much of a wine vintage, save for vintage port (and Madeira).  I'd like a little collection that I can hang onto for some time and share.

…And while Santa is shopping at the Rare Wine Company, a bottle of the 1780 Borges Bual Madeira (RWC, $2,450.00) because that might be the oldest wine I'd ever have. And because I've been a very good girl this year.

Whose Wish List: Sommelier Jill Zimorski of Hotel Jerome - Aspen, CO
Laguiole Champagne Saber

What: Laguiole Champagne Saber

Pricetag: $299.95
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Belinda Chang of Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group - New York, NY
Why: I have been travelling all over the country training at and opening new restaurants for Culinary Concepts for the past few months. I have been leaving some of my favorite wine and cocktail accoutrements behind - so all I want for Christmas is replacements for the items that I loved and left behind:

A replacement Laguiole Champage Saber - Hugh Davies from Schramsberg sent me a beautiful one and I left it to my team at Cook Hall in Atlanta to pop corks off their patio and onto Peachtree Street.

Blomus Cino Wine Bottle Holder

What: Blomus Cino Wine Bottle Holder

Pricetag: $15.29
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Belinda Chang of Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group - New York, NY
Why: My favorite wine cradles from Blomus - Easy, low profile and chic. A great wine geek accessory. I left mine at Market in Boston.

Cocktail Kingdom's

What: Cocktail Kingdom's "Schmallet" Wooden Ice Mallet

Pricetag: $14.95
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Belinda Chang of Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group - New York, NY
Why: A replacement Schmallet and Lewis Bag from Cocktail Kingdom for crushing ice for swizzles (and also for releasing tension) - I left my set at Cook Hall in Dallas

Williams-Sonoma Mesh Glass Soda Siphon

What: Williams-Sonoma Mesh Glass Soda Siphon

Pricetag: $100
Whose Wish List: Wine Director Belinda Chang of Culinary Concepts Hospitality Group - New York, NY
Why: A replacement seltzer bottle - I love the one that I bought at Williams-Sonoma - so much fun for finishing drinks (gives my bar a vintage feel) and also way more fun than lugging cases of bottles of sparkling water up the stairs to my apartment. I left mine at JG Steakhouse in Washington, DC, so that they could make Cherry Yuzu Rickeys at the bar.