This week I have been searching for my favourite books and gifts to give to wine lovers this Christmas:

THE WORLD’S WINE LEGENDS (£30 published by Sona Books) is a beautiful new book by Stephen Brooks in association with Decanter magazine.  It all started with an article in the magazine which was so popular it has been developed into this sumptuous hardback highlighting 100 of the world’s legendary bottles of wine.  You might not be lucky enough to drink Opus One 1991, Domaine Leflaive’s Montrachet 1992 or JJ Prum’s Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1971 but what makes this book so fascinating are the intimate details about each wine.

It focuses on almost all of the world’s top regions from Pouilly Fume in Loire (Didier Dagueneau), Alsace’s Clos St Urbain (Zind Humbrecht), Priorat in Spain (Alvaro Palacios) to Tokay in Hungary (Szepsy), Clare Valley in Australia (Jim Barry) and Colchagua in Chile (Montes) – and for each wine Brooks details why the wine was first made, why it tastes the way it does and why so special.  I could have added a few more myself, something from Jerez in Spain surely, but for the wine lover who is interested in what makes a wine so great this book is essential reading.

Another book which impressed me is from the Classic Wine Library, an essential range for any wine student.  THE WINES OF CHABLIS & THE GRAND AUXERROIS (£35 published by Infinite Ideas) is Rosemary George MW’s third edition in which she writes about the grandchildren of the original winemakers she wrote about in the first edition who are now making the wine.  This brings it bang up to date with her focus on the new generation, how Chablis is changing, how they are coping with the climate chaos, the ever-present worry of frost risk and moves to sustainability.

Chablis is such an independent isolated part of Burgundy with its own traditions and identity, George really gets to the heart of this beautiful small region highlighting intimately each Premier Cru and Grand Cru ‘climats’ and what makes each so special.  I loved her descriptions of her visits, places to eat and drink, people she met – and in particular her focus at the end of the book on little known Irancy, Auxerre, Epineuil, Chitry-le Fort, Sens and Joigny in the Grand Auxerrois – all part of a region which 150 years ago was one of the most important in France but today is almost forgotten.

One of the questions I get asked about most frequently is which glassware to buy.  It depends on your budget, but for wine tasting ensure you use clear uncut uncoloured glass – with a decent sized bowl and fine stem.  Austrian glass manufacturer RIEDEL has made its name supplying glassware for every grape variety from Cabernet Franc to Furmint – and even beer, rum, gin and whisky.  For functional and relatively affordable glasses, try VINUM BORDEAUX GLASSES (£82.50 for set of 4 on offer Wineware).

However – the leading glass manufacturer in my mind is without a doubt ZALTO – another Austrian company who makes supremely elegant, delicate and very fine glasses adored by wine connoisseurs with prices starting from £45 per single stem for the ZALTO BURGUNDY GLASS (£260 for box of 6 at Vinorium): pictured above.

People often tell me they don’t tend to use decanters these days, but if you have a robust red wine or port – decanting can help aerate the wine, draw it from its sediment and a fine decanter looks fabulous on the festive table.  For one of the world’s most stylish decanters – try ZALTO DENK ART AXIUM CRYSTAL DECANTER (£87.50 Wineware).

A great affordable stocking filler for the fizz lover which is simple to use if you want to preserve leftovers for another day, allowing you to lie your opened stoppered bottle horizontally in the fridge and with a non-drip serving capacity, VACUVIN CHAMPAGNE SAVER & SERVER (£14.99 Wineware) is a handy way of preserving your Champagne for another day.

Champagne lovers might also be interested to try the revolutionary CORAVIN SPARKLING (down to £269.99 – with 33% off its usual price this December at Coravin UK).  This portable easy-to-use system has a stopper and hand-held charging unit which maintains the fizz bubbles between pours, allowing you to take a glass from the same bottle over a period of weeks.  They promise that the last glass of fizz will be as good as the first.

For any wine lover the ultimate present this year is CORAVIN’s Timeless 6+ festive limited edition GEMSTONE COLLECTION.  These beautifully sleek new models available in Amethyst, Anthracite and Emerald (£199.99 – £249.99 reduced from £349.99 at Coravin UK).  The Coravin wine preservation system was invented by New York nuclear engineer Greg Lambrecht – it is such a clever device now used worldwide by wine lovers and wine bars.

Each of these Coravin units feature a needle within the mechanism which passes through the cork to extract wine without allowing any oxygen contact – and once the needle is withdrawn the cork expands back to its normal shape.  This means you can pour a glass of any wine, in any amount and still preserve the life of the wine for months.  Perfect for those who live on their own or just enjoy a glass of wine every now and then.

Join Rose’s wine tastings & dinners in Edinburgh, Glasgow & St Andrews

wine tastings

The perfect gift for the wine enthusiast in the family. Rose does In-person tastings too.

cellar advice

Rose does cellar valuations for private clients, valuations for insurers & bespoke portfolio management.

Related stories

  • March 31, 2024

    By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 30 March 2024 On 2 February 1659, the first wine made from grapes grown in South Africa was crafted by the Governor of the Cape, Jan van Riebeeck.  He had planted vines four years earlier in the Company’s Garden near Cape Town from cuttings imported from France. Van Riebeeck’s first

  • March 24, 2024

    By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 16 March 2024 Heatwaves and bushfires were very much on the agenda when I visited Chile last month as winemakers prepared for their 2024 harvest in blistering heat and drought, with a plume of smoke from the devastating fires lingering over coastal hills. Heat and drought are the greatest challenges

  • March 23, 2024

    By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 9 March 2024 I have two glasses of Malbec in my hands from the same high-altitude vineyard in Uco valley in Argentina. I am in the Catena Institute of Wine in Mendoza with winemaker Agustin Silva.  He has asked me to taste the two wines, both from the 1500m high