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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Funky bottles containing good wine make great gifts

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Summertime generally means wedding season is in full swing.

And with next weekend being the long weekend, and with long weekends being extra-popular with lovebirds looking to bring family and friends together from near and far to celebrate, I thought this might be an ideal time for some suggestions about gifts of wine.

I know that registries and monetary presentations are very much a part of the wedding routine these days. And I understand that those who are getting married have their own tastes, and often gifts that people choose for them don’t necessarily align with what the couple sees as ideal — hence the registries and money gifts.

But if you’re a bit of a traditionalist and would rather make the gift selection yourself, or if you’d just like to add a little something extra to the main present, or if this is not a first wedding and the couple has specified ‘no gifts’ but you’d like to give them something anyway, I think the following suggestions might work for you.

Because these are special for two reasons — they were all gifts presented to me by people I love, and they’re gifts that keep on giving!

Years ago, I wrote a column essentially entitled ‘Buy it for the bottle.’ And that’s sort of where I’m going with this one. But naturally, in addition to the bottle — in fact, this should be the first consideration — you want to make certain the wine inside these containers is not only good, but matches up to the tastes of the people you’re giving them to.

First — naturally — a bubbly wine. My husband and I received this on a milestone anniversary as a gift from former neighbours who are still great friends. And I was thrilled. The Segura Viudas Reserva Cava Brut ($34.30) from Spain is a great dry sparkler that’s elegant, refined and a joy to drink.

But here’s the bonus. The elegant silver-toned ‘stand’ that adorns the bottom of the bottle can be gently pried off and used for years as a wine-bottle coaster, a chic addition to any table. Money well spent — a delicious wine, and a coaster! Who could ask for anything more?

This next one is near and dear to my heart. The Avantgarde Riesling ($16.95) from Germany, one of the few sweet wines I actually like, comes in a tall, beautifully shaped, frosted turquoise bottle. My mom was the genius behind this gift for me — she knew if I didn’t like the Riesling, which I did — she’d enjoy it because she’s a Riesling fan. And I did share it with her. In fact, I believe, I poured her most of it.

But what I got was a gorgeous bottle (I’ve since bought two more) that perfectly matches the Caribbean colour scheme of my home. It speaks to two of my passions — the colour turquoise (because of the sea) and wine. I’ve arranged peacock feathers and some other greenery in these vessels and turned them into vases. I have two in the bedroom and one in the living room. Now if I could only figure out where to put a few more

The Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay from California was a gift from my cousins — it sells for $28.99 and is worth every penny. Crisp and full of an enticing minerality, the Silver comes in a ceramic container that mimics the small cement wine tanks used in the production of the wine.

And here’s the fun part — after the delicious contents have been consumed, keep the bottle and store it in your freezer. Then when you have a chilled wine you’d like to keep cold, or if you have one that’s warm but you’d like to drink immediately, pour it into the Silver bottle. It’ll keep the chilled one frosty, and will cool down the warm one so you can enjoy it right away. Then give the Silver bottle a wash and rinse and put it back in the freezer for the next time around!

This final suggestion is for red wine drinkers who like Old World wine and would enjoy having a reminder of something that’s impressive and, well, just plain nifty on their wine racks. It was a gift from friends, and is la fiole du Pape Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($47.57). A superb wine, this Chateauneuf is rich and complex, musty as Old World wines generally are, but well-rounded enough to please a lot of palates.

We enjoyed the wine thoroughly and although it’s several years back now, I still have the bottle on my wine rack. Not only does it speak to my friends’ great taste in wine, the bottle has been coated with some sort of sand spray, which makes it look like it’s dusty and has been sitting in some deep, ancient dirt cellar in France for centuries. The bottle is sway-backed, which adds more to the appearance of something treasured, old and valuable. It’s a gorgeous wine, and the bottle remains a conversation piece to this day.

So for weddings, anniversaries, or just for yourself, let your imagination run wild, and see what intriguing treasures the Liquor Mart has to offer.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 26, 2014

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Summertime generally means wedding season is in full swing.

And with next weekend being the long weekend, and with long weekends being extra-popular with lovebirds looking to bring family and friends together from near and far to celebrate, I thought this might be an ideal time for some suggestions about gifts of wine.

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Summertime generally means wedding season is in full swing.

And with next weekend being the long weekend, and with long weekends being extra-popular with lovebirds looking to bring family and friends together from near and far to celebrate, I thought this might be an ideal time for some suggestions about gifts of wine.

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