Christmas is my favorite time of year, just nudging out jury duty. And what I like most about Christmas is shopping for loved ones. That moment of knowing you’ve purchased the perfect gift for someone you adore, already envisioning the joy on their face when they open it, and imagining the greater joy they’ll feel as they return it for store credit. It sets my heart aglow like nothing else, aside from barium enemas. I’m not a religious soul, so the “true meaning” of Christmas is a mystery to me. I see a manger scene with the three wise men and I always think their names are Salmanazar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Threesevenfive. He’s the short one. I grew up in a home where Christmas meant decorating the tree, baking Christmas cookies, and leaving a bottle of Smirnoff for Santa to enjoy with Mom after he slipped down her flue. Christmas is, after all, also flue season. And from all the sounds coming from the living room, Mom and Santa had a grand time, until Santa had to leave to deliver more presents in the same ’68 Impala “Uncle” Larry drove.
Christmas, they say, is about giving. And it’s about this time each year that I am repeatedly asked for recommendations of gifts for wine lovers. This is yet another reason I love Christmas—endless stupid premises. Here, then, are the HoseMaster of Wine™ Gift Ideas for the Wine Aficionado in your life. In the St. Nick of time.
A Gift Membership in the Wine-of-the-Month-Club-of-the-Month Club™
|Victoria's Secret Wine Club Selection|
The Wheel of Fortune™ Wine Rating Game
Ever wonder how the pros rate wines? Many people believe that wine scores are arrived at purely randomly. Oh, pish-posh. Like these Wine Gods simply swirl the wine in their glass, breathe deeply, accept a few ounces into their Blessed Facial Cavities, gracefully expectorate into their adoring assistant’s mouth and declare it an 89. Don’t be so naïve. Now Wine Enthusiast along with Merv Griffin Productions has released this game that actually recreates the method used by all the top critics, and Tim Fish. The wine lover in your life will be grateful and excited to learn this once closely guarded technique, the same technique used to make or break real wineries, often after years of toil and financial jeopardy (coming next Christmas, Wine Country Financial Jeopardy, with Alex Trebek--“I’ll take “Wine Barrels” for $1200, Alex.”). It turns out giving scores to wines is fun! You’ll need a partner to play. The partner sets up the Wheel of Fortune™ puzzle board with the name of the wine you’re going to be served blind. You taste the wine, and then spin the wheel. The wheel lands on an adjective, which you write down for your final description of the wine. The wheel is based on the dreaded Aroma Wheel created by Ann Noble, which also has little basis in reality. Solve the puzzle and you’ve solved the mystery of what’s in your glass, and you’ve got a convincing description as well. Just like the pros do it! Now you move to the bonus round. Spin the Points Wheel and see what score the wine will receive. It’s uncanny how well this works, and how often the description and scores you end up with match the reviews found in prestigious publications. It’s damned exciting to see a wine only get 86 points knowing it will ruin the winery's reputation and slow sales to the pace of $50 Australian wine! It’s fun, and it’s educational. I played a very long round with Natalie MacLean—she just kept landing on “Bankrupt.”
Uncle Milton’s Biodynamic™ Ant Farm®
If your wine lover is like most wine lovers, he doesn’t have a clue about Biodynamics™, the system of agriculture derived from a series of lectures delivered by Rudolf Steiner. Which is like developing a clown school based on the writings of John Wayne Gacy. Now any wine lover can get up close and personal with the principles of biodynamics with Uncle Milton’s Biodynamic™ Ant Farm®. It’s almost exactly like the Ant Farm you remember from your childhood, the one where you spent hours and hours watching those horrible little ants farm using pesticides and RoundUp. In the Biodynamic™ version you learn how to run your Ant Farm® so that it doesn’t harm the big plastic thing they live in. You’ll learn how to do everything on your ant farm according to the cycles of the ant calendar. Is it a Dead Bird Day, or is it a Picnic Day? It matters. Maybe it’s an Along the Walls and Into the Greasy Cupboard Day. What day it is on the ant calendar is important to the biodynamic farming. It doesn’t need to make sense. It’s all spelled out for you on the Ant Farm® Biodynamic™ Calendar. You don’t ask why it’s called Monday. Hypocrite. It just fucking is. See, you’re learning already! And you’ll have hours of fun putting together the Biodynamic™ Teas which you’ll need to put into your Ant Farm® at every solstice. You need to grow your own herbs for the Teas, so you might also want to get your wine lover the new Biodynamic™ Chia Pet®--my favorite one is an exact replica of Randall Grahm’s head. See, this is hours of fun! And when it’s all done and the ants have finally died, your wine lover will understand that Christmas, Biodynamics, and Life are all based entirely on faith, ritual, and endlessly moving one grain of sand at a time until you die.