The Vinous 2023 Holiday Gift Guide


It’s that season again. With the holidays fast approaching, it's time to find that perfect gift for the wine lovers in your life. This year’s Vinous Holiday Gift Guide features a number of great ideas to make the holidays one to remember.

Wine writers seem to have been especially prolific of late. Two thousand twenty-three saw the release of several exceptional books that are well deserving of attention. Many of them are written by members of our team. I make no claims to be unbiased with regard to those books, but I have seen some of these essentially go from idea to finished concept and hope to provide some added insight. Writing a book is an incredibly hard task that requires sustained, focused effort over a prolonged period. My comments of these books are not meant to be critiques but rather intended to give readers an idea of what they can expect.

Jon Bonné – The New French Wine

Jon Bonné is one of our generation’s brightest and most articulate wine writers. Bonné spent eight years researching and writing The New French Wine, one of the most important books on French wine published in recent times. Attractively packed in a sleek blue box, The New French Wine is really two books. The first volume, entitled The Narrative, explores the current state of France with a deep dive into topics that include the role of appellations, the increased focus on sustainable farming practices in all its different versions and the evolution of winemaking styles over the last several decades. The second volume, The Producers, takes a look at key figures within each region. Some regions get the deluxe treatment. The Champagne chapter is outstanding. Bordeaux, on the other hand, is addressed very briefly. Some very important people and estates that laid the groundwork for today’s trends, especially with regard to farming, are left out or discussed only briefly in passing. These include Anne-Claude Leflaive, Lalou Bize-Leroy and Château Latour. This is a book in which the author’s personal preferences are strong and clear. That’s not a bad thing, but I do wish those choices were explained more clearly. Regardless, The New French Wine is a tour-de-force in writing and a career-defining achievement for Jon Bonné. ($77).

Rebecca Gibb MW – Vintage Crime: A Short History of Wine Fraud

Rebecca Gibb MW’s new book Vintage Crime: A Short History of Wine Fraud takes an in-depth look at some of the more important frauds in the world of wine. As such, it is a refreshing change from most other books on the market in that there is no discussion of vintages, wineries or sustainable farming, but rather a focus on some shady characters and the crimes they committed. Vintage Crime will appeal to the hardcore wine lover who wants to learn more about these dubious episodes in history, but its focus on crimes of notable daring also makes the book appealing to those who might have more of a passing interest in wine. Rebecca is donating a portion of her book royalties towards finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an especially severe version of MD that her son suffers from. ($30).

Ray Isle – The World in a Wine Glass

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor at Food & Wine and one of the most down-to-earth, affable wine people I know. His book is written in the same disarming tone, a voice that is at once informal but also authoritative. In The World in a Wine Glass, Isle traces wine back to its origins and the land and pivots to an in-depth look at sustainability and other related topics. Most of the book is organized into regional profiles and then key producers within those regions. Isle makes a point of writing about wineries he has personally visited. There’s also a strong focus on value, which means many reference-point estates are not in this book. I don’t see that as an issue at all. If anything, it is very consistent with the overall, clearly stated mission. I find the Champagne section very light, especially considering the region is a hotbed of activity in the field of sustainability and has many wineries that meet Isle’s criteria for inclusion. The California chapter, on the other hand, is more engaging, especially as it includes both benchmarks and niche wineries that many readers will surely be happy to discover. Those are minor quibbles, though. This is a terrific book. Most importantly, given Isle’s platform at Food & Wine and distribution through a major publisher, The World in a Wine Glass has the real potential to elevate the level of discourse around wine in the United States. That would be a tremendous achievement. ($50).

Neal Martin – The Complete Bordeaux Vintage Guide

I doubt there are many people in the world who have tasted and drunk more fine, older Bordeaux than Neal Martin. Years ago, I remember Neal mentioning a Bordeaux vintage chart he was working on. It had extensive summaries of each of the growing seasons, stretching all the way back to the 1800s. Each time we talked about it, the concept was more fully formed. I saw one or two early versions. Then, one night over dinner in Pomerol, I saw close to the final version, fully designed. The transformation was remarkable. The Complete Bordeaux Vintage Guide takes the reader on a trip through time, passing through dozens of Bordeaux vintages, the great, the average and those that are nearly forgotten. An anecdote on a historical event, a significant piece of music and a movie made that year accompany each vintage, all delivered with Neal’s mix of deep expertise and wit. It’s a book that is both a reference and just fun to read through. My main criticism is that Neal and I have completely opposite tastes in music, but there is nothing to be done about that. ($28).

Alessandro Masnaghetti – Barolo MGA Volume 1, Third Edition

It’s hard to believe Barolo MGA, Alessandro Masnaghetti’s groundbreaking Barolo book, is already in its third edition. Over the last decade or so, Alessandro Masnaghetti has completely redefined scholarship around Barolo and other important Italian wines with a series of books that will one day be regarded as historically significant watershed moments for Italian wine. In this Third Edition of Barolo MGA Volume 1, Masnaghetti provides numerous updates on his reference-point maps, harvest dates by vintage and vineyard and years of production for wines from historical sites. His chapter on Monforte d'Alba, for example, is required reading as it captures so much cultural info that has gradually been lost with the incorporation of what were once many separate vineyards into large MGAs. English translations, which were at times awkward in the past, have been given a major upgrade by a new team. Masnaghetti’s books always assume a fair amount of existing knowledge, so they are not the best option for consumers who are just starting to get into Barolo. But for those who want to know all the details, down to the smallest piece of information, there is simply no better source. Masnaghetti’s books are THE reference point, even among winemakers and owners who I see refer to them often. ($95).

The Durand Corkscrew

The Durand Corkscrew remains a must-have tool for anyone who enjoys drinking older wines. Gone are the days of losing a crumbling old cork into a bottle and then having to scurry around to salvage the wine. Two blades work alongside a conventional corkscrew to easily extract even the most fragile, brittle corks. Quite simply, the Durand is an essential tool for the serious wine lover and collector. It’s a gift that is sure to be appreciated and enjoyed. ($135). Universal Glass

Designed in New York City, the Universal Glass has quickly become a staple at my home and the Vinous office. It is also our glass of choice for Vinous events. offers all the benefits of today’s high-end, handblown glasses – most notably sleek lines and thin glass – but with pricing that is much more accessible than its peers. ($79/two glass set).

Riedel Vinum New World Pinot Noir Glass

Riedel makes a wide range of glasses to suit pretty much every need. The Vinum New World Pinot Noir Glass is one of my favorites. It’s visually attractive, light and very nicely balanced. The New World Pinot Noir Glass is terrific for Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. I also use it for Pinot Noir-based and Rosé Champagnes, an idea I picked up years ago from Richard Geoffroy, longtime former Chef de Caves at Dom Pérignon. ($79/two glass set).

Conterno Sensory Glass

As if making world-class wines was not enough, Barolo producer Roberto Conterno and his son, Gabriele, designed the Sensory Glass a few years ago. The Sensory Glass opens a new dimension to tasting and allows the full character of each wine to emerge fully. It is especially well-suited to fine wines. If the Sensory Glass has a drawback, it is that it will expose even the smallest flaws in wine. I have a set at my house and one at my parents’ house. The Sensory Glass is expensive, but it is worth it. It’s a terrific choice for the wine lover who has it all. Or almost all. ($175/two glass set).

Vinous California Vineyard Maps

Vinous Vineyard Maps will make fine gift for anyone who loves California wines. Our narrative maps, printed front and back, show vineyards in unprecedented detail, with in-depth historical backgrounds and descriptions of key sites. Vinous Maps result from numerous visits, extensive first-hand research and countless hours spent in the vineyards. These maps are the ultimate reference for anyone who wants to explore this fascinating and diverse regions of California. In 2023, we have four new maps: Sta. Rita Hills and Coombsville are First Editions, while Howell Mountain and St. Helena & Conn Valley have been updated in Second Editions.

Sta. Rita Hills Vineyards Map ($30/folded map)

Coombsville Vineyards Map ($30/folded map)

Howell Mountian Vineyards Map - Second Edition ($30/folded)

St. Helena & Conn Valley Vineyards Map - Second Edition ($30/folded)

Explore All Vinous Maps

Champagne Stoppers

Few things are more frustrating around the holidays than figuring out what to do with that extra bit of leftover Champagne you want to keep until the next day. Champagne stoppers are essential to have around the house. Grab a few for loved ones, and maybe some for yourself too.

Vinous Classic Gift Subscription

Give the gift of (wine) knowledge this holiday season with a Classic subscription to Vinous. Our team of critics spends months of the year on the road to bring Vinous readers the most up-to-date and in-depth insight into the world's major wine regions. Just as Vinous is the go-to destination for wine enthusiasts around the world, a Vinous gift subscription can make it become so for the wine lover in your life. A Classic subscription gives full access to the Vinous website and the apps, where you can look up reviews on the go. Give the gift of Vinous, and we will extend your subscription by three months (offer ends January 5th, 2024). Note: the gift subscription email is sent immediately to the recipient. You can send the email to yourself to get the gift link that you can pass on whenever you like. ($140).

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