As another holiday season draws to a close, are you struggling with whether to drink or ditch those badly wrapped unknown origin wine gifts?
You can’t return them for credit like other presents or stick them in the back of a closet hoping that someday they’ll cry out to be opened.
They take up room – especially if you’re in a small city-style dwelling – and need proper temperature to boot. Worse than getting a gold fish they demand attention with little or no personal bonding or comfort in the future of your relationship.
Well, good news for you. You can research – for free- what your good friends or acquaintances bestowed on you, read what other people think and best of all find out the price. The sites that are most helpful are http://cellartracker.com – for reviews from novices and oenophiles alike and http://winesearcher.com for searching price and origin (meaning local retailer). Yes, you can finally see/read/learn that that bottle with French writing is from a little known region like the Languedoc or a tiny winery from a place in CA where you didn’t know they were even making wine – Lodi.
You can see if it was a blow-out price or a hard-to-find gem that’s only available winery direct. And, if you decide that it’s worthy of your own collection, you can even order more (if allowed by by your state law).
Best of all, you can be forewarned of the real dogs.
Being of fan of the furry beast, my husband doesn’t like me using that phrase to describe wines of suspect origin (i.e. nowhere to be found on either site) or those that the majority of reviewers deem to be less than 80 points (that’s my low score tolerance for a wine gift).
If there’s only one or two reviews and they seem ridiculously over-enthusiastic proceed with caution as they are likely from the winery or importer themselves. I look at the ‘average’ score to make a determination of drink or dump – and, which will surprise you – never re-gift a wine that’s a loser.
Who wants to be known for gifting bad wine (obviously, I don’t believe in the ‘there’s no such thing as a bad wine’ philosophy)? Choose from the bottles that you don’t personally want – or don’t suit your personal palate - to cook with or save them as part of an experimental tasting night when you know that you’ll be pouring other things that are more exciting.
Under the less is more theory – don’t bury them in your wine rack - as it’s just too easy to accidentally pull one of these less desirable selections when you’ve cooked something delicious and it will surely spoil the moment.
Finally, if you do want to re-gift wine then keep stickers handy to mark the bottle when you receive it with the name of the person who gave it to you as to don’t want to get caught re-gifting it.
And, if they are a habitual giver of bad wine then wait for an opportunity to open it together with the toast “here’s to great wine and great friends”!
Wishing you a great 2011!
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