EDGE Holiday Gift Guide: Kitchen & Comestibles
Oveja Negra Lost Barrel 2008
In recent years, Chile has become noted for producing good wines at affordable prices; the 2008 Oveja Negra Lost Barrel ups the ante with a seriously complex and well-balanced wine at a moderate price.
Produced in the San Rafael Vineyard in the Maule Valley of Chile, a region noted for its Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons, the 2008 Oveja Negra Lost Barrel is a deeply-saturated, black purple blend of five varieties, including Syrah, Carignane Syrah, Carignane, Carmenère, and Petit Verdot. Lush and full-bodied, this wine is the result of grapes hand-picked in the early morning hours in the fourth week of April - and this after leaves were pulled from the shoots exposed to the sun during the first weeks of December. Such attention to detail has earned Chile a reputation for producing a few truly excellent wines.
Opening with an almost extreme aromatic intensity, the cornucopia of aromas includes a number of black fruits such as blueberries and blackberries before slipping into coffee and chocolate. Admirably balanced with a full and luscious body, the Oveja Negra Lost Barrel finds a perfectly refined finish - no doubt a consequence of the full twelve months spent aging in French oak barrels.
This is a generous wine meant for holiday feasting; this is a wine that Dylan Thomas might have remembered while writing "A Child’s Christmas in Wales." Take some to your family.
PRICE: $25.00 / bottle
LINK: Via Wines
Viña Maquis Lien Red Wine 2006
As clean to the nose as it is deep mulberry in color, as resplendently dark as a painting by Caravaggio, the Chilean Maquis Lien 2006 is a complex and intense cornucopia of the darkest fruits, with notes of black chocolate and black pepper. It floats on the palate like soluble silk, leaving a whisper of its elegant tannins.
A terroir wine, Lien (meaning "silver metal" in Chile’s native Mapuche language - and a reference to colonial Spanish coins) comes from Chile’s Maquis region. In this case, the vineyards are located between two rivers, resulting in a locale with its own climate and soil. The resultant five-blend varietal is a sublime balance of Syrah, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec - sealed in 100% French oak.
Maquis Lien 2006 is a wine that belies the Colchagua Valley stereotype of bullish, bruising reds - offering instead a rich exotic with notes of cherry, prune, spice, black pepper, and mocha, and a finish as smooth as veneer.
With an alcohol percentage of 14.5, Maquis Lien scored 90 points at Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and 90 points with International Wine Review - scores that are particularly impressive for a wine retailing under twenty dollars.
And that silver lizard on the artful label? That’s a reference to the fine jewelry once made from the melted colonial Spanish coins. There’s the tip-off: throwing off the chains of colonialism to create something indigenously beautiful.
PRICE: under $20.00 / bottle
LINK: Vina Maquis
Borracha : Wine Wipes
You’ve seen the look - the look of horror on your dental hygienist’s face as she gazes into your mouth and asks, "Have you been drinking blood?"
"What are you talking about?" you reply, feigning ignorance. She’s not your therapist; why should you tell about the bottle of red consumed nightly.
But there’s no denying what red wine does to white teeth. What’s good for the heart is not necessarily good for the pearlies. Tannin teeth, wine mouth - whatever you call it, it’s not pretty. Which is so unfortunate, given how much you love those deep purple elixirs - which is exactly how the folks at Borracha felt, and which is why they created Wine Wipes.
Sold in a sleek compact (complete with mirror), Wine Wipes contain a proprietary blend of stain-removing, teeth-protecting ingredients including baking soda (which penetrates the surface of tooth enamel), salt (a natural cleanser that fights germs), hydrogen peroxide for mild bleaching, calcium for re-mineralization, glycerin (which coats teeth), and finally, orange blossom, which is a flavor naturally found in red wine, so as not to interfere with your next glass of red. With a compound like that, it’s no wonder that you need only wipe one Wine Wipe over your teeth after a glass of red - and once again, you’re ready for your close-up. New Facebook profile pic!
Wine Wipes were developed with a sommelier to insure that your palate and taste buds are not adversely affected - for your next glass, and the glass after that. Best of all, Wine Wipes are equivalent to cleaning your teeth - so you can drink and get a cleaning at the same time. How genius is that?
PRICE: $6.95 / 20-wipe compact
LINK: Borracha Wine Wipes
BonJour : Ami-Matin Unbreakable French Press
Now that it’s the new economy, we’re no longer throwing down a fiver for our caffeine fix. But that doesn’t mean we’re jonesing for good coffee. Instead, we got wise and got ourselves a BonJour Unbreakable French Press. This svelte little French press features an unbreakable, heat-resistant carafe made of BPA-free Tritan, which is noted for its durability, lightness and shatterproof properties (which is particularly important when you recall that old glass French press that you left lying in shards at the bottom of your stainless steel sink? Never mind - it happened to us, too.).
One of the true joys of a French press is how the coffee is perfectly brewed - and hot. All you do is add coarsely ground coffee to the carafe - and fill with boiling water. Brew for four minutes - and then press down the plunger. Voila! Perfect coffee - without electricity (well, except for the boiled water...)
Due to the growing health concerns about BPA (bisphenol-A) in plastic containers used for food and beverage (can we just say cancer is not something we like drinking with our morning coffee?), BonJour took a leadership position in the industry - and produced two BPA-free products.
The Ami-Matin Unbreakable French Press comes in a range of stylish colors, including rouge, azure, peridot, and noir (C’est francais, mes enfants - d’accord?), and features BonJour’s unique shut-off filter feature to stop the brewing and keep coffee at its optimum level. Also, the stainless steel filtering screen keeps any coffee sediments from ever touching your tongue.
Perfect for the home or office (or home office), BonJour’s Unbreakable French Press also helps keep you from running to Starbucks every second hour. More money in your pocket for happy hour!
PRICE: $24.99 / BonJour Ami-Matin French Press Coffee Maker / 8-cup (33.8 oz. / 1 liter) capacity
LINK: BonJour French Press
(Gift Guide continued on next page: Tea, Olive Oil, and - Umami...)