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Holiday Gifts for Chilling Out

Your wine-loving friends can stay cool all year with these gifts designed for serving wine at its best

Posted: December 7, 2012

December and its holidays are once again upon us, bringing crisp, cold nights and toasty evenings indoors, preferably with a glass of wine in front of a warm fire. Unfortunately, that glass of wine can end up warm before its time, especially those of the white variety. For this season's holiday gift guide, the Wine Spectator staff tested out as many new wine- and bottle-chilling devices (many of them multifunctional) as we could get our hands on. And these cool holiday treats will be even more appreciated when the summer months roll around.

Metrokane Rabbit Wine-Chilling Crystal Carafe ($50, metrokane.com)
Metrokane's new Rabbit Wine-Chilling Crystal Carafe is a lovely serving vessel on its own—it has a nice heft and balance to it, with a rubber grip around the neck and a drip-proof lip, as suitable for orange juice or iced tea as it is wine, of which it will hold a full 750ml bottle with the chilling device in place. Unlike most of the other tools for keeping wine cold featured here, the Rabbit Carafe will actually bring white wine down from room temperature to serving temperature. The thin stainless-steel walls of the ice-filled insert, in direct contact with the wine, are ideal for cold transfer. The Metrokane's Houdini brand version ($40) of the carafe features a screw-top plastic lid without the rubber neck grip.—Robert Taylor

GoVino Decanter ($13, govinowine.com)
The makers of the GoVino "go anywhere" plastic stemless wineglasses have been expanding their repertoire thanks to the success of the inexpensive, recyclable, shatterproof, flexible wine vessels. The stemless imperméables now come in both 12-ounce and 16-ounce $13 four-packs, as do a set of stemless 8-ounce sparkling wine flutes, but the best new addition to the family is the decanter. It holds 28 ounces, and because it's plastic, there's no concern about chucking it straight into an ice bucket, or even right into the snow on the back porch. As with all the GoVino products, however, be advised: If you put it in the dishwasher, your decanter will come out looking like something that escaped from a Salvador Dalì painting.—R.T.

Epicureanist Iceless Wine Display Chiller ($199, epicureanist.com)
The Epicureanist Display Chiller is a sleek two-piece stainless-steel sleeve and base for a pre-chilled bottle of wine that will keep it cool for at least an hour or two after it's opened. While the sleeve gives your bottle the look of something that may at any moment embark on a trip through time, the base is the key element here, and serves as dual-purpose chiller and drip catcher with or without the sleeve in place. Leave the base in the freezer (about four hours is required to attain max chilling power) and rest your already-chilled bottle of white in it during service. Because the cooling surface only touches the base of the bottle, it will keep a room-temperature bottle of red closer to serving temperature in a warm room as well. You can purchase just the stainless-steel chilling coaster, which is filled with a freezable silicone gel, for $50.—R.T.

Soiree Tilt Sphere ($18, soireehome.com)
The Tilt chilling sphere aspires to be the new ice cube, perfect for keeping a glass cool without diluting your wine or cocktail. Keep a few in the freezer for whenever needed—they require at least a few hours to be fully effective. Not only does it keep your wine at the optimum drinking temperature for over an hour, it can also chill a room-temperature glass of white wine in about a minute, without having to refrigerate it beforehand. It's ideal for white wines and cocktails, but will overchill a glass of red. At first glance, the steel sphere can be intimidating—chipped teeth sprang to mind when we first saw it—but Tilt is never bothersome while drinking, and only lightly presses against your nose when finishing off a glass, before which time you can remove the sphere with the retrieval stirrer that comes with it. The stirrer doubles as a slick garnish spear for cocktails.—Emma Balter

VinOice ($28, vinoice.com)
The sleek VinOice two-in-one gadget features a stainless-steel chilling rod that attaches to a lidded dripless glass pourer. It will keep a bottle of wine at drinking temperature for up to an hour. Note that VinOice is not a replacement to chilling the bottle ahead of time. Be sure to pour out a glass of wine before inserting VinOice into the bottle to avoid a messy overflow.—E.B.

Vino 911 ($6, corkpops.com)
During the holiday season, with large gatherings of friends and family where conversation is lively, wine is flowing and personal space is at a premium, spills are inevitable. Small and practical, Vino 911 red-wine stain remover is the perfect stocking-filler for the accident-prone wine lover in your life. It's a pocket-size quick fix at a party, in a restaurant or at a tasting. Applied as soon as the stain is discovered, a couple squirts of Vino 911 and a dab with a cloth will remove any relatively fresh red wine stain. Its ecofriendly, all-natural formula has a fresh scent of lemons, which is a nice alternative to the off-putting industrial solvent odors of some stain removers. Unfortunately, the product does not work as effectively on dry stains. Note that Vino 911, like water, will render white or light-colored clothing transparent, so exercise caution if the stain is fairly sizeable and/or in an unfortunate anatomical area.—E.B.

For more great gift ideas, see "Time to Give," in the Dec. 15 issue of Wine Spectator. And one last suggestion for anyone still left on your list, a few gifts that keep giving all year long: Subscriptions to Wine Spectator, WineSpectator.com, or Wine Spectator School classes.

Gary Gold
Coral Springs, Florida, USA —  December 7, 2012 5:31pm ET
Vino 911? Why haven't you tried the Stain Rx with no fragrance and no dye? It takes out old and new red wine stains in a second. You will be hearing about it in the next few months.

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