The Côtes du Rhône Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us once again, and with them comes the annual ritual of brainstorming gift ideas. For the wine lovers on your list, the gift of wine is a no-brainer. But if you’re uncertain of what kind to actually get, look no further than wines from the Côtes du Rhône region of southeastern France.

For centuries, winemakers from this region have embraced and preserved its unique Mediterranean climate influenced by the surrounding mountains, in and around the banks of the Rhône River from Lyon to Avignon. The majority of the wine produced here is reds, with Grenache being the major varietal, though it’s often blended with other red grape varieties that prosper here, like Syrah and Mourvèdre. The overall result is the signature medium- to full-bodied reds Côtes du Rhône is known for. They’re bold with a light fruitiness and soft tannins, yet delicate enough that they should be served slightly chilled.

The Côtes du Rhône area may be known for its world class reds. But one can not forget about its meticulously crafted whites and rosés, which make up 13 percent of the region’s produced wine and will add a surprising touch to your holiday shopping that will please wine adventurers. They too have a delicacy and should be served chilled, just not ice cold. Regardless of color, the versatility of Côtes du Rhône wines make them an ideal gift because they pair so perfectly with different types of food. Whether they are partnered with a cheese plate, entrées of fish or poultry, or even rich, meaty stews, the recipient of your Côtes du Rhône gift won’t be disappointed.

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Côtes du Rhône Wines

Anyone who loves to wine and dine will surely appreciate a bottle or two from Côtes du Rhône as a holiday gift. Whether it’s the Grenache noir, a delicious red blend, a rosé, or a harmony of regional white grape varieties, Côtes du Rhône wines’ easy drinkability makes them pair well with many meals, beyond the holidays and through the new year. However, here are some ideas for stocking stuffers beyond the bottles, if you wish to pair wine with things other than courses of a dinner.

Loft 400 Wine Cooler

It’s recommended to enjoy Côtes du Rhône wines chilled — even the reds — so the ideal gift for bottles of wine is a wine refrigerator. Since reds should be chilled slightly colder than room temperature, and whites chilled a little cooler— although not ice cold — it makes sense to store the bottles in a fridge that can maintain two temperature-controlled zones. While this one from Loft is a little pricey, it’s very highly rated. For the wine aficionados in your life that are serious about storing wine long term, this is the perfect present, even if it won’t fit into their stockings.

VinGlacé Wine Bottle Insulator

Once you’ve chilled your wines to the perfect precise temperature, maintain that temperature for hours with a wine bottle insulator. This one from VinGlacé encloses most wine bottles within a double-walled, vacuum-insulated design of stainless steel — complete with an adjustable top that slides over the neck of the bottle — ensuring temperature regulation under many external conditions. Not only will it keep your Côtes du Rhône wines chilled without condensation, its sleek, form-fitting design is quite fashionable, and is available in an assortment of colors.

Le Creuset Waiter’s Wine Opener

A perfectly chilled bottle of Côtes du Rhône wine obviously can’t be enjoyed unless it’s been uncorked. While there are many wine openers out there, this one from Le Creuset is professional grade; the foil cutter is serrated, and a corkscrew has a non-stick coating. Opening a bottle is easier with its patented two-step system that makes cork removal smoother and easier with improved leverage. There’s also a bottle opener for other beverages, plus a 10-year warranty to ensure the imbibing continues for years to come.

Aervana One-Touch Wine Aerators

For easy wine aeration, look no further than the line of battery-powered aerators from Aervana, which provide six times the aeration than typical gravity-fed aerators at the touch of a button. Simply insert the tube and fit the unit on top of an opened bottle, and your Côtes du Rhône wine is now on tap. The “Select” model takes Aervana’s optimal aeration a bit further; with the adjustment of a dial, you can set it from zero to a simulation of oxygen exposure of three hours — without the wait.

RIEDEL Veritas Old World Syrah Wine Glasses

After the wine is chilled, opened, and properly aerated, it’s time to enjoy a glass. However, not all wine glasses are created equal. The RIEDEL Veritas Old World Syrah egg-shaped crystal stemmed glasses have been formed specifically for optimal enjoyment of medium-bodied red wines, such as Grenache and Syrah. Sipping from one of these, your nose will appreciate the balanced aroma of fruit, pepper, and spice, while your taste buds will relish the complex flavors of earthiness, soft fruit, and a savory finish.

Murray’s French Connection Cheese Collection

Wine and cheese are such a perfect pairing that there’s even a category of party for it. All the wines from Côtes du Rhône pair effortlessly with many cheeses, and this collection of French cheeses from Murray’s will satisfy any turophile. Among others, there’s Petit Prefere de Nos Montagnes — an importable version of Reblochon — plus sharp, blue Roquefort, and Murray’s 18-month aged Comté, with its soft yet firm texture and signature taste with hints of hazelnut and dried fruit.

This article is sponsored by Côtes du Rhône