I found Web sites, many of them free, that would track your wine cellar, help you decide on scents and tastes but all of them required two things. First, a computer. Although we have one of those, it is not exactly good for my marriage to be tasting nice wine having great food and while typing on a computer in my office. I learned that the hard way. Second, they all required a password and an e-mail address. Given I have a hard enough time remembering birthdays, the last thing I need is one more user ID and password (which must contain at least one capital letter and a "&" or "%") not to mention the extra spam that began to clog up my e-mail.
Then I found the De Long's Web site (www.delongwine.com). De Long's is not about being online and registering, but rather about ordering information that you can then use to reference grapes and track wines the good old fashioned way - with pen and paper. After a bit of research I decided to order: Wine Notes tasting book and the Wine Grape Varietal Table.
First, the Wine Notes tasting book. This book is a perfect way to track wines in addition to guiding you through the different scents and tastes of the wine. Each page is dedicated to one bottle of wine. It not only tracks the date, location, tasting partner(s), cost and food you paired it with, but also walks you through the three most important parts of wine tasting: the look, the nose and the palate. At the back of the book, there is a cheat sheet that helps you to identify different terms that should be associated with the specific wine you are drinking and helps to ensure that wine is true to its varietal. All of this for under $7.
The Wine Grape Varietal Table is my favorite part of what I ordered. Imagine, if you a will, a large periodic table for wine. The ironic part of this - it brings back memories of high school chemistry, which I liked so much I decided to take it twice! This table has everything. It lists 184 of the most common grapes and sorts them (both reds and whites) from light to full body on one axis and mild to acidic on the other axis. In addition, it tells you which region of the world the grapes come from and what are the correct characteristics of the wine. Although I wanted to hang it my living room (I thought it would look nice next to the family portrait), I was given strict instructions that it would be better suited to our family room or my office. At $25 it is great conversation piece and fun to have close by as you are tasting wine.
If you are looking for a unique gift for a wine enthusiast (or yourself) either one of these De Long's wine tools will fit the bill and is sure to be enjoyed. Buy a couple and keep them on hand - and the next time you need to bring something to the wine lover who has everything - you will be glad you've got it. Even if it makes you feel like a wine nerd - be a geek and be proud of it. I am!
Don Colman, the Everyday Wine Guy lives in Danville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org