I have a Scrooge-like aversion to carols and candy canes in mid-November but now that we are into December I feel it is permissible to use the C-word – 'Christmas'. It is coming whether we like it or not so here are my Top Ten 'Festive Gifts for Informed Imbibers' which, un-coincidentally, all happen to be available from Yapp Brothers although some (for reasons too arcane to divulge) do not yet feature on our website.
1. Yapp Mug - £4.95.
Proudly displaying Pippa Goldfinger's iconic 'Saumur man' design, inspired by graffito of Charles de Gaulle, this is the drinking vessel to be seen with and will appeal to anyone who appreciates the merits of both a good glass of wine and a nice cup of tea.
2. 'Champagne' by John Burningham - £25 or £30 including postage and packaging.
Our good friend the renowned artist and author John Burningham has just produced a beautiful hard-back book celebrating the history of Champagne. It is packed with wonderful illustrations, witty quotes and fascinating facts and has an introduction by Joanna Lumley. It will make an ideal present for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life in need of an uplifting pick-me-up!
3. Red and White Wine and Food Matching Tea Towels by Stuart Gardiner - £18 a pair.
Stuart Gardiner's groovy graphics will bring cheer to even the most peeved plongeurs the only question being whether to invest in a second set for display purposes.
4. Crozes-Hermitage 2012: Alain Graillot - £49 per magnum.
Nothing dresses the festive table like a magnum. Big, bold and beautiful to behold they really look the part. Alain Graillot's silky and seductive Syrah would be hard to improve upon with its alluring hedgerow fruit scents and flavours and fine-grained tannins.
5. Châteauneuf' and Cheddar Gift Box - £49 per gift pack including delivery.
If your friends or relatives are tired of ties and sick of socks you can bring them joy with this failsafe wine and cheese combination. It even comes in a smart wooden box you can take to the shed and keep important bits and pieces in.
6. Yapp Brothers 'Waiters Friend' Corkscrew - £4.50.
Form follows function on our ergonomic 'waiters friend' corkscrew with a hardened steel helix and bespoke branding.
7. Gabriel Boudier Liqueur Miniatures - £16.50 per pack of 5 x 40ml bottles.
As a disaffected youth I toiled (or loitered) on the bottling line at Gabriels Boudier's Dijon HQ where I acquired an enduring penchant for their sublime fruit liqueurs. These will compliment any sparkling wine and are delicious when paired with the relevant flavour of ice-cream. They look superb too so make a great stocking filler.
8. Hedonistic Halves - £112 per case of 12 half-bottles (including delivery).
There are sound arguments for drinking 'better but less' and it is always useful to have a good half-bottle to hand. This judicious assortment of some of our favourite halves amply illustrate how 'less can be more'.
9. Eau de Vie de Poire William with Pear - £44 per 700 ml bottle.
After a proper blow-out banquet there is nothing as restorative as a small glass of well-chilled Eau de Vie. This pear version from the estimable Maison Joannes Colombier not only smells and tastes delicious it is a veritable theatre piece as your guests can marvel as to how the blazes they put the pear inside the bottle!
10. 'Yapp Brothers' Gift Vouchers - £5, £10 or £20.
Gift vouchers are, by nature, a bit of a dud and unimaginative present – the last resort of baffled god-parents and great aunts who haven't got the foggiest idea what floats your boat and can barely remember what you look like. The exception that proves the rule is, of course, the Yapp Brothers' gift voucher. Bought by the decisive for the discerning they are a badge of good taste and generosity in equal measure.
11. Riedel 'O' Series Wine Glasses - £10 per glass.
Designed and marketed by the 11th generation CEO of the celebrated Austrian glass manufacturers, Maximilian Riedel, back in 2004 when his loft-living lifestyle left him short of storage space, the 'O' series of stem-less wine tumblers have won numerous awards and accolades and are dishwasher proof to boot. Accessorise with a roaring log fire, a faux fur rug and something serious from the cellar and you have the foundations for a top night in.
12. Brighton Gin - £37.50 per 700ml bottle.
In case you have been living in a cave or doing a '12 stretch' in HMP Belmarsh gin is 'in' and none more so than this beautiful Brighton bottling. With juniper top notes and subtle citrus undertones this is the epitome of 21st Century chic and your tonic deserves nothing less. The cognoscenti dress it with a slice of orange never lemon – a crucial detail to overlook at your peril.