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A childlike sense of anticipation is truly humankind’s last bastion against the cynicism and indifference that many people develop almost as a natural element of aging. A combination of excitement and hope that builds in volume prior to joyous occasions such as vacations, weddings, birthdays, and, for those who celebrate, Christmas, is a brilliant defense mechanism that keep many of us going during less festive times of the year.
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Celebrated in most Christian denominations as period of waiting and preparation for Christmas, Advent was first observed in the fifth century. In those days Catholics were expected to fast three times per week from November 11 until Christmas, which sounds like the exact opposite of pleasurable contemplation. Fortunately, that rule was relaxed and then dropped altogether, and over the years more enjoyable forms of tracking the time leading up to Christmas were introduced, including the advent wreath and advent calendar. Originally consisting of a paper calendar with flaps covering the numbered days of December, the latter have evolved over time to include pockets and drawers filled with all manner of treats including chocolate and small toys.
Formerly shaped like Christmas trees, today’s advent calendars come in all shapes and sizes and include themed goodies like gourmet candy, olive oil, socks, perfume, makeup, pet toys, and our favorite, wine. We did the hard work of testing out a few boozy options this year and we’re here to let you know that Vinebox Twelve Nights of Wine is the best option for yourself or the wine lover in your life. Vinebox offers two options, the Chill Collection, which includes white wines, rosés, and light, chillable reds, or the Cozy Collection, which features a range of rich red wines. Forget about fasting; if you combine both of these decorative boxes filled with 12 pours of wine each, you’ll be set with an intriguing glass for each night of December from the first through the 24th that will only whet your appetite for more.
While the Cozy Collection’s red packaging pretty much reads Christmas, the Chill Collection’s cool blue palette is more non-denominational and would not be out of place as a Hannukah gift. Each stylish box includes twelve 100-milliliter glass flasks (almost 3.5 ounces), which is a nice glass for one or tasting pour for two, plus a printed tasting card that is a quick cheat sheet to the pleasures within each flask. Cozy Collections’ red selections hail from the world’s most renowned wine-producing countries, France, Italy, Spain, and California, and range from Bordeaux- and Rhône style blends to Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Syrah and beyond. The Chill Collections’ mixed offerings, from the same countries minus Italy, include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, and rosés made with Grenache and Pinot Noir. Among info provided is winery name, vintage, country of origin, tasting note and pairing recommendation, and for a deeper dive you can explore sommelier-led tasting videos that are available online for each selection. While December 1 (and the official start of Advent, December 3) may seem far away, these get snatched up early every year, so let your sense of anticipation work for you and plan ahead.
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