I have a particular respect for Andrea Immer, one of only a handful of women master sommeliers and the first woman cellarmaster of Windows on the World. The second edition of her pocket-sized reference, Andrea Immer's 2004 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone, should be the stocking stuffer of choice. Immer has listed more than 600 generally available wines by varietal, rated them by value as well as taste, and given readers freedom to cheat by using her best-of lists. Her other invention, the Kitchen Fridge Survivor and Kitchen Counter Survivor ratings, which explore the shelf life of opened wines (sometimes several days), still strikes me as the kindest stroke in the business. Descriptions are short, to the point and quite intelligible to the average reader. When Immer says "everyone," she means it.
Eve Zibart is a restaurant critic for The Washington Post and author of The Ethnic Food Lover's Companion.