Those who find themselves wincing at the thought of spending another holiday dinner politely complimenting their father-in-law's unfortunate wine selection (are Chardonnays supposed to be sweet?) should consider a gift that will be appreciated at family gatherings for years to come a wine selection guide. Here are some of the season's best.

In Leslie Sbrocco's Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing, and Sharing Wine, PBS personality Sbrocco gets a little cutesy talking about "building a wine wardrobe" with Chardonnay as the basic black dress, etc., but beyond the fluffy title and occasional women's-mag tone, it's actually a useful tool for those admittedly more often women who are less interested in pounding the platinum card balance at the restaurant than enjoying wine at home without spending too much time on it. In fact, statistics show women do most of the wine buying and drinking in this country, so playing up menu pairings and general home-bar improvements is a fair approach. This smartly designed book offers a mix of label hints, regional tips, recipes and flavor descriptions.

Eve Zibart is a restaurant critic for The Washington Post and author of The Ethnic Food Lover's Companion.

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