Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wines for the Top 10 Tough-To-Buy-For People on Your Holiday List

Wines for the Top 10 Tough-To-Buy-For People on Your Holiday List

Pairing wines with personalities for gift shoppers—there’s an app for that (and a web site)

(PRWEB) November 23, 2010

“Wine is one of the few presents that makes both the giver and the receiver look good,” says Natalie MacLean, the red-nosed e-sommelier behind http://www. nataliemaclean. com, one of the largest wine web sites. “You look like you spent a bundle on the gift (even if you didn’t) and the recipients are happy that you think they know something about wine (even if they don’t).”

This holiday season, anyone can tap into MacLean’s expertise via her free web site and mobile apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid and other smartphones. They help consumers with a whole new type of pairing: wine with the people on your Christmas shopping list. The app and site also pair wines to thousands of dishes, including holiday favorites, such as turkey, goose, duck, and even partridge in a pear tree.

“When you give wine, doubles are fine, there are no wrong sizes and you can always find something good in stock,” MacLean adds. “Vintage gifts will get anyone into the holiday spirits.”

Natalie’s Top Ten Gift Wines for Your... 

1. Hairdresser: For the person who combines humor and optimism every time she styles your mop. Go for a light, gulpable wine like a dry rosé. It’s versatile and fuss-free—a great quaff for your coif.

2. Psychiatrist: Of course, he’ll analyze whatever you give him so choose a wine that’s all about balance. Easy-drinking pinot noir is medium-bodied yet packed with flavor. Surprise him with a large-format bottle, like a magnum. Big thinking means big progress for you. This wine also works for psychologists, marriage counselors and bartenders.

3. The Boss: Pick too pricey a wine and your boss will think your last raise was too much; go cheap, and she’ll think you lack judgement. Focus on a label with a lot of white space since that makes the bottle look more expensive. A castle in the distance also works, but avoid fluffy animals.

4. Personal Trainer: Think a muscular, robust red would work? Hold that position. Instead, try riesling: this light white wine pairs well with a health-nut diet of salad and seafood, plus it’s low in alcohol. You can also give it to Pilates instructors, yoga masters and Tai Chi coaches.

5. Financial Planner: You and he both know it’s going to take decades before your portfolio recovers after the crash of 2008. With that long-term view, vintage port makes the perfect gift. This fortified wine from northern Portugal, with its long aging potential, will be around for both of you into your retirements.

6. Travel Agent: She’s been everywhere and seen everything, so go local with your choice of wine. Even better, if you live close to the winery, get the bottle signed by the winemaker.

7. Teacher: If you can’t find a suitably obscure wine with a Latin name, there’s always cream sherry. It’s the tipple of Oxford dons, not to mention the centerpiece of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic short story The Case of Amontillado.

8. Mail Deliverer: Go for a winery that’s consistent year after year in producing a wine that can be enjoyed in snow, rain, sleet or hail. Try an Australian shiraz or Argentine malbec.

9. Mechanic: Yes, there’s a wine called Red Truck, but try to be more imaginative. Why not give a wine made by Mario Andretti in California or Ferrari in Italy?

10. Online Date: So you’re on your second or third rendezvous with the person you met on eHarmony or Dating. com. If you’re not sure yet whether marriage is a possibility, try something middle-of-the-road, like merlot. Yes, it’s the soft jazz of wine, but until you know, play it safe.

And after all that shopping, don’t forget yourself: even Santa’s little helpers need more than milk and cookies. Try something with high-alcohol like Italian Amarone or Rhone syrah: these big reds easily drown out tone-deaf caroling and pair beautifully with tired feet.

For Natalie’s favorite wineries, tasting notes and recipe matches for all the wine types mentioned above, please visit:

Http://bit. ly/GiftWines

High-resolution and web-friendly screen artwork:

Http://www. nataliemaclean. com/book/highres. asp

Nat Decants was selected among the top five food and wine apps by both the New York Times and Computerworld Magazine. This free app is featured on Apple iTunes under Essentials Apps for “Holiday Cooking,” “Food & Wine” and “Date Night.” It’s also part of the featured best apps on BlackBerry’s Carousel. For information on the new features, please visit:

Http://www. nataliemaclean. com/mobileapp

For iPod Touch or iPhone, visit iTunes:

Http://itunes. apple. com/ca/app/nat-decants/id353052386?mt=8

For BlackBerry, visit App World:

Http://appworld. blackberry. com/webstore/content/10584

For Droid, Nexus One, Nokia, Palm Pre and other smartphones:

Http://www. nataliemaclean. com/mobile

Natalie MacLean is an independent journalist and author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over. More than 115,000 wine and food lovers subscribe to her free monthly e-newsletter. For Google searches on popular terms like "food and wine matching" and "wine newsletter," Natalie's site is often on the first page of the results as it has become a go-to resource for food and wine lovers. Nat was named the World’s Best Drink Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia. She is the only person to have won both the M. F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation and the M. F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International.

Twitter: twitter. com/nataliemaclean
Facebook: facebook. com/natdecants


Poptropica, Fastest Growing Online Virtual World for Kids, Launches New "Reality TV Island"

Poptropica, Fastest Growing Online Virtual World for Kids, Launches New "Reality TV Island"

Early Access to New Islands Now Available Only With Membership

Boston, MA (PRWEB) March 3, 2010

The reality television craze comes to Poptropica's (http://www. poptropica. com) virtual world for kids this month with the early access launch of "Reality TV Island," available exclusively for Poptropica members before its release to the public on March 24, 2010.

Everyone who lives on the island dreams of being a contestant on the new hit show, "Reality Island." Poptropicans who visit are whisked away by helicopter to compete against other contestants in a series of fast-paced mini-games, hoping to "wow" the audience and become the ultimate champion of the island.

"When kids visit Poptropica, they find a virtual world designed just for them where they can safely interact, compete and have fun," said Jess M. Brallier, publisher of Poptropica. "With Reality TV Island, they will have the experience of competing against their fellow contestants for fame, just like on 'Survivor' or 'American Idol,' but in an environment where their personal information is never shared. This new island is just one of many new islands for exciting online fun for kids planned for Poptropica this year."

Poptropica Islands are always free for visitors to play - membership or credits are not required for kids to be able to enjoy and solve the many islands that make up Poptropica. In fact, kids earn 100 free credits when they complete islands, and 50 free credits when they complete mini-quests, and can use these credits to redeem items in the Poptropica Store.

Poptropica Membership gives kids early access to new islands, so they can be among the first to play and complete the new island weeks before everybody else. Early access to the newest islands is only available through membership and can no longer be purchased with credits. Membership also gives kids unlimited use of all Costumes and Gold Cards in the Poptropica Store. This allows members to customize their Poptropicans by choosing from their favorite costumes, special abilities and effects - electrifying their Poptropican, creating a meteor shower, spraying silly stream and much more. Parents can buy a Poptropica membership (https://www. poptropica. com/store/buy-membership. html) for their kids for $2.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months or $12.99 for six months.

Every month, more than 7 million kids explore Poptropica's virtual islands. The players of this virtual world for kids (http://www. poptropica. com) come from more than 70 different countries and have their Web browsers set to more than 90 different languages, ranging from Spanish and Sanskrit to Vietnamese and Croatian.

About Poptropica (http://www. poptropica. com (http://www. poptropica. com))
Poptropica is a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Every month, millions of kids from around the world are entertained and informed by Poptropica's engaging quests, stories and games.

Kids create a "Poptropican" character to travel the many islands of Poptropica and use gaming literacy to enjoy a narrative that is often rooted in factual history. Problem-solving skills are honed as kids discover and solve mysteries unique to each island.

There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world where kids can collect objects, read digital books and comics, watch movies, and compete in head-to-head competition. Parents can always trust that their children are playing - and learning - in a safe online environment.

Poptropica is published by Family Education Network, a part of Pearson, the education, services and technology company. Pearson's other primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.