Extravagance by the glass
Add these drinkable gifts to your holiday shopping list.
This is the season for a little extravagance, whether hosting a party or giving a special gift. Here are some beverage options that are wonderful to give or receive (emphasis on receive).
Champagne and Sparkling wine
When choosing Champagne, opt for well-known houses like Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger, Roederer Estate, Salon, Krug, Billecart Salmon, Nicholas Feuillante, Laurent Perrier and Bollinger.
You then may have a choice of vintage or non-vintage wines. Vintage wines are made from grapes picked and the wine produced the same year. Non-vintage wines are a blend of grapes from different years. They are more reasonably priced.
Sparkling wines are made outside the Champagne region of France. My favorite sparklers are those from Spain, known as Cava; from Italy such as Prosecco and Franciacorta; and domestic bubbles from such well-known producers as Domaine Ste. Michelle from Washington, Schramsberg from California and Gruet from New Mexico.
A few important tips for buying Champagne:
- Lean toward purchasing Brut Champagne because it is drier than Extra Dry, which is sweeter than Brut (go figure). Most Bruts have a hint of sweetness to them and will please the majority of people.
- Buy your non-vintage Champagne from a liquor store that sells a lot of wine and spirits. If you buy from a tiny store in the boondocks, that non-vintage bottle may have been sitting on the shelf for 10 years or more and no longer is good.
- Rosé Champagne is a little more impressive (and more expensive) than non-Rosé, a little richer and simply scrumptious.
For slightly more masculine, business-centric gifts, consider a single-malt Scotch whisky. Opt for more mainstream names such as Macallan, Aberlour, Balvenie, Glenmorangie, The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. Aging affects the price. The more years, the more it will cost.
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is sure to be a huge hit. Napa is California’s most expensive area for producing Cabernet grapes, and its wine can cost $25-$250 a bottle. Again, choose from better-known names such as Opus One, Silver Oak, Switzer (as in the University of Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer), or Far Niente, Nickel and
Nickel, and The Vineyard House (all three have Tulsa connections through the Nickel family).
Sips at home
FRUITY, FIZZY FRIVOLITY
N.V. Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Champagne, France — $54.99
Think strawberries, raspberries and cranberries intermingled with a chalky minerality and tight, lively, exploding bubbles. This Champagne is refreshing with its high acidity, making it a great wine paired with appetizers. However, it has enough weight to work its way onto your dinner table. This is a special bottle of bubbly, so savor and share.
Aberlour 12-year-old Speyside Scotch whisky, The Highlands — $43.99
This Scotch goes through double-cask maturation in traditional oak and Sherry oak to add depth of character and flavor to the whisky. The final product is beautifully balanced with burnt fruit and spice flavors and has a long and smooth silky finish.
WORTHY OF A TOUCHDOWN DANCE
Switzer 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley — $49.99
Calling himself “bootlegger’s boy,” this is our own Barry Switzer’s effort at Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a wonderful, full-bodied expression of black currants, blackberries, cedar, smoke and vanilla. It’s easy to drink and sure to please any lips it passes. Go OU!