Gifts to sip
Wine Columnist Randa Warren shares her top picks for holiday gifting.
One of my favorite holiday gifts is Champagne. It exudes elegance and, most of all, festivity, making it a perfect fit under the tree.
The basic “go-to” choice for Champagne is Brut, which means dry. This style will please and impress most people. Opt for brands such as Moët et Chandon Imperial, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, Louis Roederer, Pol Roger and Perrier Jouet.
If you are giving Champagne to a wine connoisseur, a good choice is a “vintage” Champagne — one with a specified year on the label, such as Dom Perignon 2003 (around $180).
If you know your recipient generally loves Chardonnay, you can choose a Blanc de blancs, which is made entirely from the Chardonnay grape. If the person loves sweet wine, choose a dessert Champagne such as Moët et Chandon Nectar Imperial Demi-Sec (“demi-sec” implies sweetness).
You may also want to consider spirits as you create your holiday shopping list. Scotch Whisky is usually a pleaser; consider a liter or half-gallon bottle. Even more unusual is a vintage Scotch such as Glenrothes 1998 or 1995 ($75-$90).
A wine lover’s delight is to receive a great bottle of Napa Valley, Calif., Cabernet from a great vintage. To find such a treasure under $100 means you’ve done some research and your gift is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression — or red wine mustache — the next day. Some of the best-rated recent Napa Cab vintages are 2007-2009.
Bordeaux is equally or more impressive in the gift-giving world of oenophiles (wine lovers) but it is often for experienced drinkers due to its earthy flavors and intense structure.