Spirits and Wine: A 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Nothing says “happy holidays” like a festive bottle or two
Amanda Jean Black/The Daily Meal

The best wines and spirits to gift in 2014.

If you’re not sure what to get someone as a gift this year, consider a good bottle of wine or spirits —‚ always in season. Anyone who drinks alcohol will certainly appreciate a well-chosen bottle to enjoy, be it alone or with friends (my hope is that it’s with you).

Spirits and Wine: A 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Throughout the year, I’ve tasted a number of the best bottles in both the wine and spirit categories and compiled a list of my 24 favorites — any of which would make excellent  gifts for a variety of budgets. A few of the bottles are particularly great values, while others are luxury beverages that will really impress the lucky person who receives them; no matter the price, every selection in this guide is delicious and well made. (Prices may very from place to place.)

Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Rosé Champagne 2004 ($300)


Perrier-Jouët

This 55–45 blend of chardonnay and pinot noir was fermented in stainless steel tanks, with six years of bottle aging after dosage. The moment you pour this wine, the beautiful color just radiates from your glass. Wild strawberry and rose petal aromas lead the charge on the beautiful nose. Hints of crème fraîche are present, too. The palate is intensely layered with wave after wave of gentle red fruit flavors and subtle spice. Bits of cherry emerge on the colossally long finish alongside biscuit and brioche characteristics. Good luck attempting to stop drinking this absolutely fantastic Champagne. From the stunning packaging to the remarkable wine, this is a complete knockout. If you buy this for someone, they’re sure to know you really like them.

Frapin VIP XO Cognac ($199.99)


Frapin
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Frapin is unique because they harvest their grapes a bit earlier than other producers,to maintain higher levels of acidity in the grape. They also only employ only natural fertilizers such as manure, mulch, etc., to ensure a pure product, as they bottle all their cognacs without filtering. As far as the result is concerned, the color brings to mind a 40-year-old tawny Port; aromas consist of roasted peaches and the nose is filled with an undercurrent of gentle spices. When sipping, apricot and stone fruits dominate the palate, which is incredibly light on the tongue, yet features layers of gentle complexity. On the back of the palate, a hint of chocolate emerges while chamomile tea and a bit of honey lead the finish, which warms the back of the throat with a touch of heat and lingering spices. If there is a cognac lover on your list who you want to treat, this is the gift for them. Everything, from the physical presentation to the elegance in flavor profile, is part of a well-constructed story.