From luxury bottles, high-end bourbon, and even affordable stocking stuffers, here is something for everyone’s tastes and for every gifting occasion. I have hand-selected my favorite bottles guaranteed to spread holiday cheer.
Here are my selections for the ultimate holiday gift guide:
For the Serious Wine Collector
2013 Pegau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee, $69.99: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, (Chateau of the Pope in French, as Popes would summer there), is one of the world’s great wine regions. The wine collector in your life would thrilled to receive such an impressive and delicious bottle. The 2013 is showing beautifully today and it will continue to improve in the bottle for decades to come. The region is renowned for producing bold, full-bodied wines with elegant, savory notes. Plus, you don’t need to wait 25 years for them to reach maturity like the great Bordeaux. Domaine du Pegau is one of the finest producers in the region, setting a benchmark for quality.
For the Beer Connoisseur
Get into the holiday spirit with Bourbon County from Goose Island. The 2019 variations are just incredible and the subtle nuances of the Reserve Rye Bourbon County Stout $30.99 stands out from the pack. 2019 Reserve Rye is aged in 100% Rittenhouse Rye barrels, the bartender’s favorite rye. Rittenhouse’s Barrels impart flavors of fruit and spice on this rich Imperial Stout.
For the Office Gift Exchange
Office Secret Santa can be a challenge since, let’s face it, some of us either don’t know our co-workers very well or they seemingly already have everything. Waiting until the last minute is a drag, so stock up on some crowd pleasing, full-bodied California reds, as these are always a safe bet. A modest budget of about $15 will get you a wine that not just drinkable, but actually interesting. Terrific options in this price point are found in Paso Robles. Situated along U.S. Highway 101 in the center of California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles has the most drastic diurnal temperature swings allowing the fruit to retain needed for balanced and racy wines. I love 2016 Now Presting Red $15.99, loaded with blackberry, cherries and cinnamon spice.
For Your Boss
If you’re looking to impress your boss this year, splurge a little with this outstanding bourbon. Jefferson’s Ocean Voyage 19 $89.99 is aged at sea on a huge container vessel. This cask strength bourbon stopped on five different continents and crossed the equator four times before being bottled. The barrels being rocked back and forth at sea allows the whiskey to fully integrate with the oak barrels differently than if it were on solid ground, giving it a rich toasty quality. Gifting this well-traveled bourbon is sure to win you favor with your boss and might even help you earn that next raise.
For Your Significant Other
Keep things fun and hands-on in your relationship with the gift of a classic winter cocktail kit. Stay warm indoors with a delicious drink that you’ll master making together. Experiment with a seasonal take on a classic Old Fashioned by infusing the simple syrup with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Tie up the spices in a sachet and attach it to a bottle of special single barrel bourbon. Try our Schneider’s Barrell Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon 90.2 Proof $59.99. Add a bottle of orange bitters to the gift set, and your partner will be a budding mixologist in no time.
For the Mixologist
Amaro is an herbal liqueur once favored by Italian grandpas, and now embraced by young people and bartenders alike. It’s no longer solely used as a digestive aid for sipping after dinner, but it’s now commonly found in interesting new cocktails like the Queen City or Adriatique. The liqueurs’ rich heritage and bitter-sweet, herbaceous quality makes it the perfect gift for that aspiring home-mixologist on your list. Try the delicious local DC version from Founding Farmers, Founding Spirits Amaro $31.99.
I always bring a bottle of Champagne for the host or hostess with strict instructions to drink it while doing the dishes. Not only is Champagne festive and celebratory during the holidays, but gifting a bottle is a wonderful way to express gratitude. My favorite Champagne this year comes from third generation grower-producer, Jean Laurent, located in the tiny village of Celles‐sur‐Ource in the Côte des Bar. His single varietal Champagnes offer a stunning expression of his estate’s old vines and single vineyard terroir. Jean Laurent Brut Rosé $49.99 displays delicate aromas of strawberry, rose petal, and wonderfully toasty brioche characteristics.
Elyse Genderson is the Vice President of Schneider’s. Visit her at the historic storefront, 300 Massachusetts Ave NE.