Great Holiday Gift Ideas 2016

Great Holiday Gifts

Great Holiday Gifts

Are you waiting until the last minute to do your holiday gift buying? You’re not alone. Last-minute shoppers represented 36 percent of the overall total. If you are among the many who have not completed their holiday shopping we have assembled a few, straightforward gifts ideas for you.

Give the Gift of Wine

If you are a BevX reader there is a good chance that you have a few wine lovers among your family and friends. We have a few suggestions in a variety of styles and prices.

Insurrection Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon South Eastern Australia 2014
Is there anything more Aussie than a Cabernet and Shiraz blend? Only a Men at Work reunion and a massive Vegemite giveaway could hope to compete. The Insurrection Shiraz/Cab is crafted by veteran winemaker Steve Roden. The grapes are sourced from cool climate vineyards in Padthaway, Barossa, and Langhorne Creek. The wine was matured in both American and French casks for a period of nine months. The result is a big and jammy red with concentrated fruit, lovely spice notes, and structured but firm tannins. $17
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Lassègue Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010, Chateau Lassègue
Chateau Lassègue’s vigneron (winemaker and viticulturist) and co-owner Pierre Seillan has created another masterpiece and it may be my favorite Lassègue to date. There is just so much to love with this wine in this vintage as it demonstrates classic Bordeaux structure with fruit that is seductive now but will only get better with some bottle age. This beautiful wine is made with a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines at Chateau Lassègue average between 40 to 50 years in age and each vine is carefully managed to produce a small number of bunches of super-concentrated fruit. 98 points out of 100. $90 (Find it)
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Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2015
Pinot Grigio has become a popular choice for a white wine by the glass rivaling Chardonnay in some places. With popularity comes mediocrity and such is the case for Pinot Grigio as much of it is rather dull and boring. Luna Nuda breaks that mold as they create a very pleasing and character-driven Pinot Grigio. Luna Nuda ferments their Pinot Grigio in stainless steel, which is very common and often preferred for Pinot Grigio but Luna Nuda allows the wine to rest on the lees for five months adding richness and complexity. Pinot Grigio can be fresh and exciting like Luna Nuda. 91 points out of 100. $14.99
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Tongue Dancer Wines Putnam Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2014
This wonderful Pinot Noir has been given the cheeky moniker, “Pinot de Ville.” The grapes are sourced from the Putnam Vineyard. The vineyard is just six miles from the Pacific Ocean in the town of Annapolis, CA. The cool coastal breezes are ideal for creating world-class Pinot Noir. This wine is extremely limited so don’t delay if you want to share something special with family and friends this holiday season. The best way to get these wines is to visit their web site and get on their registry. 95 points out of 100. $65 (Find it)
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Troon Black Label Vermentino Applegate Valley 2014
You don’t see a lot of Vermentino grown in the US. The grape is native to Italy where it is utilized in wines from Liguria to Sardegna (these can be very special) and locations in between. It is also grown in the South of France with success as you will find more acres of Vermentino in France as compared to Italy. For me, the Troon Vermentino is very much in the mold of great Sardegna wines that showcase complex fruit flavors with accents of nuts and a slight waxy character. I cannot wait to see future vintages of this wine as I feel it’s on the rise. 94 points out of 100. $29
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Troon Black Label G*S*M Reserve Southern Oregon 2014
Can a wine exhibit vibrancy and a silky texture all at once? The answer is yes and we found it with the Troon GSM. This delicious wine is made with a blend of Mourvédre 50.6%, Syrah 45.2%, and Grenache 4.2%. The varietals were fermented and barrel aged separately and then brought together in this blend. The aging took place in mature Burgundy French oak barrels for a period of 20 months. Chances are that any attempt to place this wine in your cellar will be squashed by the desire to drink it now. 94 points. $50
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The Gift of Great Spirits

We reviewed so many great spirits this year that it’s hard to choose just a few for your holiday shopping. We offer this quick list featuring spirits from a range of styles and prices.

anCnoc cutter Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The anCnoc “Cutter” is part of their peaty collection that features seven unique malts each named for a different tool using in the harvesting of peat. The Cutter is a tool used for cutting peat from drier and shallower bogs. The Cutter is the “peatiest” of the range. With that said, it is in no way aggressively peaty and its modest 20.5 ppm (parts per million) of peat phenol is perfectly married into the classic anCnoc spirit. To put it in context it is less than half as peaty as the standard Ardbeg bottling. We absolutely love it. $79
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Cedar Ridge Single Malt American Whiskey
Americans are now very familiar with all-malt beers and single malt Whiskies from Scotland. This is a true single malt from Iowa utilizing nothing but the best malted barley and then it is aged in a selection of oak casks. The aging is carried out using Solera process that introduces a blend of wine and Brandy barrels. The Cedar Ridge Single Malt demonstrates clever distilling and blending. When we see skill and result like this from a grain to bottle distiller we are filled with anticipation of future Whiskey releases. $48
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Christian Brothers Sacred Bond – Bottled in Bond American Brandy
Christian Brothers distill their fine Brandy in copper alembic stills just like they do in Cognac, for their great “Sacred Bond” Brandy. The grapes are all California grown and the spirit is produced from one season’s harvest that is fermented into wine before distillation. The new spirit is then rested in American white oak barrels. “Bottled-in-Bond” spirits, like this one, must be aged in wood for a minimum of four years and bottled at no less than 50% alcohol by volume under careful government supervision. The Christian Brothers Sacred Bond is a great addition to their super lineup of delicious and unpretentious California Brandy. $24.99
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Don Q Signature Release/Single Barrel 2005 Rum
This Signature Release, single-barrel Rum is the first in an upcoming series of single-barrel releases. This single-barrel from 2005 is limited to just 6,000 bottles from the 2005 vintage. The cask was chosen in part due to its deep woodiness that mingles with classic aged Rum notes. It is much drier than many of the long-aged Rums that you will encounter. It’s an aged Rum for lovers of wood aged spirits and I see this having a great crossover appeal with Whiskey and Brandy drinkers. The next in the Signature Release series will be a 2007 vintage Rum to be released in 2017. $39.99
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Egan’s 10 Years Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
This is a rich and hearty, double distilled Irish Single Malt that will surely delight devotees to the category. It’s bottled at a generous 47% abv and non-chill filtered to preserve its silky texture and complex aromatics. While many new Irish Whiskey brands are emerging these days grabbing names from the hat of of Irish distillers long forgotten, the Egan’s brand is being revived by the Egans themselves. The sixth generation of Egans, direct descendants of Patrick Egan Sr., who founded the brand in County Offaly in 1852. We look forward to future releases. $49.99
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Frey Ranch Gin
This stylish Gin is made with a blend of three grains (presented in order of quantity) rye, barley, and corn. All of the grains are grown on the estate. All steps from milling, fermenting, distilling, and bottling are done on the Frey Ranch property (just like the Vodka). Two botanicals are also grown on the ranch: juniper (Gin’s essential spice) and sagebrush. The homegrown botanicals are joined by coriander, angelica root, cardamon, lemon peel, and orange peel sourced from the rest of the globe. Now that’s craft. It’s bottled at 90 proof to best showcase the decadent spirit and bright botanicals. $29.99
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Ron Abuelo 12 Years Old Rum
Varela Hermanos is the family owned and run drinks company who created and crafts the delicious Ron Abuelo Rums. The family has been distilling in Panama since 1936 and the incredible stock of mature Rum is the brands secret weapon. The aged Rums are created by carefully blending two styles of Rum produced at the distillery. The Ron Abuelo 12 is evidently made with a good portion of their heavy, rich Rum. Dense and concentrated fruits and exotic spice dominate the flavors of their delicious 12 year-old. This is the ideal Rum to present to your Bourbon loving friends as it will surely make them a Rum lover by the second sip. $34.99
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Rumson’s Grand Reserve Rum
Rumson’s Grand Reserve is the older sibling of their standard Rum (that is far from standard in the glass) being a blend of Rums ranging in age from five to 23 years in age. It’s a big and sweet, old Rum that no doubt has massive appeal with spirits drinkers of all backgrounds. If pressed I may have to give a slight nod to their standard Rum but their Grand Reserve is so gorgeous it’s hard to find a reason to stop sipping. In sum, you just can’t go wrong with either of these beauties. $45
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Rutte Old Simon Genever
The Rutte Old Simon is named for the distillery’s founder, Simon Rutte. This great Genever, the original Gin, is said to be made with one of Simon’s old recipes dating back to 1872. Forty percent of the spirit utilized is a rich, all-malt pot-still spirit that gives the Old Simon a beautiful, silky viscosity. The Rutte Old Simon Genever offers a unique flavor profile that includes roasted nuts, mace, and celery among the botanicals. It’s simply amazing and soon to be a bartender favorite. $37.99
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Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum
Don Q put the Rum back in Spiced Rum. If you missed the fine print on the front label indicating a three-year-old Rum within a quick nosing and sip quickly demonstrate that this Spiced Rum is all about the Rum. The lovely brown baking spice notes, especially the bright cinnamon, are charming. Undeniable the star of the show is the vibrant butterscotch touched Rum. The goal was to create a sophisticated Spiced Rum and they are spot on with their efforts. This is far more complex than any Spiced Rum that I have ever encountered and it is far less sweet than many aged Rums found in the market today. $29.99
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Awesome Gifts on a Budget

HiCoup Kitchenware is a family-owned company that has created a create a brand of high quality, handcrafted products such as their best-selling Waiter’s Corkscrew and Oyster Knife. I simply LOVE their classic waiter’s corkscrew. It feels great in your hand and it works great every time. Many kitchens might have a single so-so corkscrew or a collection of several that have been barely making do – here’s the corkscrew to remedy that.

To make things better and easier they have a very convenient Amazon marketplace store. If you act quick (I don’t know how long it will be on sale) their great waiter’s corkscrew is being offered at one-third of the original cost!

Check out the HiCoup Waiter’s Corkscrew (get some as gifts and one for yourself)

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