Clos La Coutale 2007 (Cahors, France), $19: French sophistication and elegance without the price? Sold! This blend of malbec and merlot varietals is ideal for winter weather, with spicy notes of dark chocolate, berries, plums, and smoky tobacco. Friends can enjoy this bottle now or age it for up to 20 years, making it a very memorable gift.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Champagne NV (Reims, France), $45: For centuries, the name has been synonymous with style, making these bubbles a favorite among celebratory champagnes. Friends will love the creamy, crisp taste as well as this season’s holiday packaging, “The Fridge,” a reusable cooler to keep the bottle at proper temperature for up to two hours.
Definitive Pinot Noir 2008 (Sonoma Coast, California), $25: This deep ruby pinot noir is bold and intense with flavors of ripe red berries, black cherries, juicy strawberries, and spices and has a richer mouth feel similar to a malbec or syrah. The fact that South Carolina is one of only three states to carry this Definitive means it’s even more special at holiday gatherings.
Simonnet-Febvre Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (Saint-Bris, France), $11: A sauvignon blanc from Burgundy is an extremely rare find, and this one will surely impress the white wine lover. Crisp and zesty lemon flavors, grassy notes, and a silky smooth finish create a wine that’s unique and easy to drink.
Orin Swift “Papillon” 2007 (Napa Valley, California), $75: Want to go all out? Grapes from this Bordeaux blend were selected from some of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley and then aged in French oak barrels. Dark fruit flavors, velvety tannins, and an elegant complexity make this crowd-pleasing wine versatile enough to serve at Christmas dinner or savor on its own.