Sure, you could show up with just another bottle of wine en tote. But this holiday season, rather than opt for a last-minute selection, put some thought into what to give the wine, beer or spirits connoisseur in your inner circle with these first-rate selections.
Welcome your dear ones to the wonderful wonder of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, straight from the winemakers that pioneered the craze. Here, a fruit-forward wine spotlights the cool climate Awatere River aromas like lemongrass, jalapeño peppers and fresh herbs, with the warmer Wairau Valley showcasing juicy citrus and tropical fruit notes. Pro-tip: Suggest pouring this wine at a Feast of the Seven Fishes celebration or with a salad course. For another great buy from Villa Maria, watch oenophiles swoon for Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2018 ($45).
There’s nothing like a Sonoma wine. For a festive holiday libation to pair with cheese boards (especially aged cheddar or Gouda), allow us to introduce you to a vineyard established in 1895 when Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in the Alexander Valley. Offering superb value for the price point, imbibers can expect a bright, fruity, balanced Zin with mint, sarsaparilla and fresh plum notes and deeply layered tannins.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, $24.99
A bottle of Pinot Grigio is sure to be a hit. Especially when it has as much personality as this one. For other options from the Italian wine brand, check out their offerings on Wine.com here; we particularly love their Prosecco Superiore. If you’re shopping in store, look for the limited-edition Pinot Grigio, Sparkling Rosé, Prosecco Superiore or Chianti Classico Riserva holiday tins at select liquor and wine retailers nationwide. They’re a fun retro-inspired find that the recipient can use for storage after the vino is polished off this holiday season.
For the cab sauv enthusiast, dazzle them with this lovely wine redolent with hints of cherry, sweet vanilla cream and strawberry. The cola aromas and dusty tannins play nice with this grown-up grilled cheese. Hint, hint to your friendly holiday party host.
This Austin-made non-alcoholic (NA) spirit is a winner for bourbon sippers (just use it in your favorite old-fashioned or cocktail recipe mixed with the real deal for a lower ABV sipper) and teetotalers alike. It’s got the same notes of caramel, vanilla and oak as bourbon thanks to a sophisticated distillation process that removes all but .5% or below of the alcohol, which is the same ABV as kombucha, and the benchmark for a beverage in the U.S. receiving a NA label.
Go for either Desert Door Original Texas Sotol ($40) or their Oak-Aged Texas Sotol ($50) from a brand born in 2017 by three Texans and former members of the U.S. military that’s the only sotol produced in America. Sotol gets its namesake from the name of the desert plant used to produce this complex spirit that’s herbaceous, creamy, smooth and sure to impress the cocktails connoisseur on your holiday shopping list.
Rightside Brewing Non-Alcoholic Citrus Wheat Beer, $12.99 (six-pack)
For a great gift for someone who enjoys NA beer, this classic wheat near beer has a tropical aroma with waves of fresh tangerine juice, banana and spice, that all washes down with a crisp finish. This medium-bodied brew pairs well with "Monday Night Football" and it’s-been-a-day happy hours. Note: Pick up a few extra six packs of this NA beer and their NA IPA to stock your holiday bar cart.
Rye whiskey, how we love thee. Gold winner at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Sagamore Spirit’s Cask Strength Rye Whiskey boasts dark chocolate, black pepper, and brown sugar flavor and a pace yourself 112-proof measurement. Fun fact: This Maryland distiller adds a splash of limestone-filtered water from their spring house built in 1909 in the production process.
Got a Lone Star vino aficionado in your life? This 100% Texas-grown wine uses grapes that thrive in the semi-arid climate of the area. A recent winner of the 2021 Texas Vintners Cup competition, this Sangiovese has bright cherry aromas balanced by heady notes of leather and anise.
This year marks this family-owned and operated vineyard’s 140th anniversary in the wine-making industry. Here, your friend or family member will savor a truly memorable Barolo, with a delicate floral bouquet, and hints of red and dark fruit and spice, finished off with sweet tannins and bright acidity. Alla nostra salute!