Whether it’s for a hostess gift at a party or a holiday present intended for someone you truly want to impress, a high-end bottle of wine or spirits is often a great choice. Spirit makers and distributors recognize how important the holidays are and really up the ante when it comes to dramatic gift packaging and special release bottles or sets. We checked with some of our favorite wine and spirits shops around town to find a few gifts that are certain to be appreciated.
Just in time to tempt our taste buds for the holidays, renowned bourbon and whiskey makers have released special bottles in the Woodford Reserve Distillery’s Masters Collection. The latest is likely something new for the recipient’s collection and is also perfect for entertaining this time of year. The Chocolate Malted Rye not only delivers a chocolate finish on the palette, but the liquor has intoxicating aromas of roasted nuts, caramel and cocoa as it’s swirled in the glass.
If you’re shopping in the Franklin/Cool Springs area, Cool Springs Wine & Spirits is always a fine choice thanks to their wide selection of interesting bottles, particularly if you want to delight someone that’s into Italian wines. Cool Springs has brought on an expert who hails from Italy, and he has curated a collection of Barolos, Chiantis and Barberas that is unrivaled in the area.
You can find excellent Italian wines at just about any price point, but the Antinori 2016 Tignanello is a show-stopper at $125.99. Tignanello is one of the premier estates of the Antinori collection, and this Sangiovese blend is deeply complex thanks to the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. It’s a super Super Tuscan!
Famous film director and winemaker Francis Ford Coppola pays homage to the fairer sex with his line of Great Women Spirits. Coppola offers an amaro, a brandy, a vodka and a gin all named for notable women in history and shares their stories on the back of each bottle. Ada Lovelace California Gin is particularly intriguing with its ten unique botanicals, some of which grow on Coppola’s estate in Napa.
The aisles at Midtown Corkdorks are piled so high with interesting wines and spirits that it can sometimes be difficult to navigate your shopping cart through the maze. Intrepid shoppers are rewarded with some fantastic gift finds. Bubbles are always appreciated, especially with New Year’s approaching. Sir Winston Churchill was one of the most famous Champagne lovers in history, drinking the lovely bubbles almost every day and going deep into debt to amass a collection of rare examples from the finest estates. In his honor, the Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Champagne would make an excellent gift for someone special on your list. Many Champagnes are labeled “NV” for “No Vintage,” but this attractive gift set features a bottle from the fantastic vintage of 2008. At $299 a bottle, it should make for a very happy new year!
The recent release of Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey is the culmination of years of work by brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson. After creating a reputation with their Belle Meade Bourbon, this Tennessee whiskey is the first product made using their family’s original recipes from back when their ancestors ran one of the largest distilleries in the country in the 19th century. Harkening back to that era, the Nelsons have offered a special release of their new product in attractive 6-pack wooden crates like the ones their great-great-great grandfather would have shipped his fine whiskey in. At $179.99, you can give away the bottles and keep the case for yourself.
If you’re shopping for a fan of Westeros, the Game of Thrones Single Malt Whisky Collection from Diageo is an intriguing option. Whether they support the House of Lannister or Jon Snow, each kingdom from the show has its own dedicated bottle of a fine single malt from Diageo’s portfolio. It should come as no surprise that The Night’s Watch’s Oban Bay Reserve comes in a jet-black bottle.
The Wine Chap has been serving the needs of Belle Meade wine and spirits lovers for more than a decade, and their knowledgeable staff is always good for a few sharp suggestions when you’re holiday shopping. They display the A.E. Dor Cognac Collection right on the front counter, and it’s a pretty decent impulse buy at $119.99. The rustic wooden case contains four expressions of cognac from the excellent distillers at A.E. Dor. The cognacs inside range from youngest (VS) to oldest (XO) so you can see the effect that extra time in the barrel has on the color of the spirits inside and taste the nuances that longer aging contributes.
If you want to stop a holiday party cold, walk through the door lugging a massive 6-liter bottle of Silver Oak 2013 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This format is formally referred to as a “Methuselah” and contains the equivalent of eight regular bottles of wine. At a penny under a grand, this is quite an extravagant gift, but Silver Oak is a special Cab, and the large format bottle actually ages the wine inside more slowly and gracefully. So, consider it a long-term investment.
Bud’s Liquors & Wine is a stalwart in Green Hills. Even though there’s nothing fancy about the interior of their cozy shop, they spend their money on maintaining a large inventory of fine wines and spirits. At $399.99 their bottle of Whistle Pig 18-year-old Double Malt must be, as Charlotte wrote in her web, “some pig!” And it is. Already one of the premier purveyors of rye whiskey in the world, Whistle Pig built this spirit from the ground up by combining malted rye and barley with unmalted rye to create a unique product that exhibits characteristics like an ancient scotch whisky. With a nose like buttered toast and the long spicy finish that rye is famous for, this whiskey will take your lucky gift recipient on a delicious ride.
For our final recommendation, you have to take a bit of a road trip, but a journey to Lynchburg is always worth the effort. Jack Daniel’s sometimes creates special offerings strictly for the duty-free market, available only in those airport shops instead of liquor stores. Their latest collector release of their top-of-the-line Sinatra edition of their Tennessee whiskey is one of those opportunities, but it will also be available at the distillery’s gift shop. Frank Sinatra was Jack’s most famous fan and was instrumental in the brand achieving national and international cult status. In honor of Ole Blue Eyes, Jack Daniel’s has recreated one of Sinatra’s favorite flasks, emblazoned with “Ole Jack,” his nickname for his favorite whiskey. For $179.99, the stainless steel and leather flask comes with a bottle of Sinatra Select, a Single Barrel offering from Jack Daniel’s that uses an innovative unique grooved barrel stave style for a rich oak flavor and vanilla finish. Frank would be so proud!