By Alison Bailin Batz
Seeking something special to gift this holiday season? Here are some of our favorite high-end, limited-edition, and/or newly released brands and bottles to give (and maybe get for yourself) to make this festive time of year a little brighter and much merrier.
Hennessy X.O Festive Pack
The Original X.O Cognac, created exclusively for the Hennessy family, is aged up to 30 years, which provides a rich, refined yet still powerful tasting experience. This limited-edition set contains a bottle of Hennessy X.O and two Thomas Bastide glasses. $190. www.hennessy.com.
2013 J. Bookwalter Chapter 6
The Bookwalter family has been making wine for 12 generations from its vineyards in Richland, Washington. Each of the winery’s award-winning vintages is named for parts in a story – their family story. Chapter 6 is their most powerful cabernet, drawing you in with the flavors of black fruits, jam and fine oak. Chapter 6 is sixth in the line of these popular vintages, which began with Chapter 1 in 2002. $100. www.bookwalterwines.com.
Belvedere X Láolú Limited Edition
Artist Láolú Senbanjo, who is best known for his collaboration with Beyoncé on the record-breaking video album Lemonade, partnered with Belvedere on this special-edition offering. The unique pattern is Senbanjo’s interpretation of the beauty, nuance and complexity of the liquid within the bottle. $30. www.belvederevodka.com.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Artist Series
For its Chateau Ste. Michelle Artist Series wines, winemaker Bob Bertheau crafts exceptional Bordeaux-style blends of unique power and character. Each vintage’s label honors world-class artisans such as Dale Chihuly, Alden Mason and Andre Petterson. The 2015 vintage produced incredibly ripe, rich and concentrated red wines contrasted with sophisticated layers and complexity. $65. www.ste-michelle.com.
Johnnie Walker Blue Ghost and Rare Port Ellen
Johnnie Walker master blender Dr. Jim Beveridge created this series of special releases. The newest release is Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost and Rare Port Ellen, which brings together eight treasured whiskies of no less than 20 years of age. At its heart is Port Ellen, which closed in 1983 and is one of Scotland’s most sought-after malts. $399. www.johnniewalker.com.
The 21 Grams brand is an artistic collaboration between Waters Winery in Washington and artist Makoto Fujimura to reflect the inspiration of the soul in creating fine wine and fine art. Only 100 cases of these wines are made each year, with the 2012 cabernet sauvignon available now. The label changes with each vintage and showcases Fujimura’s modern abstract art using the ancient Japanese technique of Nihonga. The winery donates proceeds from each bottle sale to the International Arts Movement, a nonprofit created by Fujimura. $125. www.trwines.com.
2015 Chalk Hill W.P. Foley II Cabernet Sauvignon
Named for the Chalk Hill Estate proprietor William P. Foley and only available since mid-November, this deep, intense showstopper is made with the best barrels from the vineyard’s highest-rated cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and petit verdot blocks. It was made by Foley himself to capture the heart and soul of his stunning property and of Sonoma itself. $160 www.chalkhill.com.
Game of Thrones Single Malt Collection
In anticipation of the hit HBO show’s final season, Diageo has launched a Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection. Popular single malts, such as Oban and Lagavulin, will take on new names for one of the main families – or houses – in the series, including House Stark, House Lannister and House Targaryen. There is also one in honor of the series’ famed Night’s Watch, which has served as its own “house” of sorts since the show’s inception $30-$75. www.diageo.com.
J Vineyards Sparkling Essentials
Since 1986, J Vineyards & Winery has developed a reputation as one of the top sparkling and varietal wine producers in the United States. Each year, the winery offers the chance to purchase a “Sparkling Essentials” pack featuring three of their sleek, award-winning bubbles: Cuvée, Brut Rosé, and the 2014 Vintage Blanc de Noirs. $165. www.jwine.com.
Camus Borderies XO
Produced in limited quantities, Camus Borderies XO offers a rare, exquisite tasting experience. Amazingly aromatic, the bottle was designed to look much like that of perfume. The center label is made from copper as a nod to the copper stills used to create the cognac, and the stopper is crafted from wood to reflect the oak casks where the cognac is aged. $199. www.camus.fr.
There are six wines in this collection, each revealing stories that have influenced Francis Ford Coppola and his family throughout many generations. For example, I Mille, which means “in each thousand” in Italian and is a petite sirah in honor of Coppola’s great-grandfather Francesco Pennino who, with 999 other men, undertook a dangerous sea expedition that led to the unification of Sicily. $25-$120. www.francisfordcoppolawinery.com.