Schmooze with booze holiday gift giving guide

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If you are at a loss as to what holiday gift to get an important client, career contact, special someone, a difficult family member or your favorite wine snob, don’t panic. The holidays are the perfect time to schmooze with booze. Keep in mind, however, that your recipient needs to have some wine appreciation, or your holiday dollars will not be well spent.

I’m topping my list with a very classic Champagne, Mumm’s Cordon Rouge. Since Cordon Rouge was launched in 1875, Mumm certainly has had some practice producing this exceptional champagne: over 77 villages provide grapes for blending. With a bright golden color, delicate fruits and toasty vanilla finish, Cordon Rouge is the leading Champagne in France . The festive gold foil and red sash label denoting the French Legion of Honor gives the bottle itself some definite holiday cheer. Wrap the lovely gift box or simply top it with a bow. Even Republicans would like this gift, though I don’t recommend you buy an order of “french” fries to go along with it. Approximately $43.

My next suggestion is another superb gift – Port. Port is a wine fortified with brandy. It originated in Portugal , though port-style wines are now made around the world. It is heavily regulated because Europeans are serious about this very popular sipping drink, often served with cheeses. Thick, intense and packed with flavors of spicy dried fruits, it is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner drink and goes unbelievably well with desserts. In fact, if you’ve never had a bite of chocolate something followed by a sip of port, you have not lived, so you must put this on your “Ten Things to do Before I Croak” list. Give a bottle with a set of port or liqueur glasses and you’ll blow the Christmas stockings off someone. Have your local wine guru help you pick one out. Ruby Port (younger) is fine, but I prefer Tawny Port , or the most expensive, Vintage Port. Port bottles are cool looking as well.

I’m pulling out the big guns now with my last two suggestions, starting with the Perrier Jouët 1998 Fleur de Champagne. I’m sure you’ve seen this elegant fleur (flower) bottle before. The design was created by a famous Art Nouveau movement figure, Emile Gallé. The white anemones suggest the light, floral Cramant Chardonnay grape that is grown and blended along with Pinot Noir to produce this superb champagne from the renowned Perrier Jouët. This luxury holiday gift item will produce astonished delight from the lucky recipient. Approximately $130.

Lastly, give the gift that keeps on giving and purchase a Wine Club Membership. Choose a three, six or 12 month membership through which joyous recipients receive two bottles of wine in the mail every month, usually alternating between reds and whites. Type in “wine clubs” or “wine gifts” in your Web browser and poke around for the best deals. This could freak out someone who loves wine or who is ultra hard to buy for. In either case, you’ll certainly be on their mind when the mail arrives. Approximately $90-$400, depending on length of membership.

Here’s to and cheers to a very Merry Christmas!