Once in a while, it's nice to go a little overboard on spending, especially during the holiday season. We hunted down a trio of luxurious wines that will make a special gift for the wine lover in your life—or for you.
Champagne may be synonymous with New Year's Eve, but it is also the epitome of indulgence anytime. Certainly we love Dom Pérignon and Krug as much as the next millionaire, but we really swoon for Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé ($95, The Country Vintner). Marinated cherries, wild strawberry, freshly baked bread . . . it's all here, along with structure and opulence akin to a still red wine like Pinot Noir. It deserves great food to go with it, like artisanal smoked salmon or caviar. In fact, caviar always works.
In a field dominated by overly oaked butterballs, the Hartford Court Chardonnay "Seascape Vineyard" 2007 ($75, Monument Fine Wines) from the Sonoma Coast delivers a rich and concentrated dollop of fresh lemons, papaya, orange oil, and mineral. The cool climate this vineyard experiences is evident in its electric acidity. Don't hesitate to serve it with a range of foods. It can handle a much broader spectrum than most California Chardonnays.
For many people, the apogee of winter red wines is a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, like the Chappellet "Pritchard Hill" Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($115, The Country Vintner). The rocky hillside vineyard in this eponymous bottling yields a wine that gushes with huge cassis and cherry-confit tones, along with a dose of cigar-box spice and vanilla bean. It's hugely structured, too, with copious tannin that's going to need either time in your cellar or a rib-eye steak to enjoy fully.