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Last-Minute Gifts: Choosing the Perfect Wine or Scotch

Choosing a high-quality wine or bottle of scotch for a Christmas gift can be daunting. HottyToddy’s Steve Vassallo turned to Adam Havard, one of the experts at High Cotton Wine & Spirits, for some insider tips on selecting the right spirits for the holiday spirit.
Vassallo: With the Christmas and holiday season upon us, what are some of
the more exciting gift packages available this year?
Havard: I’m in love with our Grey Goose 1.75L gift pack. It comes with two elegant, quality martini glasses that are the perfect addition to any household bar or stemware collection. For the whiskey drinkers, the Crown Royal 750ml and the Glenmorangie 750ml gift packs both come with quality tumblers that will impress friend and foe alike this holiday season.
Vassallo: In previous years, glasses, corkscrews and shot glasses were common
inclusions in the gift packs. What are some of the more unique ones for 2017?
Havard: As with years prior, glasses and stemware are the most popular inclusions in gift packs, but we do offer a little diversity for those who are interested. If you were looking for a scotch gift pack but weren’t enticed by the aforementioned Glenmorangia set, then we have a Glenlevit gift set that comes with a stirrer and bottle of quality bitters. We have gift sets that come with items ranging from flasks, bottles of mixers and even coasters. My favorite set is our Jose Cuervo Traditional that comes with a wooden and branded salt rimmer. It is a quality addition to any household bar and perfect for your favorite margarita drinker. 
Vassallo: Above and beyond the gift packs, are the pricey scotches and bourbons
(more closely identified with winter) still popular gifts?
Havard: It is very common to give a bottle of scotch or bourbon as a gift, and this holds especially true once the weather turns and the leaves start to fall. A good bottle can cross any language or cultural barrier and thus makes the perfect item to give when you find yourself unsure of what to get that special someone. Crown Royal’s Salted Caramel whisky is a delicious, not-too-sweet, moderately priced bottle that is only available for a limited time 
Vassallo: Here’s a “putting-you-on-the-spot” hypothetical question. Let’s say someone wants to impress his father-in-law or girlfriend’s parents and demonstrate exceptional taste in wines and spirits. What would make an impression?
Havard: For the wine connoisseur, one will always impress with a big body California cab. The Odette Cabernet Sauvignon and the Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon are both exquisitely designed, full-bodied wines with exceptional reputations. They’re guaranteed to be a home run for any oenophile.
For those with a preference for the hard stuff, our Kavalan Whisky Vinho Barrique is simply amazing. A Taiwanese whisky from the only family-owned distillery in the country, it won the 2015 World Whiskies Award for World’s Best Single Malt, Best Asian Single Malt, and the all-around Single Malt Whisky Category title. Needless to say, this one is a true international heavyweight champion.
For those looking to make an impression without the $200+ commitment, we have an enormous inventory of some of the most competitively priced wines and spirits available, and there will always be a friendly member of our staff there to help with any questions one may have. 
Vassallo: Describe some of the “in wines,” both white and red, for this Christmas
season. What is their origin, and what makes them unique and special?
Havard: 19 Crimes is an Australian vineyard producing reasonably priced and well-loved bottles in a number of different varietals. They also have the 19 Crimes app that lets you see and hear each bottle’s individual story. Definitely a fun thing to show off to family and friends.
During the holiday season, many people are burdened and pressured by financial constraints, so we’ve made sure to have a huge selection of wines to alleviate some of that discomfort. Christmas at Biltmore red wine and Moselland Ars Vitis Riesling are delicious wines that each come in limited, seasonal bottles. The most important part of any wine is simply how it tastes to the individual drinking it. If you like it, then it is a good wine, no matter how much it costs or where it comes from.


Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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