Magazine article USA TODAY

Stocking Up on Holiday Cheer

Magazine article USA TODAY

Stocking Up on Holiday Cheer

Article excerpt

Now that another holiday season has arrived (already!), it's time to make plans for visits from friends and family. For many of us, that means restocking our liquor cabinets. Whether getting together for cocktails or selecting a wine to serve with dinner, we've come across some standouts you might consider for your next soiree.

If in search of a fine red wine that also is a conversation piece, don't miss The Velvet Collection from Nova Wines, Oakville, Calif. This 2003 Napa Valley red wine--55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot--is the second in a series of limited edition wines commemorating photographer Tom Kelley's legendary "Red Velvet" portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The pose on the label was the centerfold of the first issue of Playboy in 1953. A clear vinyl overlay with red sparkles is situated strategically on the label. This can be removed to reveal the original photo and pressed back into place if necessary. Housed in a sealed girl box, the 1.5L numbered bottle runs $225. For a boxed set with one bottle each of 750ml, 1.5L, and 3L, the price is $1,000. For more information, visit MarilynWines.com or call 866-MMWINES.

Since females consume over 60% of all wine in the U.S., three women at Beringer Blass Wine Estates, Santa Barbara, Calif., set out to create a wine that would meet the needs of today's woman: a great tasting vintage with less alcohol, less oak, and more crisp flavors. They came up with the idea of picking the grapes at their earliest ripeness so they would be lower in sugar and, therefore, lower in alcohol. Thus, White Lie Early Season Chardonnay ($9.99) was born. As a bonus, the wine is naturally lower in calories than most California Chardonnays. Each bottle comes with one of eight different white lies on the cork, such as "But, it was on sale" or "Money's not important." Selected bottles include a refrigerator magnet with yet another white lie: "I never snack between meals." More information is available at www.WhiteLieWines.com.

With the aim of crafting a singular and extraordinary 10-year-old bourbon to honor the family heritage of many generations of distilling, Jimmy Russell followed the time-honored traditions and techniques uniquely suited to the heart of bourbon country. From the first selection of grains through the entire distillation process, Russell used his experience of making bourbon for 51 years at the Austin Nichols Distillery, Lawrenceburg, Ky., to create Russell's Reserve ($28, 750ml), the perfect 10-year-old bourbon. …

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