Rosemount Twin Pack
$46 at supermarkets
If you've been invited to one of those big, casual house parties, booze is always a good gift. For those on a budget, the Rosemount Twin Pack - which includes a bottle of Cabernet-Merlot and Shiraz-Cabernet each, provides good value. What you expect is what you will get - decent ripe fruit-forward wines. The diamond-shaped bottles could provide a talking point.
Oremus Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos 2000
$50 at Vinum, #03-20/21 Shaw Centre,1 Scotts Road,
The Alvarez family - the same powers behind the Vega Sicilia winery in Ribera del Duero - have acquired some prized vineyards in Hungary and are labouring to bring the same kind of fame to this ancient winemaking country reputed for its sweet wines. If you are looking for a white aperitif, they also have a fascinating Oremus Dry Furmint Mandolos 2005 - made from the same Furmint grapes.
Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling 2006
$65 at selected fine wine shops
Cast off any misconception you may have of Jacob's Creek table wines that cost less than $30 per bottle. Try serving this blind (wrap the bottle with aluminum foil) to friends and let them comment before revealing the bottle. The Steingarten Riesling by Jacob's Creek is top-class, and this vintage of the dry-style Riesling boasts floral, mineral notes with an almost slate-like sharpness. If you have leftover bottles, set some aside for a few years - these will age beautifully and yield honeyed notes.
Agusti Torello Kripta Gran Reserva
$101 at www.ewineasia.com
Contrary to popular belief, sparkling wine is not always the poorer cousin of champagne. Cava - the name given to sparkling wine from Spain - is always a good option. This cava was chosen as one of the wines that represented the evolution of Spanish wines in the last 25 years during the Madrid Fusion tasting last January. A blend of Macabeo, Xarelleo and Parellada, there is a limited production of only 34,800 bottles each year. The unique bottle shape is a curiosity that may seem like a marketing gimmick, but the cava is indisputably complex.
Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or
$147 at wine specialist stores
Instead of serving one single malt, why not try serving two instead since their shelf life far outlasts that of wine? The Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or is perfect for ladies, as it has been extra matured in French Sauternes wine barriques, which explains why it's a little more feminine than the rest of the selections. You can detect honeyed notes, and it even pairs well with pastries and desserts.
Bodegas Castano Monastrell 2000
$22.50 at Cold Storage
It's wonderful when supermarkets venture on less-trodden ground, and to see on the shelves a wine made from the Spanish Monastrell grape is a pleasant surprise. Bodegas Castano is from a little-known region called Yecla, near Spain's east coast, and is a burst of chewy black fruits and licorice. It's also scored some fame recently, with famous wine guru Robert Parker giving it 90 points. Perfect if you are serving roasted red meats.
Magilligan Pot Still Malt
$85 at The Whisky Store (Waterfront Plaza, 390A Havelock Road, #01-09/10, Tel: 6732-3452,
Most Irish whiskies are blended or triple-distilled (and therefore, often in the shadows of their Scottish counterparts), but Magilligan's uniqueness lies in the fact that it's an Irish whisky produced in the Scottish way. This single malt is double-distilled and made in small batches. You'll be surprised by how un-Irish it is.
Wyndham Estate BIN Range Twin Pack
$52.95 at major supermarkets
A twin pack with a useful free gift. The Wyndham Estate BIN Range twin pack comes with the BIN 222 Chardonnay and BIN 888 Cabernet Merlot. But the added appeal is the free wine cooler bag, which allows you to transport your wines properly chilled to any event. The usual price is $80, but this promotional price is until February 2008.
Champagne Henri Giraud Ay Fût de Chêne 1998
$398 at Moomba Wine Shop
52A, Circular Road, Tel: 6438-2438
This boutique Champagne house was recently made available to the Asia market, and its iconic Champagne - the Fût de Chêne - is strictly for wine connoisseurs. The Champagne bottle is shaped like a 'pomponne' - a 19th century stemless champagne glass stamped with an individual reference number, and the cork is secured by a unique 24-carat gold-plated clip. But it's really the liquid gold in the bottle that excites - this intense wine tastes almost like a Burgundian white wine, with layers of white fruit, pears, violets and fleeting notes of nutty notes and toastiness. Serve it in a white wine glass.
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