LOS ANGELES (
) -- If hot dogs and potato chips are on your party menu, wine by Charles "Two-Buck Chuck" Shaw will suffice. But if duck is roasting in the oven and caterers are dropping off canapes, it's time to step up.
If you find yourself staring at labels at the local liquor store, reach for these sure-fire libations. They will please the palate without leaving you broke.
If you can't afford a $1,400 bottle of Chateau Latour from 2003, go with an equally respected French wine like the 2007 vintage of Domain du Vieux Telegraphe's Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau. It was the top-rated French bottle on Wine Spectator 's ranking of the 10 most-exciting wines priced at under $70. Still too pricey? Try Columbia Crest's 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, which was ranked No. 1 on the same list and costs $27.
Boutique vodka maker Kauffman has introduced a holiday edition in slick packaging.
In recent years, fine tequila has become a status symbol in nightclubs and bars.
offers an extensive line of premium tequilas, including the recent release of its
. Made from Weber blue agave in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, the limited-edition tequila is tripled distilled before it's bottled in unleaded crystal. The 375-milliliter bottle of Gran Patron Platinum costs $99, and the 750-milliliter version sells for $199.
When it comes to Champagne, people usually think of Dom Perignon, Perrier-Jouet and Moet & Chandon. Before you reach for one of the usual brands of lower-priced bubbly, consider buying a bottle by
, one of Champagne's top new winemakers.
Bouchard makes its Blanc de Noirs Brut Inflorescence using pinot noir grapes grown in the Côte des Bar region of Champagne in France. The grapes are harvested by hand and crushed by foot. The unfiltered Champagne is kept in stainless steel barrels and aged with purified yeasts. While it can be tough to find in stores, it's easy to order
When people think of classic holiday spirits, aged rum is one of the first things that come to mind. Varela Hermanos recently debuted its Ron Abuelo 12-year anejo rum, following the success of its 7-year vintage. The 12-year-old liquor provides a stout drinking experience that connoisseurs and novices will enjoy. It's aged in whisky and bourbon barrels for a slightly dry finish. Ron Abuelo also has line of two-year and anejo anniversary editions that are more affordable at $20 and up.
There's something exciting about receiving one of those enormous 1.5-liter bottles of Grey Goose or Belvedere vodka. But if you're looking to make a bigger statement, pass these $70 varieties and look for the single-vintage creations offered by
. The company makes 25,000 bottles a year using Russian wheat. The vodka comes in striking bottles designed by Saint Gobaine France to look like oversized flasks and martini pitchers.
Reported by Michael Martin of JetSetReport.com in Los Angeles.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.