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Last minute gift ideas for the wine lover

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First, the mass market 2009 Bordeaux is arriving on retail shelves. These aren’t the big, bold pricey Bordeaux of legend – but immediately accessible, enjoyable red blends that offer interesting variety.

Even better news is that these juices begin at around $9.99 and go up.

I recently tried Bergerac 2009 Bordeaux ($9.99, Habersham Beverage) and found it nice and juicy, a pretty garnet color and imminently enjoyable with everything from chili to braised beef.

On the other hand, 2007 marked a remarkable year for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards.

These wines, typically from small producers (500–ish cases a year), carry price tags from $50–$80. Consider producers like Seavey, Shafer and O’Shaughnessy.

These special event wines, which will cellar for another 15 years or more, are drinking beautifully right now.

Long–lasting bottles

Savannah has a long history with Madeira. Earlier this year, I wrote about The Rare Wine Co. release of Savannah Verdelho Madeira. Just in time for the holidays, the company has released a gift box set – a half bottle each of New York Malmsey, Boston Bual, Charleston Sercial and Savannah Verdelho. The set includes an illustrated booklet on the history of Madeira, a fortified wine. Even after opening, the fortified juice has a virtually infinite shelf life. About $114 at both Habersham Beverage stores and Johnnie Ganem’s Package Shop.

Winter Warmer

The centuries-old practice of mulling wine has met with mixed results, but generally, this seasonal favorite has become as fool–proof as twisting off a screw cap.

My Christmas gift to you is this individualized recipe that can be sized up or down to accommodate one cup or more.

Ingredients (one serving):

 4 oz. red wine

1 oz. port

1 oz. water

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg

1 pinch freshly ground cinnamon

1 clove

Heat all the ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove – but not to boiling. Pour ingredients through a strainer into a 6 oz. or larger cup – and enjoy!

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