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Last minute gift ideas for the wine lover
The Rare Wine Co.'s Madeira gift box set

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!