Wonderful wines, gourmet holiday gifts

An incredibly good Bordeaux from St. Emilion!

Château Clarisse is our favorite affordable (under $40) Bordeaux wine, a Grand Vin De Bordeaux from St. Emilion. Château Clarisse produces two wines, including a high end cuvee from one hectare of old vines, Château Clarisse Vieille Vignes. The Vieille Vignes is made from 100% old vine, Merlot that is close to 65 years of age. We are drawn to these blends of Merlot and Cabernet franc, the perfect combination for a wine rich in flavor and subtlety. And we have always admired Olivia and Didier Le Calvez who own this small vineyard and are totally devoted to excellence. M. Le Calvez ran The Plaza and then The Pierre, now he  has his own luxury hotels. As Managing Director, he also keeps The Brisol in Paris running like a Patek Philippe. You know this gentleman has bon gout. Do whatever you must to obtain some of their limited production. The 2011 Château Clarisse is ripe, sweet, round, forward, filled with licorice, open and forward in style. This is a Jeffrey Davies Signature Selection exclusive for the American market. The 2011 Château Clarisse Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, also a Jeffrey Davies Signature Selection, is smoky and floral with black raspberry, fresh herbs, round tannins and a sweet, chocolate-covered, black cherry finish. You will be rewarded if you lay down a few cases of this meticulously-crafted classic claret, deep in red and ruby hues, complex with full fruit maturity made to age for your grandchildren like the great wines of Bordeaux do. www.chateau-clarisse.com.

Château Clarisse is available in Los Angeles at Wally’s Wine & Spirits, (310) 475-0606. In New York at Tribeca Wine Merchant, Chelsea Wine Vault and 67 W&S

On the other end of the scale, the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, about $10, brings inexpensive revelry to the holiday season. The just-released 2013 is a lovely purple-red color with aromas of wild strawberries, currants and exquisite scents of raspberries. This wine is delicate, rich and perfectly balanced. It is a pure joy to drink and an ideal wine to share with family and friends throughout the holidays. http://www.duboeuf.com

There has been a phenomenal harvest of their estate-grown fruit at Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery in Paso Robles. The vineyard’s combination of soils, aspect, and elevation create exceptional Bordeaux, and Rhône varietal wines of richness, depth and character. The Villa, nestled on the 168-acre estate with 132 acres of bearing vineyards planted to 11 varietals, provides a gracious setting for enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience in Paso Robles wine country. We just tasted the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and admired its red fruit, cassis and solid tannins. Villa San-Juliette’s 2012 Chorum white wine is an expressive, balanced fruit-driven blend of merit. The 2011 Petite Sirah is jammy, lush and rich in blueberry, and aged in oak that adds a delightful mocha layer. For more information about Villa San-Juliette, visit www.villasanjuliette.com.

Ocean vodka is organic and gluten-free to say nothing of being delicious. It’s the only vodka made from organic sugar cane and Hawaiian deep ocean mineral water sourced 3000 feet below the Big Island Island of Hawaii to deliver total pure refreshment and flavor. See www. oceanvodka.com.

Eggnog Clusters from pretzelperfection.com, gourmet treats that are outrageously delicious, the creation of a hardworking mom whose alchemy of chocolate and pretzels make for one-of-a-kind morsels. Available in a variety of decadent flavors (we are also nuts for their Salted Caramel Clusters, a unique indulgence designed to dazzle your palate, indulgences of edible art.

www.GoatMilkStuff.com for wonderful goat milk soaps, lotions and more. The soaps are all natural and made with the goats of the Jonas family their Indiana farm. Each of the 8 home-schooled children (3 girls, 5 boys between 6 and 16) has an age appropriate task from milking goats to helping in the office. All bars of soap are cured in the soap room for 6 weeks before going to customers. That assures the highest quality and is a unique aspect of offering a premium natural goat milk soap.

Pañpuri Botany Ambiance Candles, imagine a burst of fresh spring blooms on a lush coastal hill, awakening the sense with verdant Australian Eucalyptus and Thai Mint, fused with delectable floral notes of Mediterranean terrain, creating a sleek enticing touch. From http://www.amazon.com.

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