Books and wine make the best gifts for holiday smiles


Tuscanini handmade paper-thin Parchment crackers imported from Italy: light, golden, crisp made using a classic recipe and time-honored techniques to preserve their traditional Italian flavors and texture. Choose either Olive Oil & Rosemary, Olive Oil, or Olive Oil & Oregano, they are perfect with salami or cheese, perhaps, as an antipasto or light snack.


Wines from Lula Cellars in Mendocino. The 2013 Pinot Noir from the Anderson Valley is a world class blend of Pommard, Dijon and Swan clones full of fruit, aromatics and finish bursting with flavors of raspberry, plum and dried cherry. The 2014 Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, is outstanding–dark, rich and full bodied, a blend of Pommard and Dijon clones. These superb wines are produced in very small quantities and treasured by wine lovers.

Inky dark and full of robust tannins and ripe red fruits and spice is the 2015 Malbec Horse Heaven Hills from Mercer Estates in Prosser, Washington, producers of small lots of single noble varietals. Their 2015 Sharp Sisters Red Blend has excellent structure, lush textures and uplifting full chewrry and berry flavors, the result of expertly marrying Cabernnet, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Carignane.

2016 Prosecco Millessimato from Bervini 1955, Italian sparkling wine produced from Glera grapes estate grown in the Prosecco DOC region inside the Veneto Friuli Grave district of far northeast Italy. Bervini 1955 is a wine estate run by 3 generations of the Bergamo family who founded the winery in…1955. The Millesimato in the title indicates that this is a vintage designated Sparkling wine/Bubbly/Spumante and the typical Sparkling wine is non-vintage, be it from Champagne, Prosecco, anywhere. Bervini 1955’s Rose Extra Dry pale pink sparkler is a blend of Glera (the grape used in making Prosecco) and Roboso (a local Red grape, this is where the Rose color comes from) sourced from vineyards of the family owned estate in the Friuli Venezia Giulia. The nose is crisp and clean, delicate lemon and lime, with green apple, pear, a soft touch of spice, and a little strawberry. This is a well focused bubbly, crisp acidity and soft fruit. It tastes of tart cherry, tangy lemon, and crisp apple.

Wine retailer Lot18 has partnered with AMC to offer a line of “The Walking Dead” themed wines. Lot18 has released other television show themed wines before such as “Outlander” and “The Bachelor,” but this is the retailer’s first venture into horror. Lot18 is offering three different red wines, named after three of the main characters on the show. The line features wines named after Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, and Negan. The wines are intended to reflect the qualities and idiosyncrasies of each character, and definitely play to the tastes of the show’s enthusiasts. The Daryl Dixon 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon reflects Dixon’s bravery, reliability, and resourcefulness. Rick Grimes 2016 California Petite Sirah is meant to represent the character’s dependability, leadership, and levelheaded nature. The third wine in the series is named after one of the show’s antagonists, Negan. Negan is brutal and unforgiving, and the Negan 2016 California Red Wine Blend is intended to represent his ruthless nature. This red blend is also brawny and bold, creating devotees with its robust, extracted flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate and caramel. “The Walking Dead” wines have developed a cult following, and a line of wines celebrating the show is sure to stoke more fervor. Just make sure you don’t share a glass with any potential zombies.

Desidero Jeio Cuvee Rose, Italian sparkling wine, a Prosecco that deserves attention, especially if you enjoy rosé and bubbly that is a bit off dry as there are hints of residual sugar present. The bubbles in this wine are very fine. Nice flavors of red berries – strawberries and raspberries – and tomato with a bit of honey and tannin. Best when served with a nice chill.

2012 Chateau Lestage Simon Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois, a firmly structured wine with supporting swathes of berry fruits. Tannins come from the Cabernet in the blend and from the wood aging that gives a toasty character. Black fruits and acidity shine at the end.

2015 NOE Dei Calanchi Orvieto produced by Az. Paolo e Noemia d’Amico in Italy, Well-priced crisp, clean and cool white from Tuscany, specifically Umbria.

Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Collezione Privata Chianti Ruffina Reserve 2013 from Frescobaldi shows great complexity and harmony refined for two years in oak barrels. intense ruby red, with a rim, still quite vibrant, that shows no effects of spending two years in oak. Predominating on the nose are notes of wild black berryfruit, such as blackcurrant and wild blackberry; although the fragrances will further evolve in the bottle, spicy notes of black pepper and cinnamon are already evident.


THE WORLD TURNS TO WAR by award-winning filmaker and historical author Jay Wertz, reveals World War II as seen by eyewitnesses. This latest volume in the powerful series, WAR STORIES: WORLD WAR II FIRST HAND delivers rich history and invaluable knowledge with a broad range of firsthand accounts, never or rarely seen photographs, a complete and balanced storytelling of World War II without unsupported theory or bias. This could well be the last comprehensive pictorial and narrative document of events, a thorough examination of and up-to-date research on the causes and political dynamics that led the world to this war. Based on more than 500 personal interviews with veterans and eyewitnesses from 22 countries. From Monroe Publications.

NIGHT VISION: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark (National Geographic Books) presents the mesmerizing realm of all things nocturnal, framed by a beautiful foreword by acclaimed landscape photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel. Filled with more than 250 unforgettable images, this exquisitely curated book by long-time National Geographic editor and author Susan Tyler Hitchcock is the perfect gift for night owls, nature lovers, adventurers, armchair travelers, and avid photographers alike. Celebrate the beauty of the world after dark—from starlit skies and glowing city streets to exquisite nocturnal creatures —with this magnificent new photography collection from National Geographic. The world is a different place after dark, and this breathtaking book illuminates the mesmerizing realm of all things nocturnal. Page after page of vivid photographs explore the many nuances of night vision—from the sea by moonlight to night markets in Laos to the face of a child lit up by a screen in a darkened room. The range of images in these pages is breathtaking

JUNK BEAUTIFUL, 30 Clever Furniture Projects to Transform Your Home, showcases author Sue Whitney’s uncanny ability to forge new paths and stay well ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative creations for your home. This book teaches how to reimagine, refurbish, and refashion vintage finds into functional and fun furniture and home accessories. Whitney is the “Queen of Junk” and long may she reign with her bright recommendations. Published by The Taunton Press.

SUNDAY SUPPERS: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings, Oxmoor House, by James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Cynthia Graubart is a useful and exciting full-color cookbook that will revitalize the iconic Southern Sunday meal. Inspired by suppers of the past and present, these 52 recipes recall relaxing Sunday afternoons at which the laid-back supper was an event to be celebrated, be it simple soup and salad or a full meal. There’s lots of classic Southern flair here and the emphasis is on creating moth-watering meals without too much fuss and muss.

HOOVER, AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES, Kenneth Whyte’s impeccably researched, faithful portrait of one of our least known and most controversial presidents reveals one of the most remarkable Americans of the 20th century. Whyte fully captures the rich, dramatic life of Hoover and reconsiders his place in history as he resurrects this complex man who emerges as the Father of both New Deal liberalism and modern conservatism. Published by Alfred A. Knopf.

THE GRUMPY GARDENER, An A to Z Guide from the Galaxy’s Most Irritable Green Thumb by Steve Bender, Southern Living Garden Editor, offers opinionated expert guidance laced with humor to help you avoid the horticultural mockery of the neighborhood. Chock full of essays, blog posts, and answers to readers’ questions, this small book tells you which plants to love, which to hate, fun ways to dispatch critters and garden pests and much, much more. Published by Oxmoor House.

HOUSEPLANTS: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants contains a detailed list of more than 125 houseplants with information on where, when, and how to plant; growing tips; care and propagation; companion planting and design; specific species recommendations; Latin family; other common names; bloom period and seasonal color; and mature height and spread. Author Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, The Houseplant Guru, harbors over 1,0000 houseplants in her home and will help you be an educated owner, too. Published by Cool Springs Press.

WHAT CAN I BRING? Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Up, gives you all the answers when that invitation is received, be it backyard barbecue to a formal dinner. Author Elizabeth Heiskell, a Delta-born chef and caterer, guides readers to that perfect dish to greet any party that ensures you’ll be asked back time after time. From housewarmings to weddings and simply putting food on your own table, this book is packed with delicious appetizers, mains, sandwiches, drinks and desserts. Published by Oxmoor House.

THE PREPPER’S CANNING GUIDE, Daisy Kuther’s clever techniques to take your food storage to the next level, the keys to affordably stockpiling a lifesaving supply of nutritious, delicious and shelf-stable foods. Published by Ulysses Press.

BERLITZ CRUISING & CRUISE SHIPS 2018 by Douglas Ward, the world’s foremost authority on cruising is the most trusted guide you can buy. Now in its 33rd year of publication, its hard-hitting independent reviews are based on personal experience, not hearsay. Over 300 ships are reviewed, scored and rated and no sponsorships are accepted. This is the #1 encyclopedia of cruising, rigorously researched that has one aim: to help you identify the ship and cruise that is just right for you.

Michael Connors, an expert in Caribbean antiques and architecture, has more than thirty years of experience in writing, consultation, and teaching in fine and decorative arts. He has written two successful books on Cuba, Havana Modern and The Splendor of Cuba. He continues to lead art and architecture tours throughout Cuba. His latest book, CUBA 101 Beautiful & Nostalgic Places to Visit, published by Rizzoli, is a perfect introduction to Cuba that illustrates with insightful prose and lavish photography all of the island’s many charms. This is a unique period in time when more travelers are discovering or rediscovering Cuba. This book is an in-depth exploration of 101 of the most authentic and compelling sites that reveal the real Cuba. Caribbean antiques expert, art historian, and adventurer Michael Connors presents the breadth of this island’s most intriguing destinations and architectural treasures. The book features iconic places such as the tobacco plantations in Pinar del Rio, the fortresses and palacios, Hemingway’s home outside of Havana, Xanadu (the DuPont mansion), the old French Triolet Pharmacy in Matanzas, and the Sugar Mill Valley in Sancti Spiritus. The lush photographs were shot exclusively for this book by Jorge Laserna, bringing each location and treasure alive.

199 CEMETERIES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE, a hauntingly beautiful guide to the world’s most interesting and unusual final resting places. Author Loren Rhoades shares the lure of ornate tombstones and crypts, and their notable eternal residents around the world. Our favorite: Japan’s wooded Okunoin Cemetery, lit by 10,000 lanterns. Published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

ADVENTURES WITH OLD VINES, A Beginner’s Guide To Being A Wine Connoisseur, an engaging and knowledgeable guide that is down-to-earth and practical. Author Richard L. Chilton, Jr. is himself an owner of a Napa winery and his extensive subject-matter wisdom is valuable to anyone wanting to collect, purchase, store, taste and enjoy wines. You’ll get tips on reading a wine list and how wine is really made. A richly illustrated, full-color reference section on a select group of vineyards from around the world is an added extra. Published by Rowman & Littlefield.

STOCK THE CROCK, 100 Must-Have Slow Cooker Recipes with 200 Variations for Every Appetite, Phyllis Good’s ultimate kitchen resource with page after page tricks, tips and techniques for hassle-free delicious dishes using your slow cooker. Publisher by Oxmoor House.

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