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Shopping for Luxury Food, Beverage & Entertaining Gifts - Part 1

Nov. 18th, 2009 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Haute Holiday Gift List: If you're looking for a gift for those who like to eat, drink and make merry, you've come to the right place. Savor this tasty assortment of food, beverage and entertaining-related gifts that are sure to satisfy.

Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 One Touch Automatic Coffee Center - $2,399
For the die-hard coffee connoisseur or perennial party host(ess) in your life, the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 One Touch fully automatic coffee center will be mind-blowing gift that gives back each and every day. With the mere touch of a button and without having to move the cup, the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 One Touch can produce a myriad of professional-quality, high-pressure-brewed coffee drinks, including authentic, café-quality espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, crema coffee and a host of other espresso-based beverages. This revolutionary, top-of-the-line machine is, in fact, the first and only automatic coffee center with a one-touch Latte Macchiato button, with timed pauses programmed in to create its distinctive layers of frothed milk, espresso and steamed milk. It also dispenses hot water for tea and creates foamy hot chocolate from chocolate milk. What's more, all of this is programmable for cup size, cup strength, temperature and more - even differently for each day of the week - for a truly customized, bean-to-cup brewing experience.

I've personally found that programming the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 is surprisingly easy – its 2-line alpha-numeric display includes helpful graphics and subtle acoustical alerts that make the machine entirely intuitive. I also appreciate that any of the pre-set programs can be overridden. An “A La Carte" button lets users create a specialized drink at any time. To use the machine, simply choose the desired brew by turning the rotary dial, then press the one-touch beverage button and the machine froths or steams milk, grinds, tamps, brews and then self cleans in less than 60 seconds.

Impressive innovations and features of the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 One Touch abound. Consider the unique 20-ounce stainless steel insulated milk container that is included to keep milk cold and fresh for up to eight hours, and the machine's ability to steam or froth milk in two ways: Dual Frother or Jura-Capresso's exclusive frothXpress Plus system for automatic frothing and steaming into the cup. Jura-Capresso is, in fact, the first and only company with a line of one-touch automatic coffee centers to provide these incredibly convenient insulated milk containers as such. The machine is also equipped with two thermoblock systems for fast and powerful performance, resulting in zero downtime between brewing and frothing – perfect for those like myself who are indelibly on-the-go.

Among other noteworthy attributes, the Jura-Capresso IMPRESSA S9 One Touch comes with a 10-ounce bean container, large 96-ounce water tank, Clearyl Water Filter to remove impurities and improve taste, stainless steel multi-cup warming plate on top, and sensor technology for bean and water refill and bin emptying reminders. Energy-saving functions are also on board, including a Main Power Switch that ensures zero energy is pulled when the machine is off but still plugged in, and programmable energy saving options that allow the machine to draw less energy when in stand-by mode. With its professional Platinum Metallic finish and illuminated brewing area, this attractive, upscale, modestly-sized counter top device will surely elevate its surrounding décor. While this model retails for $2,399, Jura-Capresso offers 10 other automatic coffee centers that in price from $899 to $3,299. (www.capresso.com)

2005 Stags Leap District Limited-Edition Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon - $1,375/Case
Now here's an incredible gift for the deserving oenophile in your life: a bevy of world-class cabernet sauvignons from Napa Valley's famed Stags Leap District. Available for wine lovers, collectors and gift-givers only through November 30, 2009, the Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association's 13th annual release of its limited-edition Appellation Collection is comprised of one bottle from each of the Association's winery members – 17 coveted cabernets in all. With just 200 cases of the Collection available, this exclusive gift provides a unique opportunity to taste the Stags Leap appellation's notoriously lush fruit, soft tannins and other of the District's distinct characteristics as interpreted by each of the region's winegrower wineries.

Regarded in many circles as the ultimate gift for wine enthusiasts, this year's Stags Leap District Appellation Collection boasts rare, critically-acclaimed 2005 cabernets that cannot be purchased collectively anywhere else in the world. Indeed, The Stags Leap District Winegrowers Association is the exclusive retailer of the Appellation Collection, and is the only collection of cabernet sauvignon released by an American Viticultural Association.

The 2005 Appellation Collection includes one bottle of each of the following Stags Leap District designated wines, with each accompanied by winemaker tasting notes: Baldacci Family Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Chimney Rock Winery - 2005 Cabernet; Sauvignon, Ganymede Vineyard; Cliff Lede Vineyards - 2005 Poetry; Clos Du Val - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Malk Family Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Hartwell Vineyards - 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; Ilsley Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Pine Ridge Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Regusci Winery - 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; Robert Sinskey Vineyards - 2005 RSV Cabernet Sauvignon; Robinson Family Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; Shafer Vineyards - 2005 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon; Silverado Vineyards - 2005 Solo; Stags' Leap Winery - 2005 The Leap Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Steltzner Vineyards - 2005 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 40th Anniversary; Taylor Family Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; and Terlato Family Vineyards - 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.

I've tasted many of the cabernets in this collection, and I can assure you that 2005 was an extraordinarily good harvest year for the region. The vintage consistently delivers signature Stags Leap District fruit that's thoroughly ripe and sweet, with plush, velvety tannins. Each bottle begins with a bold nose with vibrant aromatics, and ends with a delightfully rich and layered finish. Don't miss this fleeting opportunity to gift 17 multi-sensory adventures in one elite gift box. (www.stagsleapdistrict.com)
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