Be My Wine

St. Kathryn's Cellars Lavender Wine

St. Kathryn’s Cellars Lavender Wine

The Mosel Valley of Germany

The Mosel Valley of Germany

Mumm Brut Rosé

Mumm Brut Rosé

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away, so it’s time to get shopping. Whether it’s for yourself, your love, your mom or dad or your Galentine, I suggest you pick up a few bottles of wine before you go forging for chocolates and flowers. There’s nothing like getting giddy over sips of a delicious wine. Red, white or pink, velvety, fizzy or bubbly, wine–long the nectar of the gods–has been putting people in the mood for love for ages. Here are some of my recommendations for memorable, reasonably-priced wines for this holiday and always.

Brut Rosé from Mumm Napa

Sure to put you in a celebratory mood, this festive bubbly will dazzle you with its lovely blush/coral color and crisp palate. Remember to dabble some on the back of your lover’s neck–this Brut Rosé is made for kissing.

prosecco

Chloe Prosecco

Chloe Prosecco

Prosecco from Chloe Wines

You might want to don a little black dress for sipping this sparkling wine. Like the other wines within the Chloe Wine Collection, this Prosecco exudes an elegance and chic in the image of the lovely Georgetta Dane, the head winemaker.

Bex Country

Bex Country

Bex Riesling 2014

Surprise your love with your knowledge of wine and the ability to select a delightful Riesling from the Mosel Valley of southwest Germany. Vibrant layers of fruit balance out the zippy acidity of this reasonably-priced wine. I love its light fizz and pale straw color. Perfect with spicy Asian cuisine, a yummy ham sandwich or as an apéritif.

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

So you say he cooks? And he likes red meat? Pick him up a bottle of this luscious, deeply concentrated red and you’ll win his heart all over.

Franciscan Winery in Napa

Franciscan Winery in Napa

Franciscan Winery Napa Valley Merlot 2013

Savor this smooth, full-bodied Merlot at home à deux over a home-cooked meal in front of the fire. Or pack a picnic of wine, cheese and your spirit of adventure and see how the afternoon plays out. Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so you can make the romance last all day.

Calista Pinot Noir

Calista Pinot Noir

Calista Vineyard

Calista Vineyard

Calista “The Coast Range” Pinot Noir 2012

I love my pinot and this one is tops for all kinds of occasions from casual sipping or as an accompaniment to a fine meal such as wild mushroom risotto, roast leg of lamb or pork chops. This silky, light-to-medium bodied red is sure to become a favorite for Valentine’s Day and always.

St. Kathryn Cellars Wines

Looking for a new love language? Try one of the handcrafted fruit wines from this renowned Colorado vineyard. Flavors such as Apple Blossom, Golden Pear, Peach Passion, Elderberry and more evoke sentiments from temptation to truth. Check out The Connotations of Fruit in Art and Still Life Painting for the full range of symbolism throughout the ages. I’m going to a Galentine gathering Saturday evening and I plan to bring a bottle of St. Kathryn’s Pomegranate, symbol of heavenly sweetness and fertility. (We’re sure to savor some sweet sips and a few chuckles with that heavenly selection.)

If you live in Colorado and you truly want to woo your Valentine, plan a weekend getaway or day trip to lovely Palisade, Colorado to sample the St. Kathryn wines in person and spend some quality time with your love.

Henri's Reserve

Henri’s Reserve

Henri’s Reserve Champagne Club

Sign your love up to receive champagne from Henri’s Reserve, an online boutique that showcases a curated selection of some of the finest champagnes of France. By opting for the Champagne Club membership, you can say I love you with bubbles all year long. Use the code Bonjour to receive a special 10% discount for Bonjour Colorado readers.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Telluride’s Women’s Week Celebrates Thirty-Five Years

My Ladies and Me

My Ladies and Me

I just finished teaching skiing to some great ladies during the January session of Telluride Women’s Week at Telluride Ski Resort. It was wonderful and since there are two more sessions this year (in February from the 7th to the 11th and the 26th to the 28th), I thought I’d let you in on some of the fun. Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School, I’m posting my unedited version of my story below along with my own selection of Telluride Women’s Week photos from this year and years past.

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Atop Prospect Bowl with My Ladies

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mesereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowboard Instructor Lindsey Mersereau Photographed Atop Revelation Bowl by Her Lady

Snowy Smiles

Snowy Smiles

Women, skiing, snowboarding, instruction, wine, apps, laughs, hot chocolate, girl talk, girl power, toasts, victories, sharing, learning, shopping, dining, fun. Of course all this and more occurs on a daily basis at Telluride Ski Resort, however, it happens tenfold during Women’s Week, ladies-only programs for skiers and riders interested in improving their skills within a supportive environment.

Founded by Annie Vareille-Savath, Telluride Women’s Week will be celebrating its thirty-fifth year this season with three sessions: one in January and two in February. “Whenever you immerse yourself with the same instructor and the same group of people for several days, you have the opportunity to get in depth knowledge followed up with consistent feedback and the support of the rest of the group,” says Annie, Telluride’s veteran ski instructor who is entering her forty-fourth season. “This really helps you to progress.”

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Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Snow Year

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Sugar-Frosted Trees at Telluride Ski Resort

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Rainbow Snow and Cold

Sunrise at T-ride

Sunrise at T-ride

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Me in Telluride: One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

You can tell the snow has been great since I haven’t posted in a while. Here in Telluride, we’ve had thirteen feet of snow so far this year. It’s turning out to be an epic season for Colorado!

On My Drive to Work

On My Drive to Work

On Top of the Mountain Facing Palmyra Peak

On Top of the Mountain Facing Palmyra Peak

Seeforever

Seeforever

The bulk of it fell just before Christmas and as you can see from some of the photos in this post, my car was buried in the snow twice. (Thank goodness for burly and well-prepared boyfriends and local mountain folk that always appear eager to help out those in need, especially when it comes to a snow situation.) It also was hard getting out the door a few times.

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Feasting on Fondue and Raclette in Telluride

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Serving Up the Bubbles

Serving Up the Bubbles

Brrrr. Baby it’s been cold outside, at least here in the Rocky Mountains. Tis the season to eat lots of warm, hearty foods–calorie-rich meals that refuel you after charging down the slopes all day at Telluride Ski Resort.

And baby do I have a recommendation for you. Book your table at Alpinist and the Goat where you can delight in melted cheese in its most delectable forms: fondue and raclette. Both specialties from the Alps, here these convivial dishes are served with salad, seasoned bread and apples. For the fondue, you can choose from seven different options such as traditional, truffle and Cortina, a twist on the classic recipe blended with creamy gorgonzola. More adventuresome gastronomes will want to try the Basquel, a spicy fondue made with traditional Emmenthaler, Manchego and chorizo or Cajun Fondeaux, a rich blend of cheese finished with crawfish tails and Cajun seasonings. Yum. Leave it to Americans to innovate a centuries-old classic from the Alps.

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Holiday Online Shopping Recommendations 2015

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Swiss Dog Collars and Leashes for Your Precious Pups from Alpen Schatz

Terrace Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

Terafeu Holiday-Pretty Plates from Quel Objet

A Superlative Blanc de Blanc from Henri's Reserve

A Superlative Blanc de Blancs from Henri’s Reserve

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to think about shopping. Oh wait, you’ve probably been thinking about it–and even doing some of it–the past week. Good on you if that’s the case. Others (like me) haven’t even begun to tackle their holiday shopping despite a deluge of offers that have flooded our inboxes.

I recommend keeping it simple and shopping online for those on your list that live a distance from you. Have that something special sent directly to their door, so that you don’t have to put up with all the wrapping, packaging and waiting in line at your local post office or shipper. And while you’re at it, pick up something for yourself because that’s just what we do when holiday shopping.

I showcase a curated list of favorite purveyors at my Online Shopping Page, most of whom offer discounts between 8 and 10% to Bonjour Colorado readers. Go directly there if you want my more lengthy descriptions. Otherwise, check out my highlights and some other add-ons below.

Ruth’s Toffee

Ruth's Toffee

Ruth’s Toffee

Homespun Confections from Ruth

Homespun Confections from Ruth

Carmelize sugar and butter, add some nuts and chocolate and you have an extraordinary holiday treat. Ruth does it with love and I promise this housemade toffee is the best I’ve ever tasted. Other sweet and savory confections include truffles, turtles, clusters, fudge as well as roasted almonds. Type in the code Bonjour to receive a 10% discount.

Alpen Shatz

The Alpen Schatz Team

Owner Mary Dawn DeBriae with her Alpen Schatz Team

Peruse this quaint online boutique for alpine treasures of the finest quality for men, women, children, the home and dogs! From handmade Swiss dog collars worthy of the pups at Westminster to Italian silk scarves, alpine hats and belts, centuries-old sleigh bells and more, you can shop for an array of heartwarming gift ideas with just a few clicks of the mouse at Alpen Schatz. Type in the code Bonjour to receive a 10% discount.

Henri’s Reserve

Privileged Offerings from Henri's Reserve

Privileged Offerings for Members of Henri’s Reserve Champagne Club

Grab yourself a glass of bubbly and let yourself be transported to the realm of Family Estate Champagnes at Henri’s Reserve. You can select one exquisite bottle to send off to someone special or enroll your beloved in one of Henri’s Reserve Champagne Clubs, so that he or she may receive choice offerings throughout the year. Family Estate Champagne Houses represent most of the finest champagnes artisanally produced in France, many of which are touted on esteemed wine lists in the finest restaurants of the world. Type in Bonjour at checkout to receive your 10% discount.

Fresh Soap Company

Fresh Soap Holiday Creations

Fresh Soap Company Holiday Creations

From grandma to teachers to the love of your life, just about everyone on your list would enjoy receiving a beautifully wrapped package of handmade soap from Fresh Soap Company. Check out their wonderful selection of soaps, soaks, scrubs, lotions and balms and be sure to type in the code Bonjour to receive your 10% discount.

Hadley Pottery

Hadley Pottery Holiday Plate

Hadley Pottery Holiday Plate

Still in search of some holiday plates to add charm to your winter feasts? Or maybe you have someone on your list that appreciates table arts of the finest quality. Either way, spend some time at M.A. Hadley Pottery Company for a look at the fun, whimsical patterns of this renowned maker of American Pottery. Type in the code Bonjour to receive an additional 8% discount here.

The Autograph Source

Rick Schultz, Owner of The Autograph Source, and B.B. King

Rick Schultz, Owner of The Autograph Source, and B.B. King

Looking for something truly unique? Perhaps for that hard-to-buy-for man on your list? Check out The Autograph source for a gallery of collectibles, memorabilia and documents from the world of sports, cinema, music, politics and more–past and present–all in varying price ranges. Type in Bonjour into the comments section to receive your 10% discount.

Purrfect Play

A Panoply of Purrfect Play Toys

A Panoply of Purrfect Play Toys

Absolutely the best toys for all your fur babies are sold at Purrfect Play. They’re made from organic, natural fibers and sure to offer hours of pleasure to your beloved pets. Type in promo code Bonjour to receive your 10% discount.

REI

Getting Outside with REI

Getting Outside with REI

You can save up to 40% on gifts through Sunday at REI, my favorite supplier of outdoor clothing and gear for men, women and children. OK, you’ll want to wear a lot of the clothes inside, too, around the fire, likely after a good bit of fun in the snow or beneath a desert sun. If you miss out on this sale, try REI Outlet for ongoing awesome deals.

Medjet Assist

Travel Safe with Medjet Assist

Travel Safe with Medjet Assist

Speaking of adventure, I can’t think of a better gift for your loved ones that travel than a membership at Medjet Assist. They offer a couple of different plans that provide comprehensive travel protection–especially in terms of medical evacuation–for all us globetrotters. Click through from here (as well as the other Medjet links in this post and on my site) to receive a 10% discount.

Quel Objet

Cheery Espadrilles from Quel Objet

Cheery Espadrilles from Quel Objet

Camille Breakfast Set from Quel Objet

Camille Breakfast Set from Quel Objet

Je suis triste. I’m so sad that my favorite purveyor of charming French goods is going out of business. The good news for you is that you can receive 50% off the remainder of Quel Objet merchandise. Type in the code AUREVOIR at checkout to receive your 50% discount. Doors close definitively December 23. At this point, there are still espadrilles, Camille breakfast sets and rich red Terafeu Terafour pottery in stock.

STOCKING STUFFERS

Actually below I highlight full-on gifts but they are small enough to stuff into a stocking or even better, a suitcase.

Linge Shoes

Stepping Pretty with Linge Shoes

Stepping Pretty with Linge Shoes

Ballet Flats for the Kiddos

Ballet Flats for the Kiddos

I love the ballet flats for women and toddlers from Linge Shoes. Choose from a Crayola-colored selection of these foldable classics, great for padding about at home or while traveling. I find them to be super comfy and adorable.

Whoosh!

Whoosh!

Whoosh!

It took me years to find just the right cleaning product for all my devices. Now I clean up my desktop, laptop and phone with Whoosh!, a safe, screen shine cleaner that I can use effortlessly and without worry. Whoosh! comes in three handy sizes, making them also a great purchase for those of us that travel so much. Yay for tech hygiene. Yay for grease-free devices.

A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France

A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France

A Tour of the Heart

The eBook version of my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, will be free tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. It has a 4.3 (out of 5) rating on amazon–people are indeed finding it to be a good read. It’s chockfull of adventure, love, romance, food and wine, French culture and more. Two of my main themes involve self empowerment through sport and personal transformation, so it’s not just chick lit! It’s, of course, also available in paperback at amazon and you can buy signed copies at Alpen Schatz. (Don’t forget the Bonjour code for your 10% discount on the latter.)

Happy holiday shopping to all!

Grateful for Telluride and the Telluride Ski Resort

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

With all that’s happening in the world, most of us are feeling extra stressed these days. This is true even in Telluride, Colorado, one of the safest and most beautiful places on earth. No one is immune to feeling reverberations from all these horrific terrorist acts. As I wrote in my story, Paris Attacks Hit Home, we are one.

The Telluride Scene

The Telluride Scene

Still though, we are so privileged in this sweet little ski town. Few people lock the doors to their cars and houses except during bear season, since our local bruin population has become pretty savvy about entering spaces redolent with lingering pizza, berry and pie smells. We live in a bubble of sorts where our biggest threats come from pushing it too hard on the slopes or getting caught in an avalanche during a backcountry ski.

Telluride Ski Resort: Ready to Roll

Telluride Ski Resort: Ready to Roll

Although Telluride is renowned for some of the finest music festivals in the world, our universe primarily revolves around the great outdoors. The mountains–and most specifically Telluride Ski Resort–reign supreme, offering us endless hours of fun, relaxation and recreation.

Snowmaking Before the Storm

Snowmaking Before the Storm

Telluride officially opens on Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving, however, folks can test their ski and snowboard legs tomorrow on Donation Day by offering $25. to the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club in exchange for a day on the slopes. I’d imagine lots of snowsports enthusiasts will be hitting the mountain throughout the holiday weekend because with the over three feet of snow we’ve recently received, the conditions should be fantabulous. Plus, much more terrain than usual will be opened from the get-go.

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Paris Attacks Hit Home

View from My House in Telluride

View from My House in Telluride, Colorado

It’s sparkling white here in Telluride, Colorado. We’ve been graced with bright blue skies after a major storm dumped about three feet of snow on our already snowy mountains. Normally my heart would be singing with the excitement that comes with the start of each ski season. But despite the glorious scene that lays before me, I feel cobbled together with a jumble of emotions I’m doing my best to manage.

I did some work with hospice about twenty years ago and learned in the training that each loss brings up a past loss. I suppose by the end of our lives our hearts are filled with an accumulation of losses. A grim thought, but hopefully we find out along the way how to balance our complexities of emotions. But still, there are times when the bottom seems to fall out of our hearts.

This has been one of those times for me. The horrific events in Paris of just one week ago have touched so many of us. They’ve triggered thoughts of 9/11and other PTSD moments, big and small. They’ve made us weep for a beautiful city loved by many whether we’ve traveled there or not. They’ve made us feel the ultimate violation of enjoying a sense of safety in the most civilized parts of the world. They’ve made us feel like one. We are one, we are one with Paris, one with France, one with the whole world.

In a city of over two and a quarter million inhabitants, I wanted to make sure that everyone I knew there was safe last Friday night. On ne sais jamais. It’s bad enough that this horrible violence was happening but I prayed that all my loved ones and contacts from having had a close connection with the City of Light for almost four decades were safe.

And then it came. The news that my ex-husband, Stéphane de Bourgies, had lost his wife, Véronique Geoffroy de Bourgies, in the attack on the little bistrot, La Belle Equipe, rue de Charonne. I felt shattered. Vraiment boulversé. No, no, please God, don’t let it be true. I had been checking Steph’s Facebook page all night for news and finally the unimaginable was posted. I had already written on Véronique’s timeline that I was thinking about her and her family and hoping everyone was safe. Oh God, please let this be a mistake.

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J. Sisters: A Top New York Hair Salon with Heart

Hair Experience Extraordinaire at J. Sisters NYC

Hair Experience Extraordinaire at J. Sisters NYC

In the more than two and a half decades I’ve been a travel writer I’ve been fortunate to experience some of the world’s top salons and spas from Paris to London to New York to Beverly Hills to Hong Kong. Just like high-end restaurants, these establishments serve up quality products and services within alluring settings meant to wow people with means. And whether glitzy or subdued, the entertainment factor of these posh places always ranks high, which, of course, makes up part of the whole experience.

I have, however, often found the demeanor of staff at many well-reputed hair salons to be off putting, perhaps because many think it’s cool to embody the pouty, woeful look of fashion models in magazines. I don’t like that at all, which is why I rarely look at such publications any more. Or, sometimes the approach is just plain snobby. Who ever thought that was attractive?

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered a super warm and friendly scene at J. Sisters, a renowned hair salon on W57th Street in New York, owned and operated by Brazilian sisters all with first names beginning with J. (But of course.) Whether you’re in for a splurge or you’re rich, famous or full of yourself, this long-established salon caters to all with the same measure of enthusiasm and attention as is required in transforming a brunette to a blond. (No, I didn’t go for that, but I was tempted and if I do, I will have it done here.)

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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