Category Archives: Holidays

12 wines to buy on 12-12-12 for the 12 days of Christmas

It’s 12-12-12, the last time the month, day and year will perfectly align until the next century. Since most of us won’t be around then, for those who find luck in numbers, it’s a big day. We like it because we can do fun things like offer 12% off 12 bottles and other 12 combinations.

So I’m pulling out my top 12 bottles for the holidays here. For MY 12 bottles, I’d choose these, each with a purpose for this holiday season.

The white splurge:  Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2009 - this Margaret River wine is like Australia’s Montrachet (I know, don’t you hate it when people compare wine to Burgundy?). Hands down one of my favorite Chardonnay and perfect for a holiday splurge.

The red splurge: Antinori Tignanello 2009 - okay, so if you drink this now, you’d have to decant it for a long time… but everyone should try a “Tig” and the ’09 was a beautiful vintage.

The bubble splurge:Champagne Krug Grande Cuvee - I could drink Krug everyday and twice on Sundays and claim a very happy life. A rich and full-bodied bubbly, this is the wine to buy should you be able to drop the dough on bubbles :)

The perfect dinner whiteChehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011 - It holds up to savory and spice as well as rich and creamy. With a perfect balance of racy acidity, floral notes and sweet fruit, this wine is a great match for the dinner table.

The perfect dinner red: Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir 2010 - Thank goodness it’s easier to find a Pinot Noir under $20 these days. Artesa consistently delivers, with rich fruit and bright acid, a palate-pleaser and food-friendly of course.

The perfect party bubbly: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava - I could try to be creative, but won’t bother -this bubbly is a go-to for parties. It’s great year after year, always a top-seller and always a great value. Can’t beat it.

The perfect party white: La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc 2011 – my parents buy this by the case as it’s a perfect everyday or party sipper. It has no fake oak or sweet aftertaste, just clean, crisp and easy-drinking.

The perfect party redd’Arenberg Stump Jump Red 2010 - easy going and easy drinking. That’s what you want in a party wine, and the Stump Jump is perfect for that. It’s an all-season wine (great for summer, winter and all if it in-between).

Date night wine:  Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 - it’s a sexy bottle, a seductive wine and needs nothing to pair with it but a little romance.

Hostess gift wine: Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut - bubbles are perfect for the hostess-with-the-mostest, and Schramsberg Mirabelle is a delicious wine that is perfect to serve at a party or with a meal.

Wine for toasting: Canard-Duchene Authentic Brut Rose - I had to make up a subject to get this bottle of bubbles in – one of my favorites, especially for the price. It’s lovely in the glass, great bubbles and flavors from start to finish.

The wine that goes with everything: Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling 2011 - obviously it has to be a Riesling… and this particular bottle, which marries fruit, acidity and sweet in delicious harmony, can go on any table and in any glass and be well-suited there.

Pick out your 12 for 12-12-12. It’s a day to celebrate and wine is certainly the way to go.

Yes, you CAN find great value Champagne

Champagne has its reputation for a reason. It crafts wine like no one else. You can think of the market in Champagne like real estate in Manhattan. There is only ONE Manhattan and it will always be a high-price market due to the small land size and the high demand for what it has. Champagne is similar. There is only one, it’s unique, and people are willing to pay a premium for what it has to offer. Read more here on Champagne 101.

The thing is, Champagne represents celebration and happiness. When we show up to a party with a bottle of Champagne, or give it as a gift, we bring a big smile to someone’s face. It brings joy. It warms the heart. But it also typically carries a very large price tag.

Good thing we have some value Champagne on hand for you! What makes a good VALUE Champagne? Well, it has to first, come from Champagne. Second, be under $50 and third, knock your taste buds off their socks. Or maybe the phrase should be knock your taste buds off your tongue? Either way, there needs to be a “wow” factor.  This is a tough find, but one that is well worth seeking out – after all, finding a good Champagne under $50 = big score.

We’re featuring some of our great value finds today, including one of my all-time favorites, the Canard Duchene Brut Rose. This wine is amazing. It’s a beautiful package, but the wine inside is absolutely delicious, too! At $39.99, totally worth it.

Another favorite happens to be the Pommery Brut Royal. We’ve got it today at $34.99. An all-around classic, it’s the kind of bubbly you want have in your hand for all holiday dinners and parties all season long.

One go-to for me every year is the Gosset Brut – this is one of those excellent non-vintage Champagnes that always lives up. It’s on the medium-bodied side and an ideal companion to the whole meal, from appetizer to main course.

And then there is grower Champagne… that refers to Champagne that comes from the actual grower of the grapes. Much of Champagne comes from Champagne houses, who purchase grapes from a number of growers. This means the grower has complete control, from vine to the final dosage. We have an incredible example of this in the Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve 100% Grand Cru. At under $50, you absolutely have to try this wine. It’s structured and seductive, layered and complex. Seriously a winner!

Other great Champagne winners under $50 include:

Nicolas Feuillatte Blue Label Brut
Laurent-Perrier Brut
Canard-Duchene Authentic Brut
Ayala Brut Majeur
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Cuvee
Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut

 

If you could only serve two wines this holiday season…

We’re big fans of the Wagner family. Not only are they the minds (and hands) behind Caymus, one of our favorite California Cabernets, they also expanded their portfolio to include other varieties, and like Caymus, they do these wines oh so well.

We’re featuring a couple of them today because they really two ideal holiday wines: Conundrum white and Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir.

Conundrum, called as such because you never know what the exact blend of grapes is in this wine, is a customer favorite. It is full of ripe fruit flavors, a creamy texture and lingering finish. It’s a wine that can last through the dinner, especially pairing with anything that has a touch of spice. It is a delicious all-night party sipper for any holiday fete and an all-around palate-pleaser.

The Meiomi (pronounced mey-OH-me) hails from the coastal vineyards of California, the perfect climate for growing a cool-climate variety like Pinot Noir. Delicious red fruits and sweet spice make this a rich yet not-too-heavy wine perfect for holiday parties and dinners. It’s terribly food friendly, but also has all those characteristics that make it a superbly delightful wine sipping on its own. At such a great price point, it could be your go-to dinner party red.

So stock up on these two to pull out for holiday dinners, hostess gifts or just sipping by the fire.

Thanksgiving Wine Picks

Think it’s impossible to pair wine with all of those turkey day flavors? Believe it or not, it actually is quite possible. Pairing wine with all of the variety can be tricky but there are certain wines that pair well with all of your wonderful, traditional turkey holiday dishes. After all, the Thanksgiving table is filled with a variety of foods, differing in flavor and texture. All of your family’s favorite dishes are delicious and deserve some fabulous wine alongside. These wine picks will be sure to enhance your traditional Thanksgiving meal this holiday season.

Toast the holiday

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have in our lives. Why not celebrate what we are thankful for with bubbles! Sip in class with Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee or for a little less money, try the Charles Lafitte Brut Prestige, excellent bubbles from France that won’t break the bank.

Classic Pairings

Riesling and Beaujolais wines are classic matches to pair with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Not only is Riesling a good match for the flavors of turkey day dishes because of the acidity, most Riesling wines are low in alcohol, making it a smart wine to drink if you tend to eat your Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day. After all, you want to stay awake for your turkey sandwich at the end of the day while you watch football! Try the 2011 Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington state or the 2011 Clean Slate Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany.

Beaujolais wine, which is a light red wine from France, has nice fruit structure and good acidity, making it a classic red wine match for your holiday meal. Try the 2010 Duboeuf Moulin-a-Vent Domaine des Rosiers or the 2010 Duboeuf Fleurie Domaine des Quatre Vents. Both are classic Beaujolais wines, crushed red berries, excellent acidity and have a great finish.

All American

If you want to stay with the red, white and blue this Thanksgiving, Zinfandel is the way to go. There are two styles of Zinfandel and you could go either way for your turkey dinner. Choose either a jammy and luscious Zinfandel or a spicy and structured one depending on your taste.

If you prefer a jammy and luscious Zinfandel try the 2009 Murphy-Goode Liars Dice Zinfandel. If your palate leads you towards the earthy, spicy and structured Zinfandels, try the 2008 Sebastiani Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.

We recommend two other fabulous wines to try if you want to keep it “All American”. The 2011 Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir ; it’s smooth and supple with ripe flavors of cranberry and dried red cherries with a light finish and the 2010 Montinore Pinot Gris from Oregon, which has wonderful stone fruit aromas and a hint of minerality. It is nicely balanced, fruity, smooth and has excellent acidity.

Classy and Versatile

If you want a delicious, classic wine with your Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate in class and style, go with white and red Burgundy. Both will pair beautifully with the variety of dishes on your table.

Keep it classy and stylish with the 2010 Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Premier Cru Blanc white burgundy. It’s fruity, smooth with rich texture and structure. For a red Burgundy, try the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin. It’s smooth, supple and is a beautiful bouquet of aromatic floral notes and red fruits.

For more turkey day wine suggestions, check out our Thanksgiving Wine Guide for ideas. Do you have a favorite match? Share with us!

 

Halloween Candy Wine Pairings

M&Ms and Merlot? Charleston Chews and Chardonnay? Skittles and Sangiovese? Yes, you CAN pair wine with leftover Halloween candy (or those pieces you swiped from your 4 year olds Trick-or-Treat stash on the sole basis of protecting her teeth).

In the basic world of food & wine pairing, the wine should always be sweeter than the food. But, when looking at most candy that is passed out on Halloween night, you’re talking high sugar and lots of sweetness, and there are exceptions to that rule. After all, the adults schlep the kids through the cold, dark streets on Halloween night and deserve a little treat of their own! Here are our picks for tasty treats for the adults:

Hershey Chocolate Bars paired with a Jammy Zinfandel

Snickers Bars paired with Port

Skittles paired with Moscato

Sour Patch Kids paired with a Bubbly NV Rosé from France

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups paired with Ruby Port or Sherry

Heath Bars paired with Sherry

Candy Corn paired with a round, buttery California Chardonnay or a Viognier from Provence, France or even a Gewürztraminer

Red Licorice paired with a Pinot Noir

Kit-Kats paired with a Merlot

M&M’s paired with a Malbec or Merlot

100 Grand Bar paired with….why a Grand Cru Bordeaux of course!

Happy Halloween candy and wine sipping!