Category Archives: Holidays

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!


It’s Club time. WINE Club time.

Just 4 days to Christmas and you’re late. Really late. You wanted to get a killer gift, but realize you have no time to shop, have no idea what kind of wine they like, so you’re stuck.

Enter Wine Clubs. We’ve got three incredible wine club options, starting at just $29.99/month. Discovery Tour, Wines of the World & 90 Point Club for those collectors.

The tag line for our wine clubs is: Authentic wines. Premium brands. A great journey. Unlike other wine clubs, the wines we source for our customers are REAL wines, from REAL wineries. No mass-produced overflow juice with a private label, but wines that come from a place you can actually visit, a label you may see on a restaurant wine list, a wine you can get AGAIN if you like it. We pride ourselves on this distinction and hope you will truly enjoy discovering the wines we hand select.

Check out our wine club page here and from now through the end of the year (12/31/2011), enjoy 20% off all Wine Club memberships.

Yes, this is a totally promotional post! But can you blame us? Our wine clubs are fantastic…

Planning for a party? Bottle Math

You’re having a party. Blow out bash or intimate dinner, either way, you have people coming over and they will be thirsty. So how much wine do you have on hand?

The general rule of thumb when serving wine is to have a half bottle per person. But you can almost throw that out the window since that number varies depending on the style of party. Some math to help you prepare.

1 bottle still wine = approx 4 glasses
1 bottle bubbly = approx 6 flutes

You should plan on about 3 glasses (or 3/4 bottle) per person for any party lasting 3-4 hours.

For example:
50 people x 3 glasses/person = 150 glasses of wine
For 4 glasses per bottle, you divide 150 by 4 and get 37.5. Round that up to 38 and you’ll need about 38 bottles.

If that math is too confusing, maybey just go for a bottle a person, something you will definitely need if:

- Wine is the only alcoholic beverage being served

- The party/gathering is over four hours

- Your friends are big drinkers! Don’t want to run out with a crowd like that…

You can account for less (about a half bottle per person) if:

- There are multiple types of alcoholic beverages being served

- You have a good number of non-drinkers.

The cardinal rule is not to run out, so best buy more, not less, and buy what you like so that if you are stuck with leftovers, you’ll enjoy drinking them through the holidays!

Dessert Wine Guide

Dessert wines get a bad rap. Something about a wine being “sweet” seems to turn people off. I gather that’s because of the many cheap sweet wines that once flooded the market. Too many sips and headaches from those sickly sweet wines would make anyone turn up their nose at a “dessert” wine. But good dessert wines are some of the best in the world.

First, a few factors can make a dessert wine.

In the vineyard…
– Botrytis: Grapes are left on the vine once they’ve reached maximum ripeness to encourage the development of botrytis, or “noble rot.” This helpful mold then shrivels the grapes, concentrating the sugars while maintaining the acid levels. The grapes yeild less juice than dry wines, due to their shriveled and concentrated state. But the result is something spectacular. The concentration of fruit with the good levels of acidity result in a blanced and decadent dessert wine. The most famous example of this is Sauternes.
– Icewine: Grapes are left to freeze! Icewine (or eiswein in Germany) is made by completely ripe grapes being left to freeze on the vine. This process concentrates the sugars, resulting in a beautifully sweet wine. Due to the labor intensity of creating ice wine (hand harvest at the first freeze, small yields, etc), it can be pricy, but the wines are so incredible. A perfect match with ice cream. Examples include Canadian ice wine (Inniskillin), US icewine (though some of these are frozen after harvest) like Joseph Phelps and Pacific Rim, and German icewine.

By the winemakers
– Fortified: Fortified wines are some of the most common and include Sherry & Port. A wine is fortified by adding brandy (or another similar spirit) to a still wine. In the case of port, the brandy is added to halt fermentation, so residual sugar remains and the addition of brandy increases the alcohol level, leaving a sweet wine, high in alcohol content. Sherry receives a dose of spirits after ferementation, so can be dry or sweet. Many other countries make wine in a “port” style, including Australia, United States and South Africa. Muscats from Australia are also fortified, as is Madeira from Portugal.

If you’re looking to find a high-quality (yet affordable) dessert wine, here are my suggestions to do so:

Light bodied: Joseph Phelps Eisrebe (375ML half-bottle) 2009
This is a great example of an icewine style at a great price. Not fortified, this wine shows the purity of fruit from where it came. Balanced, elegant and delicate, this is a great wine for lighter citrus-based desserts or with ice cream.

Medium-bodied: Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat (375ML half-bottle)
Hands down one of our favorites year after yet, the Yalumba Museum Muscat has spice and dried fruit notes, is terribly balanced with a super long finish, and can be enjoyed with chocolate cake, over ice cream or just on its own. Also lasts in the fridge once opened for a month or so!

Full-bodied: Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port
Such a fun wine! Though not “true” port from Portugal, this wine is made in the same manner with the Zinfandel grape. Since Zinfandel is already jammy and full bodied, imagine what it’s like when fortified! Great on it’s own or, with anything chocolate!