Easy To Find Red Wine Values For The Holidays

In continuation of my series on holiday wine values, I want to feature a few wines that are not only priced well, but are also easy to pick up in your local wine shops and grocery stores.  We have all found ourselves in a holiday jam, whether you are planning the party or attending, and these are some great red wines you can pick up in a hurry.

One of my favorite inexpensive grocery store wines is Cline Cellars 2009 Zinfandel.  It is always in stock at Trader Joe’s for around $8.  I enjoy the palate of strawberries, raspberries, and dark cherries.  It has a smooth finish with notes of vanilla and pepper.  A fantastic wine for the season that pairs well with a holiday turkey or roasted duck.

Cupcake Vineyards 2010 Red Velvet is another festive choice.  It’s a rich, red blend from California with tastes of jammy blackberries, dark cherries, and a hint of cocoa.  The velvety finish highlights the berry flavors with lingering cocoa.  A perfect wine to sip at a holiday party with pepper-crusted steak crostinis or chocolate truffles.  It is readily available at most major grocery store chains including Whole Foods for around $12-13. (this wine was sent to me as sample)

Another go-to wine for the Christmas season is Altovinum Evodia Garnacha 2010.  The palate is juicy with tastes of dark berries, black cherries, baking spice, and a hint of chocolate.  The finish is dry and will make you long for another sip.  I am a huge Garnacha fan and this is one of the best you will find at this price point.  Perfect with any dark chocolate dessert or braised lamb and easy to find at your local wine store or Whole Foods for around $10.

So, this year when you are rushing around trying plan the perfect holiday party (or even just attending one), this wine list should help ease at least one of your worries.  Look for my favorite white wine values in the next 2 days.  Cheers!


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An Incredible Wine Value To Kick Off The Christmas Season!

This week I want to feature wines that are incredible values for the Christmas season.  They are wines you can find for around $10 a bottle that drink like they are twice the price.  These wines are perfect to serve at your holiday parties….your guests should be impressed and your wallet shouldn’t be drained.

The first wine I want to feature is a wine I just found over the weekend at one of my local wine shops.  Alberto Furque 2006 Syrah is a crowd pleasing red that is readily available for under $10.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Alberto Furque 2006 Syrah is 100% Syrah from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It has 13.8% alcohol and retails for around $7.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Alberto Furque Syrah pours a dark plum color in the glass.  The nose is loaded with ripe, dark fruit, red berries, and hint of oak. The wine tastes of blackberry jam, raspberry, and prune.  The finish has a mild kick of black pepper with lingering coffee notes.  A great holiday wine value for under $10.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- This syrah pairs well with a Christmas prime rib roast or lamb pizzettes (a great holiday appetizer- my favorite recipe courtesy of Food and Wine http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lamb-pizzettes )

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‘Tis The Season For Great Wine!

Starting next week I am going to be featuring wines that are great to have on hand for the Christmas season.  I will be highlighting wines that are great gifts and some outstanding bubblies along with holiday wine bargains.  I will also try to have a few pairing suggestions for your Christmas feast.

I love this season because it’s a time to remember what is important and celebrate with the ones we love.  My husband and I always try an open a really special bottle of wine that we have been cellaring for a while.  We also like to sneak wine in a paper cup and go on a walking tour of the lights on Balboa Island (shhhh…don’t tell anyone).

What are some of your favorite Christmas and wine traditions?  I hope you enjoy some of my suggestions and I would love to hear about some of your favorite holiday wines!

One of many amazing light displays on Balboa Island in Newport Beach


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Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I want to take this time and wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone has great family and friends to spend this holiday with and plenty to be thankful for.  I am so thankful to you guys for making my posts on Thanksgiving wine suggestions my successful posts ever.  During the upcoming month I am going to do a series on wines for Christmas and hopefully you guys will enjoy them just as well!

Sonoma Thanksgiving 2010

Now get off the computer and go enjoy some football, family, friends, food, and amazing wine!

Cheers~ Bella

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Toasting to Thanksgiving- Bollinger NV Brut Special Cuvee

I want to end my Thanksgiving wine recommendations with a Champagne that I recently tried.  I picked it up at the suggestion of a very helpful clerk at a local wine store was thoroughly impressed.  I think it’s a perfect bottle for a Thanksgiving splurge.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Bollinger NV Brut Special Cuvee is a non-vintage Champagne from Champagne, France.  It is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier and retails for $50.

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvee pours a sparkling golden-yellow in the glass.  The nose has smokey notes of apple and citrus.  This rich Champagne has tastes of toasted nuts, ginger, and apple with hints of spice.  A beautiful Champagne with fresh acidity and layers of intense flavor.  The perfect way to start a Thanksgiving Feast!

My Wine Rating- A-/A

Food Pairing Suggestions- This Champagne is the perfect aperitif for a Thanksgiving meal and is extremely food friendly so it could be sipped throughout the night.


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Some Not So Traditional Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairings

I want to add a few more unique wine and food pairings for Thanksgiving so you have the chance to throw something non-traditional into a very traditional meal.  Your guests may even get a chance to try a wine that they have never sipped and it may open up conversation with some of those relatives you aren’t always super excited to sit across the table from 🙂

A great way to start the meal is to switch up the champagne with a sparkling rosé.  Sparkling rosé is a nice wine to sip alone during pre-dinner conversation or with first courses such as pumpkin soup or a salad.  One of my favorite inexpensive Sparkling Rosés comes from Santa Julia.  Their Brut Rosé is light with notes of strawberries and cherries and it is readily available for around $11 at Whole Foods.  This wine could also be sipped throughout the meal because it pairs well with turkey and cranberries.

If you are serving a smoked ham, Gruner Veltliner could be a great match.  Gruner Veltliner is a wine you may not have heard of but it is certainly worth trying.  I would recommend Grooner 2010 from Austria.  The wine has lively acidity with notes of apple, pear, and citrus.  The acidity in Gruner is perfect for cutting the fat in the ham and it a great value for around $10. (received as a sample)

If you want to skip the traditionally versatile Pinot Noir, you might want to try a Sémillon with your meal.  Sémillons are extremely food friendly and have been a surprise hit at many of my Thanksgiving meals.  One of my recent favorites is Brokenwood Sémillon 2010 from Australia.  It retails for around $18 and has soft notes of pear and citrus.

For dessert, try a Tawny Port with your pumpkin pie.  Ports are widely known but they don’t seem to make it onto a lot of Thanksgiving tables.  The spices in the port tend to go really well with the spices in the pie.  One excellent choice  that retails for around $30 is Churchill’s 10 Years Old Tawny Port.  The nose is intoxicating and appetizing with sweet, nutty notes.  The palate is rich with notes of fig, caramel, and spice.  A great finale to your Thanksgiving dinner. (received as a sample)

I hope this makes your Thanksgiving wine shopping a little more interesting.  Are there any perfect Thanksgiving wine pairings that you have been surprised by?


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More Thanksgiving Suggestions- Red Wines That Pair Perfectly With Turkey

A lot of people have been asking me for some suggestions of red wines that pair well with Thanksgiving dinner.  One of my favorite red wines to pair with turkey is Pinot Noir.  I look for a Pinot with earthier notes as it usually complements the turkey and goes well with stuffing.  One of my favorite Pinot Noirs with turkey readily available for under $20 is Belle Glos Meiomi 2009 Pinot Noir from California.  I have featured it before on my blog (http://wp.me/p1vdhr-io) and it is rustic and savory.  Pinot Noir from Oregon is also often a good bet because they tend to be earthier and more subdued than Pinot from California.

Another red wine that I really enjoy with turkey and stuffing is Zinfandel.  Look for a Zinfandel that is fruity and balanced with nice (yet not overly) spicy finish.  I had the chance to try a great Zinfandel over the weekend, OM Winery’s Zinfandel Vin di Rossa 2009, and the first thing that came to my mind was that it would be a perfect match for Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is a little more about this great Zinfandel.

About the Wine- From the Winery

OM Winery Zinfandel Vin di Rossa is 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah.  It has 14.6% alcohol and retails for $26 a bottle.  For more information see www.omwinery.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

OM Winery’s Zinfandel pours a deep garnet in the glass.  The nose has layers of red and dark fruit with a hint of spice.  The wine tastes of juicy cherries and cranberries with a smooth, peppery finish.  This Zinfandel is very balanced and is not overburdened by alcohol.  It is definitely a great Thanksgiving wine choice that will leave a lasting impression without overpowering the meal.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- This wine is perfect with turkey and stuffing with sausage, mushrooms, and sage.

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A Thanksgiving Wine To Pair With Your Apple Pie- Santi Moscato Montedoro

Sometimes pairing the right wine with dessert at Thanksgiving can be a challenge.  It can be trying to find a wine that pairs well with apple and pumpkin pie but that is not overly sweet.  Santi Moscato Montedoro 2010 is a great wine choice that won’t overpower your traditional Thanksgiving dessert.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Santi Moscato Montedoro 2010 is 100% Moscato from the Veneto region of Italy.  It had 10.5% alcohol and retails for $12.  For more information see www.FrederickWildman.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Santi Moscato Montedoro pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose is attractive with sweet aromas of pineapple, peach, and underlying floral notes.  The palate is sweet yet not to the point it overwhelms the taste buds.  Tastes of peach and honeydew are balanced with a slightly spicy finish.  A nice pairing for your Thanksgiving desserts at a very affordable price!

My Wine Rating- B/B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with apple pie, pumpkin pie, or a salad with roasted pears and blue cheese

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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Starting Off My Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations with a Dry Rosé

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year.  There are so many incredible dishes and wonderful flavors but it makes it hard to serve just one wine.  I try to serve a few different wines to bring out the flavors in each dish.  One of my favorite wines to serve with turkey is a dry rosé.  The rosé (ideally with notes of cranberries or cherries) will complement the turkey as well as the dishes that accompany it.  Frederick Wildman was kind enough to send me a bottle of Michel Torino Malbec Rosé and it is definitely a nice pairing with turkey.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé 2011 is 100% Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It retails for $13 and for more information see www.FrederickWildman.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé pours a bright strawberry color in the glass.  The nose is very fragrant with aromas of melon, cherries, and a hint of rosemary.  The palate is packed with fruit flavors including notes of cherry and strawberry.  The finish is dry and spicy with lingering white pepper.  Light, refreshing, and food-friendly…a really nice match for your turkey and cranberries!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- This dry rosé pairs well with turkey, cranberries, or a salad with pomegranates, candied nuts, and goat cheese (one of my favorite Thanksgiving salads)

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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Giving Thanks For Great Wine and Food!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year.  It’s a wonderful season to take a look at everything I have to be thankful for and spend time with the people I love the most.  I happen to think that the time spent is made so much better with great wine and food.  Last year, my family took a break from our normal tradition of cooking together and headed to Napa for Thanksgiving.  We had an amazing meal at Estate (sister restaurant to The Girl & The Fig) and each dish was paired perfectly with wine.  I can still taste the Sugar Pie Pumpkin Ravioli and the Zinfandel that complemented it!

Wine Tasting On Thanksgiving Day in Napa

So, to celebrate the Thanksgiving season, I am going to take the next several posts to feature wines that pair well with traditional Thanksgiving fare.  I would also love to hear about some of your favorite Thanksgiving food and wine pairings.  What wine do you sip with your turkey?

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