The Holiday’s are always a special time for me and my family. It’s a time for us to come together and share the joy of one another’s company, as well as partake in fantastic food and beverages. I wanted to pass along to you a few specialty wines to try during this Holiday season. So from me and my family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Hot Spiced Wine
1 bottle Barefoot Sweet Red Wine
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
1 paper coffee filter
Take the coffee filter and place in it the cinnamon stick (crumbled up), whole cloves, and sugar. Staple the coffee filter shut with the ingredients in it to make a small pouch.
Pour the Barefoot Sweet Red Wine into a medium saucepan, add the pouch and orange extract. Let simmer over low heat for a minimum of 2 hours, and longer if you desire. It is important that the wine does not come to a boil.
Ingredients: (makes one glass)
2 oz peach juice or peach puree
4 oz Prosecco
Pour the peach juice or peach puree into a Champagne flute, and slowly add the Prosecco.
Ingredients: (makes one glass)
3 oz Barefoot Moscato Wine
2 oz vanilla-ginger simple syrup
Pour the Barefoot Moscato Wine and vanilla-ginger simple syrup into a 10 oz glass tumbler with ice, and fill with the club soda.
Simple Syrup Recipe: (this will store in the refrigerator for up to one week)
8 oz of sugar
8 oz of water
1/4 cup fresh ginger chopped
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 20 minutes. Strain out the chopped ginger and cool.
The Holiday’s are always a special time for me and my family. It’s a time for us to come together and share the joy of one another’s company, as well as partake in fantastic food and beverages. I wanted to pass along to you a few specialty Holiday wines for you to try during this Holiday season. So from me and my family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sparkling Wine Margarita
1 tsp Agave nectar
2 thin slices of lime
Brut Sparkling Wine
Instructions for Margarita
Sprinkle a thin layer of Kosher salt into a flat saucer. Run one slice of lime wedge along the rim of a Champagne flute, turn over the glass and dip it lightly in the salt. Pour the Agave nectar into the bottom of the glass. Squeeze the juice from both slices of lime into the glass. Drop one lime peel into the cocktail and discard the other. Fill the glass almost to the rim with ice and top with sparkling wine. Stir and serve.
Sparkling Earl Grey Cocktail
3 tbsp Earl Grey tea syrup (see recipe below)
1 thin slice of lemon
Brut Sparkling Wine
Instructions for simple tea syrup
In a saucepan, bring one cup of water and one cup of white sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Place one tea bag in the saucepan and let the syrup mixture come to room temperature before refrigerating. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours, remove the tea bag and use the syrup as desired. Syrup will keep refrigerated for up to one month.
Instructions for cocktail
Pour 3 tbsp of cold Earl Grey simple syrup into a Champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and stir. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon and serve.
Warm Spiced Wine
One Bottle Sweet Red Wine
2 tbsp Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Whole Cloves
1 Orange – zest only
1 Lemon – zest only
Place the Wine in a sauce pan. Place the rest of the ingredients in a coffee filter and staple closed. Place the coffee filter in the wine and simmer for 1 – 2 hours, (do not boil).
With the Holiday season upon us, pairing the right wine with your Holiday meal is important. For Thanksgiving, most of us will stick with the traditional dinner of turkey and stuffing, with all of the fixings that go with it. So what wines would pair well with Turkey? There are a few options of both white and red wines that would compliment the dinner.
But before we get into the dinner wines, I like to begin with an aperitif, and during the holiday’s I enjoy a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine. If you don’t go for the Champagne, try a Prosecco from northern Italy, made from the Prosecco grape variety, or a Cava from the Penedes region of southern Spain. Both are produced in the same traditional fashion as is Champagne, but in both instances different grape varieties are used. I like to add a couple of fresh red raspberries to my glass to add color and a slight hint of berry flavor to the bubbly.
With traditional Thanksgiving turkey I would recommend a white wine, and my first recommendation is Sauvignon Blanc. With the aroma and flavor characteristics of citrus and herbs, this would be a great choice to accompany the turkey. Another white wine for Thanksgiving dinner is a wine that not many people are familiar with, Viognier. This grape variety is very aromatic, with aromas and flavors of white peaches, Granny Smith apples, and tropical fruits. Both of these white wines would go very well with the turkey and fixings.
Not many people would think to pair a red wine with poultry, but there are a number of red wines that would compliment the dinner well. The first wine that comes to mind would be Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape variety. Beaujolais is a district located in Burgundy, France. The characteristics of this wine is one of being light-bodied, with ripe red fruit on the nose and palate. Another red wine would be a Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir is a bit heavier than the Beaujolais, but would still pair up very well. Some of the characteristics of a Pinot Noir would be strawberries, red raspberries, cherries, and earthiness. Both of these wines would compliment your Thanksgiving dinner very well.
One always has to leave some room for dessert on Thanksgiving, and a great wine to pair with dessert would be a Moscato d’Asti, a sweet sparkling wine from the Piedmont region of northern Italy that would go well with any traditional dessert. This delicious dessert wine is light, and very fruit forward, with a low alcohol content of only 5-7%, and it won’t fill you up after a full day of eating good food.
I hope that you enjoy these Holiday wines for Thanksgiving, and from me and my family I would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!
As a Sommelier, I have had a number of people ask me what my thoughts are on Box Wine. First of all, I believe that there is still a definite sense of romance that surrounds wine, and all that goes with the bottle, the opening of a bottle, the drinking of wine, the sharing of the moment, etc. However, with box wines, the whole sphere of romance is definitely gone when you have wine inside of a plastic bag, then tucked away in a cardboard box. There is absolutely no romance in a cardboard box. Honestly, the entire concept behind boxed wine is marketing for the bottom line, money. The producers are trying to reach out to the mass market, and by doing that, I believe they have cheapened the whole wine industry, just for more money, which I find to be atrocious.
Regarding the wine itself, when you look at the box you will notice that there is no certain appellation mentioned on the box. Instead, what you have is something like this, Wine from California, or Wine from Southeast Australia. What that tells me is that the producers of that product are purchasing grapes, or the grape juice from a very large region, i.e. California. Thus the quality of the grapes and the grape juice is lessened. I was able to sample various box wines, and for the most part they are barely quaffable, with the quality level being from bad-to-below average. If you are looking for a cheap wine that is not very good, then by all means purchase a box of wine. But if you are looking for something to impress others at a gathering, or for a romantic moment, stay away from the box of wine. Let me also say this, there are plenty of bad wines in bottles as well. What you as a consumer of wine need to look for is a wine that is quaffable for you and your palate, whether it is a wine from a bottle, or a wine from a box.