Tag Archives: Winter wines

Party Wines

‘Tis the season to be jolly!

It makes me wonder why everyone is always in such a terrible mood. Christmas should be a wonderful time of year! The whole family will be together, food will be overflowing from refrigerator to ovens, making the house smell wonderful and laughter all the way through. However, what if we need help getting to the laughter part, or what of all the parties and Christmassy get-togethers? Eating and drinking turns into an all out free-for-all, turning potentially normal Wednesdays into… PARTY DAY!! Being good party goers as we are, host(ess) gifts are a must. Believe it or not, I always go with wine. (Shocker…)

I’m aware that the wine racks in any store can be daunting. Which one? What is my price point? Why is that Malbec wearing a grin, is it mocking me? Hey, no judgment here. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had a staring contest between two bottles of wine, unable to make a decision. I’m here to make your life easier with a list of terrific winter wines, perfect for parties or presents.

But first, this short anecdote: I was invited to a birthday party dinner. I didn’t really know anyone, save my friend who had invited me. Even though it was a family affair, I wanted to bring something. I felt bad just bringing myself – so I went to my go to wine store and picked 14 Hands, “Hot to Trot.” This wine is not only delicious, but it’s a red blend, therefore able to please just about anyone. It’s also a fabulous re-gifting wine. I snagged it, purchased it and was on the road, already late due to having to get the wine in the first place. I arrived at the restaurant, told my friend about my wine gift for the birthday girl; thirty seconds later I was informed this was her 20th birthday (Insert sound effects of a bomb exploding).

I handed it to my friend. Re-gifted. Boom.

So a list for when you’re strapped for time and don’t fancy imagined banter with inanimate objects, these are sure to please:

Price Point ($5 – $12)
14 Hands, “Hot to Trot,” Red Blend
MGM, Pinot Noir
Chariot, “Gypsy,” Red Blend
Chateau St. Michelle, Reisling
Monogamy, “Truly Madly Deeply,” Cabernet Sauvignon

Price Point ($13 – $25)
Chatham Hill Winery, Cabernet Franc
Don Gascon, Malbec
Ruffino, Chianti
Prosecco, Champagne

Price Point ($26 – $40)
Caymus, “Conundrum,” Viognier Blend
d’Arenberg, “The Dead Arm,” Shiraz
Frei Brothers, Zinfandel
Boordy Vineyards, Port


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Looking for your Long Lost “Beau”

Beaujolais Nouveau 2013We all want to be the discoverer; the one in the know. There’s always that one person who knows about something really cool before everyone else. Jerks. But that jerk could be you!! Beaujolais is making a comeback, but it’s still in its beginning stages of come-back-ness. This means you could still possibly be the first to bring this wine to a party and be the discoverer!

Interestingly enough, I am seeing a couple shifts in red wine taste at the moment. You do still have the wine snobs, they are set in their ways. Just smile, nod and back away slowly. This shift however, is happening and it’s moving towards old world grapes. There has been a shift in red wines to spicy and/or fruity. A few years ago it was Malbec. Everyone and their mother wanted Malbec. Now, believe it or not, tastes are moving to sweeter reds (more fruit forward). I’ve gotten the question pretty often over the last year or so, “Do you know of any sweeter reds?” I do and Beaujolais Nouveau is one of them (Disclaimer: this mightn’t be you at all, don’t freak out). Let’s learn a little bit about Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau; what they are, where do they come from and why this time of year is important for Beaujolais Nouveau.

The Beaujolais wine region is located north of Lyon, France. The wine is traditionally made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais Wine Region MapBeaujolais is characteristically lower in tannin, higher in acidity and therefore light bodied. This comes almost directly from the Gamay grape having a thin skin (Skin being the place where many wines receive their tannin or dryness). Beaujolais was extremely popular in the 19th century and from this popularity Beaujolais Nouveau was created.

Beaujolais Nouveau
The Beaujolais Nouveau craze really began in the 1980s, where lighter, fruitier wines were preferred over heavy reds for easy drinking. Georges Duboeuf, a lucrative marketer caught on to these high sales and tried to capitalize Beaujolais Nouveau’s success. This craze didn’t last too long and soon Beaujolais and its sister wine Beaujolais Nouveau fell off the map.

Duboeuf wasn’t finished with Beaujolais Nouveau and continued on to create “Beaujolais Nouveau Day,” the third Thursday in November (that was last week!!). It has become the most popular early release wine day, where the wine is fermented only a few weeks before going on sale. Didn’t get your Beaujolais Nouveau last week? You’re still in luck! You can still find bottles of this slightly sweet, very fruity, highly acidic red delight.

Hey, you can’t say you don’t like it until you’ve tried it. Now you know the story and can tell everyone why you’re bringing Beaujolais Nouveau to the party. Now, how do those commercials go? Oh yea! Discover Beaujolais.

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