Looking to celebrate with your loved ones this holiday season?
One of our favorite additions to a Thanksgiving or Christmas party is our Red Wine Collection. We’ve chosen a great selection of cheeses, perfect for pairing with red wines. This collection will serve up to 20 guests, so it’s perfect for those celebratory moments.
Read on to find out all about the cheeses included and the wines that will make them shine!
Asiago is an Italian sister of Parmesan cheese. It is aged anywhere from three months up to a year and will vary from semi-firm to firm. Its taste is similar to Parmesan, although its texture is less crystallized. It is delicious eaten with crackers and fruits, such as figs, pears, and plums.
Cabernet Sauvignon is flavor red wine choice to accompany your Asiago. The tanginess and salty, buttery qualities of the cheese will cut through the dark fruit, tannins, and spice of the wine. Alternatively, a Merlot can be an excellent choice.
Danish Blue Cheese
Blue cheeses are made with Penicillium cultures which create the blue veins this cheese is known for. They are aged in a temperature and moisture controlled environment to replicate a cave. Danish Blue is moderate in sharpness with a creamy finish.
Because of its depth of savory flavor, you will need to look for a sweet wine that works alongside the richness. flavor examples include a Port or Sauternes if serving cheese after dinner. For blue cheese based appetizers or entrées, a robust red such as a Shiraz or Syrah will work wonders.
Gruyere is a sweet and nutty cheese, which develops a salty earthiness as it ages. Originating in Switzerland, it is often used as the basis for a fondue. It is aged from five months up to a year, giving it a compact and slightly grainy texture.
Grenache or Syrah work well with Gruyere as they are not too rich and will allow the cheese to be the star of the show. For something a little more unusual, try a Cinsault. All of these fruity reds will blend with the sweetness of the cheese to create an exceptional flavor profile.
Another Italian imported cheese, Romano Pecorino boasts a firm texture with a fantastic saltiness. Made from sheep’s milk, it has a very distinctive flavor that is an asset to any cheese board. The cheese is pressed with a weight to remove all of the whey and then covered with salt. This imparts the incredible flavour that the cheese carries.
For a full Italian flavour, pair this cheese with a Chianti. This is a dry red wine with high acidity and plenty of fresh berries perfect for the salty flavor of this cheese.
To make this a really fun celebration we suggest picking up our Red Wine Collection, inviting friends and family over, and encouraging each of them to bring a bottle!
What are you waiting for? Try our Red Wine Collection today!
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it is the one day of the year which is dedicated to pampering moms everywhere… Also, a great excuse to drink lots of wine!
Choosing a bottle of wine doesn’t always mean picking the most expensive bottle. If you’re picking some wine for your mom, the best thing to do is find out what she loves best. It can range from aromatic white and crisp sparkling wines to refreshing rosés and silky reds. Either way, this list is sure to please any mom who deserves the best:
Berlucchi Franciacorta ’61 Rosé
This wine is a signature sparkling wine of Italy’s Lombardy region, Franciacorta is made in the same way that champagne is. The reason it has ’61 in the name is because Guido Berlucchi began producing the style in 1961, and has remained the leader of the region ever since. It is a beautiful salmon pink wine with flavors or lemon, strawberry, and berry. It is a refined, medium-bodied sparkling wine and pairs very well with shellfish and aged cheeses.
Rack & Riddle North Coast Blanc de Blancs
Rack & Riddle is a special wine as it is part of the handful of wineries in California that still use the méthode champenoise, which is a traditional French process which is used to produce sparkling wine. The attention to detail that this winery employs is definitely noticeable within the taste of North Coast Blanc de Blancs. This sparkling wine is full of bright and fruity aromas of melon and green apple, along with strong complimenting flavors of lemon curd and lime to reserve a smooth and crisp finish.
Smith-Madrone 2013 Riesling
Smith-Madrone 2013 Riesling originates from terroir in which the winemaker Stuart Smith purchased back in 1971. The Smith-Madrone vineyards have been producing grapes perfect for crafting German and French style wines. This particular wine has intense aromas of stone fruit, honeysuckle, and white flower. It also has notes of citrus and stone fruit in its flavor which is rounded out by a creamy finish.
Cherry Tart 2013 Chardonnay
This delicious type of Chardonnay is a blend of grapes from the Cherry Pie winery. The winery has three vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties. It is 100 percent Chardonnay which has a strong aroma of white fruit and flower. The taste is rich with notes of marzipan, pineapple, and caramelized pear, there is also a hint of oak throughout.
Whitehaven 2014 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
This white wine is quintessentially Marlborough in its aromas and flavors. It is a medium-bodied wine with notes of gooseberry, peach, and herbs in its aroma and intense tropical fruit and citrus flavors on the palate. Because of its hand-harvested grapes which are grown in the warm New Zealand Climate, it is vibrant, acidic and crisp.
Columbia Winery 2013 Columbia Valley Merlot
This wine is deep red colored and produced from volcanic soil of central Washington. It boasts fragrant aromas of spice and plum along with dark berry and vanilla. A great pairing with wine would be poultry because of its vivid acidity.
Regusci Winery 2012 Matrona Red Wine
It takes its name from the Italian word for “matriarch” and is crafted in honor of Livia Regusci who was the founding mother of the historic family ranch. This red is more of a vintage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in which it offers rich fragrances of cherry and berries. The berry flavors are also a big part of the taste, along with delicious notes of dark chocolate and coffee beans.
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2013 Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2013 Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir is a delicious blend of grapes from Falcon Glen, Lazy River, and Russell Grooters vineyards. Not only that, but this Pinot Noir is aged for 15 months in French Oak barrels and is most desirable after being in the bottle for more than 2 years. Its notes of cherry aroma and flavors of strawberry and rhubarb are pleasure in a glass.
Solace 2014 Rosé
This is another wine in which is produced using the French méthode provençale, which the process entails red grapes being grown and harvested solely for the production of the rosé. On the nose, the aromas are strong with notes of white flower and some peach. With juicy flavors of raspberry, strawberry ad melon, this wine is a delicious refresher.
Jorge Ordoñez & Co. No. 2 Victoria
Winning multiple awards, this wine had to be included. It is made from 100 percent Muscat Alexandria. Notes of mango, peach, apple and lemon are throughout in flavor and aroma. The crisp acidity balances out the sweetness, making it a delicious dessert wine.
The debate about chilling red wine has been going on for many years, it is almost impossible to get through spring and summer without someone bringing it up. Even though it may seem like a sin breaking the age old tradition of cold whites and warm reds, drinking chilled red wine can be a great and refreshing way to explore these wines into the summer months. Even though the process is as simple as putting a bottle on ice and calling it a day, there are a few helpful tips that an make drinking chilled red wine even better!
You may be asking- why even chill red wines? For the most simple reason: chilled wines are refreshing, especially in the blazing heat! This is the exact same reason that iced coffee and tea exists, it doesn’t feel right drinking a hot beverage when it is blistering hot outside, just like it isn’t refreshing drinking warm wine in heat. Another good thing to chilling red wines is that it brings out a wine’s acidity and heightens fruity, fresh aromas.
Chilled red wine does truly mean “chilled”, and not cold; there’s actually a difference between a cooler wine and an ice-cold wine. This isn’t just for red wine either, it goes for all wines. When a wine is at fridge temperature, it can actually be too cold, it subdues the aromas and flavors and basically strips a wine of all its character. A good guide to temperature is 50-55 degrees, or for an easier guide, take the wine out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving or put it in the fridge 45 minutes before serving. If you need it ready any sooner, a bucket of ice water for 6-7 minutes will make the wine good to go.
So which wines are best chilled? The best way to determine is the structure of the wine. Light-bodied, low-tannin, acid-driven wines are the best reds to chill. Fruity wines are also great to chill because the colder temperature makes the flavors pop, but the more earthy wines can be interesting when chilled as well. The most commonly chilled red wines are Pinot Noir and Gamay from Beaujolais, but wines like Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, Zweigelt from Austria and Barbera from Piedmont can also be amazingly delicious when chilled.
You may be thinking if you’re a lover of full-bodied wines, are you not allowed to chill your favorite wines? Is it a good idea to fully chill full-bodied reds? Of course, it is! It may be common to chill light reds, but full-bodied wines can also be just as good when chilled. The cold temperature can heighten the structure of the wine, although wines with a high level of tannin can come unpleasant so it is best to look for full-bodied wines with less tannin and more fruit, such as Malbec and Zinfandel. With reds, it is definitely not advisable to drink them straight out of an ice bucket, but more chilled in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. The light chills will then make the flavor pop without heightening the unpleasant tannins.
The basic thing to remember is that chilled reds are a thing, it just depends on the wine, how chilled you make them.
We all know the rule that when it comes to cooking with wine, there’s one for the dish, and two for the chef! (Am I right?!) Us wine lovers have also heard the true advice to not cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, but then again… it can seem like such a waste cooking with an expensive wine, so let’s see if there is a happy medium.
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Now, we all know about those “cooking wines” readily available at grocery stores, but you definitely wouldn’t want to drink those from the bottle. An excellent alternative can be found at any wine store- a value driven alternative, at that. It doesn’t matter if the recipe calls for red or white wine, the key things to look for are light- to medium- bodied, fruity, acid-driven wines; and to avoid heavy wines with lots of tannin or oak because they will clash too much with the flavors of most dishes. The best way to tell if a wine is any good other than those tips will be the price. The sweet spot lies between $10 to $15 dollar, ensuring both value and quality.
What are we waiting for? Let’s throw on our aprons and get cooking with these favorites!
Domaine La Montagnette ‘Sinargues’ Côtes Du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France
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For those who enjoy full-bodied wines will enjoy this wine especially. Similar to wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, it contains familiar grapes for a delicious cooking or drinking wine (or both!) You must take caution and avoid picking up tannic wines as they can be quite bitter when added to a dish. This wine remains low in tannin, but has a darker structure, with blackberry, black cherry, and wet-earth flavor set.
NV Castillo Peredlada ‘Blanc Pescador’, Catalunya, Spain
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Not only is this a popular drinking wine throughout Spain, it goes perfectly with practically any dish. With blends of Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada, this wine is close to sparkling, making it similar to Cava. Don’t worry though, this won’t affect your dish because the bubbles flatten as the wine gets cooked, but drinking wise, it will definitely perk up the chef! This perfect sous-chef wine is clean and fresh, offering lemony notes with a touch of rocky minerality.
Esporao ‘Monte Velho’ Branco, Alentejo, Portugal
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Countries that are not known well for winemaking provide excellent sources of cooking wine because they typically offer better quality for a lesser price. This wine offers a delicious fruity taste, without a bit of body without the oak. It’s a perfect blend of Roupeiro, Antao Vaz and Perrum is a Portuguese staple. It is a richer wine but still retains its freshness.
Leyda ‘Classic’ Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley, Chile
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Pinot Noir is the perfect drinking wine, but it can also be an amazing cooking wine. It comes in lots of different forms and prices. There’s definitely no reason to waste $50 glasses of wine when a lesser-known Pinot Noir producer exists in Chile, offering a decent bottle for a good price. The Chilean producer specializes in a balance of fruity flavors with an affordable price tag.
Le Cantine Di Indie ‘Polpo Rosso’, Sicily, Italy
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Most dishes will want a red or a white wine, but sometimes a rose is preferred. This light red wine is a ‘go to’ when it comes to those times. It is organically farmed in Sicily, made from Nerello Mascalese. Its fresh flavors, raspberry, and red cherry is the fruity delight that is craved and will pop even more in cooler temperatures, so feel free to chill it before use!
Weingut Josef Leitz ‘Leitz Out’, Riesling, Rheingau, Germany
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Because of its high acidity, Riesling makes a perfect cooking wine. Be careful not to pick up a sweet version of this wine, though, or there will be an extra dose of sugar added to the dish. With peach and lemony flavors, this wine cooks down (easier than it goes down!) and makes an excellent choice when it comes to cooking.
Red wine, when consumed in moderation, can have a great amount of health benefits. On average, a healthy intake of red wine is between one and two 5-ounce glasses on a daily basis. Red wine has higher content of polyphenol antioxidants than most other beverages with alcohol content which is proven to have added benefits linked to improved cardiovascular health, healthy levels of blood sugar and preventative measures for cancer.
Procyanidin is a polyphenol that has proven cardiovascular benefits. Preventing blood clots along with inflammation, while dilating blood vessels, ultimately, procyanidin promotes healthy and fluid blood flow. Being the strongest polyphenol for improving cardiovascular health, procyanidin is highest in the Tannat grape. This was the finding in a study conducted in 2006 and published in the journal, Nature. Researchers that conducted this study found that wines native of Sardinia, Italy and southwest regions of France to contain the highest amounts of procyanidin. Among the findings in their research, Madiran wines native to southwest France to contain the highest levels of procyanidin as they are made exclusively from these Tannat grapes.
Also a polyphenol, reveratrol has been known to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and cancer while maintaining a healthy level of blood sugar. More than two decades ago, a professor emeritus from the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University conducted a study where over 100 different red wines were sampled. The samplings were conducted with wines from New York, California and other countries. It was determined that of the 100 wines sampled, Pinot Noir had a markedly higher content of resveratrol than other wines, not taking wine-making processes or geography of origin into account.
Anthocyanin, a third in this series of polyphenols, is what gives wine its native red color. The higher the content of anthocyanin, the darker red the color the wine becomes. Ideal conditions for increased polyphenol levels in grapes is in a humid climate as the polyphenols can then multiply with the aid of UV light. The Cornell University professor emeritus determined furthermore that wines native to New York including Merlot display markedly higher levels of resveratrol than other wine varieties. In addition, an enologist out of Washington State University determined that wines from regions much closer to the equator contained higher levels of anthocyanin as the climate nearer to the equator was supportive of the environment needed to produce higher levels of this particular polyphenol. Similarly, dry and tart wines such as Cabernet also contain a higher content of anthocyanin.
Overall, wines have always been known to promote a sense of better health, but only if the intake of wine is in moderation. As studies point out, red wines lead the pack in health benefits, particularly, cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. As the old axiom goes, “A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away…”
Among your list of items to get and ready for the Thanksgiving feast you’re hosting for the family is the turkey, stuffing, cranberry dressing, candied yams and pumpkin or apple pie, among others. Now, let’s take a step outside of the norm and delve into a world of flavor enhancement. And what does a more superior job of bringing out the flavors of a feast than a fine bottle of wine?
The World of White Wine
When you think of Chardonnay, its flavor is at its peak when paired with turkey and any cream-based dishes or that has cream in it. There are an ample amount of chardonnays you can try that are sure to fancy your desires, with obvious dependencies on budget. In terms of budget, there are wines on the market that can range anywhere from $10-15 per bottle to prices that soar well through the roof.
Pinot grigio is, overall, a crowd-pleaser. It might not be that “perfect” match with any specific dish on the Thanksgiving dinner table, but at the same time, it most certainly will not combat any flavors at the same time. Native to Italy is a bottle of Cavit, that won’t break the budget by any means, as a the largest bottle of Cavit can be bought for around $10-15. It’s a solid choice and has done historically well with holiday feasts.
Sauvignon Blanc is a near-natural “go-to” wine, regardless of the meal presented on the table. Contrary to pinot grigio’s limited matchings, sauvignon blanc is the better overall wine selection at Thanksgiving with its herb-filled qualities.
The World of Red Wine
That “perfect marriage” at the holiday table comes with a bottle of Pinot noir as it goes well with just about anything on the Thanksgiving menu and is best overall suited for a Thanksgiving feast. A great example of a perfect red wine at your Thanksgiving meal is a bottle of Oyster Bay which can usually go for about $16 on the shelf.
Zinfandel is another pristine wine selection at any Thanksgiving or holiday dinner table. Some top choices for a zinfandel are a Chilean bottle of Dancing Bull or from California, a bottle of Ravenswood, both which can be had for under $15, generally.
While nothing can beat an excellent Thanksgiving meal, or any holiday meal, let a bottle of red or white wine bring out the incredible flavors of every dish at your Thanksgiving dinner table this holiday season.