What wine pairs with Thanksgiving?

This is the time of year where everyone wants to know which wine they should have with Thanksgiving dinner. Since most people don’t want to break the bank, what follows are a numbe rof recommendations that land squarely on the less expensive side of a $20 bill.

Personally, my go to wine for turkey OR ham is zinfandel. There is alchemical magic in that combination!

How do I know? Many years ago, I worked the tasting room at Ridge and so of course I brought a bottle of zin to that Thanksgiving table.

Last year, during the weekend before Thanksgiving, I convinced my husband to make a turkey AND then a ham so I could try a bunch of wines with these classic holiday meals.  I came up with these three blog posts:

white and rose wines with Turkey

red wines with Turkey

wines for Ham

Since holiday meals usually gather many people, it’s a great excuse to splurge and have different wines to enjoy with each course. In general, I would recommend Continue reading

Feeling Witchy? Get Twitchy! Marc Mondavi’s Divining Rod Chard or Cab!

If you listen carefully, these witches seem to say that Winemaker and Water Witch Marc Mondavi’s Divining Rod draws you in to drink! Yes, that’s right–how many wines do you know that were crafted by a bona fide witch??

If you’re looking for a great wine for your favorite witch or warlock for Halloween or other fall festivities, you can’t go wrong with either the Chardonnay or the Cabernet Sauvignon for under $20 (both on sale right now at Vons for under $15!)

After a long day at work, I opened the 2010 Divining Rod Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands to pair with my pasta and shrimp. It was room temperature but I opened it anyway to have a glass while I was getting dinner together. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but I got a lot! I was surprised and impressed at how delicious it was and looked forward to tasting it with dinner after it had some chill time in the refrigerator. It was the perfect accompaniment with dinner–refreshing, citrusy, nice body, not too heavy but enough to stand up to the butter and garlic and shrimp.

With a fresh, clean, bright, nose, the 2010 Divining Rod Chardonnay certainly put a spell on me from beginning to end, making me very happy! Continue reading

Grenache Day Lifts Your Spirits

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyar...

Picture of Grenache noir grapes from a vineyard in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please join me in celebrating Grenache Day, today, Friday September 21, 2012 by enjoying a glass of this delightful varietal! You can share what you’re drinking on twitter by using the hashtag #grenacheday.

What is there to say about Grenache?

How about it’s one of the most widely grown varietals on the planet!  However, since grenache is used primarily in blends, many people don’t know they’ve had it or that they like it!

I am one of those people who definitely enjoys grenache –with or without its traditional Rhone blending partners, mourvedre and syrah. In case you’ve  heard the term GSM –the g is for grenache, the m is mourvedre and the s is syrah. I prefer my GSMs to be heavier on the grenache and light on the syrah.

On its own, Grenache can be a bit light for some people, and too fruity. Personally, I like its fruit forward freshness with roast chicken and salads and various cheeses;  tonight we’re going to try it with some chicken legs and thighs that are marinating in fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh rosemary, raw garlic, and a prepared teriyaki sauce. Grenache is nice on the cool side (cellar temperature or colder), great with picnics, or when you want something more hefty than a rose.

Grenache is a red wine that won’t bog you down but instead lift your spirits.

Grenache Day 2012 wines from Ojai Vineyards and Cantara CellarsIn honor of Grenache Day 2012, we tasted four: one from Horse Heaven Hills AVA by Alexandria Nichole, two from Lodi California made by Mike Brown at Cantara Cellars in Camarillo, and one from Thompson Vineyards in Santa Barbara made by Adam Tolmach at Ojai Vineyards.

They were all very different and we loved them all in their own ways. All of them are gorgeous in the glass, which is typical of grenache: super pretty pink and clear, vibrant with a violet tinge on the edge. Continue reading