It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The bakers are baking, the gift wrappers wrapping, and the families and friends are gathering. Everyone is busy with holiday plans and knocking out their end of year work goals. We are now counting down in the single digits to Christmas, and there is a lot happening.All the more reason to optimize the quiet moments for maximum relaxation and enjoyment. For when you foresee (or even need to plan for) your evening ending up with a movie night on the couch with a bottle of wine, here’s our recommended shopping list to pair with some of our favorite holiday movie choices: Elf For this delightful Christmas tale full of cheer and singing loud for all to hear, I suggest you pick up an Ice Wine - extra points if you find one from New York state! While I’m not sure if Buddy would want to put this in his coffee, this wine would surely align pretty closely to the 4th elvish food group: syrup. But this syrup is for adults only, and it is as sweet as Buddy the Elf himself. For those with less of a sweet tooth, seek out a prosecco - The big, clean bubbles mirror Buddy’s pure, effervescent personality.For max enjoyment, pair with a treat from one of the other main elvish food groups: candy, candy canes, or candy corns.The Nutcracker Ballet The Nutcracker ballet, along with The Christmas Carol, are the holiday performances you and your family are apt to make the special trip out to the theatre for. However, if you can’t make the trek out, just tune into Netflix for a performance narrated by Kevin Kline and featuring a young MaCaulay Culkin.For this classic, first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 18, 1892, I have to recommend another classic - Champagne. Of course, such a prestigious wine region usually comes at a price point that may-or-may not fit the everyday budget. In that case, why not try a traditional method sparkling wine from Moldova? They share history with The Nutcracker’s homeland, and you can find a decade-old Grand Vintage for only $20. For max enjoyment, have sugar plums and chocolate on-hand. It’s a Wonderful LifeThis beautiful Frank Capra exemplar was the Christmas tradition in my house growing up, and I appreciate it more-and-more the older I get. For this, I’d like to pair with a ruby port (tawny if you prefer). Port is refined and elegant, and simultaneously comforting, and you’ll certainly need some comfort as you progress through George Bailey’s Christmas crisis and revelation. The ending is sweet and triumphant, just like the finish of your port. For max enjoyment, have tissues and dark chocolate handy, and watch on Christmas Eve. A Christmas StoryFor this all-American, Cleveland classic, I’d pick up a US-produced rosé. I’m a huge proponent of enjoying rosé all year long, so wine not? It’s the pink bunny of the wine world (but one you’re actually happy about)! Plus, rosés are best in their youth, much like Ralphie’s active imagination. If you can’t find a US rosé at your local package store, you’ll certainly enjoy one from Provence or Languedoc.For max enjoyment, don your favorite onesie in solidarity with Ralphie.Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerPlayful and bright, I want a young, fruit forward wine for this wholesome movie. Look for an Oregon Pinot Noir or California Zinfandel produced in the last 1-3 years, preferably with red cherry and/or strawberry notes as bright as Rudolph’s nose. If New World isn’t your thing, consider a Crianza Tempranillo from Rioja.For max enjoyment, snuggle up for your viewing party with that toy or stuffed animal from your youth we both know you still have. How to Grinch Stole ChristmasAh, what to pair with Mr. Grinch, whether he be animated or Jim Carrey? Baring my husband’s appropriate, but non-grape based suggestions of Absinthe and Gin, I’m going to recommend you seek out the dark horse of the sparkling world: sparkling reds. Give an Italian, secco (dry) Lambrusco di Sorbara a try, with descriptors like tart and tangy red fruit; or if you like the darker fruit spectrum, a sparkling Shiraz from South Australia ought to do the trick. The red fruit in your glass will be festive, plus those bubbles will give you the warm-and-fuzzies when Mr. Grinch’s heart finally grows up from two sizes too small. For max enjoyment, sing out loud and proud when the Who sing their “Welcome Christmas” song because you know you want to. Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze...The Holiday For this subtle holiday favorite, I’d hands down pair with a California Chardonnay! In THE Let-Go-Bar-Scene Amanda is seen drinking a deep gold, white wine, and I’m making an educated guess it’s a Chard. Plus, Iris’s holiday takes place in Amanda’s home state of California...so off to the white wine aisle you go!For max enjoyment, turn your living or bedroom into a pillow fort (absolutely bedecked with some holiday lights) from which you can enjoy watching the movie. White ChristmasWhite Christmas is a Christmas classic for old Hollywood romantics, with music, fabulous dancing, romance, war-time camaraderie, and costumes to die for. It was released in 1954, and since that was long before the new world markets started to grace the wine world with their presence, I have to recommend pairing an Old World wine with this vintage film. Look for an older vintage Medoc red Bordeaux blend for you red wine lovers, and for the jazzier scenes, maybe consider a Condrieu Viognier to mix things up a bit!For max enjoyment, set up shop next to a cozy fireside and wear something sparkly. Hallmark Christmas moviesGo to your fridge. Pick a wine (any wine). Grab some crackers on the way back to the couch. Voila! You have the perfect wine and snack to pair with all of that CHEESE!! (I can say it, I’m obsessed with these movies)What are some of your favorite holiday movie and wine pairings? What should we try next?
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The ultimate guide for wine lovers and last minute shoppers like us:1. Wine Condoms: $14“Practice Safe Sips. Protection for your Pinot.” These guys get an award for the best puns. Yes, this is serious and seriously works. This protective wine covering reseals your opened bottle of wines for future use–helping you avoid having to awkwardly shove the cork back in, and giving your friends some laughs in the process.2. Porto Vino Wine Purse $50We love, love this purse. It’s got a secret insulated compartment that holds up to 1.5 liters of wine–equivalent to two bottles–and has a nozzle on the side so you can easily pour when you’re on the go. And, it’s super cute. So you can, you know, be sketchy, but also look like you’re not.3. Wine Folly: Magnum Edition ;-): $18.99This book is from our favorite please-explain-to-us-in-pretty-pictures-what-the-heck-this-wine-is blog, Wine Folly. It’s a roundup of all the 101 and 201 knowledge you could ever want to drop on wine in infographic form. Our friends have basically stopped talking to us when they come over in favor of flipping through this guy. Coffee table required. 4. Coravin: $199+++For all of you serial killers out there who don’t finish the whole bottle in one sitting. Just kidding. Ever opened up a really nice bottle of wine on a random Wednesday night only to find yourself attempting to finish it all alone? Enter Coravin. The wine needle on this system gently pierces through the cork so you can pour your bottle without ever having to take out the cork. This means you can save the rest for later like you never opened it. It comes in handy for wine tastings or nights where you want to dabble with a few different vinos. Drink any wine, any time, without ever pulling the cork. Whether you want a sip, a glass, or more, your last glass will taste just as amazing as your very first.5. Wine. All the Time.: $10Quite possibly our favorite book about wine in non-picture format. Marissa Ross is hilarious and will teach you everything you want to know about natural wine. It feels like you’re talking to a girlfriend as you read, and also comes with a pretty dope glossary of wine terms so you can sound super smart at the next dinner party.6. WineBlock Red Wine Stain Preventing Lip & Teeth Balm: $11So you don’t look like a hot mess at the 8AM meeting tomorrow, Karen. Candidly, we haven’t tried this yet, but we are pretty excited about it. There are a bunch of wipes out there to remove red wine lip/teeth stains, but this is the first product we’ve seen that’s meant to prevent it when you’re drinking heartier reds. It works like a lip balm, is all-natural, and is flavorless so that it doesn’t interfere with all the goodness that comes with sipping on wine.7. Wine Stakes.: $20For lawn games with a side of sophistication. These stakes are perfect for the beach or backyard BBQs. If you’re like us and prefer a glass over a plastic cup, these are exactly what you need. You stick ‘em right into the lawn and you’ve got a ready made glass and bottle holder. 8. Uncorked Candles: $24In this process, we realized you can get just about anything with wine scents or flavors. Soaps, salts, jellies, etc. etc. We are obsessed with these candles though. They’re handmade from discarded wine bottles and are made with soy to be long-lasting. Flavors include: cabernet, chardonnay, rose, pinot grigio, and champagne.9. Wine Coasters: $11Vibe your inner Monica and protect your almost “grown up” furniture from the dreaded condensation that drips ever so slowly down the stem. There are an endless number of cute coasters out there with fun sayings for your fellow wino. We’ve found our favorites on Etsy. Take a look - there are plenty to choose from. Link10. Clink & Company Wine T-Shirts: $27Clink & Co. makes some of the cutest shirts out there. If you’re in on the graphic tee phase, you’re gonna wanna snag one of these for your friend that loves wine. They come in a bunch of different styles and are decently affordable. Awesome way for your friend to declare their love of wine to a bunch of people who don’t care, but gently. 11. Shower Wine Glass Holder $16Because sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to wash our hair twice a week. JK, three times a week. If you’re like us and enjoy taking your glass of vino on a road trip into the shower, this glass holder is perfect. It suctions right to your shower wall so you can sip in the shower safely.12. Brads & Chads (Drinking Buddies): $24If you’re looking for a weird gag gift, look no further. With these drinking buddies, your friend will never be alone on the holidays. 13. Vino2Go Portable Wine Glass: $13Good for “imbibing on the move.” This double-wall, insulated cup is a perfect road soda container. They’ve built it to maintain temperature, so it’s good for chilled wines in the summer. Bonus: the silicone lid keeps you from being like us and spilling everywhere.Go forth, buy all the things.
Black History Month! It's one of my favorite months of the year. We get to celebrate America's diversity and raise a glass to those who helped make this country great. Without diversity, America would be just as boring as Pinot Grigio. Lucky for us, we have options... and lots of them. With diversity, no one wine is the same as the next, nor do they all come from the same place. However, it does have one major similarity: wine brings people together. With that being said, here are a few very influential leaders in the wine industry doing just that…bringing people together. André Hueston Mack André Hueston Mack: Winemaker Ahh Corporate America. It’s not for everybody - especially this guy. Mack left his suit and tie back at Citicorp and headed to Texas to become a sommelier. Quickly earning the title “Best Young Sommelier in America”, Mack’s career rapidly shifted and opened an opportunity to work as the head sommelier for Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York City. From there he pursued a real interest of his: winemaking. Through building a brand Mouton Noir (aka Black Sheep), Mack’s creativity in design and marketing has risen him to be a trend setter in the wine industry. His playful wine labels and clothing brand helped take wine away from snobby to just outright hilarious, fun and witty. Watch Grammy award winner Bridget Kelley doing a blind tasting with one of Andre's wines! VIDEO Marbue Marke Marbue Marke: Winemaker at Caldwell Vineyards At the age of 15, Marbue was the first in his family to leave Africa. In doing so, he attended UC Davis for medicine and eventually decided, “Blood and selfishness weren’t going to work for me." So he switched his degree to Enology (winemaking) and went on to attain his MBA from Sonoma State. Working under some of the best names in the wine industry, Marbue began to define himself and craft his own wines under the “Caldwell” brand. Even though he is thought to be one of the most talented winemakers in the world, Marbue keeps a low profile. You can still find him in the cellars of Caldwell, hand-crafting small lots of fine wine every year. Iris Rideau Iris Rideau: Owner of Rideau Vineyards New Orleans native Iris Rideau happens to be one of the first African American female winery owners in the United States. Iris, who was born into poverty back in the 30’s, has built a well deserved name for herself. She produces award-winning wines and is recognized from her work as a local activist in Los Angeles back in the 60’s and 70’s, where she helped secure jobs for ethnic minority women. Her winery, Rideau Vineyards, in Santa Ynez, CA focuses on Rhone varietals and refuses to grow. With a production size of less than 8,000 cases, a bottle of her wine is rare to find. Iris is, truly, a great representation of the American dream. Dylnn Proctor Dylnn Proctor: Sommelier Most famous for his appearance in the documentary Somm: Into the Bottle,Proctor has become a recognized figure in the wine (and fashion) industry. His dapper suits and immense wine knowledge are just a few things that make him a stand out in the wine world. Proctor has not only proven that wine can be easily approachable, but shows the industry is becoming more diverse and a younger generation is slowly taking over.Proctor now represents the finest wine brand in Australia, Penfolds, and travels the world doing what he loves most: sippin wine and spittin knowledge. Red Carpet conversation with Dylnn at the Somm 2 premiere in Napa! VIDEO Your #SommNextDoor: Nicholas Ducos. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a Certified Sommelier, Nicholas has worked in many prestigious restaurants in Miami, Florida. As a chef and as a sommelier, he is dedicated to creating a memorable dining experience and making wine relatable to others in a witty yet refined style. Nicholas is currently traveling the world learning the art of winemaking and plans to create his own label in the near future. Follow Nicholas's latest adventures through his website and Instagram.
Here are a few wine gifts we've curated for the wine lover on your holiday gift list. Happy Holidays! Most can ship and be there gift wrapped before Christmas Eve! Enjoy, and if you find something you think belongs on this list then drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine Why: Beautifully done visual graphics and infographics with tons of great information on wine, wine regions, and more Rating: 5/5 $15 BUY Secura Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Wine Opener Why: makes opening the 4th bottle of the night way easier. beautiful design, look, and feel. Rating: 4.5 / 5 $29 BUY World’s First Electric Wine Aerator and Dispenser Why: great talking piece at dinner parties; a unique and useful gift for anyone that drinks wine. Rating: 5/5 $100 BUY The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine Why: Fantastic book (true story) of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine which was supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson, a 1787 Chateau Lafite. The bottle is covered in mystery of it being a fake, duped billionaires around the world, and the people involved. (Yes, movie is coming with Mathew McConaughey being onboard.) Rating: 4 / 5 $13 BUY Professional Corkscrew Why: Danish designed, professional corkscrew made of eco-friendly materials of Rosewood and stainless steel. Open your best bottles without any hesitation. Rating: 5 /5 $13 BUY Hair 12 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cellar Why: This fridge has a nice space saving design, sexy look, and is dual temperature for both your whites and reds. Rating: 4.5 / 5 $128 BUY Wine Condoms, Wine Bottle Stoppers Why: Protection is a must. A fun gift that’s cheeky and practical. Rating: 4.5 / 5 $13 BUY Vina Wine Travel Bag and Cooler for 2-bottles Why: brining your wine to a picnic or a friends house in a plastic bag is not good for the environment nor your street red Rating: 4.5 / 5 $18 BUY
With the holidays right at our doorstep, it's time to eat, drink, and be merry! Holiday hams are a staple for the season for many, even for some naughty Jews and Muslims! (Imagine that: ham, the great unifier.) We digress. Here we go with Ham x Wine x Music pairings. Peanut-fed Serrano ham: When you’re talking dry, salty ham with some delicate flavors, there are several ways to go. Sparkling wine is a great choice, especially a sparkling rosé. A good, bracing still rosé would work too. Mineral undertones, bone-dry. Listen to Joao Gilberto, the man who reimagined bossa nova. He will make you feel sexy while you dine. Warning: the urge to dance to him is overwhelming. Aged country ham: What to pair with the slightly sweet, meaty taste of this classic American ham? Something that holds up but doesn't overwhelm. If you like dry, I’d go with a riesling, chenin blanc or a merlot. On the sweeter end, moscato, brachetto d’acqui, vin santo and white port would work perfectly. Listen to Red Clay Ramblers. . .yup, Appalachian string music. (Nailed it!) Smoked ham: To cut through the smokiness you’ll need a medium-bodied red with prominent fruit and good acidity. Some good choices: Grenache-based reds such as a Paso Robles GSM blend, a big zinfandel, a new world pinot noir (go California rather than Oregon). Some Italian wines would work too: tempranillo, nebbiolo, sangiovese, primitivo and dry lambrusco. Listen to Gipsy Kings, specifically the Hotel California Spanish Remix. Jambon de Bayonne: This air-dried salted ham would go well with still rosé, crisp white wines with herbal undertones, dry sherry (maybe a Fino or Manzanilla), or dry madeira. Listen to Bayonne-born jazz guitarist Sylvain Luc. Happy Holidays!
Those that love wine are an interesting breed. They can be nerdy; the type that collected baseball cards as a kid and kept them neatly in clear sleeves in a binder or they can be the absolute opposite. One thing is for sure, these wonderful, lively and attractive folks in your life want cool stuff. Don't get them anything lame. Don't get them a bottle of wine unless you know it's delicious. Here are 3 holiday gifts we like this last weekend before Christmas! 1. Coravin Wine Access System: It's spendy but you may be Knighted for buying it for someone. It's nice to have a glass of wine that you were saving and still cellar the rest, $299 2. Decoding Italian Wines, learn about Italian wines with this no-nonsense, easy breezy read, $9 3. Hottest Wine Shirt on the market! (Shameless plug for our own merchandise!) 4. Bonus: Selfie Stick with Bluetooth remote, $8 (Amazon says it will arrive by 12/23/14) Holiday Gifts for Wine Lovers Part 1 (in case you missed it!)