Holidays + Family = Wine

This is not the new math, It’s the family math.In times of Covid our family gatherings are small.This is both good and bad.Sometimes, it’s easier to get lost in a large family gathering.In a small family gathering we need all the help we can get.For me that often means prepping, cooking and cleaning.By burying myself in work, I don’t have to socialize as much.

If you’re not the prepper, cooker or cleaner, that likely leaves you as a socializer.And, if you find yourself immersed in family, sometimes a glass or two of nice wine does help to ease the pain of talking to uncle Walt or Aunt Shirley.Not that there is anything wrong with uncle Walt or Aunt Shirley, they are perfectly nice folks.Walt usually has a well stocked bar and Shirley, well, let’s just say that she is from another time.

For me, I often like to start with a lighter wine while I’m prepping dinner.I really like my Grenache Blanc and I’m very excited about the new vintage coming out in late March.In the mean time, I have a really fun white blend that I call “Session”.When Covid started I thought the name was kind of cute.I was stuck at home for a few weeks.I figured Covid would pass in no time.I had a bunch of wine, so I made the best of the home drinking “Session”.

Fast forward another eight months and the “Session” is still going on.Hopefully, the end is near and I still have great wine for the holidays.And Session is a great starter wine.It’s light, with tropical fruit flavors and an easy drinking earthy taste that works as well with Thai food as it does with Holiday starters.The alcohol content is on the low end of the spectrum, so it’s o.k. to have more than one glass.Be careful though because I’ve been told by others that before they new it, they were working on the second bottle.

As I work into the holiday meal, I like to go with a lighter red.In June, my first commercial Pinot Noir will be released.Even better with holiday fair is my Grenache from Paso Robles.It’s an Adelaida District, single vineyard wine that simply rocks my world.I’ve been making this wine for six years now.Every year it’s a little different and every year it’s great.After the second year I nicknamed this wine “Candy in a bottle”, because it is.

After many of years spent drinking way too expensive, way to tannic Cabs from Napa and Sonoma, I started getting tired of the same old thing.Looking for something different, I found an affinity for Rhone grapes:Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and others.They’re not weird, but they are simply different from the overproduced commercial Cabs Pinots.Rhones can be light, medium or dark.They are often blended together in a variety of different ways, and I love them.

Grenache is normally thought to be the lightest of the Rhone reds.My Grenache is very light in color but not light in flavor.It is what we call in wine speak, subtle.In English this means it’s not like getting hit in the back of the throat with a hammer.It’s got great fruit flavor, light but ample structure and a nice back end.I always did like a nice back end.Grenache works well with fish, poultry and even Christmas ham.If you are not a white wine person, it works well with appetizers like cheese and charcuterie.

As we get deeper into dinner with richer and heavier foods, or just for people who love Zinfandel, our Single Vineyard Zin from the Templeton Gap of Paso Robles is really on point.It’s great by itself, but with meat items including barbequed or smoked meats, it’s a great partner.Another thing I love about Zin is that it can really work well right into dessert.Whether you are having pumpkin pie or a nice cheese plate, a nice Zinfandel often fits nicely and avoids the need to open another bottle of dessert wine.

If you need wine for the holidays or just to drink or if you have any questions about pairing, call me and I will do my best to steer you toward something that fits your needs.

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Call Jeff at (818) 674-2005 or email