A Wine Lover’s Gift Guide: Two Festive Wines

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

Yes because I am dreaming of a WINE CHRISTMAS this year, I decided to put together a Wine Lover’s Gift Guide, and today I have TWO FESTIVE WINES!

Wines

  • 2017 Flora Springs “Happy Holidays” Red Wine Blend
  • 2017 Rangeland “Mistletoe” Red Wine Blend

We paired the wines with easy colorful fun festive finger foods:

Menu

  • Truffle brie in puff pastry
  • Sausage stuffed mushrooms
  • Mushroom stuffed mushrooms
  • Aged Cheddar with cabernet jam (in a kit!) and blackberries with fresh mint
  • Mozzarella with sun dried tomatoes (in a kit!) with fresh basil
  • Red wine salami
  • Cannoli stuffed with ricotta, blackberries, mint

Every year, Flora Springs produces festive bottle for Halloween and for Christmas, and I have been a happy recipient of samples! The bottles are so beautiful that I have saved two previous vintages, pictured above along with this year’s which features a cardinal inside a wreath. Order soon to arrive in time for your 2017 holidays or cellar for future celebrations.
2017 Flora Springs “Happy Holidays” Red Wine Blend, Napa
ABV 14.2%
SRP $75
Each year, Flora Springs offers etched, one of a kind, hand-painted Holiday Bottles. This year’s cardinal design is inspired  by a vintage greeting card that Nat Komes found in his Grandmother Flora’s attic. This 2017 Holiday Red Blend combines Bordeaux varietals from estate vineyards in the Napa Valley AVAs of St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. The grapes came in in early October, and show no sign of smoke taint.
  • Color: Very dense dark ruby
  • Nose: Nicely herbaceous, a bit musky, cherry, tart cherry
  • Palate: Very smooth, cherry, mint, chocolate mint, medium to light body, nicely oaked,
  • Pairing: Great with caprese bites and fantastic with truffle brie encroute, which brings out a nice fruit in the wine. We loved it with the stuffed mushrooms and the sharp cheddar with cabernet wine jam. I liked it with a bit of Ibirico cheese. Fantastic with sliced salami. We originally were going to do antipasto skewers, but these caprese bites and sliced salami were a similar flavor profile and much easier for Sue to put together since the cheese came already sliced and with the tomatoes! The cheddar and jam kit was also tasty; we just added the fresh blackberries which paired really well also. While I enjoyed it with our appetizers and dessert finger foods I thought it was more of a prime rib kind of wine. It yearns for rich foods with lots of umami. They suggest pairing it with crown roast of pork, beef tenderloin, smoked beef brisket, or lasagne.

Rangeland Mistletoe

2017 Rangeland “Mistletoe” Red Wine Blend, Paso Robles
ABV 15.3% 
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Syrah, 14% Merlot, 10% Petite Sirah
The first time John and Sue stumbled upon this winery it was when they were in Paso Robles picking up their Turley shipment and Sue asked the employee in the Turley tasting room what their favorite winery in the area was. With the reply of Rangeland, Sue and John headed there to check Rangeland out. At the time the tasting room was located in a small market on the Main Street of Templeton, California. They were in the midst of a membership party where not only were members sampling their wines, but also the meats and sausages from their ranch, and Sue and John were invited to enjoy the celebration. Even though she did not need to belong to one more wine club, Sue fell in love with the wine, the people, and the meat, and Sue joined up; she has not regretted that decision to this day.
“We love their wines, and the warmth and love that is shared by this small family owned winery,” says Sue.
  • Color: Dark and dense, garnet, fushia rim.
  • Nose: Mint, cherry, eucalyptus, bramble berries
  • Palate: Mint and cherry, Eucalyptus, cherry snuff, cocoa powder, chocolate covered cherries, pipe tobacco, blueberry pie, bramble berry.  I thought this was a fantastic wine. The quality and the structure of the wine is so well crafted.
  • Pairing: Really nice with the cannoli, the mint and the blackberry really enhances the wine. Also great with our sharp cheddar with cabernet jelly. Loved the appetizers as well. This wine is a great appetizer wine. It is also a wine that is so easy to drink on its own. In October when Sue and John went to pick up their shipment, there was a food truck at the winery serving burgers made from their Rangeland beef. They ordered a few burgers, they even grilled one up for their dog Kingston. After going through a tasting, this was the wine they decided to have with their burgers. It was absolutely a perfect companion for a high quality grilled beef burger. The wine loves the stuffed mushrooms. The high alcohol content is not evident in the wine.

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