3 Festive Winter Wines: Flora Springs “Holiday Kisses” and Bubbles Too

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Welcome winter! Welcome light! Happy holidays! Happy Hanukkah, Happy Omisoka, Happy Jul, Happy New Year, Merry Christmas,  Merry Saturnalia, and everything else to you all!

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How better to celebrate all of these special moments with friends and family than with some bubbles… and a really great Cabernet Sauvignon? And while a “Holiday Cabernet”  just might pair well with the relatives, what are some other pairing ideas?

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Thinking beyond turkey and ham (for which I usually go for zinfandel and here are some recommendations from Lodi), Sue and I took to the task the other day by putting together charcuterie and other appetizers, and tasting three festive wines that have holiday wrappings. Reviews and recipes below.

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#MerlotMe Again: Washington’s Northstar Merlot with Ahi Tuna

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For #MerlotMe in October, several wineries sent us Merlot samples. We tasted, paired, and blogged about world class wine from California and Oregon with prices ranging from $15-$55 including Duckhorn, Peju, Murphy-Goode, and more which we paired with everything from squash soup to gourmet grilled cheese to French cuosine which you can read about here and here.

But the moment I saw that bottle of Northstar Merlot from the Columbia Valley in Washington I knew that #MerlotMe would not happen in October because I’d be saving it for when the tuna boat would come in!

Just as fisherfolk use the North Star as a directional guide, “Northstar Winery was established in the early 1990s to guide the
 creation of world-class Merlot-based wines that demonstrate the potential
 of the variety in Washington State.”

Because, you see, we live in a harbor with a fish market, and when tuna is in season from December to April, the boat comes in once a month or so with a load of fresh ahi, opah, wahoo, swordfish and more. You can buy a whole fish or buy the pound.

And there is nothing better to pair with Washington Merlot than Seared Ahi Tuna.

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Northstar – Merlot – Columbia Valley – 2012 – 14.7% alcohol – SRP $40 Continue reading

Cabernet Franc Winners With Osso Bucco, Squash Gratin #WinePW

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As the weather cools and as the days get darker and the nights longer, we turn to rich foods that will warm our homes, our bellies and our souls.

How fitting, then, that Cabernet Franc Day is celebrated each year on December 4 as Cabernet Franc is a wonderful wine to pair with these earthy, root vegetables and braised meats to kindle the fire within! Read why Cabernet Franc is celebrated Dec. 4 and six more reasons to celebrate Cab Franc on that day! Continue reading

7 Reasons To Celebrate Cab Franc

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Today, Sunday, December 4, is the second annual Cabernet Franc Day! Which means it’s time to show Cabernet Franc some well-deserved love!

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Sue and I pouring Cantara Cellars Cab Franc blend “Frankenvine” at last night’s Ventura’s Wine Walk.

So I asked Que Syrah “Give me Cabernet Franc or else” Sue why we should celebrate Cabernet Franc today. Together we came up with this list: Continue reading

Italian Holiday Traditions Adapted to CA Conditions: 3 dishes with wine

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Lambrusco – Dell’Emillia – 11% alcohol -Fun to drink – affordable -Fun to open. the best of a beer fizz and a champagne fizz in one topped with a lush Burgundy color. Bramble fruit, nose and palate, very soft, easy drink. lacking the completity of a full red. A beer drinkers wine. great for parties and a value at $15

The United States is well-known around the world as a land of opportunity and a land of immigrants. 

Only a few Americans today can claim Native heritage; most of us migrated here from somewhere else, and just about all of us have immigrant blood in our veins. Our specific stories may all be different, but we all came for one important reason: to make a better life for ourselves and our families.

This fact has influenced our culinary traditions, Continue reading