Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holidays are for drinking

As everyone knows, the true spirit of the holidays is best celebrated by everyone's favorite pastime, imbibing. Here are a few recommendations to steer you in the right direction without leaving you completely broke, so you still have enough coin leftover to buy me something nice.

337, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006-This cabernet from Lodi, CA is very fruity and would be great with steak, lamb, or pot roast. Solid wine overall, but with just the tiniest bite at the finish line. Fun fact: the name comes from French vine clone, 337. $13.99

Codorníu, Cava-This is my favorite “party” bubbly right now. It’s decent on its own, and gets even better in a mimosa or in a cocktail. Great price for entertaining guests and available at fine retailers such as Long’s Drugs. Go ahead and stock up on Bruce’s canned yams while you’re there. $7.99

Zynthesis, Zinfandel, 2006-This Lodi zinfandel is definitely a good casual dinner wine—spicy and fruity. Still, it was slightly disappointing, based on its rating and reviews. I might have been expecting too much, but for the price I shouldn’t complain too much. $10.99

Gordon Biersch Märzen-From a local San Francisco brewery, this is a great winter beer with plenty of warmth and caramel notes, but not so heavy that you can’t drink a couple and still polish off dinner. It doesn’t hurt that I often find it on sale at Safeway. $7.99 (six pack)

Russell’s Reserve Rye Whiskey—I mentioned this rye a couple of weeks ago in my Mixology Monday post, but since then ( I don’t know if I should be telling you this) I’ve gone through, uh, several bottles. Produced by Wild Turkey, this whiskey is aged for six years and has great spice and a smooth finish. It also makes a great Sazerac. $24.99

Whatever You Do, Don’t Touch It:
Johnson Estate, White Ipocras

So this review may be coming a little late, but better now than never. Before we left Ithaca, Beta Wife and I decided to try a wine from a local NY vineyard, the Johnson Estate Winery. We picked up a bottle of the White Ipocras, and their label described it as “a stylish white wine generously flavored with ginger and other spices.” Ha. I am fairly adventurous when in the realm of beverages, and have always been slightly suspicious of spiced wine, so I thought it might be a good chance to branch out. Well, here is a good example of why I don’t like change. These third generation Johnsons have clearly not ever tasted their product. This so-called wine is downright nasty, and really, that’s the best adjective I can come up with here. I’ve tasted Pine-Sol less abrasive than this concoction. Ok, not really, but at least you should be able to clean the floors with it. I shudder to think of the tastebuds I lost in the process of sampling it. Let’s have a moment of silence for them now.

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