Posts tagged #Viognier

Thanksgiving Wines for Sharing

sharing a bottle of Wattle Creek Sparkling Shiraz, Thanksgiving 2013

sharing a bottle of Wattle Creek Sparkling Shiraz, Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to share a few bottles with friends and family.  With such a variety of food during the sometimes day-long feast, it can be a challenge picking something that pairs well across the board... so why not share a few!  

Selecting a variety of wines will aid in pairing with the several components of a traditional turkey dinner, as well as cater to a variety of guests’ palates.  Hosting dinner or joining a party?  Here are a few tips for selecting wines for your Thanksgiving Day festivities, as well as a list of affordable favorites to look for as you shop!  All are available at BevMo, Total Wine, and Specs, and many are available at national grocery stores as well. 

White Wine ~ pick one that is refreshing and slightly fruity, nothing with too much butter, or too much citrus.  Well balanced, and fairly neutral is best.  You want one that will compliment from turkey to pie. 

Affordable Favorites:

  • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc & Viognier ($12)
  • Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc ($11-$15)
  • St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc ($15-$20)
  • Cuvaison Chardonnay ($20-$25)

Sparkling ~ One of the most forgotten wines for serving on Thanksgiving.  Choose brut. Dry sparkling wines pair nicely with turkey and all that comes with it. Adventurous?  Try a Sparkling Shiraz!  

Affordable Favorites:

Red Wine ~ The trick with reds is to select one that is not too tart or high in tannin.  Fruit forward, medium bodied ~ solid, neutral food wines are best when going with reds.  

Affordable Favorites:

Check out some of our other Thanksgiving favorites:

Thanksgiving Wines Under $20

More Perfect Thanksgiving Wines Under $20

Saddleback Cellars – Viognier

Some of our best wine discoveries have been through recommendations, typically sharing bottles with friends.  We also make a point to ask wineries we enjoy what they recommend.  After all, if we like their stuff, chances are we’ll like what they drink, too!  

While on the road in California wine country earlier this year, we found ourselves with a little extra time between tasting appointments (oh, what to do…).  We were finishing a tasting at one of our favorite spots, Plumpjack, and decided to ask our hostess for a recommendation.  We were looking for a boutique winery, and off the beaten path.  She suggested nearby Saddleback Cellars.  It’s an appointment only winery, so she picked up the phone and made one for us ~ and what an awesome find!

Saddleback Cellars has everything ~ great outdoor seating next to the vines, welcoming hosts, wonderful wines, and one of the coolest wine dogs we’ve ever met – Chloe.  We had the opportunity to taste a variety of their wines, including the 2009 Merlot, 2009 Syrah, 2008 Cab, 2010 Zinfandel, 2010 Chardonnay, and our hands down favorite, 2010 Viognier.

The Viognier has great floral and fruitful aromas, with flavors of peach and nectarine.  It is not overly sweet, a very easy drinker with a long and flavorful finish.  It definitely is drinkable on its own, but pairs well with creamy cheese, and light meats like chicken and fish.  We enjoyed our (first) bottle with ricotta spinach lasagna.  Fortunately, we have more than one bottle, as it would also pair exceptionally well with one of my favorite appetizers, sliced pears topped with blue cheese and honey.  Hello patio!

It is a limited production wine ~ only 328 cases produced.  You can purchase it directly for $26/bottle (on sale until 7/5/13 for $23).  If you are in the Napa area, we definitely recommend a stop at Saddleback Cellars.  Enjoy the wine, and give Chloe a good belly-rub for us!


Posted on June 27, 2013 and filed under Wine Discoveries.

More Fun White Wines to Beat the Heat

A refreshing glass of white wine is an excellent way to cool off during the summer.  Last year we shared some of our favorite fun white wines to beat the heat discovered while exploring California wine regions.  Here are a few more of our favorites ~ all under $20, and available at stores like BevMo and Specs.  Grab a bottle, and relax in the summer sun! 

Sokol Blosser Evolution 15th Edition ($14)

One of my favorite wines this summer.  Intense tropical fruit notes up front, with a nice crisp, clean finish.  Blended from 9 grapes, this smooth, layered white is an excellent food wine, and is great all on its own. 

Conundrum by Caymus ($19)

Silky smooth with a lit bit of sweetness that is mighty tasty.  This California blend pairs so well with so many foods, it’s a conundrum deciding whether to enjoy with a sampling of cheeses, chicken and veggies right off the grill, or all of the above!

Miner Viognier ($20)

Aromatic, creamy with a crisp finish of tropical and stone fruits.  This is an excellent pre-dinner wine to enjoy with appetizers out on the patio, and would pair well with a creamy pasta dish, with chicken or seafood.  This wine is sold out through the winery, so if you find a bottle in your local store, snag it!

Rusack Chardonnay ($20)

Crisp, refreshing wine with flavors of honeydew melon and pear.  Well-balanced with light acidity, and dry finish.  The summer months can be busy, and this is an excellent wine to pair with Chinese take-out!  

Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio ($20)

Dry white wine with hints of apple.  Pack up a picnic ~ this versatile white pairs well with soft cheeses (especially goat), pasta, salads, seafood, even fried chicken!

What wine are you enjoying this summer?

Our Summer Line Up

Posted on August 11, 2012 and filed under Under $20, Wine Discoveries.

"Table wine" doesn't mean bad wine

Don't let the term "table wine" fool you.

Sure, some people think of cheap, mass-produced wine that any self-respecting wine snob would avoid. For us, table wine is often tasty, versatile wine that pairs well with a wide variety of food. Wines that are marketed specifically as "table wine" or simply "white wine" or "red wine" tend to be blends of several grapes that the winemaker has selected for balance and flavor.

Here are three table wines that we always like to have in the house.

Menage a Trois California Red
We always have a few bottles of this in the house because it is inexpensive, goes with almost anything, and is damn good for the price. It's a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot that is very smooth and drinkable. Did I mention the price? We get ours at the San Diego Wine Company for $6.99 a bottle, but you can also get it at BevMo, Specs, and many other fine liquor stores for a buck or two more.

One word to the wise - this isn't a great bottle to bring over to someone's house. Especially if you are a couple and they are single. People always seem to get the wrong idea.

Lined up and ready for Tuesday's dinner or "third bottle" duty.

Conundrum California White Wine
The name implies it is a conundrum to decide when and how to drink it. It is silky smooth with a little bit of sweetness that is mighty tasty. We've had it before dinner, after dinner, and with all sorts of white wine friendly food. There's a lot going on here with Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier making up the blend, but it all works. A not so secret secret is Conundrum is a side project of Caymus, a winery famous for big, expensive reds.

We get ours at the San Diego Wine Company for $16.95 per bottle. If you aren't in San Diego, you may want to order directly from Conundrum.

A bottle of Conundrum sits in our fridge, ready to go at a moment's notice

Vincent Arroyo "Nameless"
This table wine is a special treat, both because of its $30 price point and its awesome taste. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. It's fairly fruit forward, which makes it stand out on its own or pair well with a variety of foods, but has just enough tannin to stand up to your meatier dishes. We shared a bottle with our parents last weekend in memory of Sally's father, Ken. Very tasty.

Vincent Arroyo sells a lot of their wine via futures, meaning you buy it before it's bottled, but Nameless is typically in stock and ready to go. I don't think it is distributed, so best to go straight to the winery.

That bottle of Nameless evaporated!What's your favorite table wine?