Get Lit This Holiday: Wine Nog, and Boozy Glogg

Bells will be ringing, snowflakes will swirl; the holidays are fun, until you hurl.

Such sweet poetry… yep, I’m full of it. Poetry, that is…

Remember my old rule, when I write a bad pun or rhyme – take a sip. So take a sip. Maybe two.

Each holiday, I’ve written about various wines with which to toast the season. This year, I wanted to mix it up a little by making my own wine concoctions. I did not invent these recipes, but I wanted to try them because I’m feeling creative. And using a cork screw in artful ways just didn’t satisfy my creative thirst.

But first, a little winter’s tale of nog for you – gather round.

It was a cold Christmas eve, the snow crisp and deep, and even. With everyone at home with their treasures, and few creatures stirring, HubbyDoug realized that he’d forgotten to buy his traditional carton of nog! What now?? Donning his best Maple Leafs toque (beanie), and jacket he dashed out to find the frost was indeed cruel; no open stores. Bah! When what to his wondering eyes should appear, a lone open gas station, oh dear, oh dear! And, yes kids, it had one remaining carton of the nog he craved; as if it was there just for him.

Now, what could possibly go wrong by drinking gas station egg nog, you ask? Well, my friends, it wasn’t just the frost that was cruel that night…

Lesson learned: Always. Check. Expiry. Dates. Even at Christmas.

My nog will be different. It will be delightful! It will be tasty! It will be fresh! It will have wine! And it will be served within a day of making it!

Two of the most consumed traditional favorites are Egg Nog, and Glögg. Egg nog is, well, egg nog; delicate eggy goodness with nutmeg and cinnamon. And Glögg? You’ll see in a bit.

Use Your Noggin’

While my nog has white wine, the only stipulation is that it be a dry white. So many possibilities, but also the chance of a swing and a miss; too dry or savoury and it upsets the delicate balance. Too sweet and you may need to go to the ER. What to do??

I looked at the general flavor profiles of a couple of white varietals and narrowed the field down from there. While I love Sauv Blanc, the herbaceous profile suggests it might be too pungent: flavors of green fruit and vegetables such as gooseberry, green bell pepper, grass, and sometimes nettle. Using wines with great complexity of flavors is, honestly, a waste since the star attraction is really the nog, not the wine. So go for an inexpensive wine that has a higher acidity (to cut some of the nog’s creamy heaviness). An affordable Pinot Gris might be a good bet since its style can range from dry, off- dry, medium to sweet, and flavors include spicy tropical fruits, hints of honey and nuttiness, depending on the region.

I chose a 2016 Chateau St. Michelle, from Columbia Valley, Washington, with flavors of pear, melon and a whisper of spice.

Christmas Egg Nog:

Serves 10

2 egg whites

1/2 bottle white wine

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest 1/2 cup honey

3 cups milk

1/2 quart half and half nutmeg

Place egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with hand mixer until stiff. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine white wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, and honey over medium heat. Stir until mixture is warm, then slowly add the milk and half and half while continuing to stir.

Stir over medium heat until mixture is frothy. Remove from heat. Fold in beaten egg whites, then pour mixture into individual glasses or mugs.

Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Serve immediately.

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Glögg

Glögg, on the other hand, has been described as the Long Island Ice Tea of mulled wine. There is a lot of booze in this, and really packs a punch, so better make sure you have Uber lined up if you’re drinking this during the annual open house crawl. Just reading the ingredient list will show you just how much booze is in this. It’s crazy.

Keep in mind, this serves 4.

1 750 bottle dry red wine

1 cup white rum

1 cup bourbon (getting tipsy)

1/2 cup brandy (hello I’m now drunk)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup dark raisins

1/4 cup raw almonds (no skins)

1 entire orange peel

1 cinnamon stick 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves 5 cardamom pods

1 breathalyzer

In large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all of the ingredients. ( Do not use an aluminum or copper pot because the metal can give the Glogg a metallic taste.)

Allow it to warm until small bubbles form along the edges of the pot. Make sure the mixture doesn’t boil as this decreases the alcohol content. And we don’t want that!

Carefully strain the raisins and almonds out of the liquid.

Now, nestle yourself in a chair or sofa because you may be there a while and … enjoy!

Whether you have a fully stocked wine cellar ready to go, or are trying a different take with wine based holiday drink, have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light.

Be safe, be kind, and be good for goodness sake. Apparently, he sees you when you’re sleeping.

Cheers!

Copyright ©️TheWineStudent, 2018

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Something Wicked…

Drink up, witches! It’s haunting time again. This year, I found three wines that will scare up some yummy vibes in your goblet.

Each year when I look for wines to celebrate the season, I’m drawn to those with interesting labels. On my hunt, I found there was one with a distinct tv show tie-in (eg The Walking Dead Red Blend ~ I can only imagine what’s in it…).

Many wineries put together red blends just for the holiday, which is an excellent way to conjure new fans. This year, I was possessed by wines that have singular qualities that consistently haunt my mind like a spirit.

Ok, one was a blend. 👻

Here they are, in no particularly earthly order:

Darkness Falls Red Blend

Spellbound 2016 Petite Syrah

Seven Deadly Zins 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel

Click the video below to see more about the tasting profiles, pairing options, and price points of my Halloween wine picks for 2018!

 

These are all enjoyable offerings that will look bewitching in your Halloween display, won’t behead your budget, and will pair well with any spooky party fare.

I hope you all have a ghoulishly safe and happy Halloween! 🎃

Cheers!

Copyright©️TheWineStudent, 2018

Treats Before Tricks!

Chocolate. Red wine. Chocolate. A perfect pairing especially at Halloween. 🎃

I been gifted a bottle of Chocolate Shop wine a while ago but I was a little skeptical. I’ve tasted chocolate flavored wine that was basically a bottle of Bailey’s Irish. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but when you want a glass of red…

This wine was very different, especially when you first open it; an immediate chocolate vibe was instantly on the nose. Ok, it passed the first test- it smelled amazing- but I was still not convinced.

Right off the bat it was very sweet, a lot more than I normally like. But as I sipped further rounder, full-bodied notes of dark cherry, stewed blackberry emerged, melding with the chocolate vibe. I experimented with it by leaving the wine to aerate for about an hour, and found the flavor evolved into a rich, pleasing dark chocolate covered cherry.

This was a very different wine for me: My preferences are for earthier, beefy red wines that have a slight whisper of chocolate, as part of their fermentation but aren’t necessarily chocolate fortified. A fortified wine has an extra element added (in this case chocolate essence) that adds sweetness or additional alcohol. This wine was a cool, decadent combination treat.

It helps to keep an open mind – and to let it breathe for a while! My only caveat is to not pair this wine with anything too sweet. Most experts agree that sweet wines paired with sweet treats can be overwhelming ~ I ate a handmade sea salt caramel with this wine, and the sugar level was way over top! Stick to some mild, slightly savory cheeses.

Finally, the best way to enjoy any wine during Halloween is with a good scary movie. I paired this wine with ‘The Lost Boys‘, a neo-classic 80’s vampire movie. 🧛‍♂️🦇

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Next post: My Halloween picks for 2018! 👻🎃

Cheers!

©TheWineStudent, 2018

Top Three Valentine’s Themed Wines!

It’s the weekend before the official love day, and whether you’re just celebrating you or love divine with your partner, thoughts ultimately turn to… wine!

Much like at Halloween, I noticed many labels this year sporting a serious Valentine’s vibe.

Here are three that caught my eye.

 

 

2014 Queen of Hearts Pinot Noir

Young and fruity, this Pinot has flavors of:

• Red fruit such as: strawberry, cherry and raspberry

• Cola- yes! Like the soft drink, this wine has that bright, effervescent mouthfeel (sans bubbles) that you find in cola. It made this almost refreshing in a way.

• Silky tannins

It pairs well with:

• Pullled pork, seared salmon/tuna

Roasted chicken or duck

• Cherry flan

LO-VE Wines Garnacha

Originating in Spain, but imported and bottled in Napa, this is a 95% Grenach, 5%Tempranillo. What makes this wine unique:

  • Essences of lavender
  • Strawberry, raspberry
  • Liquorice with a hint of leather

It pairs nicely with:

  • Rich, lusty stews featuring pork or lamb
  • British pub classics such as shepherds pie, bangers and mash
  • Favorite winter go-to’s like mac and cheese

2016 Finca Pasion MiAmor Malbec Ihaven’t profiled this on my Malbec Monday posts so this was nice to find! As with most Malbecs, this features darker fruit characters with some spice and:

• Essences of plum, and a little strawberry

• Blackberry

• Clove and pepper for a little caliente

It’s dinner companions include:

• Beef or venison

• Chili con carne, fajitas, beef burritos

• Pasta bolognese or with meatballs

There are many great choices out there to help set the mood but remember this: If you can’t be with the wine you love, love the wine you’re with!

Have a fun and safe Valentine’s Day! ❤️🍷❤️

©TheWine Student, 2018

Malbec Monday!

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It’s been a while for Malbec Mondays! But with it being a particularly snowy Monday here in the Cleve, I thought I’d check my cellar and to my surprise discovered a pristine 2012 Peninsula Ridge McNally Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve Malbec. Most Malbec I’ve enjoyed is cultivated within the warmer climates of Mendoza, Argentina.  So I was surprised to find that a more northern winery was including this varietal in its reprtoire.

Peninsula Ridge is located in Southern Ontario, specifically the Niagara escarpment, snuggled within what’s known as the Beamsville Bench region. The Beamsville Bench is a somewhat small but excellent appellation that provides continuous air circulation ~ cooler breezes move in off of Lake Ontario, and circulate just around the foot of the escarpment. This works to keep temperatures moderate and leads to consistent growing conditions. Its slopes are mostly north and east-facing, with smaller streams running off the escarpment that serve as a dependable water source. The soil is a complex variety of gravel, sand, shale, sandstone and limestone, which you might think would give a heavy mineral vibe, and I have noticed that in some other varietals from this region. But this wine was very fruit forward with a low mineral taste.

Malbec is typically noted for flavors of:

  • black berry
  • black plum
  • clove
  • pepper

This Malbec is a terrific example of the above flavor profile. I noticed that it had medium tannins, and a nice creaminess. It is aged in new/ one-year-old American Oak, which gives an overall stronger flavor with increased vanilla and coconut. And it tends to give a creamier texture to the wine. Over time, tannins have a tendency to dissipate which might account for moderate tannin feel in this Pen Ridge offering.

So tonight, I’m staying inside in my pj’s, a good book, a glowing fire and a nice glass of Malbec. Not a bad way to start the week.

Cheers! 🍷💋

©The Wine Student, 2018