We Give Our Thanks To You

We at Vin Prestige are so thankful for all of our fantastic clients and blog readers. Thank you again for all your support and we wish you a fun filled day celebrating Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

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A Drink for all this Thanksgiving

After writing about what I will be drinking for Thanksgiving, I thought I should create a Mocktail for my family members who don’t drink, my darling pregnant friend and for my adorable 5 year old nephew. They should be able to have something fun and tasty to drink as well.

I have two options for you depending on how much time you have leftover after preparing your Thanksgiving meal. Since I am not responsible for any of the cooking, I have the time to make option number one happen. Some of you might be thinking it isn’t fair to my family members that I don’t participate in the cooking but don’t worry I am highly skilled at washing dishes and I own that project every year. But back to beverages…

Option #1 is for those of you that have a bit of time to spare.

Hot Buttered Cranberries
16 oz jellied cranberry juice
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups water
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice

Crush cranberry sauce with a fork. Mix with sugar, spices and salt. Add water and pineapple juice. Cover and simmer 2 hours. (Beware your house will smell amazing while it simmers.) Then ladle into mugs and float a touch of butter in each serving.

Option #2 is still tasty but is quick, easy and looks great.

Cranberry Apple Cider
Cranberry juice
Apple cider (taste great with Julian Cider)
Cinnamon stick

Fill a wine glass with ice. Add 2 oz. cranberry juice and 4 oz. chilled apple cider. Stir to mix. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. If you have a couple of cranberries left over that you didn’t use in making the cranberry sauce add to the drink as a garnish.

No matter what Mocktail you decide to serve, your non-drinking guests will appreciate the time and effort you spent at making them feel comfortable and included.

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What to drink on Thanksgiving?

We are only two days away from the Big Eating and Drinking festival that we call Thanksgiving. I thoroughly enjoy the time that I get to spend with family and friends eating as much turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and all the veggies that accompany the day. Every year I pair a different wine in the hopes that it will pair beautifully. Some have worked better than others. One year it was Red Burgundy, another it was Grenache, last year it was Riesling. What I have learned? Pairing a wine to a Thanksgiving Feast is a Sommelier’s nightmare. There are so many different types of food with different flavor profiles, different weights, different sweetness levels and different types of spices. I don’t know about you but my family has enough different sides that one could plate up at least 20 different looking and tasting dinners. Keeping that in mind, my suggestion for wine is to drink what you like. It could even be something other than wine. How about a beer like, Three Philosophers? It is a blend of Belgian dark strong ale and Liefman’s Kriek (a classic cherry lambic directly from Belgium). And it is brewed in the good ol’ USA. I do like to have my beverages be American made since it is an American Holiday.

I could give you a list of suggestions but instead I am going to let you in on what I will be drinking this holiday and if you want to follow along that is great. And if not, that is great too.

This year as an aperitif my family and I will be drinking some Étoile NV Brut from Domaine Chandon while we wait for the turkey to be ready. What I love about this bubbly are all the tasty aromas of baked apple, honey, cinnamon, ginger and fresh baked biscotti. I am thirsty just writing about it. The retail price is around $28.

Then for the main event, we will enjoy some California Merlot for two main reasons: 1.) The grape varietal should actually pair well together with the extravagant meal. The herbal notes will pair beautifully with all the vegetable side dishes and the herbs that my Aunt uses in roasting the turkey. The red fruit aromas will compliment the cranberry sauce while the weight of the wine should be able to hold up to the weight of turkey. 2.) But more importantly, I have a bottle of Newton Unfiltered Merlot 2006 that I would like to drink. This wine releases beautiful notes of both red and black cherry, aromas of sage, juniper berry, spice and anise with an approximate retail price of $48.

For dessert, I am thinking of doing things differently and opening a bottle of Sake. I was just at a sake brewery in Berkley last week… and well that is whole post for another time. But, I do think we will enjoy Takara’s ShoChikuBai NIGORI (Junmai type) as an after dinner drink. I enjoyed this lightly filtered, silky sweet Sake with notes of tropical fruit, bananas and spice when I was at the brewery and I think my family will too. The best part is the price, only $7 for the 750ml bottle.

That is what my family, friends and I will be enjoying this holiday. Wishing you all happy drinks, eats and especially a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Father’s Day

We would like to thank all of those Fathers out there for all of their hard work. Happy Father’s Day.

Illustration by Norman Rockwell.

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Memorial Day

Today I am reminded of all of our brave soldiers who have given their life to protect Freedom.

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Happy Easter!

Hope you all are enjoying your Easter with some tasty food and drinks and especially your lovable family and friends.

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A Beach Read: “History of the World in 6 Glasses”

With the exception of today, those of us in Southern California have had the pleasure of a sneak peak of a gorgeous summer. In the last couple of days many have congregated along San Diego’s breathtaking beaches. I was one of the many who threw down their beach towel with book in hand. Although I knew it was a bad idea, I attempted to go in the chilly water. After the frigid water reached my feet, I ran back to my towel and went back to finish last summer’s read. I have to admit, I have a horrible habit of starting a book and then getting involved with work and my wine studies and putting my book aside.
Last summer, I read all but one chapter of “A History of the World in 6 Glasses” by Tom Standage. Just before I finished the last chapter, a big wine exam approached and I was forced to set it aside. (Don’t worry I passed that exam!) I know many think a summer read should be a romance novel and this book is a romance novel of sorts. It is the romance story of six crucial beverages of the world and the impact they have had on history.
Standage follows these six beverages including beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola and their role in human history. I know some history books are dull and are often read to put one’s self to sleep but this book is the opposite . Standage does an exceptional job of giving the reader a history lesson without reading like an encyclopedia. Each chapter begins with a historical quote like “Fermentation and civilization are inseparable, John Ciardi, American poet (1916-86).” I have to admit that my favorite chapters were about wine, beer and coffee. 

After reading the book, I love to state the fact those that many of those that built the Great Pyramids in Egypt were paid in beer. Wow, how awesome is that? I should explain that the first steps toward making bread are the same steps for making beer and that is why they were paid in beer. I do love my micro-brews but I don’t know if I would want to be paid with them!

When discussing current cult wines, I will add that the concept of a cult wine goes back as far back as the Romans with Falernian wine grown in Campania. Julius Caesar was said to have consumed the most famous Falernian vintage of 121 BC in the first century BC. I can’t imagine that the wine was very tasty by the time Caesar actually drank it, but it was known as the wine of the gods, so of course he had to drink it.

I often take my wine studies to a coffee shop and Tom Standage reminded me that so much crucial history all began at a coffee house.  It is where the French Revolution had it’s start. To be specific it “was at the Cafe de Foy, on the afternoon of July 12, 1789, that a young lawyer named Camille Desmoulins set the French Revolution in motion (Standage, 170).” 

I have unveiled the secret origins for much of my random trivia. I hope you do my secret well and pick up the book and give it a read while drinking either a glass of wine, beer, a spirit of some kind, a cup of coffee or tea or even a Coca-Cola. Cheers to a good summer read!

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The Wine Dance

Thought I would share some random wine advertising postcard that I recently discovered from 1905 for the German Kupferberg Gold Sparkling Wine signed by E.S. v. Sallwuerk.

This image is being sold at an Online Antique Mall.

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Cupid’s Perfect Pairings

Valentine’s Day is about showing how much you care. What better way is there to do so than preparing a dinner for your special someone? I teamed up with my lovely Designer Thryn Albin and Epicurean Enthusiast to create a Romantic Valentine’s dinner for two with wine pairings.

The evening begins with a delicious cocktail that anyone can make. Every great meal should start out with a a great Apéritif to awaken the palate. I have a passion for classic cocktails and what is more romantic than listening to Frank Sinatra and sipping on a classic cocktail? One of my current favorites is The French 75 so I decided to tweak it and name it a French Kiss.

To create a “French Kiss”
in a champagne flute add
.75 ounces of a London Dry Gin like No. 3 Dry Gin
.75 ounces of fresh squeezed Grapefruit juice
.75 ounce of simple syrup
then fill the rest of the glass with a Sparkling Rosé

Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

You can use any London Dry Gin you like. Plymouth would be a good alternative to No. 3. I juiced a Pink Grapefruit but you could alternatively use a ruby red Grapefruit. Remember that it is not necessary to use the most expensive of sparkling wines but it needs to be enjoyable on it’s own or the cocktail itself won’t be enjoyable. A few options that you can use for the Sparkling Rosé include Chandon Rosé, Santa Julia Brut Rosé or Graham Beck Brut Rosé.

Enjoy your cocktail before the first course is served. This way you can relax  in other’s company before dinner. .

After finishing your cocktails, dinner begins with Thryn’s Creamy Vegetable Soup with Cheddar Biscuits. Because of the herbs and the vegetables used in the soup, I paired it with a Sancerre but a dry white Bordeaux would be a nice alternative. White Bordeaux still has the acidity that is needed with some of the herbal notes but is tamed by the oak treatment and then the Sémillon adds some body to the wine that pairs well with a creamy soup.

For your entree, serve a Roasted Cod with Haricot Verts and Almonds. I  chose a White Burgundy as the wine pairing because it has the acidity to hold up to a browned Almond Lemon Butter as well as the slight creaminess that holds up to butter. The almonds scream for a wine that has been aged in some oak but the oak treatment shouldn’t be overwhelming. Thryn and I enjoyed the 2007 Auvigue “Solutré” Pouilly-Fuissé. But if you don’t like french wine and want to stay with a domestic wine, I would suggest something like the 2007 Newton Unfiltered  Chardonnay.

Finish the meal with a heart shaped Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie paired with Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Tawny Port. When Thryn and I tested our Valentine’s Food and Wine , this pairing stole the show. It was a great way to end the evening. You don’t have to use that particular Port Producer. Other options include Quinta do Noval 10 Year Tawny or Graham’s 10 Year Tawny. I chose a 10 Year Tawny Port because it is young enough to be paired with the raspberries but rich enough to match up with the chocolate.  Another beauty of opening a Tawny Port is that it will last for months even after it is open. That means there can more evenings with dessert and port in your future.

I suggest taking after the Europeans and have a break in between courses so you can enjoy your date’s company while you digest your food and sip your wine.

I’m sure cupid would approve of our pairings and I hope our recipes not only create a delicious meal but as well, a night of romance for you and your Valentine.

Continue reading all about Thryn’s culinary delights at Z Designs.

Click here to download a pdf of the entire menu with recipes.

Cheers to Valentine’s Day!

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Any excuse to drink Champagne…

I know it is a little late but I have been wanting to share my celebration of Champagne Day. There has been the celebration of Cabernet Day, Grenache Day and many others that you may or may not have heard about.  When I got word of Champagne Day, I knew I had to celebrate it!  Champagne = celebration, right?

Cabernet Day, Grenache Day, Champagne day are social media days created to celebrate and promote a grape varietal and/or a wine growing region. People were to drink Champagne on Thursday October 28th and then blog, tweet or make a Facebook post about it. I have to admit, I don’t really need an excuse to drink Champagne, but I will happily accept any of them.

Many, including myself drink Champagne as an aperitif but don’t always think of it as a food wine unless it is served with brunch. The acidity in Champagne is perfect for food and the sweetness level determines the type of food it should be paired with, such as a sweeter Champagne is very lovely with cured meats. The plan was to enjoy a bottle of NV Brut Champagne from Reims.  After looking over the different food pairing options, my co- Champagne celebrator and I realized we were going to have a busy day and therefore needed to create a simple dinner. (She was actually creating dinner and I was the sommelier and the dishwasher.)

We settled on a non-traditional pairing – Crepes stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, bacon and a little Parmesan cheese. It probably isn’t a pairing that I would have learned in all of my wine studies, but the pairing was glorious. I have to admit pairing French street food with a luxurious wine was unexpected, but that is what Champagne Day was all about!  It was about celebrating the wine and even maybe even seeing it in a different and unexpected way. Some other pairings with Champagne that I enjoy are lightly buttered popcorn, french fries, or fried calamari. However my favorite match is simply a glass!

Champagne Day has reminded me that the holidays are quickly approaching and it is time for me to stock up.  There is nothing that helps me fill out all of those holiday cards, wrap all the presents or help deal with the family (that I love despite the fact that they drive me crazy) better than a glass of Champagne. Or two.

I will continue to celebrate Champagne Day all year long and I wish the same to all of you.

A votre sante

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