Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

We posted a blog called Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus and the response was so overwhelming and fun, we thought we have to do a Volume TWO! It can be great getting dressed up, making reservations at a fancy restaurant and spending Valentine’s Day on the town. But these days, many couples opt to spend the holiday at home, especially when there are kids in the picture. When work has been crazy, the sitter is busy, the traffic is nuts and the restaurants are all booked, the idea of staying home, pouring a glass of wine, putting on some relaxing music and eating a delicious meal together sounds more and more appealing. We’ve put together a few menu plans (along with their matching wines and some fun music recommendations) to make your Valentine’s Day at home romantic, memorable and meaningful. After all, it’s not about going out – it’s about celebrating love! Menu Plan #1 – For the Seafood & Champagne Lovers Pour: Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne. A luxurious, world-famous Champagne that boasts soft white-fruit aromas of peaches and pears and a finish of fresh walnut. The smooth, juicy mid-palate segues to a clean, crisp finish ideal for sipping Play: The Party, Andy Schauf. Bubbly songs full of fun combine with a nice dose of moody to create a playlist that is perfect for a party of two, cooking dinner, sipping Champagne and just being together. Appetizer: French Butter Lettuce Salad, courtesy of Fine Cooking. The lightness of this simple salad makes the perfect starter for the creamy goodness to come. Main Dish: Two recipes from Café Delights, the first being their insanely...
Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here! In addition to all I’m grateful for, this has me thinking about wine. And dinner. Our table usually numbers more than 30. We’ve been known to have three turkeys (roasted, grilled, and deep fried) and everyone contributes their favorite side dishes. Many wines pair nicely with turkey, but when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, there is so much more happening! A beautifully roasted bird may take center stage at the buffet table, but the meal itself is all about the sides. We tend to overload our plates with those beloved side dishes—crowding that sliced turkey into a hodge-podge patchwork of fabulous flavors, textures, and colors. That’s right where tradition slowly changes and grows for the better. I mean, before JoJo joined our Thanksgiving celebration, we didn’t have jalapeño-spiked cheesy corn at the table. Now her Texas influence is an integral part of our annual tradition. For me, pushing some spicy, creamy corn into the mashed potatoes and gravy was an obvious move, but when Uncle Fran’s bittersweet orange-cranberry chutney mingled in . . . a serendipitous flavor bomb! Chardonnay is definitely one of the go-to favorites for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s versatile yet familiar. And Chardonnay is known to play well with others. Whether you’re serving dinner this year or you’d like a nice bottle to present to your hosts, here’s a guide to some of our favorite Chardonnay trios for 2020. Lighter Chardonnay Trios For milder fare, we suggest a lighter Chardonnay. Think classic turkey dinner with simply prepared vegetable dishes, ambrosia salad, and Parker House rolls. We think these Chardonnays...
Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Red is the color deeply entwined with some of our strongest feelings—passion, love, rage, danger. It even symbolizes good luck. What better wine to bring to you next family gathering? For many reasons, the holidays are a great time to stock up on wine—to enjoy, to gift, and to collect. Like the color itself, red wines offer a spectrum of bold and dazzling varieties to enjoy. The Cabs tend to work nicely with most red meats, lamb, and a flavorfully prepared ahi tuna. We love Pinot Noirs for their versatility—most are both smooth and bold enough to work well with lighter fare such as roasted salmon or game fowl and heavier, classic dinner fare like Beef Wellington. Speaking of Beef Wellington and family gatherings—this is one of my family’s traditions! Many years ago, I gave my husband The New Basics Cookbook by Silver Palate authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. We’ve had decades of fun exploring so many cuisines and cultures through the recipes and informative anecdotes. Once beyond the chicken-nugget rite of passage, our kids joined us on the journey. While we each have our distinct preferences, we all look forward to Beef Wellington as our Christmas Eve tradition. In fact, my oldest—now living on that other coast—has asked for the recipe so many times that she’s receiving her own copy of The New Basics as a gift this year. Based on how tattered that original paperback is, I’m even springing for the hardcover edition. You can find that hallowed Beef Wellington recipe below. And if you want to find some great red wines, here are a few...
What Wine Goes with Dinner Tonight?

What Wine Goes with Dinner Tonight?

Knowing how to pair your wine with the food that you’re eating may seem like a confusing and daunting task, but there are just a few tricks you need to learn, and pretty soon you will be pairing like a pro. If you are wondering what wine goes with dinner tonight, follow these simple steps! This blog, entitled Six Rules for Perfect Pairing, goes into much more details, but it really can boil down to six very easy to remember rules. Whether you’re enjoying a few steaks or chicken off the grill on a balmy summer evening, you’re serving up a hot stew that’s been roasting in the slow cooker all winter’s day, or you’re just ordering pizza from the neighborhood parlor, the simple and easy to follow wine rules below will help you know which wine is going to bring out the flavors of your food best, and which foods are going to complement your wine in turn. First Thing’s First: Learn Basic Wine Pairing!   Read More in Depth Here >> The Six Rules of Perfect Wine Pairing   Rule 1: Match the richness of the food to the body of the wine. Rule 2: Match the acidity. Rule 3: Don’t let the food overpower the wine, or the wine overpower the food. Rule 4: Offset heat (spicy) with sweet. Rule 5: Serve your wine at the right temperature. Rule 6: Match the regional cuisine to the regional wine.   You’re Ready To Pair! Here’s a helpful list of recommendations and suggestions to get you started. Here at GiftTree, we got together with our in-house Sommelier to get...
Friday Wine Down: Peregrine Ridge One Fell Swoop Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday Wine Down: Peregrine Ridge One Fell Swoop Cabernet Sauvignon

Welcome to the Friday Wine Down! What a week it’s been – doesn’t a glass of wine sound perfect right about now? Here at GiftTree, we’re collectors, sippers and enthusiasts. So when we find a very special bottle, we just can’t keep ourselves from sharing! From Chardonnay on a casual night out to an opulent Cabernet for special occasions, every week we’ll feature a fantastic wine available in our gifts. Onward!   This Week’s Friday Wine Down Peregrine Ridge – One Fell Swoop Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley, Sonoma County   About This Wine Peregrine falcons guard the hilltop vineyard in this remote corner of Sonoma, the origin of our opulent Cabernet Sauvignon made in partnership with Delectus Winery. Perched above the fog line, the warm and dry climate of Knights Valley creates a terroir that is ideal for producing Cabernets of epic distinction.   Tasting Notes With a dark red-violet hue, One Fell Swoop opens with aromas of cherries and earth, light oak and vanilla. Powerful flavors of juicy black fruits expand across the palate, finishing with notes of cedar, graphite and tobacco. Balanced and beautifully structured, this is a bold expression of Knights Valley Cabernet.   Decanting & Cellaring It is recommended that this Cabernet is decanted for an hour before enjoying. One Fell Swoop has an aging potential of 30+ years.   Pairing Suggestions This juicy Cab makes the perfect partner for rich entrées such as veal in a demi-glace, roasted vegetables with garlicky butter and aged cow’s milk...
10 Wines We’re Loving For Fall

10 Wines We’re Loving For Fall

The temperatures are dropping, we’re stoking the fireplaces and putting on those fuzzy socks – it’s time for a glass of wine! Lately here at GiftTree, we’ve been thinking about the types of red and white wines that have that perfectly autumnal feel. With that in mind, here are our top 10 fall wines!   10 Wines We’re Loving This Fall   Elk Cove Pinot Gris Giving off sweet and light aromas of citrus blossom and grapefruit, this creamy and lush wine offers lovely apple and pear flavors, while showing crispness on the palette. This white wine is medium-bodied and balanced. So it is perfect as an aperitif, or served with salmon, main-course salads, or Thai and Asian influenced dishes.   Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner Grüner is perhaps lesser known in the United States than it is in Europe. But don’t let the unfamiliar words deter you – an Austrian wine, Grüner Veltliner is fruity, flinty and perfect for sipping in your favorite sweater. If you’re looking for a little taste of familiarized Chenin Blanc, try Pine Ridge, a wonderful California white. GiftTree’s Sommelier serves it with her Thanksgiving turkey.   Decoy Zinfandel From its lovely dark violet color to its luscious fruit aromas, this wine captures the alluring essence of Sonoma County Zinfandel. On the palate, layers of wild blueberry, blackberry and cassis are underscored by an elegant structure that includes supple, refined tannins, balanced acidity and just a hint of juicy sweetness and toasty oak.   Twomey Russian River Pinot Noir Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a rich, multi-faceted wine with great fruit and spice...