From Republicans to Stoners to that Aunt who won't shut up about the wedding you aren't even close to having, me and Munchies have the perfect wine pairings for your not so perfect family.
DeForville Barbera D'Asti
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Price: ~ $20
Retailer: Pour This Holiday Pour box
Available to order through December 15th for the holidays!
Despite being what could be described as a debaucherous heathen with few principles and no god, I fucking love Christmas. I love decorating the house and tree, tossing back whiskey ciders in front of Netflix's "Fire Place for Your Home", and Christmas With The Rat Pack on CD. I love ignoring everyone and only making time to eat way too much food and watch Home Alone and the first Harry Potter on repeat with my sister.
Real quick-- If you don't classify the first Harry Potter as a Christmas movie, you are not on my level. That shit is a Christmas movie. There is too much snow and magic for it not to be a Christmas movie.
I've been chomping at the bit for the holidays, and have recently been banned from belting out Mariah Carey while Ben is home until after Mashed Potato Day (also known as Thanksgiving). And at first I was like, "Yeah, you're right. Shouldn't rush things. I need to just let the holidays come to me..."
AND THEN CHRISTMAS DID COME TO ME!!!
I MEAN. THIS IS LIKE THREE TINY PRESENTS. JUST FOR ME.
Trying to still remain slightly restrained, I tore open one of the tiny presents.
AND NOW TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS.
BECAUSE THIS WINE TASTES JUST LIKE CHRISTMAS.
I PUT ON MY ELVIS CHRISTMAS RECORD
AND IT WAS BASICALLY CHRISTMAS.
As a whole, this wine is like a new pine wreath with tiny little cranberry branches strewn throughout, with a touch of cider on the back end. It's warm and fuzzy and feels like whiskey in your belly. Liquor Long Johns, if you will, or perhaps that feeling when you walk into your heated hotel after being forced to walk around fucking freezing-ass Chicago on a flurrying December 23rd.
This is a wine for huggers. And maybe I am biased, because I am a hugger and I love hugging, but this wine makes me want to hug the shit out of you. Yes, you. I want to hug you and say thank you so much for reading my shit and wish you the happiest of holidays. I also want to hug your pets if you have any, but that's less about this wine and really about all wine.
The DeForville is sentimentality in a glass. It's so familiar, and yet, fresh. With each holiday season, isn't that what we're all looking for? That smell, that taste, that feeling... but with new meaning and wonder. This red is full and flourishes in all the ways you want a red wine to, but it is unexpectedly soft and welcoming, much like this time of year should be.
Tasting Notes: Dark ruby with light pine and ripe cherries and cranberries on the nose. Full-bodied, fruity, woodsy and spicy on the palate. The most perfect after-dinner-"let's snuggle up" Christmas Eve wine.
Ross Test: GOD DAMNED DELIGHTFUL AND I WANT TO DO IT ALL DAY
To know me is to know that I do not cook. I do not cook, I do not bake, I do not touch anything in the kitchen aside from my wine key and cans of La Croix. But from time to time, I get inspired in the kitchen and want to do something more around dinner time than just pour glasses and flip the record. One time, I was cold and was inspired to make a Bobby Flay chili (and surprisingly I killed it) and the second time was yesterday.
Something I don't really talk about because there has never been a reason to talk about it, is that I like yogurt. But I'm extremely specific about the yogurt I eat, because it's usually only the yogurt I buy at the farmer's market at the bottom of my street on Saturdays. My love of yogurt got out though and I was introduced to the yoghurt, Noosa. I'm usually only a fan of Greek yogurt because I don't like sweets, but Noosa combines bright flavors like Tart Cherry and Lemon and blends them into a rich whipped dream of deliciousness. I'm also only usually a fan of natural shit, and lo & behold! It is made of rBGH-free farm-fresh milk, clover alfalfa honey and real fruit. BOOM. It's the farmer's market in your regular market.
But what inspired me about Noosa yesterday was my family. My mother was coming into town to discuss wedding shit, and I was really missing my grandmother and my sister. I was and am extremely close to both of them, so it has been hard not having them close for these crazy last six months. My grandmother made the best pies and passed that skill off to my sister. Since my grandmother's passing, my sister has kept those pies alive, but alas she lives in Santa Cruz. The Noosa Tart Cherry reminded me so much of the flavors of my family's pies that I had to figure out a way, despite being an idiot in the kitchen, to make a pie happen for our family night.
- Noosa Tart Cherry yoghurt
- A Sleeve of Graham Crackers
- 1 cup Pecans
- 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 6 tbsp Melted Butter
- Cinnamon/Brown Sugar/Salted Crushed Pecans for top crumble
I talked to my sister and looked online and shrugged my shoulders and said, "I got this." I threw a sleeve of graham crackers, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter and threw it in our food processor. I then put crushed pecans that I slayed with a hammer in a bag on the stove with cinnamon, brown sugar and a bit of salt. After that, I layered the crust, Noosa Tart Cherry and the crumble together in handy mason jars and threw them in the fridge, feeling extremely accomplished.
After dinner and lots of wedding talk last night, I can't tell you how nice it was to sit on the couch with Ben and my mom with our Noosa mason jar pies in our pajamas. They are perfect for TV watching because they are perfectly handheld, and paired quite nicely with the Morgon we opened with dinner. Both Ben and my mom loved these, as did I. No, they weren't quite my grandmother's pies, but they were a sublimely easy alternative that felt as fun as they did comforting.
I may not always have my grandmother or my sister with me, but simple things like this help me feel like I do. Because although I am not a baker, I can still bring my family's spirit to something in my own way for us to enjoy something familiar in a whole #noo way.
This post was made in partnership with noosa yoghurt.
Lise & Bertrand Jousset Rosé Pétillant
Region: Loire, France
From my Pour This box!!! <3
I'm off my game today. I can't tell you how many photos of my dumb fucking face I tried to take with this wine. I want to say, "Don't you hate that?!" as if that is at all relatable, like everyone is jerry-rigging their cameras to take pictures with bottles of wine because they're 90% sure their tri-pod is in the back of their fiancé's car. Instead, you get this still-life of my beauty products because that's what I did! I drank this rosé while trying my new rose face mask from Fresh, recommended by Best Coast beauty queen Beth, who is my skincare sage. She knows everything about face masks, and one thing people don't know about me is that I LOVE FACE MASKS. EVERYTHING WITH SKIN CARE. EVERYTHING BATH AND BODY BUT NOT BATH & BODY WORKS. OK FINE. I EVEN WOULD PROBABLY STILL LOVE SOME BATH & BODY WORKS.
Most people think I spend all my money on clothes, but the truth is, I spend most of my money on wine and skincare. Seriously. I may have a problem. When Ben and I decided to get a joint bank account, I kept my personal one because of "savings", but really it's because "skincare". Have you ever tried to explain La Mer to a dude? It's impossible. Just try. I can't have him seeing how much I spend on this shit, he'd legit be so disappointed (I was going to say break my leg but he's not aggressive like that, and his disappointed face is much worse than any physical harm he could inflict).
BUT IT'S MY FACE!
I CAN'T JUST GET A NEW ONE LIKE AN H&M BUTTON-UP!
I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THIS ONE!
Anywayyy, I recently got a shipment from a new wine delivery service, Pour This. A very dope wine delivery, founded by total wine babe Ashley Ragovin, Pour This focuses on smaller producers that are tasted & true. I love Pour This not only because of its emphasis on harder to find wines, but also because it has daily, monthly or holiday wine delivery packages. My first box had this rosé in it, a wine I've actually drank quite a bit of in my free time. I've been meaning to write about it but I always drink it to death. Whooops.
I haven't drank in three days so I was excited to pop this and celebrate my return! And also my new face mask. I mean, what could possibly pair better with a pet-nat rosé than a face mask featuring little particles of roses that made me look like I had chicken pox in all the photos? NOTHING!
Holy shit, I don't think I've ever talked about Pétillant Naturel, which is a sin because it's a personal favorite. Pétillant Naturel, otherwise known by its pet name Pet-Nat, is a lightly sparkling wine that is naturally carbonated when winemakers cut off fermentation before all the sugar is consumed by yeast. They throw a cap on it, and as the yeast continues to eat the sugar, it produces extra carbon dioxide and voila. Mild carbonation. Most Pet-Nats are unfiltered, funky and fucking awesome. Thanks for your attendance at the MAR Wine Academy, now back to this rosé.
The Exile tastes like the Fresh rose mask and Blondie's "Heart of Glass". Now hear me out. I know that sounds crazy but you know I've got this. Much like the rose mask, the Exile is cheek sucking and smells like florals on the wind. And like Blondie's "Heart of Glass", it's a harmonious party in a glass. Of my heart. This wine is in my heart for sure. I mean, combine "Loire", "Gamay" and "Pet-Nat" in any order and I will need a new pair of panties.
(My love of alliteration trumps my hatred of "panties".)
This is dancing wine! Shoulder shimmin', tit shakin', hip swayin', love makin' wine. I'd chalk it up to the Blondie, but I listen to Blondie while drinking a lot of shit and I don't feel this good. I'm not saying I'll do this, or that you should, but this tastes like I should be doing a lot of cocaine and ruling a dance floor somewhere. Like, I want to drink a bottle of this and get into a dance battle. A sexy dance battle. And I'd be running my hands through my very 70's middle-parted hair and pelvic thrusting my adversary into submission. After I shamed their horrible moves, we'd pop a hundred more bottles of this. And I'd let the loser come and hang because I'm nice, but they'd know forever that I was the queen of shoulder shimmin' and pet-nats.
And yet, it is also very good for wearing a full sweatsuit and rubbing shit on your face while wearing Ugg slippers you swore you'd never own, but now you love oh so much. And dreaming of being a dancing queen. But not listening to ABBA because, c'mon guys.
My neighbors have to be concerned over the amount of time I've replayed "Heart of Glass" at this point.
Tasting Notes: On the nose, it's like a dozen roses lost at sea; floral but salty. On the palate, lots of raspberry and strawberry, with clenching minerality and acidity. A perfect wine for day-drinking, or getting a party started.
Ross Test: Bubbles are always hard :(
Louis-Antoine Luyt Legno Duro
Region: Maule, Chile
The cool thing about having a wine store you love and trust completely is that you can buy shit based on the labels with greater success. Like, I know anything I buy from Domaine is going to be up my alley so I don't have a problem throwing down $20 for dope font work.
In this case though, the dope font work was on a bottle from Louis-Antoine Luyt, so it was going to be good no matter what. The native Burgundian's Chilean wines are organic and fermented using carbonic maceration (the same technique that makes Beaujolais so damn delicious).
I opened this wine, and jesus christ was it acidic. Like someone got in your mouth and titty-twisted your jowls acidic. I let it breathe for a couple hours, and holy moly. It opened up into a very drinkable and fun wine. It ironed out so much, but still maintained a sense of its organic grittiness. Like gravelly guitars with clean melodies.
It's so energized, it feels light on its feet, but also grounded. Like, literally grounded, as in soil. But also just grounded, like there is something more to it. Sure it's easy-drinking and goes down like water on a Saturday afternoon, but there is a thoughtful weight behind it. It reminds me of the dance scene in Pulp Fiction. It's as playful as doing The Swim but its as serious as Uma Thurman's stare. And I want to twist with it all night long.
Tasting Notes: Dusty and spicy with bell pepper and wet garden herbs on the nose. Earthy but tart, with a bit of salt and metalic minerality. Smooth but dirty. Juicy on the front and dry on the back. Which sounds very sexy. BECAUSE IT IS.
Ross Test: Definitely let it open up but then you're definitely good to go.
Also Check Out: Louis-Antoine Luyt 'Pipeno Santa Juana'
Halcyon Cabernet Franc
Region: Paso Robles, California
A highly regarded mainstay of the Paso Robles landscape, it would be hard to find a lover of California wines who did not enjoy Tablas Creek. So when I heard that assistant wine maker, Tyler Elwell, was launching a new wine label of his own, I couldn't help but be very excited, especially considering it was cabernet franc focused and Loire inspired. Each wine has a playlist to accompany it curated by Tyler & Kim, which is extremely tight.
It just started raining, and oh man, I couldn't be happier to be in sweatpants drinking this beauty. I opened the windows and let the wet draft in. It has been so long since I felt cold air on my face or smelled wet concrete and leaves. The magenta bougainvillea outside my window hang heavy under the water weight, the shades of the petals mimicking the colors of Halcyon's dazzling label.
The definition of the word halcyon is "denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful." But the beauty of Halcyon wine is that that happy and peaceful time is right now.
Their website touts this cab-franc as a summer red, perfect for chilling and grilling. If I had reviewed this weeks ago, I would have agreed and told you to make burgers. But that makes me even happier that I'm reviewing it on this sublimely rainy evening because it's also perfect for sweatpants, making tomato soup and watching X-Files. I love how versatile it is! It's like the perfect date! Up for anything! And cool, composed and sexy throughout it all! It's just so, so smooth, but still a little edgy so you know it's real. Like it's down to chill for sure, but it will also call you on your shit and make you laugh. This is totally your summer fling that lasts through the holidays.
And when I say "lasts through the holidays", I mean it dumps you. You would never dump this wine. It's too perfect. You'd have to be one of those liars that were like, "I'm sorry you're too perfect." It's just so well balanced that if you are not into it, you are totally unbalanced.
Tasting Notes: Cinnamon sticks, cranberry, orange and slight peat on the nose. Tastes like smooth, ripe, berry chiffon jam. Luxurious in texture, light in weight. Pristinely balanced. So traditionally California, but brightly French. A new favorite.
Ross Test: So easy going. Ugh, like, stop trying to get me to stalk you after you dump me in January please.
I went backpacking through Yosemite for a week and brought a bunch of wine with me and wrote about it for Munchies. It is my most contentious post yet, stirring avid outdoorspeople into frenzies of boohooing from the corners of an REI sale somewhere. I even had the pleasure of getting into my first fight with a stranger on Facebook about it! All of this is quite funny to me, considering it is one of the most innocuous pieces I've ever published. So, reader be warned: the content you are about to view may be light-hearted and humorous.
Ah, Fall. The season of Neil Young, light cardigans, and waking cab-sauvs from their slumber. Things seem to have finally slowed, everyone coming down from the intense stimulant of summer. It feels like a big sigh. And, get this, you can go outside! And enjoy it! Because it no longer feels like you're a Lean Cuisine with the plastic wrap left on while cooking twenty minutes too long in a microwave of death.
To celebrate the change of seasons and perhaps experience a breeze for the first time in months, I spread out my new Olive & Poppy peshtemal with a few of picks from California and a fall inspired cheese spread that I picked up at my local spot, The Cheese Store of Silver Lake.
The centerpiece of any fall wine picnic should be a favorite cabernet sauvignon. I say this because Cabernet has been totally ignored since March and when you bring it back into the mix, it shines. Classic but always mysterious, much like a full moon. Corison makes some of my favorites. Warm, smooth and infinitely interesting with deep berries, lavender and what could only be described as "notes of Robin Pecknold's voice". Calm and orchestral, it's easy to get lost in a cabernet like this. But that's what you want in a cab. You want to feel like you've wandered into a forest with your favorite wooly cardigan and your lover.
A good blend goes a long way, and will complement your cabernet pick without competing with its boldness. The Genuine Risk Red Blend is an awesome choice. It could be mistaken for a ridiculously expensive Bordeaux; so smooth with just the right amount of new oak. It tastes like you're drinking luxurious pillow cases, which I realize sounds silly now that I'm writing it down, but seriously. Pillow cases. So soft and comforting and opulent.
Mix it up with a lambic. I love lambics! Not a wine, but they're delicious. They work wonderfully as palate cleansers and awaken your tastebuds after you've drowned them in heavy reds and cuts right through the richness of the cheese. Try the Oceanside Ale Works "Daliesque" lambic. Warning: it is a very sour beer. Just like I like them! It's almost like lightly carbonated pickle juice with peach and a little caramel.
For as much as I know about wine, I don't know much about cheese, aside from the fact that I love cheddar. A LOT. But much like buying wine, that is why I buy cheese from people who know what they're doing so I can just be like, "Hey I love cheddar but am buying these wines, tell me what to do." And like magic, Maggie from The Cheese Shop of Silver Lake was like, "Try these!" and then I died and went to heaven. These raw cow choices worked so well with the wines I could just cry because I want to eat them all over again.
The Genuine Risk with a Raincoast crisp topped with the Oorsprong and a cornichon IS WHAT I WANT TO EAT EVERY NIGHT FOR DINNER FROM NOW UNTIL AT LEAST THE END OF NOVEMEBER. I MAY GET TIRED OF IT BY THEN BUT HOLY SHIT, TALK ABOUT THE BEST PAIRING EVER.
What wines are you excited to have back now that it's fall? Tell me in the comments so I can go buy them!