Palate Practice

tasting with intention

Tag: Christmas

Holiday Wine Pairings

The holidays are officially upon us, and you might be wondering what sort of wine to get for the big day. This day could be Christmas or Hannukah or Kwanzaa or Yule, but every celebration worth celebrating comes with a big feast, which of course begs the question – what will you drink with it?

 

Here are some friendly pairing suggestions from your favourite wino.

 

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2015 Placeholder

 

Merry Christmas, all! I’ll be taking a few days off to spend time with my family, eat (a lot!) of great food and, yes, partake in some festive beverages.

 

If you celebrate this particular holiday I hope you have a joyous and festive one. If you don’t I hope you have a wonderful 25th of the month.

 

In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to read or do, let me recommend the following posts:

 

Enjoy and see you in 2016!

 

Nothing Says ‘Holidays’ like Mulled Wine

I love the holidays. Clementines, pine trees inside the house, ornaments, the food (my god, the food!), the lights – I want it all! One of the things I love most about the holiday lead-up is mulled wine. It’s something I only have a couple of times a year so, like lots of holiday things, it’s pretty special.

 

A year or two ago my wonderful friend Katie gave me mulling spices and I’ve been breaking them out over the holidays ever since. Along with the spices she also gave me a simple recipe for mulled wine, which is the one I use when making this delicious drink.

 

mulled wine recipe

Easy peasy! (click to enlarge)

 

This past weekend I invited some friends over to decorate my apartment for the holidays and decided to tempt them into manual labour by offering to brew (is it brew?) up some mulled wine.

 

LesJamellesMulledWine

All ready to go.

 

Let me tell you – it is incredibly easy to make mulled wine! As long as you follow the recipe, anyway. The first time I made it I decided that, since I don’t like oranges, I would omit the zest and juice the recipe calls for. Big mistake – turns out that citrus flavour is kind of crucial! I learned this the hard way when I tasted the wine – something about the heat and the spices and the lack of citrus to balance it made it taste completely sour and downright gross! It’s still a running joke between my mom and I – hot sour wine! HOT SOUR WINE! Anyway, take it from me and don’t omit the citrus.

 

MulledWineSpices

Citrus – a crucial ingredient.

 

MulledWineintopot

Glug glug glug

 

Spicesintopot

Into the pot they go!

 

Honeyintopot

Yummy sweetness

 

Finished and ready for consumption! (Note to self: get fancy glass mugs for next batch)

Finished and ready for consumption! (Note to self: get fancy glass mugs for next batch)

 

My minimal efforts yielded a deliciously wonderful accompaniment to decorating and listening to Christmas music. My friends even brought over chocolate chip cookies! Christmas festivity achieved.

 

ChristmasTree

Cue singing in Whoville…

 

ChristmasOwl

My newest ornament – what a hoot!

 

Have you met Bruce, the Christmas moose?

Have you met Bruce, the Christmas moose?

Are you getting ready for the holidays yet?

Taylor Fladgate: The Unboxening

Last Christmas my parents gave me a great gift – a gift set of a bottle of Taylor Fladgate Late Vintage Bottled port complete with two lovely little glasses.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when I was tidying up the bar area in my apartment and was faced with the same gift box, sad and a little dusty, patiently waiting for me to give it my attention.

Confession time. I am a hoarder of things I love. The more I like or appreciate something, especially gifts, the more I put off enjoying it. I am a nut for anticipation apparently! Friends make fun of me for being able to resist the sweets in my cupboard for months and months, sometimes to the point that they go bad and have to be let go. And the ultimate case in point is this lovely gift that I’ve ignored for months. Sorry, Mom!

But no more. I finally opened the box up and enjoyed its contents, a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 2009 Late Bottled Vintage port.

Taylor Fladgate port gift set

Simple and classy.

Taylor Fladgate gift set opened

Oh, hello!

What Port is All About

Port is a fortified wine made in Portugal, mostly the Douro region. It comes in both red and white varieties and, like a lot of European countries, is often a blend of a bunch of different grapes. Port is higher in alcohol content so the serving size is 3 ounces instead of the standard 5 ounces usually poured for wine. Port is often aged for a period of time in barrels before being bottled and sold. Personally, I find that port often has a richer flavour and body compared to regular wines, which is a big reason why I love it. Heads up though, it can be sweeter than regular wines, so keep that in mind when trying out this delicious nectar.

Late Bottled Vintage port has its beginning as port that was barrelled with the intention of being bottled as vintage port but because of a lack of demand it was left in barrels even longer. Poor sad port, all alone in its little barrel! I’ll save you! Come hang out with me and we’ll be friends! Delicious, delicious friends.

Taylor Fladgate 2009 port

One step closer…

Taylor Fladgate port glasses

These are typical port glasses. Except these are TF branded, because they’re AWESOME.

But enough about history and pictures of unopened bottles. What does this stuff taste like? Well, let me tell you, it’s GOOD. It took a couple of minutes to get anything off the nose because I’d just opened it up, but after that it started giving up some lovely mellow, sweet, warm notes. It’s easy to tell the sweetness in port because the inside of the glass had so many legs it looked like a film coated the whole thing. The flavour was just wonderful. Smooth and fruity with great sweetness and spiciness all mingling on my tongue. If you like mulled wine, pumpkin pie or mincemeat tarts you will love this port.

Taylor Fladgate nose

Getting a good smell in!

Ready to get to know port yet?

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