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Stories and glimpses from around the Red Lion Inn

November 27

5 Holiday Wines for under $50: The Red, The White & The Bubbly

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The holidays are stressful: fighting the crowds to find the perfect gift, holiday parties to attend or host, decorating and baking that can make the joy of the holidays not so joyful. At The Red Lion Inn, we will welcome around 15,000 guests over the next 6 weeks, so we know a bit about entertaining. In an effort to alleviate the stress of decision making this season, here are my top 5 food-friendly wines to enjoy here at the Inn or in your own home. With Thanksgiving around the corner, these all-American wines honor of our forefathers as well as pair with many holiday staples.

1. Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, Brut

Nothing is more festive then sparkling wine and champagne. While I love true champagne, my pocketbook does not. Prosecco and Cava are nice but I crave the purity and richness of methode champenoise sparklers. Domaine Carneros is located in the Carneros region of California a region known for producing fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Taittinger family has been producing Champagne in France since 1734 so this bottling has all of the knowledge and attention to detail that go into more costly cuvees.

2. Ravines Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York

I have loved these wines since I first tasted them years ago and they are starting to get the attention they deserve. Named to the 2013 Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World and according to Eric Asimov of The New York Times,  produces one of the best Rieslings in America. Bone dry, crisp and refreshing with minerality and focus, this wine should be on every table to help cut through the richness of most holiday dishes.

3. Steele Vineyards, Zinfandel, Pacini Vineyard, Mendocino, California

No grape is as rooted in American wine culture like the Zinfandel, so it’s a very appropriate selection for a Thanksgiving feast. Pacini Vineyard was planted in the 1940’s and produces wines with great brambly fruit with spice and bacon on the nose. Medium alcohol levels help to prevent palate fatigue.

4. Hermann J. Weimer, Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, NY

Back to the Finger Lakes for this pretty red: Cabernet Franc is Cabernet Sauvignon’s hip little brother. Weimer is best known for the making the long lived Chinon from France’s Loire Valley. Soft on tannins, big on fruit and acidity, perfect for roast meats and fowl. Not a hedonistic wine it requires a little thought but is well worth it.

5. The Troublemaker by Austin Hope, Syrah/Grenache/Petit Syrah, Paso Robles, CA

Quite the opposite of my last wine The Troublemaker is big, ripe, lush and viscous. The blend is similar to many Chateauneuf Du Pape or Cotes Du Rhone in southern France. Both elegant and powerful flavors of black cherry, vanilla, mocha and tobacco make this multi-vintage wine unique and very drinkable.

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