With celebrations’ and parties in the holiday forecast, perhaps you need more wines in your pantry — or a special gift to put in somebody’s stocking. Make it red to match the festivities. The chill in the night air, glittering snowflakes and pace of the season call for something yummy and relaxing. Here are some ideas.
Chocolate Shop’s “The Chocolate Lover’s Wine,” $11-$13: Chocolate-flavored wines are the “it” drink this fall. And the one that seems to be wowing people is the Chocolate Shop’s version. Why? Because it’s not creamy, like some, and has a true smack of red wine grapes with a touch of dark chocolate. It’s sweet and would pair well with berried or dark-chocolate desserts, but a sweet glazed ham would be a candidate, too. Alcohol is 12.5 percent. John Lossia at Merchant’s Fine Wine Dearborn says it’s for true wine drinkers — it’s not a novelty. It’s made fromWashingtonstate grapes — a traditional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and CabernetFrance. You can find it at many stores in the area including Merchant’s Fine Wine, Dearborn; Discount Drinks,Wyandotte; Holiday Market,Royal Oak; Meadows Fine Wine and Liquor, Farmington Hills. The distributor is Imperial Beverage.
Red Rock Winemaker’s Blend California 2010, $13: Red Rock is a Gallo mid-priced brand, which is targeted to Millennials and Gen-Xers who are expanding their tasting experience with red wines — and can shell out a few more bucks. All of the Red Rock wines — Merlot, Pinot Noir, Malbec and the Winemaker’s Blend — have concentrated fruit flavors and are made to be satisfying quaffers — balanced and smooth, with subtle oak. The Winemaker’s Blend is a fruity mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah — with that last grape intensifying the color and punchy flavors. Winemaker Debbie Juergenson brings lots of experience to this line, which is widely available.
Lindeman’s Bin 46 Sweet Red South Eastern Australia 2009, $7: The huge Australian producer is not afraid to put the words “Sweet Red” on the label — so thankfully those who prefer a kiss of honey will not have to play Wine Roulette in front of the display. Besides its fruity style, with a blast of dark berry, plum and subtle spice flavors, the wine is 25 percent lower in alcohol than most wines produced inAustralia. Unlike the usual reds, which range from 13-15 percent alcohol or more, and whites at 12-14 percent, this baby sits between 7.5 and 9.5 percent, depending on the year. I would suggest that buyers even chill it. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
Chateau Montelena NapaValley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, $50: Buy this, and you’re stepping up to the plate. The 2007 vintage from this celebrated winery has a truckload of fruit and tannins, just waiting to evolve. But even now, it’s strutting its beautiful flavors and power. The nose is black currants, blackberries, dark chocolate, vanilla and brown cooking spices. It’s big and broad on the palate, tightly woven, with acidity and smoky, spicy oak streaming through the flavors. This is your Big Deal Wine for the holidays.