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What I’m Drinking Now: Christmas Celebrations

Fuqua ChardonnayChristmas dinner can include so many different flavors.  Whether you opt to enjoy a beef tenderloin, glazed ham, roast turkey, smoked salmon, homemade pasta or tamales and chili, there are tasty wine and spirit options that can make the season that much better.

To start, I tried a tasty holiday cocktail at the Dragonfly in the Hotel ZaZa the other night. Creamy, minty good, the Feliz Navi-Za is sure to become a new cocktail tradition.

Feliz Navi-Za:
1oz. Grey Goose Vodka
.25 oz. crème de cacao
.25 oz. crème de menthe white
.5 oz. Godiva white chocolate liqueur
Crushed peppermint rim
Lined martini glass with raspberry sauce

For those that tend towards wine, here are a few options that I have been sent, and tasted, for publication consideration, or that I have tasted along the way.

Freixenet Cordon Rosado– Methode Champenoise (traditionally made) Spanish Cava from one of Spain’s top producers blending Garnacha (Spain’s Grenache) with Trepat, creating a fresh sparkler filled with berry and cherry. Low acidity in these grapes creates a smooth, easy drinking bubbly that won’t break the bank (about $12-$14 dollars.)

Vionta Albarino– Spain is one of the hottest wine counties in the world these days, and this Albarino shows you why. If you like a crisp, interesting white, somewhere in between a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a hint of Torrontes, an Albarino may be a nice option for you. Bright melon and stone fruit flavors with hints of wild flowers.

Fuqua Chardonnay– Dallas’ own winery just released their new Chardonnay. Santa Lucia Highland, California grapes aged 14 months on the yeast lees in French oak barrels from the Fouquet Cooperage (barrel makers) available now at their winery off Lemmon Ave.

2007 Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel– I have written about the Ravenswood wines before, and their charming owner Joel Peterson, and positive comments continue with the recent Teldeschi release, their 25th from John Teldeschi’s deeply rooted, Dry Creek Valley vines. Juicy plums and red berry, with creamy vanilla from 20 months of French oak aging.

2006 Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon– The latest release doesn’t disappoint Napa Cab lovers. Though it could age a bit, it is bold, rich and pleasing now. Predominantly Cabernet, blended with 13% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Flavors of ripe blackberry, black cherry, licorice and chocolate, with a nutty finish from 2 years of French oak aging.

2006 Annika Syrah– In a partnership with Livermore, CA’s Wente Vineyards, golfer Annika Sorenstam has created a special red with 75% Syrah, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon blend with grapes from both Livermore and Napa Valley. Sweet spice with currant and cassis, the wine is a nice marriage of bold Cabernet with refined Syrah. Only 611 cases of the Hall of Famer’s introductory release were made

2006 Orin Swift Papillon– A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot and Cab Franc from grapes sourced throughout Napa valley. I am a fan of the Orin Swift wines (his signature, Prisoner, is also a favorite blend of primarily Zinfandel). Owner Dave Phinney began as a cellar rat working the night shift at Robert Mondavi, and over the past 10 years has slowly developed his vision through his wine. The Papillon is smooth and well structured, filled with leather, vanilla and cherry, and a lasting finish.

Las Perdices Ice - An ice wine from Argentina made from Malbec grapes.  Yes, not what you would typically expect, but this one proves that smart Argentines can make dessert wine to rival some of the best in the world.  The element about this option that I like so much is that it is not as syrupy as some dessert wine options are.  Ripe, dried cherry, quince and plum flavors, with floral and red fruit aromas.  A nice end to a holiday meal.

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