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A Bottle of Wine for Christmas (or even New Year!)

Would you go to Christmas dinner without a bottle of wine to share? If you are a reader of these columns, of course you would bring a bottle! Bringing a bottle of wine to Holiday dinner is just as important a tradition as dining on turkey at Thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving this year Erin created a way for everyone to share and sample all the wines brought to our home for dinner. It turned out to beCalifornia Bottle of wine Christmas the opportunity bringing family members all together, away from TV, football and snacks, and brought focus to celebrating the year, and why we are thankful.

Here’s a brief way to structure the sampling, alter it to suit your personal needs.

Tell each of your couples (or single guests) to bring a wine they enjoy. In our case we requested red wines, knowing  everybody enjoyed red wine. Since people are generous, white wine showed up, but none was available when we began our tasting. We had three couples (and their progeny) to share three bottles of wine.

1-Privately, wrap each bottle in a bag and a number of them (#1, #2, #3)
2-1/2 hour before dinner uncork each bottle
3-Gather everyone around, and pour a sample of wine #1
4-Ditto with wine #2
5-Ditto with wine #3
6-Ask if anybody wants a re-taste, pour as needed
7-Vote on which one you enjoyed most, bottles 1, 2 or 3

Then, unveil your wines!

For this Thanksgiving tasting our relatives brought three distinct red wines, Firestone’s The President (a blend from Santa Barbara), Murphy-Goode’s Healdsburg Cabernet Sauvignon and Lodi’s Brazin Zinfandel by Delicato (our contribution.)

It was family moment, everyone gathering together, leaving the football games and TV behind, before sitting down to dinner. It was a moment to celebrate and toast the year, to express gratitude for an eventful and successful 2013.

In our tasting, the consensus was unanimous, Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel was the favorite.

1) Brazin 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel $13.99 at Total Wine, $14.99 at BevMo
2) 2011 Murphy-Goode 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon $11.99 at Total Wine
3) Firestone’s 2009 The President (probably $45 @ Firestone Winery, it’s not currently on their web site.)

At Christmas dinner this year, spend a moment to share some good cheer by gathering before dinner for a toast of wine, to everyone’s successes, family, love.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield.

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