Can’t go wrong with the Ursa Vineyards 2018 Zinfandel. Smooth and flavorful and great compliment to any holiday meal. Rated excellent by Wine Enthusiast.
Like holiday shopping, we’ll probably wait until the last minute to finalize holiday meals, but this season the Blanc de Blanc American will surely be a starter and the 2021 Petit Manseng will be a finisher. Having these two new exceptional wines available this year may lead us to untried menu options and new holiday traditions. Just in case a standing rib roast makes it back on the menu, a 2019 Tallent Tannat will be handy.
We will be pairing the Ursa Vineyards barrel fermented Chardonnay and Ursa Vineyards Mencía with grilled prawns, crusty sourdough bread, and a Caesar salad on Christmas Day. For dessert, we will enjoy a cheese plate paired with Ursa Petite Sirah.
My pick is 2017 Newsom Tannat Port Brownies. Use a box brownie mix (I recommend a dark chocolate) and add 1/4-1/2 cup of port to the batter. Enjoy some port alongside these delicious brownies! Happy Holidays!
I'm planning to open the 2019 Estate Tannat, Lost Pirogue Vineyard. We submitted this wine to just one contest, the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and it was awarded Double Gold/Best Other Red Varietal. This wine is so good because of its spectacular fruit that was hand-harvested from one acre, 11 miles away from the winery. It is our second release of Tannat from Lost Pirogue Vineyard. Because it is such a standout wine, it deserves a spot at holiday gatherings, and I’m looking forward to sharing it.
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays! I usually start the morning with last minute gift wrapping. Never fails! Christmas meals are a mix of Cajun and traditional for us. We will have a seafood gumbo (blue crab, andouille and Cajun sausage, chicken and shrimp). We also will have traditional Christmas food such as ham, cornbread dressing, mustard greens and potato salad because my dad doesn't eat gumbo. WHO DOESN’T EAT GUMBO?! I'll also make icebox lemon pies and pecan pies. Because we have so many different types of food, I'll open the 2019 Tallent Tannat, 2019 Souzão, and of course Bending Branch Brut!
My absolute and all-time fave for the holidays is always the Tannat, Tallent Vineyards. The bold blackberry and hints of tobacco pair really well with smoky, spiced meats and cheeses which is perfect around this time of year!!
The Ursa Tannat Rosé is always a good "pregame" wine for the elves busy in the kitchen!
I am definitely going to enjoy the sparkling Blanc de Blancs on Christmas morning with a breakfast/brunch casserole! Then I plan to pair my favorite 2019 Mourvèdre (Desert Willow Vineyards) with a spiral-cut ham and lots of yummy side dishes!! Cheers!
My personal favorite red wine is our Mourvèdre! It’s such an easy drinking, versatile wine that pairs well with almost anything. I especially love it paired with a braised, slow cooked pot roast and roasted potatoes. Perfect for the fall and winter! It’s also a great sit back and relax wine, which we all need this time of year. Cheers and happy holidays!
It is always hard to pick a favorite wine when you work at Bending Branch. I am really loving the 2019 Mourvèdre and 2019 Texas Cabernet Sauvignon as of late. We will definitely ring in the new year with some bubbles, either Bending Branch Brut or Blanc de Blancs.
I will be drinking Blanc de Blancs and pairing it with creamy smooth cheesecake. Not just for dessert, but for anytime day or night!
We will have a delayed Christmas celebration while some family members are traveling. I plan on a bottle of Tempranillo paired with some tamales at least one evening and break out the new Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine for everyone to try.
I always look forward to having a glass of Angelica with my pumpkin chocolate cheesecake on Christmas Eve. And of course, this year I will be drinking 2019 Tallent Tannat alongside my smoked brisket. Lastly, I can not bring in the new year without Blanc de Blancs!
2019 Mourvedre, Desert Willow: Cuban sandwich (slow roasted citrus marinated pork butt, smoked ham, swiss cheese, mustard, dill pickle pressed in a panini or George Foreman grill til crisp) with black beans with olive oil
2017 Tannat Port-style, Newsom Vineyards: Almond biscotti with River Whey's "Whey Bleu" blue cheese
We will enjoy Texas Tempranillo with grilled chicken breast, bordeaux cherry compote, and farmhouse sourdough!
HOLIDAY FAMILY DRAMA PAIN KILLER RECIPE
-Consume both bottles in their entirety.
-Reduce all filters until nonexistent.
-Tell family members how you really feel.
-When confronted, always remember to quote the phrase: “In vino veritas”
-Eat popcorn and enjoy the show.
I will be drinking our new release 2018 Tannat, Tallent Vineyards for our Christmas Day dinner. We will be having a standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding. It's a family tradition.
My family tradition is chili (with beans). My whole life we have had chili on Christmas Eve. Growing up this was always a tradition that we celebrated by gathering at my Grandma Margaret's. Although she is no longer with us and our family is in different parts of the country, we still prepare chili on Christmas Eve in our respective homes. My pairings would be Bending Branch 2018 Tempranillo and/or 2018 Ursa Zinfandel.
My thoughts for dinner are to make individual Beef Wellington’s paired with Tallent Tannat, a Tannat red wine mushroom sauce and cheesy potatoes gratin. As an appetizer a baked brie with raspberry chipotle puff pastry served with the bubbly Brut! And, I might add, playing Charlie Brown Christmas music by Vince Guaraldi.
Our holiday meals must include a beef rib roast. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Newsom Vineyards tastes like a great pairing for our favorite recipe for coffee and pepper rubbed rib roast (along with some Dijon mustard and crushed garlic). The 2018 is a bit lighter and more complex than most young Cabs, allowing it stand in well for Cabs with a little more age and finesse. The 2019 Napa Cab would be a great alternate, but with the limited supply I doubt it will still be available for the holidays…plus I think we just need to celebrate the holidays in true Texas style. After all, Santa may be watching.
My go-to is Texas Tannat as a standalone or pair it with shrimp creole.
It's no surprise that the wine we'll be pouring is the D’Elissagaray Basque Blend. It takes me back to Amatchi's (grandmother in Basque) and her long family table (24 of us without guests!) and the smell of lamb and garlic potatoes and drinking wine out of any vessel, goblets to jelly jars.
I act the same way at home as I do in the office, I snack all day! This year I will be snacking on my Mimi’s cranberry pecan jalapeno chutney on top of cream cheese with a glass of Desert Willow Mourvèdre to the point I almost ruin my dinner. After Christmas, I will read my new book from Santa with Double Barrel Tannat and ALL of the leftover fudge in the house.
I’m looking forward to opening some bottles I’ve been holding on to for special occasions, like the 2017 Celebration Cuvée and also Chloe Cuvée. And bubbles, of course! I have a couple of bottles of Tannat Frizzante left and Bending Branch Brut is a no-brainer for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
I am enjoying the 2018 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards which features nice berry fruit and integrated tannins making it a versatile food wine. I have paired it with smoked chicken and grilled cedar planked salmon with great results and plan on drinking it with filet mignon on Christmas Day.
I’m definitely a Bending Branch Brut girl. As I get out of bed on Christmas, I look forward to the smell of banana nut stuffed French toast being warmed in the oven as I make my mimosa! This year we will have tamales on the menu, and I’m going to pair them with the 2018 Mourvèdre. I love this wine, and it really brings out the flavor in my tamales.
The 2018 Double Barrel Tannat is by far the best we’ve ever had! We will pair it with prime rib for Christmas dinner.
The Bubbles Trio that we are offering is a must-have, especially at $80 per package. Three bottles of Bending Branch Brut hits some of the major traditions for my family. Tradition 1: Each year, when decorating our Christmas tree, my husband Brandon and I always pop a bottle of bubbles to celebrate. Tradition 2: Perhaps a new tradition, my cousin Christy and I hosted Thanksgiving together for the first time. For everyone prepping food at her house that day, we started with a pour then toast of Bending Branch Brut. And while I could come up with a dozen other reasons to open celebratory bubbles between Christmas tree decorating (which is before Thanksgiving at my home) and New Year’s Day, celebrating with Bending Branch Brut is a staple to any New Year party (Tradition 3).
My other holiday pick is 2018 Petit Verdot, Newsom Vineyards. I could not be more excited about this wine, and it is the first vintage of single-variety Petit Verdot produced by Bending Branch Winery. This grape was harvested with the intention of using it for blending, but when tasting it from the barrel, it was so good that the winemaking team chose to bottle it on its own. With less than 40 cases available to sell, it was first offered to 1840 members as an add-on to their December release. Very little of it remains. Not only is it incredibly good, but it is a conversation piece. Bringing a very rare wine to a holiday gathering is a thoughtful and special touch. It’s bold and will pair well with charcuterie, appetizers or the main course. So how to you get it? It’s not online, but you can call the tasting room at 830-995-2948 to purchase or stop in and buy a bottle. While supplies last, of course.
We will enjoy 2018 Petit Verdot with dill mushroom soup with farmhouse sourdough bread.
I will be enjoying the bubbly Brut with divinely decorated Christmas cookies!
My family will be drinking the 2017 Mencía and the new 2018 Zinfandel. After dinner, it’s time for the 2013 Angelica with dessert.
We will have a bottle of 2020 Tannat Rose, Tallent Vineyards served with roasted turkey and all the fixings. And of course, a bottle of bubbly Brut to bring in 2022!
I am decorating my glass with 2018 Tannat, Tallent Vineyards. I was fortunate enough to get a preview when we bottled this over the summer, and now I plan to enjoy it with baked ham glazed in chipotle and apple butter, and a sharp cheddar potato galette.
On very special occasions, I like to grill a large Texas Tomahawk Ribeye. I marinate the ribeye overnight with a coconut garlic amino sauce, Rudy’s rub, Himalayan salt and crushed black pepper. I like to grill it old school style on an open fire pit with charcoal and mesquite wood. When the coals are ready, I sear the steak on all sides and then move the steak away from the high heat and take my time to slow cook it. Lots of patience and a glass of a good Kentucky bourbon is required. When the steak is ready, I top it with slabs of butter and let the steak rest several minutes. Now, it’s ready to eat and nothing goes better with it than a Double Barrel Tannat. I have currently have three bottles in my wine chiller – one 2017 and two of the 2018 vintages.
The thing about Thanksgiving …
Thanksgiving is that uniquely American holiday when lots of relatives who may not see each other often (or have much in common) get together for a big meal. Stuffing or dressing? Mashed or sweet? Pumpkin or pecan? And that’s before sports and politics.
Choosing wines for Thanksgiving can also seem challenging. The flavors of the traditional menu are as diverse as the guests. The key is balance.
Balance means a harmonious blend of the basic flavors in wine – tart, fruity, bitter, and alcohol. Tartness comes from acidity in grapes, fruitiness comes from ripe grapes, bitterness comes mostly from tannin in grape skins, and alcohol comes from fermentation. If any of these component flavors overwhelms the others, the wine can seem uneven or simply unpleasant. But if the acidity, tannin, fruit and alcohol are coherent and complementary, the wine is nicely balanced.
Balanced wines have two great attributes. They are crowd-pleasers, and they taste good with many kinds of food – just the ticket for Thanksgiving. Here are a couple of good suggestions.
Turkey is a fowl, but it is also a game bird with rich, dark flavors and texture. Elegantly balanced 2018 Ursa Tannat Rosé walks the line between white and red wines, a flattering partner for the big bird. Dark meat lovers may prefer an aromatic red like the 2016 Bending Branch Tempranillo. Both these well-balanced wines are also compatible with the many heirloom side dishes on the holiday table.
The cousin who rarely drinks may prefer something a little fruitier like Bending Branch Thinkers Blanc. Also consider having a bottle of Bending Branch 2017 Texas Tannat® around for that uncle whose tastes tend toward whisky and cigars. In wine as in family, balance is the answer.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Bending Branch Family!