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Wine Cellar Inspirations: Fun Table Preparation Concepts For Christmas

December 20th, 2017

Christmas eve dinner will certainly be always a special occasion. Whether you celebrate it with family and friends, with your special someone, or with a huge gathering of people, it will always be loads of fun. And one of the truly enjoyable moments actually come during the preparation stage. That’s right! Setting up the Christmas table and thinking of all the ways you can make it beautiful is definitely an activity to look forward to. With Christmas eve only a few days away though, the nerves can get a bit frazzled along the way. So we thought we’d lend a helping hand with some of these fun table preparation concepts:

Incorporate natural touches!

Incorporate “natural” touches

This year, “all-natural” has become one of the biggest buzzwords for almost anything. Food, drinks, toiletries, make-up, fashion – you name it. People have been leaning more and more towards “all-natural” ingredients in almost anything. So why not bring these “all-natural” touches to your Christmas table as well! Decorate your table with fresh greenery such as pine with sprigs of holly for that holiday flavor. Instead of vases, try bowls filled with fresh salad greens and topped with fruit. They will make great appetizers as well. Also, instead of the usual china or crystal setting, switch it up with wooden plates and bowls.

Go for “bold and vibrant” decor

It’s the holidays, people! Get out of your comfort zone and instead of the usual elegant (spell, stiff!) decor, glassware and cutlery, go for something bold and vibrant. It will actually prove to be a nice change and will help give off a relaxed and cozy atmosphere. Colorful, mismatched glassware, decorative plates, printed table runners and napkins – these say one thing: fun, fun, fun. You can also add some quirky little presents for your guests such as holiday poppers or tiny boxes of liquor-filled chocolates.

Bold and vibrant decor!

Overdecorate to spell “abundant”

What better time than Christmas dinner to literally go all out with food, drinks, and of course, presents?  Make this Christmas eve dinner one of the most memorable ones by making your table exude an air of abundance. Overdecorating is the key. Go for large blooms for your centerpiece. Trot out large candles and candle holders, oversized bowls and serving platters, and pile on the holiday greenery such as pine and junipers. Turn your table into a grazing table chock-full of aperitifs – fruits, nuts, cheeses, cupcakes, crackers and more. We guarantee an air of festivity like no other!

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Our Top Christmas Wine Picks

December 13th, 2017

Only ten more days to go to Christmas eve! What’s your Christmas dinner menu looking like? We’ll give you some hints with ours – red, white, and sparkling. Yup, yup! It seems like the holiday colors will be all over the dining table this year as we trot out our top wine picks for the season. Check our list out and share with us yours as well:

Cheers to a good year!

Pour on the Pinot!

Ham will definitely on the menu come Christmas eve. So what would we be pouring alongside that? Experience tells us that whether they are baked, smoked, or honeyed, hams beg for wines with a dash of sweet.  A German Riesling with a touch of residual sugar, made lighter in style and a bit lower in alcohol, is one of the popular pairing choices. Riesling comes with plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal. But this year, we’re going to pour on the Pinot instead. Why so? Good Pinot Noir has subtle tannins that make for an easier going pairing profile. It’s a crowd-pleaser, apart from a palate one. If you’re going to be having a variety of tastebuds over for dinner, Pinot is the bottle you’d want to pop open.

Style with Sauvignon Blanc!

If we have our reds, then we’re certainly lining up the whites this Christmas eve as well. Turkey will also be on the menu and this savory dish deserves a suitable partner. Sauvignon Blanc is a time-tested favorite pick for turkey and savory sides. This white wine will bring its own herbal tones to the table, enhancing one’s turkey dinner experience. Note that it will also go well with duck compared to reds, particularly if you’re serving one with a fruity type sauce.

We love our dessert wines!

Bring on the Dessert Wines!

Naturally, the meal won’t be complete without an array of lip-smacking desserts to end Christmas dinner with an extra “ho” to the “ho, ho, ho.” And for us, dessert won’t be complete unless there’s the right wine pairing for it as well. You have to be careful though not to overdo the sweetness intensity on the palate. Ice Wine is one of our favorite picks, especially with bite-sized truffles and other chocolate-covered goodies. If you’re serving cheesecake, tortes, or other similar cakes, the Moscato d’Asti will make for the perfect wine partner.

 

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Staycation Activities For The Holidays

November 22nd, 2017

Christmas holidays is drawing closer and closer! For sure, we’re all excited in planning out our winter activities. But for some (and maybe more), the budget just won’t cooperate. That means you can’t really go anywhere nice and warm. Well, think about this, though. A tropical vacation may sound dreamy, but it’s not the only way to enjoy the season. You’ll be wonderfully surprised at how some staycation activities can be even more fun and productive. Here are a few of them. Check them out, try them out, save more money in the process and have a blast this holidays:

Pull up your city or town’s local event guide

Most cities and towns actually have a winter calendar with a bunch of awesome activities already scheduled. If you were too busy with other stuff (or probably staying away) during the winter season to check them out, now’s the time to do so. Most of these activities are scheduled on weekends so that families can take advantage of them. They can range from holiday bazaars to carols and sleigh rides, winter sports, Christmas shows, and so much more. You will discover so many events to go to that you’ll be asking for more time to do them all.

Explore your town or city's hot spots!

Explore local parks and “hot” spots

This is something that happens most of the time. Because we’ve lived practically all our lives in our area, we neglect to explore it. We take for granted that there are actually places that attract other people as well. So if you don’t have the money to splurge on that tropical vacation, go out and explore your local attractions. Visit your local museum or historical societies. Check out the activities in your local parks. Go for a drive and enjoy the sights your city or town has to offer this time of the year. And don’t forget to try out local restaurants you’ve never been to before!

Organize holiday wine and cheese party!

Organize get-togethers or fun nights-out

Now is the time to fully enjoy with your family and friends without having to worry about spending a fortune. The best thing about staycations is that they give you so much time to just hang out and have a genuinely good time. Plan a spa day with your girlfriends. Throw an informal wine and cheese tasting party at home. Do a movie-swap with friends: go to the movie you like this week and the one that they like the next. And of course – go shopping!

Do you have more staycation ideas you’d want to share? We’d love to hear them so leave a comment or two below! ^_^

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Wine And Cheese Pairings For Spring

April 26th, 2017

Spring is definitely the season for entertaining. It’s also the season for appreciating flavors, from wine to food and other beverages. Naturally, when we talk of wine flavors, we will also definitely cross paths with wine and cheese pairings. After all, what’s a wine party without  some good old wine and cheese? For this season, we’ve whipped up a couple of  delish recommendations you’d want to try out for your next get together.

Wine and cheese pairings

Now before we go on to the actual pairings, it’s quite important to keep in mind a few pointers. First off, always remember this classic wine pairing rule that states: “When a wine is matched with a cheese that has a similar flavor profile, the flavors will cancel each other out on the taster’s palate and enhance the more subtle flavors in both the wine and the cheese that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

Here is an example: a crisp, acidic white wine paired with an acidic cheese. When the taster has both in her mouth – instead of being overwhelmed by a strong sour taste, the acidity will disappear because the flavors cancelled each other out.  What will be noticeable would be the subtle notes of fruit or floral from the wine and a creamy sweetness and other flavors associated with the cheese. These flavors won’t be easily noticeable had the cheese and the wine have been sampled separately.

Now on to the pairings! Here are a few that will tickle your guests’ tastebuds and really bring those bursts of flavors:

  • Shiraz and Asiago Cheese
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Havarti Cheese
  • White Zinfandel and Truffle Cheese
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Manchego Cheese
  • Bordeaux and Colby Jack Cheese

Spring wines and cheeses

The pairings may seem a bit traditional for some, so if you’re up for something different, we also recommend Chardonnay with Naked Goat Cheese. We recommend an unoaked style chardonnay like a Naked Chardonnay. Since both will have more or less the same acidity, the flavors will actually cancel each other out. Note that Naked Chardonnay focuses on the crisp acidity of the chardonnay grape with flavors of lemony citrus and tart green apple. Naked goat cheese, on the other hand, has a tangy finish. Eaten together, what will be enhanced are the flavors of pear and honey from the wine and the creamy and nutty flavors from the cheese.

Do you have your own favorite wine and cheese pairing for Spring? Share them with us as well! ^_^