Happy New Year, 2016!

Whether you are looking for celebratory drinks, gifts, or just ideas for the future – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner – you’ve come to the right place.

Reds for Your Table…
I’m not a big red wine drinker, but I’ve learned to recognized what makes a good red. Sometimes I even find one that I really want on my own dinner table. I found two that fit that category this month:

George Dubceuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2015
This wine is a meal in a glass. You’ll get the spice in the front and the fruit in the back, while it’s rich and jammy throughout. You could pair this with just about anything, but I prefer to sip and savor. Best of all, it’s under $15!

Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d ‘Abruzza DOC
I love to cook Italian food and I’m always in search for that Italian wine that will complement the meal. I opened a bottle of this Montepulciano (an Italian grape) and it worked perfectly with my Baked Ziti and Italian meatballs. It’s not too dry and full of fruit. The retail price is under $30.

For Celebrating…
I confess that Freixenet was my go to sparkler 20 years ago and I’m certainly not the only one. The company has been making this cava since the 19th century. The latest vintage works just as well as it did the first time I served it New Year’s Eve. Cordon Negro is their signature sparkling and it creates a nice balance between sweet, dry, and fruity. It’s also still about $12.

Something Sweet…
Leer Vineyards considers giving back as important as making wine. They have sustained three partnerships with charities: Special Kids Blend to donate to The Special Kids Foundation in Brentwood, California; Heroic Red and Valiant White for the Military Warriors Support Foundation; and CoCo Blend, which gives some of its proceeds to K9 Paw Print Rescue.

I tasted the Valiant White and Heroic Red. The white is a moscato, sweet and filled with flavors of apricot and peaches. The red is the total opposite, dry and tobacco like, with lots of pepper and a bit of fruit (it’s a blend of syrah, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.

And Speaking of Charity…
I received a beautiful turquoise bracelet from World Vision and I highly recommend checking out their catalog next time you need a gift. This organization helps provide food for those in need, and stop exploitation of girls and women around the world.

If you don’t find anything to purchase, you can still make a donation at World Vision which goes directly to your choice of items, such as sending a girl to school, buying a goat for a family, or giving a fishing kit to someone who will use it to bring food to their kids. 


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