Wine Wednesday – Thanksgiving wine recommendations

Hello, hello!

Happy Wine Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday!

The weather outside is most definitely frightful and, if you’re traveling today, please be careful. I’m sure your family/friends would enjoy giving thanks for your safe arrival. If you’re traveling tomorrow, the same story holds. 🙂

So, let’s talk wine.

I mean, it IS Wine Wednesday, after all!



Do you have a plan for what wine you’re pouring with tomorrow’s meal?

If you do – Excellent! What are you pouring?

If you don’t, and you’re in charge of the wine, you’re in luck. I’m here to help!

Oh, and if you’re not in charge of wine this time around but are for Christmas, these tips will work for that meal, as well. 🙂

The first thing you need to figure out is how much wine to have on hand.

Generally, a standard bottle will yield about 4-6 glasses of wine, depending on who does the pouring. If it’s my dad, we’re looking at 4 glasses. 🙂

So, for math purposes, we’ll go with 5.

Plan for about 2 glasses per person (some will drink none and some will most definitely drink more) but 2 is a good average.



Then, you have to figure out how many people will be there.

Adults, not children. Please don’t give the children any wine.

We’re going to have 15 at my folks’ house but out of those 15, 6 are below the age of 21. So, we’ll have 9 wine drinkers.

So, 9 wine drinkers plus 2 glasses each equals 18 glasses of wine. Divide that by how many glasses you can get out of a bottle – (remember from up there?) – 5 and we’re looking at about 4 bottles of wine for the meal.

Now, you can mix it up and offer both white and red, if you want. You’ll still want to stick to those estimated calculations. If you know that people will drink more because they aren’t driving, then you can plan for that.

Whatever you plan for pre-dinner drinks is completely up to you and if it’s more wine, you’ll have to account for that in your wine bottle total.

Ooohh, you know what’s handy?


Wine charms! If you have quite a few people drinking wine, it’s very common for someone to put down their glass and walk away for a minute only to come back and discover that it’s gone. With wine charms, everyone basically calls dibs on their own glass with a little charm! They wrap around the glass stem, aren’t very expensive, and can be found in most wine markets and places like World Market, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and, who knows, probably even Target! (*note – if the store sells wine glasses, it probably sells wine charms)

And now it’s time for the good stuff!

What to drink!!



If you’re doing the traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey or ham, there are a variety of wines that pair with both (and all the side dishes) quite nicely.

Let’s start with white wines, shall we?

Rieslings, Gewurztraminers, and Chardonnays are all excellent choices.

They’re all light and fruity without being overly sweet. Gewürztraminers bring a little bit of spiciness to the table and pair excellently with both pecan and pumpkin pie. When looking for a Chardonnay, you want to look for something “unoaked” or stainless barreled. Some oaky Chardonnays can be intensely buttery and might overwhelm your meal. The lighter, unoaked are both crisp and full-bodied and delicious.

Some of my favorite Rieslings include Fetzer, Chateau Ste. Michelle, and J. Lohr.

Favorite Gewürztraminers include Fetzer (again). I haven’t tried too many others so that’s all I got.

And Chardonnays include Kunde, Mer Soleil ($$), Fess Parker, and Josh Cellars.


For red wines, traditional choices are Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. You could also go with a Malbec or a Zinfandel. If you decide to buy a couple bottles of different kinds, serve the Beaujolais and Pinot Noirs BEFORE the Malbecs and Zinfandels.

Beaujolais and Pinot Noir are both light and fruity with a little bit of earthiness. Malbecs are a more lush, medium-bodied wine and Zinfandels are powerful and fruity and full of depth.

If your Thanksgiving crowd are wine lovers, you could definitely throw the Malbecs and the Zinfandels into the mix without worry but if you have wine novices or people who prefer a “lighter” wine, then you should definitely stick with the Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.

I don’t have a favorite Beaujolais as I normally grab a Pinot Noir. Some favorite Pinot Noirs include Rubeus of Lore, Edna Valley, and Decoy.


Favorite Malbecs include Middle Sister (SO GOOD!!), Acacia, or most Meritages (includes the Malbec grape).

Favorite Zinfandels include Four Vines, Seghisio ($$), and Rancho Zabaco.

So there you have it! You’re all set. Well, as far as the wine goes. I can’t help you with the cooking part. 🙂

Talk to me: Pumpkin or Pecan pie?

– jennifer

Wine Wednesday – Sterling Vintner’s Collection 2011 Meritage

Hello, hello!

Guess what day it is? Whoop, Whoop!

wine wednesday


I had to stop in my local Farm Fresh grocery store to pick up a few “middle of the grocery shopping trips” essentials and you know I had to browse the wine selection for a good deal. I can’t help myself.

And, I was rewarded nicely for my “efforts” with this little gem!


Basically, a $20 bottle of wine for HALF OFF! #hooklineandsinker

Plus, I’m a HUGE fan of a Bordeaux-style blend and this one was calling my name:

46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.

That makes 100%, right? 😉

As you can see, it comes from Sterling Vineyards and is part of their Sterling Vintner’s Collection.


Now, as you can see, the bottle just says “Central Coast” so it’s hard to tell where exactly the grapes come from. They have several vineyards as you can see here.

While it’s nice to know where the grapes come from so you can get an idea of the potential flavor profile, when you’re buying a blend, especially of 5 different grapes, the combination of them is going to make their own distinct profile just showcasing certain nuances from each grape. And, when you’re looking at a high-production winery such as Sterling Vineyards, all of their vineyards are well established and known to produce excellent grapes. So, vineyard location kinda just becomes interesting trivia for when you’re a contestant on Jeopardy.


Yes, I know – I REALLY need to find a better location to snap my “glass next to the bottle” picture. I just love our bar so much!

As you can see, it pours beautifully and is a lovely, deep cherry/garnet color.


On the nose, I definitely got aromas of cherries and other fruit. I could also smell a little bit of toasty spice. YUM!

This wine did not disappoint! Juicy fruit flavors and a little bit of  spice all rolled into one! It packed a pretty potent punch but, just the same, it wasn’t so fruity that I felt like I needed to chew it. I’ve tasted wines like that and, while they can be quite enjoyable, I prefer to drink my wine and chew my food. 🙂

This wine would pair quite nicely with a variety of foods – we had burgers cuz we’re classy – such as barbecue, stews, meat-rich pasta dishes, etc. You could even do this with chicken (bbq or other strong seasonings) and meatier fish, like salmon or tuna. I’d stay away from a tomato-based pasta dish (except for lasagna which is cheese heavy) because the acidity of the tomatoes would probably make the wine taste a little off.

That being said, it definitely isn’t a food dependent wine and is definitely worth enjoying a glass WHILE you’re cooking.

cook with wine


Talk to me: Do you have a favorite grape? How do you feel about wine blends?

These opinions are completely and totally my own. Sterling Vineyards did not ask me to review any of their wine. I literally just grabbed the bottle because it was on sale and I like blends.

– jennifer

Hooray! It’s W(h)ine Wednesday!

It’s W(h)ine Wednesday!


Aren’t you excited?

Let’s start with the whine.  That way I can end with the Wine. 🙂

Crossfit yesterday was full of highs and lows and I’m not talking about the weights I pushed around.


We were in the middle of DROM (dynamic range of motion) and getting ready to do some “imaginary sack” races.  You know the kind – you PRETEND you’re stepping in a sack and then you race/hop off to the finish line. So, I stepped into my sack and got ready. Coach said, “GO!” and I hopped one hop and felt a pop in my foot and I stopped.  Hop. Pop. Stop.


Cuss. A LOT!

Where’s Dr. Seuss when you need him?

So, I know I’ve mentioned that I deal with plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Well, that’s the foot that popped. I’ve never felt anything like that before. I can’t believe how much it hurt. So, of course, I sat out the workout and went home shook it off and pushed through the workout because “taking it easy” and “Jennifer” are not synonymous. Perhaps I need to work on that.

So, now I’m resting it – didn’t go to CrossFit this morning 😦 – and icing it. I have a feeling this water bottle may become my new best friend. I really wasn’t in the market for a new best friend.


At this rate, I may have to change my blog name to “An Injured Runner.” Seriously, could I fall apart a little less, please?

potato head

Now, I’ll take the h out of whine and use it for the word – HAPPY!

I know. My emotions are a little all over the place.


Anyway, the point of the WOD yesterday was to build up to our 1 rep max on back squats, deadlifts, and strict press. And, in spite of my foot, I managed to set a personal best in all 3!

I back squatted 100# (up from 90#), deadlifted 140# (up from 120#!!!) and managed 65# (up from 55#) on the strict press.  Here’s what all of  that looks like:

I tried so hard to press 70# but I couldn’t quite get it. But, I will!

Okay, now for the WINE!


I love THIS kind of wine Wednesday. I love wine. I’m okay with Wednesdays in general. Fridays are better but at least it isn’t Monday!


empty bottle = delicious!

I found this gem at the Publix. That’s a grocery store, if you’re not familiar. I’d rank it with a really nice Safeway but not quite a Wegman’s. It cost $14.99. So, definitely reasonable. What made me look at it? The label, of course! Seriously, 2 rogue looking cherubs and some grape splatters in the name print? I HAD to pick it up!

This wine is a 50/50 blend of malbec and cabernet sauvignon from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. The Colchagua Valley is pretty much smack in the middle of Chile and is one of the country’s best known wine regions. They regularly produce cabernets, syrahs, and malbecs with terrific results. Because the climate is always hot, the wines produced are usually full-bodied and have concentrated fruit flavors. So, basically, you’re looking at a slightly heavier tasting wine than a pinot noir with good fruit “chewiness” without being overly grape-y. It’s just the right amount. I mean, who wants to drink grape jelly?


Blending malbec (usually an inky, dark red with lots of fruit) with cabernet (not quite as inky with rich red fruit and berry flavors) is a delicious combination. YUM! This wine is big without being overpowering, has great fruit flavors that mellow into some oaky wood flavors that are just to die for. It will definitely be a great accompaniment with grilled meats, hearty pastas and stews and even spicy chilis. Om nom nom!

And, at $15, it’s practically a steal!

Find it, try it, and let me know how you like it!  Bottom’s up! 🙂

– jennifer