December is a fantastic wine month.  Dec. 5 officially is repeal day of the 21st amendment that ended prohibition.  Cheers to that! With the many different holidays, foods, and parties, I wanted to share a guide to pairing some wines this holiday season, some gift giving selections, and to simply fill your glass.

You might celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, or any combination.  The table below will help you find a wine that will pair with you upcoming celebration.

Hanukkah --> Braised Brisket  --> Malbec

Hanukkah --> Salmon --> Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pouilly-Fume

Hanukkah  --> Latkes & Sour Cream  --> Unoaked Chardonnay

Christmas  --> Ham  --> Prosecco, Red Burgundy, Cabernet Franc

Christmas --> Seafood  --> Vouvray, Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc,

Christmas  --> Italian  --> Sangiovese, Chianti, Barbera

Christmas  --> Steak  --> Cabernet, Zinfandel, Malbec, Merlot

Kwanza  --> Catfish  --> Rioja, Brut Rose, Pinotage

Kwanza  --> Caribbean Jerk Chicken  --> Carmenere, Shiraz

Kwanza --> Creole  --> Zinfandel, Dry Riesling

When it comes to purchasing a wine for a gift, try to throw a few subtle hints to find out what they might enjoy.  Pay attention to what is ordered at dinner. Employ the help of the employees at the Fine Wine and Good Spirits Store to find a great wine in your price range.

The State of Pennsylvania has a gift giving guide set-up online and you can order wines and ship them right to your home using this link:  They have also created a gift finder website where you ask a few questions and the website helps you find the most appropriate gift for you loved one here:

My favorite wine from this website is the Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone VV 2012 for $22.99.  This wine is a blend of Grenache and Mouvedere and is lovely to drink. It has a dark red color with a purple tint. The nose has ripe black raspberry with licorice and a touch of spice. This is full bodied, rich and powerful with tastes of black raspberry, cherry and a light earthiness. This wine has a depth many do not. I love the French wines and this one delivers. Wine Advocate gave this wine 92 points.

From the main website I enjoyed the Four Star Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013. The finish is enjoyable because of well integrated tannins and a balanced acidity. For $14.99 this wine is a affordable choice.

From the same website, I found an Italian Barolo Coppo Barolo 2006 DOCG for $31.99. This wine comes from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy and is made from Nebbiolo grapes. Easygoing is a word I liked to describe this wine with rich tannins. Wine Advocate gave this wine 91 points.

One of my favorite gifts to receive is to make it one of the boys. The boys club of great wines includes Raymond, Jordan, Charles, Mark, and Robert. I have yet to experience a bad wine from any of these wineries, but there is a new girl on the scene named Miss Molly and she is a Mollydooker from Australia and making some waves with great wines.

Whatever you celebrate this holiday season make it authentic and enjoy every moment because life is too short to drink bad wine.

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