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November 2021

Merry Me

The most wonderful time of year! I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I love Christmas traditions. I love Christmas décor everywhere. I love Christmas prime rib dinner. I love Christmas shopping for my family. I love Christmas jammies. I love it all! The Christmas season makes ME very happy.

Most of us may get to enjoy this holiday season a little more than the last. We may get to experience more family dinners, office gift exchanges, holiday parties and community gatherings. While we are busy reacquainting ourselves with the hustle and bustle of the season, it is my hope that you take a moment for yourself. Do something that makes you happy. Enjoy your favorite tradition or create a new one. Open a bottle of wine that will but a smile on your face. Take a “ME” moment because if you are happy, it will be a merry season for those around you.

Veuve Amoit “Cuvee Elisa” Crémant de Loire

Everything about this wine makes me smile. The story, the label, the taste, the price.

In the late 1800’s Armand Amoit set up a wine trading company in France and eventually started producing sparkling wine. His rapid growing business demanded more space, so he constructed a large production facility and cellars to house the sparkling wine. His wife Elisa purchased the property above the cellars to provide a garden for their workers.

Two years after Armand’s untimely death Elisa started Veuve Amoit (vueve – widow in French) Sparkling House. Not only was her wine recognized throughout the world but so were her humanitarian qualities. Her consciousness for the well-being of others motivated her to do things that were well before her time. She provided benefits for her employees which was unheard of at the time. She created a school for the children of her workers and covered the costs to run it. She also hired a number of women and provided childcare for the youngest of children.

She was considered a woman of strength, character, high ambition and intelligence. This woman followed her heart, did something for herself and improved the lives of others while doing it.

Pairs well with oysters on New Year’s Eve, a “ME” moment and your beautiful smile.

Founder – Elisa Amiot

Retail - $20

Walt Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2018

Earlier this month I went on a “walkabout” to Napa. In my family we consider a walkabout a time to hit the open road for a couple of days and do what makes you happy, brings you peace and fills you with joy. It’s like a 60 hour “ME” moment. I loved the drive (7 hours each way) since I got to listen to motivational speakers, gospel music and nothing at all. I did not plan much except dinner with my soul sister. Other than that, I wanted to walk the vineyards, eat at my favorite spots and go down memory lane.

My first stop in Napa was Gott’s Roadside in downtown (as usual). I enjoyed an ahi burger and Sauv Blanc (as always) and starred out at this charming Kobalt blue cottage turned tasting room. I had seen it before and have purchased their wines in the past but had never been. So, what the heck, I am on a walkabout, I can do whatever I want. There I went. Who knew I would find a delicious Pinot from the Sta. Rita Hills (Santa Barbara County) right in the heart of Napa? I thought it was worthy of a holiday feast and knew it would be perfect for wine club.

Kathryn and Craig Hall are the founders of Hall Winery and Walt Wines. Both are incredible vintners, philanthropist and advocates for the less fortunate. Kathryn grew up in Sonoma where her parents Bob and Dolores Walt where dedicated grape growers. That is where Kathryn was taught her fierce work ethic. She managed the family vineyards for 10 years and then moved on to become assistant city attorney in Berkeley Ca.

Kathryn and Craig became successful business partners in Dallas, Texas but all the while Kathryn was doing what made her happy. She was the co-founder of North Texas Food Bank, served on the U.S. House of Representatives Hunger Advisory Committee, was the vice president of Texas Mental Health Association and served on the National Advisory Counsel for Violence Against Women. Before returning to her life as vintner, Kathryn also served as United States Ambassador to Austria. Kathryn always knew she would make a life in the vineyards but first took time to discover herself and in turn has helped many along the way.

Enjoy with roasted chicken, green bean casserole and the cousins down south.

Founders – Kathryn and Craig Hall Winemaker – Alison Hollister

Retail - $40

Frescobaldi Rémole, Tuscany 2019

We have two family traditions during the holidays that make me the happiest. One thing that I always buy for these traditions is a case of tasty Italian red wine that won’t break the bank. People may not know this about me, but I love homemade pasta and a cheap Italian red. Back to the traditions, the first is tree decorating. We order pizza, put on our Christmas jammies and Santa hats (Mike’s is a Laker hat) open a bottle or two and decorate the tree. The second is Italian Night at Aunt Nona’s (that’s me). My siblings, nieces and nephews come over (Mexican, not Italian), the kids make pizza, we feast on my eggplant parmesan, Mike’s stuffed shells and Rhema pesto pasta. We end up polishing off the rest of the case. It’s a good time and make me very happy.

The Frescobaldi family has been making wine for over 700 years and continues to be family owned and operated. The wine is simple, food friendly and delightful. 90% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pair with pizza, pasta and family.

Founders – Frescobaldi Family Winemaker – A bunch of family members

Retail $16

Miner Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2018

We have a love affair with Miner Winery! I have loved the wines for over 20 years. They over deliver for the price, drink beautifully in their youth and cellar with the best of them. I think the reason that “WE” love Miner is Dave Miner. I love the fact he produces great wines and Mike loves his impressive guitar collection. Dave has hosted several wine dinners here and the last was a treat! Mike and Dave jammed on guitar! It was dinner and a show. That memory brings me joy and so does the wine.

Miner Family Winery is situated in my favorite Napa wine growing region, Oakville. It also has my favorite view, the Mayacama Mountain Range. On my walkabout I made sure to sip on this wine and enjoy the Mayacamas for no other reason than I wanted to.

Pair with Christmas Prime Rib and the people you cherish most.

Founder – Dave Miner Winemaker – Gary Bookman

Retail - $60

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