Twelve Days of Spirited Giving


When you think about it, the Christmas Carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has a lot of items that don’t necessarily hold true today, like where do you put six maids a milking? Where do you put the cows? Six cows definitely won’t fit under my tree, and when you add in the dancing ladies and leaping lords, not to mention noisy drummers—it just doesn’t seem practical. Though the Canada geese in the brook that gurgles through my property could easily count for the six geese a-laying. I don’t know how much a -laying they do, but they manage to make a mess of the yard and raid the bird feeders. The per tree still bears fruit but we haven’t seen a partridge on the property in years.

So thinking about it, it seems maybe we should apply the twelve days to more up to date gift ideas, preferably alcoholic in nature. So here is a nice list of tasty affordable bottles that could make a nice case and celebrate the 12 days.

On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
First Press Chardonnay from Delicato ($12.99)
Elegance is the word for this bright, refreshing Napa Valley Chardonnay. Classically structured with aromas of lemon, ripe pear and honeydew, crisp acidity complements the abundant flavors of yellow apple and citrus, tempered by the mellow notes of American oak.  Perfect as an accompaniment to poultry, seafood, salads, fruit and cheese.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love gave to me Two Vines Gewürztraminer
Typical Gewürztraminer aromas of orange zest and spice are joined by a lively citrus note and floral lift. Upfront fruit flavors of melons and lime give way to a pink grapefruit essence and finish with bright acidity, balancing the wine’s subtle sweetness. ($7.99)

On the Third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Three Saints Pinot Noir
From Dierberg Vineyard situated atop a sandy loam mesa above the South Bank of the Santa Maria River, Three Saints Pinot Noir begins with aromatics of crushed raspberries, black cherry, sassafras, and vanilla bean. A plush mouthfeel accompanies notes of wild strawberry, fresh cedar, and cherry cola. The long finish emphasizes the rich fruit character, with enough bright acid to leave one longing for yet another sip. ($16.99)

On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Four Vines Truant Zinfandel
A fantastic multi-appellation Zin Blend from the Purple Wine Company. This is not an over-ripe jammy style of Zinfandel. It is a blend of 77% Zinfandel, 13% Syrah, 5% Petite Sirah,  3% Barbera and 2% Sangiovese. On the nose the wine has layers of berry fruit and anise aromas with hints of spice. On the palate, blackberry and spicy plum fruit with a rich mouth feel trailing to a velvety toasted oak finish. Enjoy with your true love (or the friend who gave you this gift)! ($11.99)

On the Fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Becketts Flat Five Stones Shiraz.
Five Stones Shiraz comes from Margaret River, Australia. This red has an attractive nose with floral and spicy notes. The palate displays ripe plum and red berry fruit with spicy undertones that lead to a long finish with supple tannins.  Produced without the use of animal products, it’s suitable for everyone, including vegans. This wine is also Kosher for Passover and Mevushal. ($16.99)

On the Sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Graham’s Six Grapes Port
This is one of Graham’s original Port marques. It is a big-hearted wine, sourced from the same vineyards  that contribute to Graham’s famed Vintage Ports in ‘declared’ years, and closely resembles Graham’s Vintage Port style: full-bodied, with rich opulent black fruit on the palate and fragrant brambly aromas. Think of it as the ‘everyday Port for the Vintage Port drinker.’ Six Grapes has a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries and dark chocolate notes. On the palate it’s complex, with an excellent structure and a long, lingering finish that pairs particularly well with dark chocolate, but is also fantastic on its own as a luscious dessert in a glass. ($20.99)

On the Seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me 7  Deadly Zins
This is a sinful blend indeed!  This blended red Zinfandel was devised to be so captivating that no one could refuse. Seven Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards were chosen for their superiority to create this unique wine. The winemakers quickly related the Seven Sins from their Catholic school upbringing to the seven Old Vine Zinfandels blended in their wine. 7 Deadly Zins possesses spicy, pepper, garrigue, black cherry, and earth characteristics in its medium-bodied, soft personality.  Drink it up! ($18.99)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Cellar No. 8 Merlot
Cellar No. 8 is a real place where real wine is made for real people – people who appreciate quality, and recognize a tremendous value when they see one. This Merlot is a tasty red, with an easy-going personality; exhibiting red currant flavors from start to finish. It starts with rich aromas of ripe red berry fruit and Bing cherry, along with notes of dried herbs, followed by flavors of red cherries, cola, cloves and spice dominating the palate, with just a hint of toasty oak thrown in. ($9.99)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Nein Lives Black Cat Riesling
Nein Lives is an off-dry Riesling from Germany’s famed Mosel Valley– the grapes are sourced from the Middle Mosel along the banks of the Mosel River in the town of Piesporter. Each vintage has three different label designs, a fun quirk matching the easy lightheartedness of the wine. Slightly sweet with elegant minerality. ($8.99)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Ten Sisters Sauvignon Blanc
Ten Sisters Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand has a delightfully fragrant and complex bouquet with underlying citrus aromas. The palate is crisp and lively, its elegant layers hinting of tropical fruit. The finish is long and well-balanced. The sauvignon blanc is given extended lees contact—longer than the majority of Marlborough sauvignon blancs—to create complexity, weight on the palate, and aging potential, and to bring out fruit flavors. ($12.99)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Row 11 Russian River Pinot Noir
California- A blend of three different vineyard sites- Sonoma, Santa Barbara, and Monterey. Crisp with good acidity and rich in cherry pie flavors. Cherry and wild blueberry notes mixed with cola, spice and heavy smoke flavors.Red cherries, lighter smoke and hints of bacon with all the finesse and elegance expected in Russian River Pinot Noirs. This wine is ready to drink now, or can be enjoyed for many more years.($36.99)

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love sent to me Ouzo 12
Ouzo, Greece’s most famous drink immediately transports the drinker to sunny Greece. Clear and silky, with a distinct licorice flavor, ouzo is distilled from the must or remnants of grapes pressed for wine. Made according to the original recipe dating back to the 1880s, Ouzo 12 is produced using a unique blend of aromatic seeds, fruits, herbs and spices like anise, mint, mastic, and coriander. Potent and fiery, it’s not a drink for the faint of heart.
The name comes from the fact that the customers of Kaloyiannis Distillery, who appreciated a fine ouzo, insisted on being served from “Barrel No. 12.” Double-distilled, Ouzo 12 goes through 16 successive pot stills before it can be poured in your glass. Despite the strong flavor, ouzo compliments many different types of food. Next time you enjoy a glass, remember the customary toast is stin uyeia sou (steen ee-YEE-ah soo) – to your health! ($36.99)

This makes for a simple way to give a fun and interesting “by-the-numbers” gift.

All of these bottles were purchased at the above prices at Circus Wines on Route 35 North in Middletown, NJ.

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