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Holiday,Wine,Winery

Sumptuous Christmas Wines ~ Carica Wines from Kick Ranch & Sly Dog Cellars Cabernet

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The wines I’m going to mention in this posting will be from ones that I’ve recently enjoyed. The true fun will be pairing them with my Williams-Sonoma Christmas recipe book (Simon-Schuster), again… Just as I did during the Thanksgiving season. I just found these two books, and am really looking forward to our Christmas dinner!

This month, Dick Keenan, my husband/business partner Jose Diaz, and I just enjoyed a winter walk through Dick’s Kick Ranch. It was a special day, and at the end of the walk, Dick gave Jose and me two bottles of his own wine made from the fruit of his vineyards to enjoy. Dick, and his winemaking partner Charlie Dollbaum, decided to name their own wine brand Carica Wines, in honor of a hardy fig tree that’s on his property that dates back to an old homestead. [Carica is a genus of flowering plants in the family Caricaceae; the hardy fig tree’s botanical name: Ficus carica)]

2006 Carica Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County ($21.00) ~ Oyster Stew with Fresh Rosemary

  • STARTER: The Carica Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of 60 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Sauvignon Musque. If I hadn’t read the technical notes on this wine, I would have sworn that there was the secondary malolactic fermentation (and there still may be, but it’s not mentioned). The aromatics of this wine are gorgeous, and the minerality on your palate plays really well with the citrus fruit. It’s a beautiful wine and deserves a really fine food, but not one that would overwhelm either.  The stew has easy to taste vegetables of yellow onions and celery stalks. Although it calls for a tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary, I’d cut that back to only a teaspoon. Rosemary is so overwhelming in any dish, and I’d want to balance the food and wine combination. This way the cream of the stew and the acidity in the wine will add to a perfectly balanced starter.

2006 Carica Kick Ranch Syrah, Sonoma County ($36.00) ~ Roast Goose with Chestnut and Leek Stuffing

  • MAIN COURSE: The Carica Syrah is an opulent wine with rich plum flavors. This cool climate Rhône is crafted in a delicate, yet flavorful style. This  very approachable Syrah would be perfect with this Roast Goose recipe, balancing well with the leek stuffing, and delivering a dish that will delight your guests.

Sly Dog Cellars is a new brand that I’ve also been able to learn about this past year. Winemaker Jeff Miller, who has become a contributor to Wine-Blog, is making really affordable wines that easily please the palate. Don’t let this affordable price tag fool you. This is a powerfully flavored wine and a great value to your meal, as you round out your Christmas holiday with family and friends.

2005 Sly Dog Cellars Caberent Sauvignon, Lake County ($15.00) ~ Chocolate Mousse Cake

  • DESSERT: The Sly Dog Cellars Cabernet has aromas of dried raspberry, rose petals, wild cherry, and cassis. The bittersweet chocolate is perfectly balanced in flavor from the currant and a hint of anise from the wine. This dessert has a couple of tablespoons of Kahúla for richness, and the crème fraîche topping smooths out the tannins of the Cab, making for a sweet ending to a delicious day.

Have a very Merry Chistmas!

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