Tag Archives: Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays — Mulled Wine Recipe for the Holidays

Photo by Bekathwia

Mulled wine is a traditional holiday drink throughout the colder countries in Europe from glogg in Sweden and gluhwein in Germany to vin chaud in France.

The origins for mulling wine are based more in practical matters than festive and romantic holiday traditions. Once upon a time, wine was not something to be collected and aged in cellars. It was an everyday product that was meant to be consumed soon after it was bottled. Less than perfect bottling methods meant that wine, which was traditionally bottled after harvest in the early fall, had started to go off by winter. Spices were added to postpone spoilage and, well, make wine that had gone off taste a little less nasty. Hence, the consumption of mulled wine became a mid-winter, holiday tradition. We now drink mulled wine for tastier reasons. Plus it makes the whole house fragrantly festive!

The exact combination of spices change from country to country, but mulled wine generally starts with a red wine base —like Merlot or Cabernet — and adds cinnamon, cloves, star anise, juniper, ginger, citrus or cardamom. Think seasonal, warming spices and add orange or lemon peel for brightness. It’s kind of like a warm winter sangria. Play around to find the combination that you like best.  Here’s a historical British recipe adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management (first published in 1861)

Mulled Wine

  • To every 600ml (1 pint) of Wine allow:

    Photo by maoquai

  • 235ml (8 fl oz) Water
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Spice (Cloves, Grated Nutmeg and Cinnamon or Mace), to taste

Per Mrs. Beeton: In making this, it is very difficult to give the exact proportions of ingredients like sugar and spice, as what quantity might suit one person would be to another quite distasteful. Boil the spice in the water until the flavour is extracted. Add the wine and sugar and bring to boiling point, then serve with strips of crisp dry toast or with biscuits. The spices usually used for mulled wine are cloves, grated nutmeg and cinnamon or mace. Any kind of wine may be mulled, but port and claret are those usually selected for the purpose and the latter requires a very large proportion of sugar. The vessel that the wine is boiled in must be delicately clean and should be kept exclusively for the purpose.

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Wine Wednesdays: Passport Weekend At Annieglass


We are so looking forward to Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passport Day this Saturday. You can find a full list of the wineries participating by clicking here. There are lots of local favorites pouring, including us at our Watsonville wine tasting bar! We are excited to be hosting Loma Prieta Winery who will be pouring some of their handcrafted, medal winning wines. Among the selection being poured by Loma Prieta Winery is a Platinum & Gold Medal winning 2010 Amarosa Vineyard Pinotage, and a double Gold Medal winning 2009 Petite Sirah. They will be at our Watsonville wine bar – 310 Harvest Drive in Watsonville  on November 15th, from 12:00pm – 4:30pm.

These passport days, which happen four times a year, are a great way to meet and celebrate local vintners and growers of the Santa Cruz Mountain area, some of which are too small to have tasting rooms of their own regularly open to the public.  The region, which includes the three counties of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo, was first recognized as an official American Viticultural Area (or AVA ) in 1981 — though grapes have been grown and great wine has been made here for much longer than that — and it was one of the first AVAs to be defined  by it’s elevation and topography rather than strictly geographical lines or borders. This is because the grapes grown at these heights are very different than the same varietals grown at lower elevation. The AVA basically follows the fog line along the coast — the lowest points are 800 feet in the east and 400 feet in the west and the highest ridgetops are at 3000+ elevation, with most of the area at about 2,000 feet. The combination of fog, mountainous terrain, thin soil, often cooler temperatures, and different sun exposures makes for unique growing conditions and lots of microclimates. The region is known primarily for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but other varietals, especially Merlot and Zinfandel thrive here as well. The Santa Cruz mountains are home to some of the oldest and most acclaimed wineries in California.

Passports are $45 online or can be purchased at any participating winery. They entitle you to one visit to each winery but are good for 2 years from the date of purchase, so that gives you 8 chances to get to every winery!

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Wine Wednesday: Lucia Highlands Vineyard Winemaker Event

2_591_pinotThis weekend we are thrilled to be welcoming Carol and Bret Sisney at the Annieglass Tasting Room, where we will be pouring their wonderful Lucia Highlands Vineyard wines. I’ve known Carol & Bret for years, since our children were in school together, and have always been impressed with how they became grape growers and winemakers in one of the most sought-after grape growing regions in the state. Located in the northern region of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Lucia Highlands Vineyard has  proximity to the cool maritime influences of the Monterey Bay which gives and long slow growing season and allows the fruit to ripen gradually, which makes for a great fullness of flavor. You can read my interview with Carol and Bret by clicking here. And please do stop by our Watsonville wine bar on Saturday October 4th, between noon and 4:30pm.

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Wine Wednesdays — Natural Wines

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about natural wines, but what does that really mean? There are many aspects and definitions to what makes a wine “natural” but what they all have in common is that they strive to be as close to nature and chemical-free as possible, both in agricultural and wine making practices. That means no pesticides or fungicides used in the vineyard. And usually it means that the land is tilled by hand, not with machinery. The resulting grapes are not necessarily certified organic, but they are farmed in using organic and sustainable methods.

Natural winemakers also use different methods than traditional winemakers when making the actual wines — they use natural yeasts for fermentation, rather than yeasts that have been cultivated. They also don’t use any technology to shape the wine into any predetermined taste, preferring to let the wine evolve into what nature intended each vintage. And some winemakers don’t filter the wine either, so the cloudiness can take some getting used to. Being natural doesn’t necessarily make a wine better — but it certainly makes them interesting.  — but there are some beautiful ones out there —Have you tried any natural wines?

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Wine Wednesday: Local Wine for the Holiday

2007_Saggio danza 014Do you still have holiday shopping to do? We still have some lovely sale items from our Factory Sale at our Watsonville Store. Come shop now through Sunday, December 22nd while supplies last! (Remember, our Factory sale items are final sale only — no returns or exchanges.)

And another great idea for for a hostess or holiday gift — some local Santa Cruz wines from award winning local vineyards. You can find a selection from our Watsonville studio tasting bar. Taste while you shop. There are wines to suit every palate and wallet. 4 tastings for $6, 8 tastings for $12.

Here is our current lineup of wines that you can taste and purchase:
Malvasia del Fiore – $16
A lovely fresh and perfumed wine, excellent for cocktail time and desserts, an Annieglass favorite
Joullian Chardonnay – $22
100% estate fruit in Carmel Valley. Crisp apple and hazelnut flavors
Joullian Cabernet – $28
Lovely structure and echoes of top Bordeaux
Scott Family Chardonnay – $19
Balanced, smooth and utterly drinkable
Scott Family Pinot Noir – $24

Silky and aromatic, raspberries and cola flavors
Heron Pinot Noir – $18

Elegant structure with classic forest floor and cola flavors and aromas
Selby Old Vine Zinfandel – $21

Defined flavors of dark raspberry, clove and chocolate. Dessert, anyone?
Graham Beck Brut – $16

A delectable and classic sparkling wine that mimics French Champagne, fine bubbles and clean style

Holiday Tours and Pours hours
Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22
Tours at 11:30 and 2:00
Wine tasting: 12:00 to 4:30

Please note, our Watsonville store will be closed over the holidays, from Friday, December 27th through the New Year. We reopen Friday, January 3rd


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