Wines of the Week: Holiday Gifts for the Wine Lover

On this special Holiday edition of Wines of the Week on FB LIVE I’m sharing some of my favorite wines AND wine-related gifts perfect for the wine lover in your life. So in this episode I’ve got you covered with creative ideas for everyone from: (1) The Holiday Hostess, (2) The Red Wine Lover, (3) The Collector and (4) The Champagne Lover.

1.) THE HOLIDAY HOSTESS: Nobody wants to show up to a holiday party empty handed but what to bring? Flowers? Another lame candle? How about something sparkling that won’t break the bank? In all the years I’ve hosted holiday parties I’ve always been happy to receive bubbles which are universally appealing and super festive. I especially like these delicious bottles:


Mionetto Prosecco Brut Treviso, Veneto, Italy, NV ($14): Hailing from Veneto region of Italy, this delightful Prosecco is light, crisp and refreshing with notes of white flowers, apples and citrus. While delicious on its own, this wine is also perfect for sparkling wine based drinks such as Mimosas, Bellinis and one of my faves: Rosemary Pomegranate Royales!

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, Napa Valley, California, NV ($20): Made in the same method as Champagne, this delightful domestic sparkler is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris. It has lovely notes of citrus, apple, vanilla, with hints of toast, honey and gingerbread spice with ith a fine acidity and rich, lingering finish.

And since your Hostess went through lots of effort to create a magical evening (even if she won’t admit it) why not surprise her with one of these stylish and unique accessories:


“Bring on the Bubbly” Flutes ($28 – set of two)

Rose Gold Jewel Wine Glasses ($25 – set of two)

Both sets of glasses are available at Linen Closet boutique in downtown Delray Beach (303 NE 4th Street, Delray Beach, FL 33444 (561)266-0766. Ask for Christina or Carolann & tell them The Glamorous Gourmet sent ya!

2.) THE RED WINE LOVER: This is the time of year to sip and savor those big, bold red wines and what’s better than a Cabernet Sauvignon? I especially adore these two California Cabernets available at two different price points to suit your budget:


Fortress Knight’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, California, 2013 ($35): This wine is an interesting blend of grape varieties including 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc. It’s aged in a mixture of French and American oak and has delicious notes of dark fruit, mocha & spice.

Round Pond Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa, California, 2012 ($60): This wine is from one of my FAVE producers in the Napa Valley who make exceptional wines from the acclaimed Rutherford AVA of California’s Napa Valley.

One potential problem when drinking red wine can be those pesky tannins which can make a wine taste too astringent. In order to tame those tannins you need to aerate the wine and I especially love these two accessories which should be in every red wine lover’s repertoire:


Perfect for the Red Wine Lover: the Vinturi (left) & Riedel Decanter (right)

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator ($20): This handy aerator is perfect for when you don’t feel like indulging in a whole bottle of wine.

Riedel Ultra Wine Decanter ($170): This beautiful and functional crystal decanter is perfect for decanting an entire bottle of wine. It is easy to use and clean and can also be used in conjunction with the Vinturi for extra aeration!

3.) THE WINE COLLECTOR: People collect wine to observe and enjoy how it ages over time. All types of wine can benefit from aging including sparkling, red, white and even dessert wine as long as it has the right combination of acid, tannin and/or sugar. Here are two of my favorites:


Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy, 2014 ($75): From the famed Ornellaia estate’s younger vineyards, this true, imminently ageable “second wine” is a delicious blend of 50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot.

Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes, Bordeaux, France, 2014 ($40/375mL bottle): This delightful blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc gets its magical flavor profile from a mold known as “Noble Rot” which shrivels the grapes on the vine which then produce a heavenly viscous sweet juice. Sauternes are some of the most ageable wines on the planet and would be a welcome surprise to any wine collector!

How do you know when those special bottles are ready to open? If ONLY there was a way to sample a wine so you could tell when it was JUST perfect without opening the entire bottle too early or too late. Well, friends, the Coravin is the answer to your vinous prayers. The device’s thin needle allows wine to be siphoned out of the bottle without removing the cork and spoiling the wine. While initially only found in restaurants, consumer models are now available and, for the wine collector, – money well spent!

Coravin Model One (left) and Model Two Elite in Rose Gold (right)

Coravin Model One Starter Wine System ($230): If you’re a budding oenophile this model is perfect with easy to use, convenient silicone, soft touch grips.

Coravin Model Two Elite Wine System ($349): The Ferrari of the Coravin models with a graphite body and chrome clamps and trigger. You can also get it in custom colors to match your home as well as bundle it with other accessories.

4.) THE CHAMPAGNE LOVER: There’s no better time to indulge in decadence than the holidays and if you really want to dazzle the Champagne lover in your life, here are a few of my favorite bottles.

Taittinger Brut La Francaise, Reims, France, NV ($45): I love this spectacular sparkler from one of the few remaining family owned and run Champagne houses in France. This wine is predominantly Chardonnay, the signature grape of the House, which produces a light, crisp and elegant wine with aromas and flavors of citrus, apple and toasted brioche.

Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne, Reims, France, NV ($80): This unique bottle was inspired by King Henri IV and the fabulous wine inside is 100% Pinot Noir. The wine gains it’s gorgeous deep pink color from a 48-72 hour maceration with the grape skins which imparts added body and tannin structure to the wine. The wine has gorgeous aromas and flavors of raspberry, red currant, black cherry and spice.


Pair of Juliska Amalia Champagne Flutes ($150): These exquisite hand blown flutes of lead-free glass are made in the hills outside of Prague by Capucine and Dave Gooding.

Laguiole en Aubrac Champagne Saber ($200): Handcrafted in France, this special saber is used to perform the traditional ritual of Sabrage in which the top of a Champagne bottle is removed as the dull edge of the blade hits the neck of the bottle. This saber come in a beautiful display box and features a stainless blade complete with the “Laguiole en Aubrac” insignia and a beautiful horn handle.

Kate Spade Finer Things Champagne Bucket Bag ($358): If the Champagne lover in your life also happens to like fashion, this whimsical bag is a must! It features a cross-body strap and a silver glitter-encrusted bucket complete with faux Champagne bottle and ice cubes. The bag opens with a discrete magnetic closure and comes with a stylish dust bag as well – FABULOUS!

To view the entire Facebook Live Holiday Episode, please see FULL video below:

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Holiday Cocktail Couture: Pomegranate-Rosemary Royale!

Looking for the perfect cocktail to serve at your holiday soirée? Well look no further, the delicious and festive Pomegranate-Rosemary Royale is an excellent choice! This creative, yet easy to make cocktail is a combination of rosemary-infused simple syrup (which can be made a day or two in advance), pomegranate juice, and sparkling wine garnished with glistening, ruby red pomegranate... Read More

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Holiday Cocktail Couture: Pomegranate-Rosemary Royale!

Rosemary Pomegranate Royale, Cocktail Couture, Holiday, Christmas

Looking for the perfect cocktail to serve at your holiday soirée? Well look no further, the delicious and festive Pomegranate-Rosemary Royale is an excellent choice!

This creative, yet easy to make cocktail is a combination of rosemary-infused simple syrup (which can be made a day or two in advance), pomegranate juice, and sparkling wine garnished with glistening, ruby red pomegranate seeds and/or rosemary sprigs. I love how it incorporates both the flavors and colors of the holiday season.

For this cocktail I like to use Prosecco (for our recommendation please click here); it’s best to enjoy your expensive Champagne on its own and this Italian sparkler is much more cost effective as well. In the interest of time, I like to double the batch, just to be sure I have enough and feel free to experiment with the ratio of ingredients to suit your tastes. Alternatively, if you’re more of a martini person, you can substitute vodka for the sparkling wine and serve the drink in a martini glass garnished with a rosemary sprig. Ah so many options, so little time!

I hope you enjoy this Holiday edition of Cocktail Couture (for other installments, please click here) and I’d love to hear what you think of this drink or if you have a favorite holiday cocktail! Please leave a comment below to automatically enter your name into our drawing for a FREE bottle of Krug Champagne – a $200 value!!! Each comment left on a post on our website will count as a separate entry as will signing up for our weekly newsletter (please click here to sign up)! A winner will be announced Sunday, December 21st at 5pm EST and you’ll receive your bottle in time for New Year’s Eve so make your comment now. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more holiday wine recommendations and recipe ideas.





Pomegranate-Rosemary Royale

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 cups Prosecco or other sparkling wine
Pomegranate seeds for garnish

1. Combine 1/4 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add the rosemary; let stand 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl; discard solids.
2. Pour 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice and 1 tablespoon rosemary syrup into 4 Champagne glasses. Top each serving with 1/2 cup sparkling wine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Christmas in New York City: 5 Spots You Won’t Want to Miss!

I recently asked my Facebook friends to name their favorite city to visit during the Christmas/Holiday season. Although many fabulous places around the globe were mentioned (Austria, London, Park City, etc) the most popular place hands down was New York City. Like these folks, there’s no place that puts me in the Christmas spirit quite like New York. The elaborately... Read More

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Christmas in New York City: 5 Spots You Won’t Want to Miss!

Christmas Tree, New York City, Rockefeller Center

I recently asked my Facebook friends to name their favorite city to visit during the Christmas/Holiday season. Although many fabulous places around the globe were mentioned (Austria, London, Park City, etc) the most popular place hands down was New York City.

Like these folks, there’s no place that puts me in the Christmas spirit quite like New York. The elaborately decorated store windows, the vibrant hustle and bustle, the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree – every square inch of this city transforms into a Winter Wonderland. As a native Floridian who spent a few years living in Manhattan, there’s also a bit of nostalgia for me as well. So when we make our annual trip to New York in December, here’s the 5 spots we’re sure not to miss:

Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City

1.) The Waldorf Astoria: When this hotel opened in 1931 it was the tallest, largest and by many accounts the grandest hotel in the world. Since then, world renowned celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope, and every US President since Herbert Hoover have graced its halls. Located between Park and Lexington on 40th and 50th street the Waldorf is just blocks away from Rockefeller Center and a quick cab or subway ride from just about any other part of the city. During this time of year the entire hotel, including all its well known restaurants and bars (Bull & Bear, Oscar’s, Sir Harry’s, and Peacock Alley) are festively appointed and brimming with revelers enjoying some holiday cheer. In the evenings, be sure to keep an eye out for celebrities who may be attending one of the hotel’s many black tie events.
**The GG Tip: Request a room overlooking Radio City Music Hall’s iconic red neon sign and accompanying city view!

21 Club, New York City, Wine Cellar

2.) ’21’ Club: Officially opened on January 1, 1930, ’21’ is one of America’s most famous speakeasies from the Prohibition Era. Designed with its own disappearing bar and a secret wine cellar to hide the illegal liquor from prying eyes, it’s a place where celebrities and captains of industry have wined and dined for more than 80 years (they even have their favorite tables – click here to view). Over the years, ’21’  has made cameo appearances in such well known TV shows and films as Sex and the City, Wall Street, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to name a few. During the Christmas season, the restaurant is decorated to the nines and greets you with its historic jockeys and iron gate decked out in festive red bows and boughs of fir. Menu classics include the “Speakeasy” Steak Tartare, Steak Frites and Creamy Chicken Hash and for my fellow wine lovers, a tour of the cellar is a must! You’ll get to see the hidden entrance, how they concealed the “secret cellar” during Prohibition, as well as bottles once stored for celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Leroy Neiman, Eva Gabor, and Sammy Davis Jr.
**The GG Tip: request a table in the legendary Bar Room and make plans to tour the wine cellar either in advance of your reservation or when you arrive.

Balthazar, New York City, French Bistro,

3.) Sunday Brunch at Balthazar: I’ve been in love with Keith McNally’s French bistro-inspired eatery ever since I lived in Manhattan in the late 1990’s. Located in SoHo on the corner of Spring and Crosby, Balthazar is still thriving to this day and for good reason. Since last year’s departure of founding Chefs Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson, Shane McBride, who’s been at Balthazar since 2010, has taken the helm in the kitchen and the cuisine continues to be phenomenal! Sunday brunch has become a ritual for us on recent visits and it’s the perfect way to start your day before wandering the cobblestone streets of SoHo. You also never know who you’ll be elbow to elbow with at the bar, Celine Dion’s manager? A certain well known movie director? Just be sure to do some people watching (ok, and eavesdropping) as you enjoy a glass of Champagne (or one of Cisco’s delicious Bloody Mary’s) with your mouth watering Steak Frites or Eggs Benedict.
**The GG Tip: If you haven’t made reservations, head straight to the bar and give your name to Cisco the bartender. The wait at the bar is much shorter than the dining room and alot more fun!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Rockettes,

4.) Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Ever since I saw this show for the first time during my junior year of high school I’ve been hooked! Having danced for 13 years growing up, the Rockettes were as glamorous as it got and I was completely mesmerized. Since it’s first production in 1933 this show has been dazzling kids of all ages with its elaborate sets, festive music, and, of course, the Rockettes. From their signature “kickline” and “falling soldier” moves to the arrival of Santa, I defy anyone to sit through this production and not find themselves in the Christmas spirit. So whether you’re on a girls trip with your BFFs, bringing the kids to NYC for the first time, or it’s just you and your spouse make plans to go – you won’t regret it!
**The GG Tip: After the show take a leisurely stroll across the street to Rockefeller Center and visit the beautiful tree – perhaps even take a spin around the ice rink?

BERGDORF GOODMAN Holiday Window 2014, New York City

5.) Bergdorf Goodman’s Christmas Windows: Of all the iconic store windows in New York City, Bergdorf’s are my favorite! Located on the corner of 58th and 5th (right around the corner from The Plaza Hotel), this NYC institution (a subsidiary of Neiman Marcus – another favorite, to read more click here) always provides the most gratifying visual confections. Since it was founded in 1899 by Herman Bergdorf who soon collaborated with Edwin Goodman, this harbinger of glamour has built its reputation catering to the world’s fashion elite. The holiday windows, which feature an array of the latest couture, are a culmination of an 11-month creative process representing 3,500 work hours and a team of 30 employees. The 2014 theme is “The Arts” and each window features a different art form for example the “Music” window features a tower of shiny brass instruments and glittery evening wear while the  “Painting” window highlights a beautiful hand-painted Dolce & Gabbana gown.
**The GG Tip: A fun way to remember these fabulous windows is to make a Vine video! Be sure to tag #TheGlamorousGourmet – we’d love to see yours and to view my video from last year’s windows, just click here!

Did we leave anything out? Where’s your favorite place to visit in New York City this time of year?




7 Thanksgiving Wine Pairings & 2 Tempting Turkey Recipes!

Thanksgiving is less than a week away – do you have your turkey recipe and wine pairings all picked out? If not, never fear! The Glamorous Gourmet is here to help you out of your culinary quandary. First, let’s talk wine:

Trying to find a wine to pair with such an extensive and diverse group of flavors can cause a common vinous affliction known as WPP aka Wine Pairing Paralysis. With the cacophony of flavors and textures involved in a meal designed to stuff you until bursting, what wine could possibly (1) complement the meal, (2) appeal to a variety of palates and (3) not break the bank? Here are a few tips and recommendations to help make the process a little easier for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal:

#1 When presented with dishes such as roasted turkey, caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing, cranberry compote, sweet potato casserole and Brussels sprouts at the same meal, the best wines to select (and guests too I might add) are those that “play nicely with others.” Choose wines that are fruit-forward with a food-friendly acidity that will not only stimulate your taste buds but “do no harm” to your already flavor filled meal. Hold off on tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or heavily oaked Chardonnays and opt instead for wines that are lighter in style like the 2012 Hahn Pinot Gris from Monterey, California ($14) or for reds, the Art + Farm’s The Messenger Red Wine Number One, NV ($16), also from California.

#2 The same principles apply when trying to satisfy a variety of palates at your holiday gathering. Avoiding wines with harsh tannins and heavy oak influence is usually a good game plan. Select a fruity, approachable Alsatian white wine or crisp, sparkling wine like Prosecco to appease your guests. While universally appealing, these wines will also complement the flavors in your meal beautifully. Try the Helfrich Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2011 ($14) or the BiancaVigna Prosecco DOC, Veneto, Italy, NV ($15). For a red, try the elegant Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir, 2010 ($42) from California’s Anderson Valley.

#3 We all know holidays like Thanksgiving can involve feeding a small army of family and friends; however, finding an appropriate wine to serve doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose wines from regions known for producing great values at reasonable prices and save your Classified Growth Bordeaux and California cult collectibles for another occasion! Stock up on your favorite value wines and have them on hand when guests drop by for some “holiday cheer.” Great examples include this duo from Domaine de Triennes, the Sainte Fleur Viognier, 2011 ($16) or for red, the St. Auguste, 2008 ($22) a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot fermented in 2-6 year old barrels from Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.

Steve & I & the Oven Roasted Tukey with Sage Butter!

Also, if you’re still not sure which turkey recipe to try, I’m happy to share two of my all time favorites that are sure to please a crowd. The first is a classic recipe from Chef Tyler Florence for Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter. The sage butter is slathered over the bird and under the skin and makes this turkey the most beautiful shade of mahogany you have ever seen! Have your camera ready because you will be snapping photos right and left. After years of going through all the trouble of brining my bird, I made this recipe one year and was hooked. In addition to creating beautiful color, the copious amount of butter also keeps the bird from drying out so brining was no longer necessary. You can also still make gravy from the drippings, see below for a wonderful gravy recipe. If you do make this turkey recipe you must also make the Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing that pairs with it. It is mouth wateringly delicious and I highly recommend cooking the stuffing in the bird, there is just no substitute. In case all the delicious stuffing doesn’t fit, be sure to have a buttered casserole dish on hand to bake the excess.

If you’re looking for a bird that’s a little different from the classic preparation, The Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter is simply out of this world! The white truffle butter enhances the flavor of the turkey so beautifully yet the bird never seems overly “truffled.” My husband Steve is not the biggest truffle fan and yet he loved this recipe. If you choose to make this turkey you also have to make the best gravy I’ve ever tasted, which is also an Ina Garten recipe. Her delicious Homemade Gravy includes Cognac in addition to white wine, heavy cream and the drippings from the bird which synergize to create pure deliciousness. This gravy also works well with the aforementioned Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter.

I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving wine pairing suggestions and recipes! All the wines mentioned in this post are available at The Wine Atelier and we’d be happy to consult with you on your Thanksgiving menu as well. You can always text or call 561.317.6663 with your food and/or wine pairing questions. Steve and I would also like to wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.