The holidays offer a great opportunity for gathering family and friends, to remember old times and make new memories. And since it’s a celebratory time, it’s inevitable that there will be some drinking going on — a toast with Champagne, wine with dinner, etc. Wine is also a popular host/hostess gift. But after you’ve received the umpteenth bottle of Merlot, what do you do with all the wine? FN Dish has the perfect solution for you.
How about mulled wine? Just think about it. Unless you have a wine cellar to store the bottles, you probably won’t have the space to keep them. And how many times have you put a bottle of wine in your pantry only to discover next Christmas it’s still there? So instead of letting those bottles gather dust, make mulled wine. It’s the perfect way to extend your holiday entertaining into the New Year. Plus it’s a great solution for using up cheap wine (i.e., inexpensive wine — you wouldn’t want to use a $50 bottle for mulled wine).
Having a wine bottle holder is a great way to show off a favorite bottle and add a touch of class to your kitchen. This funky wine bottle holder by Emilia Ceramics will reliably nestle your wine in between pours and serve as a great kitchen conversation piece — especially at the Thanksgiving table.
You can buy your own Zig Zag Wine Bottle Holder here or enter in the comment field below for a chance to win one. To enter: Tell us your favorite food and wine pairing in the comments. We’re giving away a wine bottle holder to three lucky, randomly selected commenters.
For Halloween I often advise people to find one of the many wines available with scary names, such as Sin Zin, Dead Arm or Devil’s Lair. Given the festive nature of fright night, however, it can also be rewarding to whip up a big-batch wine that is sure to give your guests the creeps — in a good way.
Red Punch: The color of villainy, of course, is blood red, so the easiest way to add fright to your night is to mix up a simple Red Wine Punch from Food Network Magazine.
Sangria: With a little more work, you can make a traditional red sangria, whose name appropriately derives from sangre or blood in Spanish. I show you how in this video.
Go Green: Equally impressive would be to surprise your guests with a concoction the color of ghastly green. Obtain some green food coloring and add it to Paula Deen’s Mimosa Punch or Giada’s Apple and Mint Punch.
Twice a month we’re giving readers a chance to ask Food Network Kitchens’ advice about an issue they’re having with a dish. They can’t reformulate a recipe for you, but they’re happy to help improve it.
Question: I’m just not wine-smart — I don’t know a dry wine from a non-dry one. It sure would be helpful if the chefs would say what kind of wine they’re using in a recipe, not brand specific, but if it’s a Chardonnay or a Merlot. And when they speak of using a finishing oil on their food, what does that mean? – Karen Shelton
Answer: Don’t stress about what kind of wine to cook with. It’s pretty straightforward: If it tastes good in the glass, it’ll taste good in the dish. As a basic rule of thumb, think white wines for delicate flavors like shellfish or most vegetables. Use red wines for robust flavors in red sauces and braised meats.
Publishers Weekly: Rachael Ray just released her latest cookbook, The Book ofBurger (coming soon to Food Network Store). The “smart book” features QR codes that provide readers additional cooking information when scanned.
TIME: Mickey Mouse ditches junk-food. The Walt Disney Co. is the first major media company to ban junk food advertisements in an effort to diminish sugary temptations and improve kids’ eating habits.
Associated Press: Schools rise above pink slime. The vast majority of National School Lunch Program states are refusing the product known as “lean finely textured beef,” and fast-food chains and supermarkets are following suit.
Food Republic: Will Greek yogurt soon be replaced? Hailing from Iceland, skyr has a similar tang, but is actually a “fresh skim-milk cheese, strained to a whipped custard consistency.”
Chicago Sun-Times: Do you prefer your red or white? Or how about orange? Also known as “freaky whites,” orange wines are now trending.
If you crave coolness, sometimes the best plan is to swim against the stream. Everyone eating steak? Order the shrimp scampi. Friends dressing up? Go ahead, wear your ripped jeans.
And with St. Patrick’s Day being so famously beer-soaked, your against-the-grain cred will come from drinking wine. Not any old vino, mind you, but one particularly suited to this casual, joyous occasion: Vinho Verde (VEEN-yoh VEHR-day), a light white wine from various native grapes in Portugal.
If there’s one estate in the world that can make perfect wine, it is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (“DRC” to insiders) in France’s Burgundy region. So special is its Pinot Noir that tourists make pilgrimages there just to gaze thirstily at the vineyards behind its low stone wall. It is so coveted that some careful collectors will scrawl an “X” on bottles that they have drained to prevent counterfeiters from reusing them.
This is the kind of juice that Miles from Sideways would pursue to the end of the earth, even if it meant making like Thelma & Louise and rocketing his red Saab over a canyon into the blue beyond.
When you write about wine, you sometimes get to taste the really expensive stuff. I’m not talking filet mignon or even white-truffle expensive. I’m talking splurging like Diddy-in-a-diamond-hoodie-on-a-yacht expensive.
When a collector shares one of these bottles with me, friends later ask, “Does it taste like [insert obscenely expensive price]?”
The honest answer: It doesn’t, at least not to the untrained palate, and probably not even to most trained palates.
The lesson here is that while the price is often reflective of a wine’s quality, it is so only up to a point. And even when a wine is of high quality — from the best grapes handled by the most talented hands — it doesn’t mean that you are going to automatically taste its full price. In fact, some of the most-prized bottles can evoke qualities — think soy sauce or pencil lead or even a barnyard in August — that are off-putting to the uninitiated.
If anything should convince you of my position on screw caps, consider the stated location on my Twitter profile: “wherever corks pop and caps snap.”
Yes, I give equal status to corks and screw caps because both are perfectly fine bottle enclosures. Just a generation ago, the thought of packaging wine like soda pop would have prompted connoisseurs to raise their corkscrews in a vampire cross.
These days enthusiasts know that quality wine is often packaged with twist-off tops, making the wine not only easier to open but also protecting it from cork taint, which is that basement-floor, mildewy smell that experts estimate affects at least 5 percent of all cork-enclosed bottles.