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The Perfect Holiday Wine from Door County’s Oldest Winery
All you need is some heat.

Last December, for a holiday party among friends, I slaved on a recipe for mulled wine. The house smelled like potpourri for a week after. This year, I’m simply uncorking Door Peninsula Winery’s Mulled Christmas Wine. It’s simply divine, with aromas of cinnamon and sweet cherries – culled from Door County fields – and mulled-spice notes towards the finish. Honestly, you don’t need to pair this with anything, but if you insist upon it, I might sip with game meats or desserts.

Door County’s oldest winery, based in Sturgeon Bay, releases this wine each year just in time for the winter holidays, when you might be in search of a hostess gift or a wine to pull out at a party. (Just don’t forget to heat it up, either in a slow cooker on low or – by the glass – in a mug for about 30 seconds in the microwave.)


This isn’t until December, but it’s definitely an event you want to plug into your calendar. This might even be an effective break from holiday shopping and meal-planning. Iron Horse Hotel in Walker’s Point is hosting its second annual “bubbles and truffles” party on Dec. 5 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets – sold at the door – cost just $15, only a tad more than the price of a glass of wine. Included in that price are truffle-infused appetizers (of the mushroom variety), flutes of sparkling wines and the opportunity to purchase the wines and truffles you like best (talk about the makings for a pre-holiday fete chez-toi!). About seven different wine vendors will be represented. Urbani Truffles is supplying the truffles.


Escape the chill by heading to the fall’s hottest food and wine festival – in Milwaukee, at least. Wine & Dine Wisconsin is an annual event inside the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. This year the dates are Nov. 16 and 17. In perusing the schedule, the Wine & Libations stage shines a light on South Africa at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 in a seminar pairing wine and sausage from South Africa. Matthew Devan’s company – Sa Braai, based in Wisconsin – makes “boerewors” (South African’s version of brats) to great acclaim. The recipes are born out of Devan’s time spent in his father’s South African butcher shop. It’s never too late to snap up solid brat-and-wine pairings for summer cookouts, no?


To pair with the snow dusting we received on Monday afternoon, I bet you’re eating hearty foods. Take it a step further and match those foods with a hearty Zinfandel. The 2012 X Y Zin Old Vine Zinfandel (California, $16) is consistently of good quality, vintage after vintage, with cherry-pie notes and toasty vanilla with a trace of currants. Its peppery finish would stack up very well to winter-time foods, particularly tomato-based sauces, braised meats and stews. (www.xyzinwines.com)

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