Episode 87: All I Want for Christmas is Wine … and Stinky Cheese in My Stocking.

Episode 87: All I Want for Christmas is Wine … and Stinky Cheese in My Stocking.

The sounds of our favorite wine things are ringing in the holiday season. We’ve had to shake up our schedule a bit and get all snow globe up in here, but when the glitter settled packed this show with goodies galore. We’re chatting our favorite wine things, cheap things and fine things – from flippity-flip, drippity drip to the clickety-click and sippity-sip. There’s a fun Marsala factoid, a special wine deal for W25 listeners, and a whole lot of fun. Cheers~

In our glasses today:

Steph: “I was hoping to have some of my neighbor’s homemade eggnog, but since I’ve got a few bottles of wine open from the weekend’s festivities, I’m having wine. (Poor thing. Way to suck it up.) 2012 Cune Rioja Crianza from my sassy, sexy friend Carmen. It is a classic style Crianza – fresh, fruity, easy drinking.”

Val:  “I have this fun, funky Benedicte & Stephane Tissot’s Vielles Vignes 2015 Poulsard from the Arbois region of Jura, France. Poulsard is the grape, and it’s a very pale, raspberry colored-and-flavoured-wine. No filters (see a trend? Val has no filters and likes her wine the same way), no added sulfites, fabulous.”


Discussion Topic:

Speaking of fabulous…… What do Oprah, Hoda and Kathie Lee, and Wine Two Five have in common? “Our Favorite Things!” Oprah does it every year. KLG and Hoda have a segment weekly where they talk about their fun, fabulous finds. We do it too. We also do it with wine, so there you go.

  • They can be holiday things, wine things, recent books, movies, or fine things
  • Big things, teeny things, or anything in between-y things

Of course our favorite things are boozy things, and we’re pretty good about blabbing on this show about what we love most.

What Val loves:

“I have to say, my kindle versions of OCW and Wine Grapes have brought me incredible wine geek joy.

“But I cannot deny that my favorite “cozy up with a book” wine reads of all time are still Wine and War and Champagne by Don & Petie Kladstrup.

“Coravin? Coravin saved me mega bank this year, as I didn’t have to dump bottles and can just sneak a glass if I want to without opening a bottle. A note, I do strip off the cap so I don’t accidentally take the bottle to someone’s house as a gift.

Wine Glass writers! When we entertain we use these for everything from water glasses to wine or beer/pint glasses! The wine glass writer ink rinses off and comes off in the dishwasher. You can also date your “food in jars” (of which we are huge fans.)”

What Steph loves:

“One of my favorite books is my coffee table book Labor of Love by Suzanne Hoffman.

“On my wish list is the Kindle version of OCW, Coravin, and Zalto stemware.

“I love the Tovolo Clear Ice Sphere System. It makes fancy Bourbon balls for cocktails. I bought Justin it for his birthday, and we love it!

Chili Crunch!!!! is my new favorite condiment. Great for a stocking stuffer, hostess gift, and thank you gift. It is made in Colorado and is a spicy, delicious treat.

“Decanters are used in my house, but my favorite is the Riedel Duck Decanter.

“Cocktail napkins make great stocking stuffers too, and I LOVE them.

Drop Stops are always cool stocking-stuffers too, and inexpensive! And so is stinky cheese. Forget the healthy fruit like oranges and apples. The best stocking ever is filled with intense French cheeses, cocktail napkins and wine writers.”


Which island does Marsala come from? Is Marsala just for cooking?

Well, Marsala is actually a town in the Trapani province on the west coast of Sicily, but it also refers to a wine style. It’s a fortified wine that has been around since the 18th century. Fortified means that brandy or grape spirit (usually 20 – 25%) pure alcohol is added to increase the alcohol level of the wine, although this was previously done as a preservative.

Grapes include Catarratto, Grillo (which means cricket, since the land there is so dry many think nothing else could survive there but crickets), Inzolia and other grapes.

Steph’s Marsala and Sicilian dessert

There are also different styles:

  • Oro = golden
  • Ambra = amber
  • Rubino = ruby (made from red grapes, mostly Sicilian varieties like the Nerello Mascalese).

Furthermore, each color can be dry (secco, which really isn’t dry because it can have up to 40g/l of residual sugar – the same as demi-sec Champagne), semisecco or sweet/dolce.

There are also other types that are defined by age:

  • Fine (1 year)
  • Superiore (2 years)
  • Superiore Reserva (4 years)
  • Vergine (five years)
  • Stravecchio Vergine (10 years)

There’s a lot more to it than that, but the point is: Marsala – it’s from Sicily. It comes in a variety of styles except one – that crap on your grocery store shelf that is called “cooking Marsala.” Don’t do it. I made a Turkey Marsala dish back in the ‘80s with what I thought was Marsala, and it put me off what is really a great wine for decades.

For more information, visit the consorzio home page: http://www.marsaladoc.it/

Wino Radar:

Val:   The Society of Wine Educators (SWE) Webinar (SWEbinar) 2017 schedule is out and many of these are open to everyone! To learn more go to http://winewitandwisdomswe.com/swebinars-2/swebinar-schedule/.

Steph: Llanllyr Source water and drink mixers from Wales – tasted at Whole Foods in Fort Collins and served by Naomi. The owners of the brand live in Niwot (a small town in Colorado near bolder). We like the idea of having fancy, bubbly options for those who aren’t partaking in the celebratory popping of alcoholic beverage corks.

Bonus: Bright Cellars

1st Bright Cellars wine shipment

You may have heard of them or have seen our super cool offer, but if you haven’t and would like some #W25Challenge fodder, a cool gift idea, or just a great deal then Bright Cellars has one for you. They will be joining us on the show next month, and in honor of the upcoming episode they are offering our listeners 50% off their first shipment of wines, which are chosen for you based on how you answer a few quick questions.

From what we can tell the algorithm is very similar to a lot of what MW Tim Hanni has shared with us on the show and in his book, Why you like the wines you like. We both took the quiz and got four bottles and will be tasting them on the show as well! But what’s really cool is the bottles are normally like $15 each, and with this listener deal they are about $7.50 each.

To learn more & claim your deal, go to BrightCellars.com/winetwofive



Steph: “My friend Bruno who brought over a special bottle to share with me on our birthday 2005 Domaine Grisard Persan Cuvee Prestige.”


Patreon Love: 

“TENacious Tasters”:

Jeff E from the hilarious drinking show, We Like Drinking

“It’s not five o’clock and we don’t care” listeners: Thank you:

  • Meg from South Dakota!
  • Clay from Arizona!
  • Jon in California!
  • Andrew in Illinois!

You ALL will be entered in our “Exotic Wine Travel Patreon Giveaway.” Charine Tan and Dr. Matthew Horkey were kind enough to send us an extra copy of their book, Uncorking the Caucasus: Wines from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia. And It’s not too late to enter! The contest ends January 1st. For more details, go to our Patreon Page https://www.patreon.com/winetwofivepodcast.

We thank you for being a vital part of the W25 listening and sipping community.


Share the Love:

If you love Wine Two Five then we know you’ll share our show with your friends and online community, and we certainly appreciate all your involvement and feedback. Leave us a burning wine question or comment on speakpipe. iTunes love is always appreciated in the form of a glowing iTunes review as well. For your listening pleasure, whether IOS or Android, we are also on iHeartRadio!

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Connect with Val on Twitter @WineGalUnboxed and on the Vino With Val FB page, and on instagram as Vino with Val.

Steph is on Twitter @Albarellosoap and on the AlbarelloSoap FB page, and check out the videos on the Albarello YouTube channel! Steph is also on instagram as the Wine Heroine.

One more thing … don’t forget to use the #W25Challenge when you are trying new wines and drinks to win an opportunity to co-host the show with us.