Italian Christmas Red

A nice Sangiovese Christmas Sipper
A nice Sangiovese Christmas Sipper

I wanted to review some Christmas wines that could be used for Christmas presents or simply enjoyed during the Holidays. I picked up this bottle of Italian Christmas Red at the Vineyard. Roger had it on sale for the Holidays for around $8.99 if my memory serves me.

I got into the Christmas Spirit early this year. Something a bit unusual for me. After Thanksgiving I was hot to hit our storage unit and pull out the artificial tree and start decorating. I bought this wine during those early days.

Back to the tree. It’s one of those that already has the lights attached. The sequence to hook up the lights is more complex than explaining to a six-year-old why the lights have to be all white instead of different colors. (My mother lost that argument many years ago).

After some a couple glasses of wine and a some nasty words muttered under my breath I got the damn thing lit. Now that didn’t take away the Christmas Spirit. But I did find it odd that Mrs. Dan fully decorated the tree. She left two ornaments for me to hang, my little Auburn football fan wearing a raccoon coat and a bike rider (same one that Pete has on the antenna of his car).

I was listening to Christmas music at work and enjoying it. Me and Mr. Ben starting listening to it on WBBQ-FM to and from school.

Then the Holiday Wakeup Call hit. That’s when you realize that Christmas is only 2 weeks away and you haven’t done any shopping, the in-laws are coming back in 10 days and you gotta make room for Brother-in-law. Then Ethel-the-Bitch-Cat decided the carpet under the dining room table was her personal bathroom. Plus once again my plan to actually mail Christmas cards this year still hadn’t been pulled off.

Bah humbug. I’m not in the Christmas Wine mood.

I allowed my work to get in the way of getting Christmas stuff done. I also missed out on hanging the greens at the church year because of a scheduling conflict (attending Roger’s Clear the Cellar Tasting).

But things last night started to change. I happened on White Christmas on AMC. Each year I have 3 movies I have to see: White Christmas, tI’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooge (the musical with Albert Finney). I’ve got all three on DVD so it shouldn’t be too hard to watch them. Last year I didn’t see anything of them and I was in a poopy mood.

Italian Christmas Red
Italian Christmas Red

I started watching Scrooge last night and Mr. Ben got scared when the ghosts started showing up. That disappointed me. I had to turn it off and watch Gold Rush. After the little poop head went to bed I stumbled upon White Christmas. I always cry at the part when the General walks into the surprise dinner. Having a little cry is sometimes good for the soul. I went to bed happy.

Today I got to finish watching Scrooge and convinced Mr. Ben to watch the end. I told him he would see a bad man become a god man and that seemed to intrigue him. We both started singing and dancing with the “Thank You Very Much” scene at the end. I love that song. I was a much happier.

Later we happened across the Disney’s A Christmas Carol, the digital version starring a digitized Jim Carrey. Ben sat through the whole thing and loved it. Go figure.

But what caught me by surprise and took away my Christmas grumpiness was The Nutcracker. Mr. Ben had played a scrapper stick thingy during a musical presentation at school on Wednesday that included a song from The Nutcracker. We have a 3 foot tall Nutcracker at home and Mr. Ben has always been afraid of it.

After his performance he loved the  giant Nutcracker having pulled it out in the middle of the floor so it could watch TV with him. Then tonight I found a BluRay disk of The Nutcracker performed in St. Petersburg Russia. He sat mesmerized for 90 minutes. Now Mrs. Dan, having been a professional ballerina, has seen her share of Nutcracker performances. Most are simply cash cows that allow every kid in a dance school an opportunity to dance on stage if only for 30 seconds. Grandparents fill the audience.

I digress. I was so excited that Ben loved something that didn’t have an action hero or computer animation that I felt like running outside and yelling Merry Christmas. That would have probably scared the new neighbors though..

I was officially back in the Christmas Spirit. I decided it was time to try a Christmas wine. Mrs. Dan threw in some lasagna while we sorted through tons of Mr. Ben’s old toys, trying to make room for the onslaught of new toys.

This is nice little Christmas sipper. It’s very Sangiovese. But the beauty of it is the full fruit flavor tempered by a dryness that doesn’t necessary end the fruit forward taste. The finish is slightly dry but very long. This for my palate is an enjoyable Italian wine.

I thought it didn’t go as well with the lasagna as Mrs. Dan did. She thought it complimented it. I think the tomato sauce made the wine much drier. I pulled out some pepper and spice encrusted hard salami and it was wonderful. It also went nicely with some garden peas that had a bleu cheese sauce. I then pulled out some baby swiss cheese. The cheese to my palate neutralized the wine.

So this is a great sipper. With food you might have to experiment. Nice full body. I think it is best enjoyed just after opening. After it has a chance to breathe it gets drier and a bit of acidity is noticeable. But it still has nice Sangiovese flavors which I seldom get to say because most Sangiovese I’ve tried also had strong mineral tones.

So, we had a enjoyable dinner, with a nice wine and my son is even more excited about Christmas after watching The Nutcracker.

For $8.99 it warmed my Cheap Bastard heart and helped bring back my Christmas Spirit.

By the way, the label has an old fashioned Santa on it. This makes a nice Christmas house warming gift. And the price is nice. Might not be a wine you want to give as a special gift. But for a simple $10 or under gift it’s perfect. Something nicer and more expensive? Wait for my next review.
From: Puglia, Italy

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