Whole Foods Top 10 Holiday Wines + Free Wine Tasting Placemat Printable

Disclosure: This wine and cheese tasting event was complimentary, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

Last week I attended a Whole Foods Twitter tasting event (#wfmwine). I and a few other bloggers and media had the opportunity to taste four of the Top Ten selection of the Whole Foods 2013 top holiday wines, paired with cheese. Being as delicious as the Holiday Wines were, even better is what an incredible value they are – every wine on the list is under $25 –  so I wanted to share in case you are looking for some Holiday Wine picks to host or bring to a holiday get together.
Whole Foods Holiday 2013 Top 10 Wines

Not only that, but if you happen to be putting together a cheese plate, well these four are already wonderfully matched and ready for you to pick up at your local Whole Foods! This is great because even though I attended the event here in Portland, when I return to Chicago for the holidays I know I will be able to acquire all of these wines instead of worrying about finding equivalents when I travel there (or lugging it with me in checked baggage)- this Twitter tasting event was nationwide.
Whole Foods Twitter tasting event (#wfmwine) where I and a few other bloggers and media had the opportunity to taste a four of the Top Ten selection of the Whole Foods 2013 top holiday wines, paired with cheese Whole Foods Twitter tasting event (#wfmwine) where I and a few other bloggers and media had the opportunity to taste a four of the Top Ten selection of the Whole Foods 2013 top holiday wines, paired with cheese

One of the advantages of going to Whole Foods for your holiday wine selection is that besides being able to get other gourmet treats for your party (also just grabbing something from the deli to put in servingware for  party is acceptable too!) is what a great wine and cheese selection they have so it’s one stop shopping. They have lots of unique wine and cheeses that they offer. Many times I have visited where a helpful cheesemonger is present to help recommend cheese pairings to go with wines, and vice versa.

At the Twitter tasting event, the group was able to taste the cheese pairings with four of the Top Ten wines. Also very cool was the fact that some of the group members are vegan, and Whole Foods was able to easily accommodate them- and if you also need to account for gluten free they can also help you out. As beautiful as this cheese plate for us normal eaters were, when I looked at the vegan cheese platter, it looked equally as beautiful.
Whole Foods Pearl District in Portland offers wine friend Erin here to help us learn about the wine and cheese pairings Cheese Plate by Whole Foods to pair with four of the Top 10 Holiday Wines... they can also help you put together a vegan an/or gluten free cheese plate as well

The Whole Foods Blog listing of the Holiday 2013 Top 10 Wines not only includes tasting notes and pairing recommendations, but also each wine has a link to a recommended recipe. As a teaser, I’ve only shared the 4 I experienced at the Twitter tasting below… but there are 8 more! 8? Well, that’s because apparently they couldn’t only recommend 10, so the Top 10 Wines list actually includes 12 wines. There are also specific details on each cheese they recommend as well.

Whole Foods Top 10 Holiday Wines

WF WINE NOTES PECH’S EXPERIENCE TASTING PEEK
Roger d’Anoia Cava

Roger d’Anoia Cava

Whole Foods Tasting Note: Lively effervescence, bright notes of green apple and pear. Ripe and round, a touch of sweetness in the well-balanced finish. This Spanish sparkler pairs well with everything! Recommended pairings include Uniekaas Parrano cheese, cocktail shrimp, eggs Benedict, sweet savory Chinese food Recipe: Shrimp Cocktail with Creamy-Spicy Green Onion Dipping Sauce

This Brut provides some toasty flavors to help balance out the creamy richness of the cheese we paired with it, a Mt. Townsend Creamery Cirrus which is a Camembert style cheese from Mt. Townsend, WA. The Roger d’Anoia Cava got second (and third) pours at the tasting because we all loved it, and is a very affordable pick for a New Year’s Eve at less than $10 so you can keep the bubbling flowing all night long, and save a bottle or two for mimosas and brunch while watching the Rose Parade the next morning. Effervescent, easy pleasing Roger d'Anoia Cava Brut paired with a creamy Mt Townsend Cirrus, a camembert style cheese, this pairing was a big pleaser at the Whole Foods #wfmwine event

Skouras Anássa

Whole Foods Tasting Note: Moscofilero, the main grape used in this wine, is unique to Greece, thriving on the mountainous coastlines of the Peloponnese peninsula. Opulent aromas of ripe apricot and orange peel in this crisp, Greek White. Brisk fruit with a fresh clean finish. Recommended pairings include Red Leaf aged Cheddar, roasted chicken or salmon, roasted acorn squash, Greek salad Recipe: Roasted Salmon Stuffed with Spinach, Feta and Ricotta

In Portland we paired this with a Uniekaas 18 month Reserve Gouda, which made for an interesting experience as these are “fighting friends”. That is, this is a wine and cheese pairing that relies on contrast, rather than being complimentary. The Skouras is very clean, bright, and refreshing, while the Reserve Gouda has a crystalline crunch that is a bit salty, nutty, and leans towards dry but thanks to the Skouras this dryness is filled in The Greek White Skouras Anassa is very crisp and refreshing and clean, a fighting friend for the crystally bite of the Uniekaas 18 mo Reserve Gouda. In this case, the contrast is used instead of complimentary to pair these two at the Whole Foods #wfmwine event

Santa Julia Innovación Bonarda-Cabernet

This wonderful Argentine Red is a fantastic party wine and comes in a 1-liter bottle–a great value at more than 6 glasses per bottle. Deeply complex and full-bodied. Forward notes of plum and cigar box, and then jammy flavors of dark ripe berries. Smoky savory notes show in the luscious finish. Recommended Pairings include Borough Market Cheddar, BBQ ribs, lamb chops, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, classic Swiss fondue Recipe: Apple, Sausage and Sage Sourdough Stuffing

This Santa Julia Innovacion Bonarda-Cabernet is a 2013 vintage but already is ready to drink, and a huge deal at its $9.99 price for the 1 liter bottle. If you are hosting a party where you want the wine to flow freely, this is a great value, and the profile is flexible enough to please any palate. Although this wine is young, it stood up admirably to the strong flavors of the Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Flagship cheddar paired with it at this event. This Santa Julia Innovacion Bonarda-Cabernet is a 2013 vintage but already is ready to drink, and a huge deal at its $9.99 price for the 1 liter bottle. If you are hosting a party where you want the wine to flow freely, this is a great value, and the profile is flexible enough to please any palate

Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus Napa Valley Red Wine

Nashville-based musician Mat Kearney teamed up with the winemakers at Peju Winery of Napa Valley to create this wonderfully complex Red. Intense notes of black currant, plum and cocoa lead to rich juicy dark berry flavors. Toasty hazelnut and roasted coffee in the very long finish. Recommended Pairings include Emmi Le Gruyère cheese, beef tenderloin medallions, prime rib, lamb stew, marinated and grilled portobellos Recipe: Slow Cooker Lentil Stew with Polenta

The Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus was my favorite of the four wines I tried because of it’s roasty coffee flavors with hints of chocolate that made me think this was a wine version of a beer stout! This wine was the only one of the four that was more than $15, but at $25 this wine tastes like something 2 or 3x as much. It does have a unique and bold flavor profile, so needs a pretty bold pairing so that its flavors don’t overwhelm, or enjoy its complex layering of flavors on its own. At the PDX event this was matched with L’Or des Domes Fourme d’Ambert. The Mat Kearney Verse & Chorus was my favorite of the four wines I tried because of it's roasty coffee flavors that made me think this was a wine version of a beer stout at this Whole Foods #wfmwine event!

Free Wine Tasting Placemat Printable

Did you think the placemat you saw up there for this event was adorable? So did I. In case you want to host a wine tasting party, or a wine/cheese pairing party, how useful would it be to have a placemat like that for each person that identifies the wine and cheese that you can take notes on? I could also imagine that if you wanted to compare a flight having a little place for each wine glass to go helps you remember which is which. So I’ve made a free wine tasting placemat printable for you!

Free Printable- Wine Tasting Placemat to track your wines when having a wine flight

It’s a Wine Tasting Placemat in powerpoint which I’ve placed here in Google Drive, so you can go in after you save it and edit whether you want to actually write the name of the wine and tasting notes, or perhaps you want to do a blind tasting and/or just bare-bones like a style and region write numbers and leave a place for notes. Update the graphics as desired to match your theme and other printables. The top reminds you of various things to look for in tasting wine, such as looking for the color and body (thin? sticky?), to swirl and smell, and in terms of taste to break it down into the initial flavors, the mouthfeel, the length, and the finish. Meanwhile, there are some example adjectives to help you think of what you might be experiencing in your taste- obviously not an all encompassing list but might inspire more descriptors.

Thanks Whole Foods for the learning experience with the wine and cheese tasting – I’m ready for more schooling anytime! If you’re in Portland, check out the Whole Foods PDX Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on events and sales at the various local stores- and if you’re not from Portland look up what your local Whole Foods media is.

Disclosure: This wine and cheese tasting event was complimentary, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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Comments

  1. I love the events they put on, this one looks fun!

  2. this sounds like an awesome event, i really should try and make more of an effort to see what whole foods is putting on, they always have cool ones.
    I could basically live off wine and cheese.

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