If any of you of ever tried our signature holiday wine, Knotty or Nice, you might understand the significance of our Shakespearean quandary. Ok ok, melodrama and wine….perhaps unpalatable. But in my mind, the entire process of wine chemistry is romantic because of the struggles in the literal field to get finicky baby vines to mature and live into old age to produce more balanced and dependably yielding grapevines.
So every post-harvest season we are usually bottling a blend of our dry reds. Inevitably there is a hodgepodge of red wine left that didn’t make it into our blend for our Rebecca’s Red. Sweet red wines are very popular in our neck of the woods. Gene and I love a good sangria and thought why not make a sangria type wine for summertime out of this. Well, the main ingredients for sangria are oranges, orange juice and lime juice. We did a few trials with no tasteful success. We then thought of adding in cranberry juice instead of the lime and poof, a magical concoction of wintery sangria came to fruition! We decided to leave it all unfiltered for maximum flavor and it all made sense. A holiday sangria was born and it was well received by the family. One of us boosted the idea of Christmas wines often being mulled. What is mulled you ask? It is a tradition that has been going on during the winter for centuries. As a matter of fact, it was first invented by the Greeks who often had wine at their table, and during the winter wanted to be kept warm by heating the wine they typically drank and throwing a few spices into it. Traditional spices these days are cinnamon, cloves, star anise, peppercorns, dried fruits and the list goes on.
Our Knotty or Nice wine is a perfect mulling wine because it already tastes like Christmas with the cranberry juice addition. It is also already a sweet wine and most mulling spice packets contain sugar to sweeten a cheap dry red in order to make a mulled wine.
Serve it cold with your holiday dinner or serve it mulled anytime of the day. Some people joke and call Knotty or Nice a breakfast wine. Well, it does have orange juice and tons of vitamin c, but due to our federal restrictions on advertising the health benefits of wine, I’ll lay off here.
Ideas for cold Knotty or Nice
Add some to your pork loin marinade. Remember, this wine is sweet and will cause a charred result if cooked uncovered too long or at too high a temp. Sugar burns. I suggest covering the meat in foil during the majority of the cooking process.
*Make a sauce for your chicken, turkey or pork
You can certainly add the wine towards the end of cooking your lighter meats. It is called a red wine reduction. This is done when you cook your meats in a pan or in the oven. Once the meat is almost done you pour about half a cup or more, depending on the size of your dish, of wine into the cooking pan and let it sizzle and reduce to half the amount. This will add a ton of flavor and juicy balance of sweet and tangy to your dish.
*Dried fruit reduction
Put half a cup of dried cranberries or craisins into a pan. Pour half a cup of Knotty or Nice into said pan and simmer until the cranberries have swollen with the Knotty or Nice wine. Now you have wine filled berries to top off your turkey or ham. Explosions of sweet wine goodness!
No, not mullet (much love @larryenticer)
Pour an entire bottle of Knotty or Nice into your mini crock pot. Add a stick of cinnamon, two cloves, one star anise, a teaspoon of pink peppercorns and a teaspoons worth of zest of an orange and lemon. Heat on low for 30 minutes and be ready to make more because this will only yield 4 cups! So double, triple, quadruple or quintuple this recipe like we do in a larger crock pot. Nothing says “I am so ready to cook this holiday feast for everyone for the next 5 hours, then clean everyone’s dishes” like a cup or two of this hot Knotty or Nice! You better just break out the family sized crock pot and get to our shipping page because with so many ways to serve this wine, you’re not going to want to miss out.