Winter’s comfort foods call for red wines

Brothers George, Gene and Gary Guglielmo own Guglielmo

At this time of year with the weather getting colder, I lean toward red wines to go with the comfort foods of winter, like chile verde, chicken cacciatore or pot roast and mashed potatoes.

Two great wines that are causing a buzz are at wonderful prices that would compliment these comfort foods. The first is the Black Swan Merlot (2009) rated by The Wine Spectator as a “Best Buy” and described as having “Ample black cherry, vanilla and mocha notes.” This merlot is especially well-balanced and smooth, and can be found in Gilroy at Westside Market, Charlie’s Liquors, Sun Valley Market in Morgan Hill and G&J Liquor Mart in Hollister, priced between $4.99 and $6.99.

I knew I had to write about the Apothic Red, when after receiving a tip from a friend and shopping for it, I overheard another customer inquire about this same wine. The customer confided that she and her friends had polished off a bottle the previous evening and it was “so good” that she wanted to buy one for herself. This blend is a delicious, bold wine with ripe cherry, cola flavors and vanilla notes on the finish. Find it at Nob Hill, Safeway and Bevmo for $9.

Local Winery Buzz

This year’s harvest is over and the vineyards are ablaze in fall colors – the perfect time to visit, take your holiday photos and enjoy our fantastic local wines. One winery on your list should be Guglielmo’s Winery in Morgan Hill. At 86 years old, Guglielmo Winery is the oldest, continuous family-owned and operated winery in Santa Clara Valley. It makes its wines following Italian traditions – wines that compliment your meals by bringing out the best flavors in both the food and the wine.

Greg Richtarek, director of marketing at Guglielmo, explained the fascinating history of the winery. Emilio Guglielmo came from Piedmont, Italy to America in 1909 and made his way to San Francisco where the Bay Area climate was similar to his homeland. He and his wife, Emilia, worked, saved their money and in 1925 purchased their property in Morgan Hill. They grew grapes and made blended wines to deliver to their friends in San Francisco. After growing up and returning from WWII, their son, George W., worked alongside them to learn the art of winemaking. In turn, George had a family of his own and now his three sons, George E., Gene and Gary carry on their family’s wine legacy.

In 1967, when George E., the oldest son, returned from viticulture classes in Fresno, they decided to produce wines from individual varietals in addition to their famous blends.

All of Guglielmo’s wines are exceptionally well-balanced between alcohol, acidity and fruit. “Emile’s” offers a Heritage Red and Heritage White ($5.50), “Tre” includes several premium varietals ($9.95) and their best-selling Chardonnay and “Private Reserve” are comprised of Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Rosatello, Chardonnay, Merlot and their Estate wines: Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Grignolino – a grape grown in only two wineries in all of California.

Wine tastings are only $5 for a sampling of eight different wines.

The Ville Emile Event Center is rich in the charm and tradition of Old World Italy. Beyond the iron gates and a cobblestone courtyard lies a vast green lawn area that is perfect for a romantic wedding or large private party.

Don’t miss Guglielmo Winery’s 23rd annual Holiday Gift Faire – open Nov. 28 with special weekend events (the first and second weekend in December) including carolers, refreshments and decorated trees, with a dazzling display of twinkling lights, gifts and one-of-a-kind ornaments.

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Add one cup of cubed, left-over turkey to one can of cheddarcheese soup and 3/4 cup of salsa. Microwave for two minutes – stirafter one minute. Serve with tortilla chips.

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