Holiday Wines with Monique Soltani on CBS8 in San Diego

Holiday Wine Pairings & Wine Gift Ideas (VIDEO)How lucky for me to be on TV in San Diego at CBS 8 sharing my love of wine with America’s Finest City! Fun to be back in a San Diego newsroom!

I did one of my many TV news internships at a local station here in San Diego a lifetime ago.

Holiday wine pairings from tamales to latkes and stocking stuffers and gift ideas from the big spenders to the stocking stuffers.

2014 Stargazing Cuvee Iron Horse Vineyards Magnum (two bottles in one) $195

  • Iron Horse Vineyards: Inspired by the images from the James Webb Space Telescope
  • 250 cases of only Magnums released in October 2022
  • Appellation: Green Valley of Russian River Valley Blend: 75% Chardonnay 25% Pinot Noir

PAIRING: Latkes pair perfectly with bubbly. You can make them yourself at home like I did or buy them from Linda’s Gourmet Latkes!

Caviar is another perfect pairing to get the party started. We picked Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, a family own and operated with a sustainable farm located near Sacramento California.

Blue Quail 2019 Dry Gewürztraminer $18 Single vineyard Gewurztraminer was picked at peak ripeness and showcases classic aromas of pineapple, mango, rose petals, and lychee fruit. Highly perfumed and aromatic, the palate is dry, rich, oily, and round. Sometimes called the Queen of Alsatian wines, this wine certainly lives up to its regal reputation

PAIRING: Gewürztraminer goes well with sturgeon, red snapper, halibut, mahi-mahi, tuna, salmon, and trout

Anaya Vineyards Nebbiolo $48

I shot Wine Oh! TV in Lodi in October 2022 where I got to interview Gerardo Espinosa at his new downtown tasting room.

  • His Grandfather came to the Central Valley from Mexcio in the 1940’s as a part of the The Bracero Program. Gerardo is now putting the grape in the glass at Anaya Vineyards. He fell in love with Nebbiolo taking trips down to Valle De Guadalupe
  • If you like your wines big, bold, and red, Nebbiolo needs to be on your radar. 85% Nebbiolo grapes: 15% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes: Intense, plenty of spice and relaxed tannins, with subtle layering of red-fruit aroma. Alcohol 14.5% by volume

PAIRING: From Gerardo himself: “I think some type of meat and sauce tamale will be good. Some dishes for sure during holidays with our family are tamales, pozole, chicken Oaxaca mole.”

1975 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG

One of my favorite gifts to give someone who loves wine is a bottle of wine that signifies a special year in their life.

A meaningful vintage like: a wedding anniversary, a child’s birth year, or a birth year bottle. Wine has the unique ability to capture a moment in time, an entire year is alive in a single bottle.

Depending on the age and vintage getting your hands on some of these older bottles can be a monumental task.

I love that Bertani makes accessing to their back vintages as easy as logging on to

What makes Bertani Amarone able to stand the test of time? A question I asked myself when trying to better understand how a bottle of wine which is as old as I am can taste as young as I feel?

Let’s travel now to Northern Italy to Verona. You might know it as the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet but you might not know is at the lowest foothills of the Alps one of the most iconic wines in the world was born: Amarone.

Bertani was born in 1857, before Italy became a Kingdom (1861), and long before it became a country (1946). Explaining the traditional and precious process in which Bertani produces Amarone della Valpolicella will help you understand how this wine can stand the test of time.

  • The main grape: Corvina is harvested and dried for 120 days on wooden shelves. The water evaporates and the sugars and acidity concentrate
  • Slow fermentation takes place in cement takes for more than 50 days
  • The wine ages in oak barrels for at least six years
  • Then rests another 12 months in bottle

If you would like to learn more about Amarone della Valpolicella, I would suggest reading my friend Elisabetta Tosi’s book, Amarone Confidential: Everything You Should Know About Valpolicella Wines. I had the great honor of writing the forward to this book and an even greater honor of getting to know Elisabetta on one of my many productions in Italy.

Culinary Garlic and Herb Wreath $50

Now let’s move closer to home to McFadden Family Vineyard and Farm. Another great gift idea for the foodie in your life is this wreath from the Organic and Eco friendly farm in Potter Valley.

  • California Certified Organic Farmers in 1991
  • Supplementing his eco-friendly vision of sustainable agriculture, he built a hydroelectric power plant with 300 solar panels, making McFadden Farm a net producer of renewable energy.
  • Culinary Garlic and Herbs Wreaths are made with certified organic rosemary and thyme herbs and are edible.
  • Garlic & Red Chili is fresh, natural and edible but are NOT organic
  • Features: a 13 bulb garlic braid and 3 sets of chilies
  • Our fresh Garlic and Herb wreaths make a beautiful and fragrant touch to any space. Made with a braid of Fresh garlic, Thyme, Rosemary and three sets of chilies.

CRUSHED: How a Changing Climate Is Altering the Way We Drink $32

This book from my friend Brian Freedman does a deep dive into how climate change is impacting the wine industry.  How profiles eight producers from Sonoma and Israel and how they are adapting with climate change. This book isn’t all doom and gloom, it offers solutions to real world problems.

CRUSHED is written for everyone who enjoys a nice glass of wine or a great dram of whiskey, and who has ever wondered how it got from its literal roots to the glass they’re holding in their hand. It’s for anyone who is interested in the ways in which our dramatically shifting natural environment is affecting the beverages we’ve all taken for granted.

JETWAY Canned Wine Seltzer ($20 for 4 pack)

Jetway is a newly launched ultra-premium wine seltzer brand founded by The Strokes lead guitarist, Albert Hammond Jr.

  • Low alcohol %5 ABV & Vegan
  • Different from hard seltzer in that it’s made from grapes and crafted in a winery.
  • The first two offerings – a White Wine Seltzer made of Sauvignon Blanc and a Rosé of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon

Korbel Mini Bottles $5

the Korbel Brut is refined, with a balanced, medium-dry finish. A perfect party favor!

Winemaking: They combine delicate whole cluster pressing, with cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks, and of course, the classic Méthode Champenoise bottle fermentation process. As the last step, it receives a medium-dry level of dosage – just enough to balance the classic crisp acidity and make Korbel Brut the perfect match for all of life’s celebrations!

Food Pairing: Its crisp and bright acidity pairs beautifully with appetizers like strong cheeses, fresh oysters, smoked salmon, and fried or salty snacks. As for entrées, Korbel Brut is wonderful with seafood dishes and sushi as well as egg dishes and roasted poultry.

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