2010 Robert Mondavi Privite Selection Pinot Noir, California; $11
This is a terrific wine for the price, delivering flavor, style and structure. The nose starts out with hints of violets, smoky oak, vanilla bean and a dose of jammy dark fruit. These seamlessly follow into the taste. Once in the mouth, the wine delivers flavors of wild strawberries, cherry preserves, oak and spice, along with some of the aromas introducing themselves as flavors. The finish has a nice acidity that gives the wine a terrific lift and keeps each sip fresh and lively. This wine would pair terrifically with grilled salmon, pork or duck.
Specially Crafted Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, North Carolina; $20
Nothing lights up a get-together like a little shine -- moonshine that is. Catdaddy is triple distilled to remove any of the harsh flavors you may associate with no label, mason jar varieties that were snuck to you in the past. On the nose there is almost an eggnog and cinnamon note that resonates from the clear moonshine. Once it hits the mouth, warm notes of anise, sweet creamy nutmeg, vanilla bean and caramel coat the taste buds and linger perfectly. The flavors are soft and smooth, making this a compliment to any cocktail, or on the rocks. For a holiday martini, combine Catdaddy Moonshine, eggnog and a splash of Godiva white chocolate liqueur.
Lain Bradford is a wine writer and reviewer who has achieved his first level master sommelier certificate and is working toward his Certified Wine Educator degree. He only writes about beverages that are available in South Carolina and Georgia. Follow him on Twitter under the name "winereview."