2009 Plungerhead Dry Creek Zinfandel, California; $16
This wine layers the big, dark fruit sensation in every sip. It is a monster of a wine for a great price. It starts with a nose of dried cherries, white pepper and a subtle sweetness. Once the wine hits the mouth, the magic begins. Red raspberries, black plums and dried blueberries, coat the mouth. On the finish, everything mildly fades and allows spice, vanilla and hints of oak to mingle into the flavors.
It's a terrific wine that delivers on many levels. This wine would work well with lamb dishes, ribs, pizza and red sauce dinners. It's big enough that it can handle almost any meal you throw at it.
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Burnett's Hot Cinnamon Vodka; $10
In the past couple of years there has been an explosion of flavored vodka hitting the market. We've seen all types of cake, fruit punch and cotton candy flavors and even bacon. Some taste true to the flavor; others taste artificial. Burnett's Hot Cinnamon vodka falls into true to the flavor category.
Everything from the smell to the taste screams Red Hots candy. There's a perfect balance of spice and cinnamon in each sip, making for a smooth drinking experience.
This vodka would be an easy drink on the rocks during a winter night around a fire or blended with other classics to create a new signature holiday drink.
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."