Food & Drink

The Perfect Complement: Beverage expert helps you pick your next sip

WINE

2008 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Zinfandel, California; $16

There is a lot of fruit and spice in this wine. It starts with an aroma of black tea and plums, which quickly develops in the mouth and carries into a terrific tasting experience. Notes of fresh blueberries mingle with layers of dark chocolate and white pepper. There are loads of deep, black fruit and bright spice in each sip, with a perfect touch of oak -- like a great steak with coarse salt and pepper. It's heaven in each sip. All of the fruit and spice blend perfectly on the finish, lingering until the next sip and allowing the fruit to keep popping up. This wine would be perfect for almost any beef dinner or with spicy tomato-based dishes.

BEER

Abita Pecan Harvest, New Orleans; six-pack, $7

This is one of Abita's seasonal brews that comes out every fall. Abita has been producing exceptional beers for as long as I can remember, always full of great flavors and depth. This pecan ale is made with real nuts, not extracts as you find in some other beers. It has a nice medium-brown color with a terrific nose of well, yes, pecans and hints of baked bread. The flavors are terrific -- nuttiness, toasted hops and a subtle creaminess all balanced by a medium bitterness. It's a fun and interesting beer, and would be great for Thanksgiving meals or barbecue.

SPIRIT

Nuvo L'Esprit de Paris, France; $30

This is a terrific and interesting cocktail -- a blend of French white wine, vodka, sparkling wine and exotic fruit flavors. It has a delightful pink color with aromas of pomegranate and pink grapefruit. Flavors of vanilla and a creamy sweetness in each sip are complemented by notes of fresh strawberries and raspberries. The finish lets all of the sweet fruit notes linger with additional flavors of ripe cherries. This is a terrific after-dinner cocktail.

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