I found out long ago (oh oh oh ooohh), it’s a long way down the holiday road (oh oh ooohh)…holiday roooaad!
This song always makes me smile! Recognize it? Of course you do. It’s the catchy little ditty from National Lampoon’s Vacation. And even though it wasn’t sung in the film’s second follow up, Christmas Vacation, I have found myself humming it recently as I pack up for a holiday road trip of my own; my family and I will be driving in one big circle visiting my husband’s father in Ohio, then to visit my husband’s mother in Kentucky. And finally, home again. In tow will be two adults, two kids, multiple pieces of luggage, gifts and parcels, plenty of wine and a partridge in a pear tree.
My husband tried to tell me to leave the wine. “They do sell wine in Ohio and Kentucky,” he said, “and we don’t have the extra room anyway.” Ah, but they don’t sell Ponte wine. And, though it’s difficult for me to get Ponte wine to myself in Pennsylvania (I either have to physically bring it with me from California or have my parents sneak it to me in well packed USPS boxes), Christmas is the time when I think only the best wines will do. Christmas is absolutely the time to drink (and give) Ponte wine.
When it comes to the folks in Ohio, there are two obstacles to overcome: my husband’s father does not drink alcohol and his stepmother is open to wine but insists she hasn’t found one she likes yet. “They’re all so bitter!” she says. To my father-in-law: a bottle of Scallion Oil.
Made famous at The Restaurant, Scallion Oil is soooo good. A little tangy, a tad sweet and bursting with flavor, this bottle of goodness can be used in so many different ways. I can polish off a bottle just by dipping in chunks of bread, but it can also be used as a marinade, dipping sauce or salad dressing. Though it’s great with a glass of Ponte white wine, there is no wine in the oil so I’ve no doubt it will meet the approval of my father-in-law. My strategy for his wife is to gift a bottle of sweet wine. Since she finds wine “sour,” I think and hope this will do the trick. I decided to go with a bottle of 2012 Isabel because it is pleasantly sweet with flavors of guava, peach and pineapple.
Very easy to sip on its own if sweet wine is your thing. More importantly, however, Isabel is great with spicy food and my stepmother-in-law happens to be a proud Texas woman who adores anything Tex Mex, chili-flavored and spicy hot. I have all the faith in the world that Isabel will be the wine to make her a wine drinker. If not, we might have to resort to wine coolers next year.
After a couple of days in Ohio, we’ll resume our road trip and head south to Kentucky. My mother-in-law is a tried and true country woman who raises animals, gardens, sews, quilts and makes candles. She loves bourbon and wine, but unfortunately, lives in a dry county (no alcohol sales whatsoever). It was much easier to choose a wine to give her for Christmas as she pretty much likes it all. I chose 2012 Holiday Reserve Zinfandel and 2013 Moscato, two very special wines for a very special lady.
She typically makes a prime rib to celebrate Christmas and, quite frankly, this is the only Ponte wine I’d serve with my own prime rib. It is spicy and bursting with red berry flavors, with a touch of vanilla oak. Chewy, bold and perfect with a huge slice of medium rare roasted beef. The Moscato I chose because I remember how tickled I was when I learned she adored champagne. I hadn’t known her long, but it took me by surprise because up until that point I’d really only seen her drink sweet tea and coffee. The look on her face when I uncorked a bottle of Moscato and brought out a platter of shrimp cocktail was priceless. Country girl, fancy taste, indeed.
So that will be our Christmas holiday road trip. Lots of miles, hopefully lots of smiles and definitely lots of Ponte wine.
–Which Ponte wines do you like to give as gifts?