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Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 | 2 comments

Holiday Reds: Porcupine Ridge Syrah, Murphy-Goode Homefront Red, The Chook Shiraz Viognier

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and went through a few bottles of wine. Two of the wines I had only tried at a wine tasting and the other I had never had before. Always a bit of a gamble to open unknown wines when guests are over, but we lucked out this time  – all three wines were delicious and would be great wines to keep on hand for gifts or to serve at any upcoming holiday parties you are hosting.

So, without further ado, a few recommendations for your holiday party wine needs. (All reds this time… I’ve got an amazing white I had recently that I’ll review next.)


Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012: This was one I had tried at the wine tasting and loved from first sip. Matt described this wine as saying it lingered in your mouth for awhile. No particular fruits jumped out at me, instead I noticed more the spice and pepper notes of this Syrah. It’s a pretty dominant taste and could take over the flavors of some meals, so it’d be a nice glass to sip before dinner or possibly paired with a simple tenderloin or prime rib. This would make a great dinner party wine or hostess gift. (South Africa, Syrah, $8.99-$10.99 depending on where you are.)

Murphy-Goode 2011 Homefront Red: Next up we opened this blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. It was an easy drinking red wine, with fruity hints of blackberry and cherry and some lingering spices from some of the blend being aged in oak. There was almost no bite to this and I think it’s a red that almost anyone could enjoy. We had moved on to dinner at this point and it paired nicely with the spicy shrimp and collards we had. The blend is just well-balanced and I think it has “something for everyone” appeal. Even better, Murphy-Goode is donating $0.50 per bottle to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that provides emergency assistance to families of service members and wounded warrior. And, there’s no cap on their donation. Thus, why their bottle reads: “Give Goode. Do Goode.” A taste good wine with a  feel good purpose. A good one to stock up on. (California, Syrah/Zinfandel/Petite Sirah, $12.99)

The Chook 2012 Shiraz-Vioginer: I saved the best for last! I did a double take when I saw this bottle: “but shiraz is a red wine… and viognier is a white wine…?? How can this be!” Well, it turns out to be a match made in wino heaven (and actually, I learned, a very common blend in both France and Australia.) Smooth, easy to drink and all the powerful fruit flavors of a Syrah without as much of the tannic bite that the first wine we opened had. I actually wished I had opened this one first, because I would have liked to have sipped and savored it without any food to really appreciate the flavors. (It did, however, make a lovely pairing with the pumpkin spice donuts that Teri brought for dessert!) This would be a great wine to gift to the wino in your life or to keep on hand for a special dinner. (Australia, Shiraz.Viognier, $15.99)

Three great reds to get you in the holiday spirt – some for sipping, some for savoring, all for sharing. Especially if you decide to try all three in one night: then definitely I recommend the sharing. Cheers!



  1. Love this! I may just have to try all of them. Can’t wait for the white wine review!

    • Yes! Try them all! I’ve been really hit and miss on opening some unknown-to-me bottles lately so I was pretty delighted that all three of those were keepers.

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