Since I was away at college for my 21st birthday, during my next trip home my mom wanted to do something special to celebrate. We decided to take day trip to do some wine tasting on the Finger Lakes Wine Trail. For those of you who don’t know- the Finger Lakes are a group of 11 glacial lakes in Upstate New York which make up New York’s largest wine producing region. There are over 100 vineyards in the area so it can take some time to hit them all. Most of the vineyards are positioned on steep hills that overlook the lakes. The scenery is beautiful, especially during the fall.
My birthday is in February and for those of you familiar with upstate New York winters, you know it was a bitterly cold day. One of the first stops on our wine tour was Lucas Vineyards, Cayuga Lake’s oldest vineyard. If you plan to do a tour, I highly suggest stopping here. Now I have to give the disclaimer, up until this point I never liked red wine. I think part of it was mental since I had one that I wasn’t fond of and had a hard time trying it with an open mind after that. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried their Tug Boat Red but what was even better was the crock pot of red wine that had been mulling infusing all day. DELISH! Once the red wine is mulled, it takes on a completely different flavor profile.
We’re totally getting into the holiday spirit this weekend and I’m beyond psyched since it’s the first time I’ve had my own Christmas tree. This red wine is the perfect decorating companion on a chilly winter day. As much as I love serving up cocktails, the one thing I love about this wine is that it sits in the crock pot, ready to be served.
To mull the red wine, pour the entire bottle into the crock pot and add your mulling spices. It couldn’t be any easier. You can buy mulling spice blends at any grocery or specialty foods store for convenience. I had most of the things I needed in the cupboard already from the cranberry sauce so I made my own blend. You will need 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 whole cloves, 3 all spice berries, and an orange peel. Combine the ingredients and allow to heat for a couple of hours. There are times I have let this sit in the crock pot for less than an hour and times I have let it sit for 6 hours. The wine does get spicier as it sits but both times I enjoyed the outcome.
Cheers and Happy Decorating!
-Sorry for the lack of photo, I couldn't get a picture without the wine looking black. Bad lighting today, it's so dark out! I will try again tomorrow.