Alexis Bailly’s Ratafia

‘Tis the season, eh?

I love the holiday season. From right about now through January 2, I am in my element. I’m one of those people that loves good Christmas music, drives around looking at decorations, and every single year I make a list of people to send Christmas cards to (one of these years, I’ll actually send them).

I love all of the things that just feel like winter – hot chocolate, fireplaces, pumpkin pies, and red wine.

Bold, cozy, and rich, red wines were made for winter.  Kicking it up a notch, it’s also the perfect time for Port wines or, if they’re not “authentic” and actually from Portugal, wines in the style of port. (Port is essentially red wine fortified with brandy.)

Doniree)

(Photo Credit: Doniree)

A port-style wine worth noting here in the Cities, is Alexis Bailly’s Ratafia. Alexis Bailly vineyard (abvwines.com) sits on the south edge of Hastings, 35 miles south of St. Paul. The Ratafia is produced there and, as their website describes, is a fortified red wine with the addition of oranges and other herbs and spices.

If you’ve ever had one of those chocolate oranges that you have to smash against a table or a wall first to break it apart, you’ll get the hint of orange that I’m talking about with this beautiful apretif/dessert wine.

I’ve already gone through a bottle and will probably keep it stocked through at least New Year’s. It goes amazingly well with rich, dark chocolate, and I’ve also meant to use a cooking ingredient by poaching fruit with it.  The Alexis Bailly website includes a recipe for Ratafia Poached Peaches which I’ll likely serve up at a Christmas party next month. Other drink and food recipes are also suggested on the page.

If you like dessert wines, port-style wines, brandy or all of the above, check out the vineyard’s website website to see who carries it locally. (I do know that it’s carried at 1st Grand Ave Liquors at Grand Ave. and Milton St. in St. Paul.)

Alexis Bailly also offers tours and tastings (been there, done that, awesome!) throughout the year.  The next one coming up is their 2nd Annual Chocolate and Wine Tasting this Saturday, November 22 from 11am-5:30pm.  More details can be found here.

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