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Fireside for the Holidays with FireClay Cellars

The allure and ambiance of a crackling fire always makes the holidays special. Whether it is the welcome warmth of a fire pit outside or the feeling of a fireplace on a chilly evening fireside for the holidays is an extra special place to be. Just in time for the holidays, FireClay Cellars has released a red wine blend called Fireside and just like it's namesake this wine pairs perfectly for the holidays.

Fireside is a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Tannat. Reminiscent of a typical Bordeaux blend, the Cabernet Franc defines the palate while the Cabernet Sauvignon provides layers of complexity with the Tannat defining the structure. Aged 14 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels and 6 months in stainless steel to marry the blend together, the result is an uber friendly easy drinking red blend that definitely punches above it's weight.

When pairing this incredible wine with food the possibilities are endless. Much like a typical Bordeaux style blend (typically Cabernet Sauviignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot ) this easy friendly drinking wine pairs with a variety of cheeses, meats and even desserts.

Let's start with the cheeses. The character, brightness and tannins of Fireside would pair well with Brie or Camenbert which can both be found easily in high end grocery retail stores. If you can't find or don't like either of these remember the distinctive flavor of hard cow's milk cheeses like Gouda and Gruyere for a great pairing. In keeping with the holiday season, a Brie in Puff Pastry topped with Cranberries would be my favorite way to Fireside - very festive, aesthetic and delicious.

When it comes to meats this is where pairing this wine is even easier. The bright acidity and tannins of Fireside make it a perfect match for wild game, beef, lamb as well as poultry with roasting being the optimum way to cook the meat. Any roasted meat, even pork, would accentuate and complement the tannins and fruit of Fireside. Since you are likely burned out from all that turkey just a few weeks ago, can't fit beef or lamb into the holiday budget but want something more festive and flavorful than chicken I have a suggested pairing for you.

By the way, don't forget hearty rustic soups and stews like Cassoulet as well as savory vegetable dishes such as including mushrooms, spices or root vegetables. For dessert, anything featuring dark bitter chocolate will be spectatular with this wine.

For my perfect pairing this edition I am recommending Roasted Cornish Game Hen in Cherry Glaze with Roasted Root Vegetables. This dish combines the light savory, slightly gamey flavor of cornish hen with the sweet flavor of the cherries and the caramelization achieved during roasting. Their are especially conduscive to holiday festive presentations and are easily portioned since one hen easily feeds 2 people. My recipe below is a great accompaniment to the alluring flavors present in Fireside wine. I served it with an array of roasted vegetables including sweet potato, brussel sprouts, red onion, zucchini, squash and red bell pepper:

Roasted Cornish Hen in Cherry Glaze with Roasted Root Vegetables


½ cup cherry preserves

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher or himalayan salt, divided

2 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hens

2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400°. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Combine preserves, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard giblets and necks from hens. Rinse hens with cold water; pat dry. Remove skin; trim excess fat.

Working with one hen at a time, tie ends of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under hen. Remove twine; split hens in half lengthwise after cooking.

Or use a sharp kitchen knife or cooking shears to cut each hen in half along the breast bone, many refer to this as "spatchcock", roast the hen skin side up.

Sprinkle evenly with balsamic vinegar then 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, rosemary and poultry seasoning. Set on wire rack on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Brush hens with cherry mixture; bake 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 165°, brushing with cherry mixture every 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes.

No matter what you are planning for food for the holidays it is very likely that this incredible new wine pairs well with it and will complement any holiday meal. Go out today and make Fireside part of your holiday plans!

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David Nershi
David Nershi
Dec 11, 2023

What a great looking dish and super idea for a pairing! I got an advanced taste of Fireside (thanks, Arthur) and really love the wine. I'll have to head to FireClay soon to stock up.

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