There are a lot of great tools that I’ve discovered since I started Dallas Wine Chick.  As a holiday gift to you, I thought it was time for me to share some of my favorites.

Natalie MacLean is considered one of the top experts in wine.  As an independent journalist and author of the bestseller Red, White and Drunk All Over, she has more than 110,000 subscribers to her weekly newsletter.  You probably have seen her food and wine widget on my website to help you decide what wine and food to pair for any occasion.  But now you can bring her knowledge to your smart phone to allow you to pick the right wines anytime, anywhere by winery, price, score, region, grape, vintage or food match.  Developed by Cerado, this has all the knowledge of her Drinks Matcher plus wine recipes, articles, blog posts, cellar journal and winery directory.  Get this free app at www.nataliemaclean.com/mobileapp and find 380,000 professionally tested food and wine pairings as well as thousands of wine reviews.

Another favorite tool is from Wine Questers at http://winequesters.com/.  This site features more than 20 wine regions in California and 983 wineries.  Map out your day(s) in wine country with detailed tasting room notes, GPS directions and find out the best wineries in each region.  I think this is one of the best tools out there for wine lovers to plan their wine country excursions.  I’ve been using the colored map that you buy at Oakville Grocery for years and this is so much easier and much more current.

If you really want to drill down into Sonoma wineries, I recommend Sonoma Valley Wineries.  The site, which is written by a long-time resident, features 50 plus wineries with tasting room info, wineries by varietal and I especially like the “one Perfect Day in Sonoma Valley” write ups that give you the run down on wineries, things to do and places to eat.

So you think you have a good palate?  I just finished reading a book by Robin Goldstein called The Wine Trials 2011.  The book features 100 Everyday Wines Under $15 that Beat $50 to $150 Wines in Brown-Bag Wine Tastings and is billed as the world’s bestselling guide to inexpensive wines.  Goldstein gathered over 500 of his wine aficionado friends and conducted a series of blind tastings on more than 100 wines, and they discovered that most drinkers preferred cheap wines to the expensive bottles. Interesting to me that when the haze of marketing is removed, Spanish cava beat Dom Perignon.   Now, he did note that “wine experts” did appreciate the more expensive stuff, but how many of us are truly wine experts? Pick up the book for $14.95 and get 175 recommendations for wines under $15.  I’m thinking this might be a fun Dallas Wine Chick event in 2011 – anyone with me?

Hard to believe that I started this blog less than a year ago and I can’t imagine life without you all.  I want to thank you all for your tremendous support, friendship and taking the time in your busy day to read the blog, post comments, attend tastings and share your experiences with me.  Have a joyous, wonderful and wine-filled Holiday season.