Critic’s note: This occasional entry is about stuff that I eat or drink that you should eat or drink, too. It may be about items that are locally made, or they may not be, but you’ll be able to find them in town. And you should.

WHEN I FIRST HEARD that Union Wine Co. and Portland fancy hot sauce maker Marshall’s Haute Sauce made a red wine together, I was skeptical. I should have known that the Kings Ridge Red Haute Pinot would be so much more than just everyone’s favorite taco topping in some alcoholic grape juice.

Heating gently over the stove unlocks all the joys of a traditional mulled wine, with holiday spices and a hint of cranberry. Then, at the very end comes the Haute Sauce contribution—a kick of red jalapeño that serves more to wake the palate than kick its ass. By Jove, this mashup really works.

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Head to New Seasons for a bottle, and leave this blend to the pros—I still don’t recommend trying to mix a glass of Tabasco and pinot noir at home.


$18, available at New Seasons and select holiday markets