Posts Filed Under holidays
July 4th. The day that we in the U.S. celebrate American independence.
It’s fitting that we laud the bravery, gumption, and raw intelligence of our founding fathers, as well as the courage of those who fought to make our country free to chart its own destiny.
I suggest doing that with burgers and grill-friendly wines.
What we don’t commonly do is celebrate the French ingenuity and general affairs meddling (at great financial expense to them, I might add) that made life so annoying for the Brits that they more-or-less gave up and let us have this great country.
So maybe that should be burgers and grill-friendly French wines.
Now, before you write me off for spouting heresy about not drinking American wine on an American holiday, consider these tidbits:
So maybe that’s actually burgers and… Madeira…? Man, I gotta think about that one…
These facts are indisputable: our Founding Fathers fondness for their vino is preserved forever in their very own handwriting. Not only were they booze hounds, but they were men of letters. When guys like Washington weren’t writing eloquent prose to the budding new government (mostly complaining that they didn’t have nearly enough resources being sent their way to even make a dent in the larger, better funded, and more skilled British army), they were writing home about their wine.
So there you have it – American gumption, French meddling, British mistakes, and Portuguese wine.
The makings of a truly Liberated nation!
Have a safe and happy 4th! Cheers!
(images: ririanproject.com, vacationtofrance.com, madeira-web.com)
For those of you in the U.S. of A. – apologies again to my (now probably seriously dwindling) International readers! – it’s Memorial Day.
That time when we in the U.S. partake in the American pastimes of family gatherings, and patriotic remembrance, and – best of all – charing meat over an open flame until it is covered in crispy, tasty, blackened carcinogens.
And also trying not burn our houses down.
There is but one method of cooking appropriate for Memorial Day – and that is good ol’ fashioned grilling.
And for good ol’ American grilling, there is but one (okay, maybe not just one but certainly one of the best) good ol’ American wine to pair with your holiday backyard barbecue masterpiece…
…And that wine is Zinfandel.
Never mind that Zin is actually the southern Italian grape Primitivo. Or that it’s probably originally from Croatia. If there is one country to embrace a melting-pot Italo-Croatian creation, it’s the good ol’ U.S. of A., baby! Zin is the (fruit) bomb. It’s over-the-top jammy goodness (we’re talking the unadulterated Zin grape here, not the sweet, blushy White Zin). It’s so good that it’s got its own fanclub.
Especially at the BBQ. That’s because Zin’s flavor is so bold that it stands up to just about any char grilled goodness (including your famous, spicy-sweet, secret-recipe BBQ sauce) that you might concoct this long holiday weekend.
Zin has been grown in some way/shape/form in the U.S. since the 1800s, taking off in CA after
speculators turned from the Gold Rush to agriculture for their fortunes. As a result, CA has a good amount of old Zin vines. And the older the vine, the lower the grape yields, the more concentrated the fruit, and the higher the potential quality of the resulting wines.
Zin grapes tend to ripen a bit unevenly in tight clusters. What this means is that if most of the grapes are left to achieve full ripeness on the vine, some of the grapes in the same cluster will have shriveled into concentrated, raisiny goodness. Hello, alcohol! (More Zin facts and history can be found in The Oxford Companion to Wine).
Like us Americans, who wear their hearts on their sleeves, Zin grapes are thin-skinned. Also like us Americans, Zin wines are brazen and bold (okay, and sometimes a bit obnoxious). They are not afraid to tell you what’s on their mind. And what’s on their mind is tons of in-your-face, jammy fruit. And booze (Zin wines can reach alcohol contents of 14.5% or higher).
That fruit is gonna successfully go toe-to toe with anything that you can throw at it this weekend – just like us Americans.
As for recommendations:
For those on a tight budget, you’d be hard-pressed to find better Zin value for your buck than Ravenswood.
For a bit more cash, Frog’s Leap makes a killer, earth-friendly Zin.
On the “let’s splurge!” end of things, I like Duckhorn’s Paraduxx Zin blend.
So this holiday weekend get your party on, get your grill on, and get your Zin on. And have a safe and happy one (when Due here went to the emergency room on Memorial Day a few years ago, the hospital staff told me that they expect spikes in emergency room injury visits due to accidents during this holiday weekend – don’t be one of them). Enjoy responsibly!
(images: healthline.com, winecountrygetaways.com, alderbrook.com, bbqreport.com)
(images: Joe Roberts)
That time when a young man’s fancy turns to love.
And to thoughts of what wines are best to get that love just a little bit tipsy. Or maybe a lot tipsy, depending on the moral stature of the young man.
Although the weather here in the Mid-Atlantic/NE has been a bit unpredictable lately, I know for certain that Spring is finally here. I am sure of it, because I receive regular calls and post mail from Chemlawn asking if I want to participate in their lawn care program (apparently, it’s Spring and my lawn looks like crap).
I had originally planned to write a nice, conventional little post about Wines for Spring. I was even going to call it “Rite of Spring” (get it?) which sounded cute to me (despite the sacrificial death portrayed in the ballet of the same name).
Then the Dark Side took over. Literally…
You see, Quite a bit has been written (very well, I might add) already on the subject of lighter wines for lighter-weather times. For example, WineLoversPage.com has a great recent recommendation of a sparkling pink Prosecco for Spring.
There are many other wines that would serve you well on a Spring picnic. Like a spritzy Vinho Verde. Or a light rosé, which is a nice option for easing out of your heavy Winter reds into lighter Spring fare.
But you know what?
Even though it’s Spring, the evenings are still on the cool side here in eastern PA. And I don’t want to give up those heavy Winter reds just yet.
Maybe I’m just not down with the vernal equinox, but I still find myself liking my wine dark. And when not dark in color, I want that wine dark in character – bold and “heavy.”
To bolster my stubborn stance, it seems the general wine-buying public isn’t easy to sway either when it comes to changing their wine drinking habits. In the Winter, people drink big, bold wines like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
And in the Spring and Summer, they drink: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
At least, that’s the tale that the wine retail sales figures in the U.S. tells.
Who am I to upset the applecart?
Welcome to Spring. Drink whatever the hell you want!
There will be plenty of time in the months ahead to savor those crisp, fruity, spritzy, mouth-watering and thirst-quenching lighter wines.
For now, savor that chill in the air that greets you when the sun goes down and the wind picks up just a bit, for just a second. That’s a little stab of Old Man Winter’s cane, as he pokes you lightly in the gut. You know what he’s saying?
I’ll be back.
As you take a swig of that last big, dark, gnarly, 14% alcohol red wine you had stocked up on when it was snowing outside, just look Old Man Winter in the eye and tell him something for me:
Whatever. I’ll be waiting. And I’ll have more of this killer Shiraz with me, too.
And it’s not because the object of your desire becomes more desirable after you’ve put on the “wine goggles.”
According to a survey jointly sponsored by the Australian Wine Council and on-line dating service Match.com, having a healthy knowledge of the world’s most romantic beverage makes you more attractive, with those people preferring Italian wines being viewed as particularly “sexy” and “stylish.”
There’s still plenty of time for you to order up a copy of Vino Italiano and join us for the first Wine Book Club. Just sayin’…
Wine X Magazine (as reported by autumnilia) backs up the “wine = sexier” conclusion in an interview with sexpert Dr. Ruth, who tells us that wine is an essential element of foreplay (she prefers Beaujolais Nouveau, gewurztraminer, and CA white, so those may be some of the sexiest wine choices, seeing as how she’s a sexpert and whatnot- again, just sayin’).
Finally – If you’re totally desperate on this most Hallmark of holidays, Yahoo! Answers has a thread about what wine choices make a drinking partner appear the most attractive. Chianti and Sake got the nods there. Just sayin’.
Happy Valentine’s Day!