Food & Wine: National Chili Day!

Anne's ChiliIt’s National Chili Day! There are as many recipes for chili as there are people in Texas. Chili is a great dish for these wintery days. Here is my oddball recipe for chili. It is not super hot, so it is wine friendly with some Zinfandel or Rhone. My favorite is topping a baked potato with the chili and the fixings and a big glass of wine!

Recommendation ideas:

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ANNE’S CHILI RECIPE

*click image to download PDF recipe cards

 

 

 

 

 

National Drink Wine Day: who’s drinking wine?

Yes, of course EVERY day is Drink Wine Day, we know this, but just like every day should be mother’s day, or father’s day, or be nice to people day, we do have that ONE day to officially celebrate drinking wine. And that date is February 18th.

Here at Wine.com, we find it slightly coincidental that National Drink Wine Day should fall on the birthday of Wine.com’s founder. Fate? Perhaps.

So how much wine are we drinking when it’s not drink wine day? How about some fun stats (courtesy of the Wine Market Council):

- In 2014, 302 million cases of wine were consumed in the U.S.

- 40%  of Americans drink wine

- 30% of them drink wine more than once a week

- That 30% drinks over 80% of the wine consumed in the US

So here’s to the 30% of the 40% who drink the 80% – I think we all deserve a toast! Cheers :)

Food & Wine Fridays: Mardi Gras Menu

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is a celebration and a release of all excesses before the Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is more than just one day, it is a whole season with a series of parades from different krewes, or groups, winding through the city.  Beads and other throws are thrown from the floats. You can catch beads, blinkies, toys, and even shoes.  The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold.  Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith.  Gold Represents Power.

For those of us who cannot make to the Crescent City, here is a classic Mardi Gras menu with some wine suggestions for your party. Don’t forget to binge watch some Treme, have “Trombone Shorty” playing on the stereo, and have a white handkerchief or umbrella ready if you are going to second line. If you cannot find a local bakery that makes a king cake (a few New Orleans bakeries do ship) or you can always bake one…Don’t forget the baby!

MENU

Deviled Eggs

Red beans and rice

Fried pork chops

Jambalaya

Braised greens

Hot French bread with butter

And for dessert… a king cake.

Because this is a celebration, you will need plenty of bubbly! Gwendolyn recommends the Roederer Estate as a paring for the deviled eggs as well as a great wine for sipping.

Red Beans

For the red beans, Gwendolyn recommends a chenin blanc to match with the spiciness. The Pine Ridge 2013 would be tasty.  My recommendation is to go with a red Maison Nicolas Perrin Syrah 2012, which I think would be great to use as a general wine for the whole meal.

mardi5

Some fun Pinot Noirs which would be great with the pork chops or jambalaya include WillaKenzie Estate Gisele Pinot Noir 2012 or Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2012.

To go with the King Cake, of course, you will need plenty of café au lait, but some Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Sublime Demi-Sec would be lovely or maybe Eroica Gold Riesling 2012.

Mardi Gras 4

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MARDI GRAS RECIPES:

*click images to download PDF recipe cards

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How did wine bottles get their shape?

Just Somme Stuff I Think About:

How did wine bottles get their shape?

Take a deep breath in, and now blow it out. The total amount of air you just blew out is the amount that a glass blower needed to make one wine bottle!

A lungful of air from an experienced glassmaker could blow up a bottle to a volume between 700ml to 800ml depending on the person. And if this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s exactly why in 1979, the US standardized the bottle at 750ml.

Obviously, wine has been stored in various containers used for both storage and transportation, from the ancient amphorae found in shipwrecks to straw encased bottles from Chianti, called a Fiasco.

antiqueonionbottleThe coal furnace was first invented in the 1500s, and with better versions in the 1700s, glass blowers could affordably heat up silica to 1500 degrees and make the production of wine bottles, using forms, a standard practice. At the same time, wines were being stored for longer periods and needed a bottle to store on its side – something the traditional onion shape or tear drop shaped bottle (see below) would not allow.

Now the questions begging to be asked is since we have standardized the amount wine that goes into a bottle, and we have started to store them longer, why do we have so many different bottle shapes? Why not just use one standard bottle?
Bordeaux being the most expensive wine at the time had the greatest need. The Bordeaux bottle is tall with “shoulders” so it will lie down easily for ageing and when pouring the “shoulders” will hold the sediment inside the bottle.

Burgundy was at once thought to be cheaper than Bordeaux and of course wouldn’t require such an expensive bottle so the round fatter “soft shoulder” bottle was used because the glassblower could make it quicker and cheaper.

The Alsatian flute so ubiquitous with Rieslings was invented by the Germans so that it would fit into their packaging crates evenly, no other reason, and is now the only bottle permitted by law in Alsace!

Now it is a matter of tradition that Cabernet will come in a slender shouldered bottle and Chardonnay and Pinot comes in a burgundy shaped bottle. No law (outside of Alsace) is stated that demands it, but sometimes the old ways are comforting and old habits are hard to break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 “Suggestive” Wines For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about sending clear and defined messages to those we love….

  • In a new relationship?  Keep the message basic and sweet
  • Been married for years?  Spice it up with something fun
  • Asking out your latest crush?  Time to be BOLD

Nothing says “Be Mine” more than a cleverly crafted wine label.   If all else fails, you at least get to enjoy the wine!  Here are our top 10 wines to give your loved one when

# 10  – Alexander Valley Vineyards – “Temptation”

Nothing gets to the root of human nature like an Adam and Eve themed wine label.  Sending this to someone is asking for trouble!  Or is it??

Tempation

#9 – Monogamy  “Truly Madly Deeply”

Ready to take your relationship to the next level?  Why not ask for a serious commitment with this love-and-cuddles themed wine!

Monogomy

#8 – promisQous

Leaning more toward flirtation… Giving this wine to someone you are into is the adult equivalent of handing them a soda can of Orange “Crush”

PromisQous

#7 – Ménage à Trois

The name says it all… Just be prepared for a variety of responses!

Menage a Trois

#6 – Peirano  “The Other”

Nothing says “Thanks for being my ‘other’!” than this sexy wine and seductive wine.

The Other

#5 – Michael David Winery “Freakshow”

For those of us who like things a little freaky, break open this offering when in the privacy of your own home!

Freakshow

#4 – Taken Wine Company “Complicated”

Facebook has an “It’s Complicated” relationship status.  Time to say it with wine and make it “Facebook official”!

Taken Complicated

#3 – The Prisoner Wine Company “Prisoner” & “Blindfold”

Even your “slaves” need a little wine & love on Valentine’s Day.

3-Prisoner

3-blindfold


#2 – Two Hands “Sexy Beast”

This label essentially screams “I want you now!”  Oh, and the wine itself is deliciously seductive, too!

Sexy Beast

#1 – Mollydooker “Carnival of Love”

Rated #2 on Wine Spectator‘s Top 100 List.  We thought we’d show this wine a bit more love by making it #1 on our list.  Not only is this wine label amazing, but the wine is spectacular!

1-Carnival of Love

 

 BONUS: 50 Shades of Grey

Ready to head to the theater?   Why not sip on some Fifty Shades wine first to put you in the “mood”.   Cheers!

50 Shades

 

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