Celebrate Cabernet Franc Day

December 4th is Cabernet Franc Day. It’s a way to prove that this variety is “More Than a Blending Grape!” Plus, I suspect that some of my readers will be celebrating. After all, my top post is all about Pairing Cabernet Franc with Food!

Wine Geek Info

Cabernet Franc Day was founded by Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines. Why? In short, she was disappointed that there was not a designated day for her favorite wine variety. Not to mention that Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon. So, if Cab Sauv gets its own day, shouldn’t Cabernet Franc as well?

As far as selecting the date goes, Lori explains, “Cabernet Franc is believed to have been established in the Libournais region of southwest France sometime in the 17th century, when Cardinal Richelieu transported cuttings of the vine to the Loire Valley. December 4th is the anniversary of Cardinal Richelieu’s death.”

Although Cabernet Franc thrives in France, it can also be found in the new world. Here in Washington State, some producers I favor include Brook and Bull and L’Ecole.

Celebrating #CabFrancDay

Like most wine holidays, join the celebration by uncorking a bottle and sharing the experience with fellow wine lovers on social media. Simply take a picture of the wine you’ve chosen for the day (bonus points if you include your food pairing!) and post it on social media using the hashtag #cabfrancday. See what other folks are drinking, comment, and ask questions. Maybe you’ll discover a new wine to seek out! At the very least, participating in the conversation will help bring attention to Cabernet Franc.

While most of the activity will likely take place on Twitter, there are sure to be related posts on Instagram as well. If you’re based in Washington, you may recognize Damsel Cellars among participating wineries.

I look forward to seeing how you celebrate Cabernet Franc Day. #LetsTalkAboutWine

If you feel so inclined, learn more about the establishment of this wine holiday on the Dracaena Wines Blog.

How to Pair Chardonnay with Food

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wine varieties in the world. In fact, it is the most widely planted white grape variety here in Washington State. This food friendly white wine also happens to complement a number of my favorite dishes! To create the ultimate match, here are some easy tips to pair chardonnay with food.

Chardonnay Food Pairing
Shrimp Risotto and Chardonnay are a great match

Flavors in Chardonnay

Match Chardonnay with food using similar or contrasting flavors.
♦ Pear ♦ Lemon ♦ Apple ♦ Pineapple ♦ Vanilla ♦ Butter

Base Ingredients

Select a base ingredient that is likely to match with the variety.
♦ Crab ♦ Shrimp ♦ Scallops ♦ Mussels ♦ Halibut ♦ Salmon
♦ Chicken ♦ Turkey ♦ Quail ♦ Lobster

Bridge Ingredients

And/or use these bridge ingredients:
Tip: select one or just a few. A dish that’s too busy competes with the wine rather than complements it.
♦ Apple ♦ Pear ♦ Fennel ♦ Citrus ♦ Corn ♦ Dijon Mustard ♦ Vanilla
♦ Dairy ♦ Roasted Garlic ♦ Parmesan ♦ Swiss Cheese

Suggested to Pair Chardonnay with Food

When we’re in a celebratory mood at our house, I make a batch of crab cakes and break out a lightly oaked chardonnay. This pairing is THE way to celebrate a special occasion! Buttered corn makes a terrific side.

Food Pairing for Chardonnay
Crab Cakes and Chardonnay are the ultimate celebratory pairing

Riff on risotto and drizzle it with truffle oil for a decadent pairing. Or, keep it classic and top that risotto with some shrimp. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Chablis. Chablis hails from the Bourgogne region in France where the Chardonnay is known for its bright acidity and minerality. Translation:  it’s the opposite of buttery California Chardonnay.

Alternatively, try dishes such as lemon chicken, corn chowder (chilled or warm), roasted salmon, or Thanksgiving fare. It is also a nice pairing for my Light Weeknight Macaroni and Cheese Recipe.

Chardonnay Day

One of my early experiences on Twitter involved participating in wine chats. Initially there was Taste Live. Then, Rick Bakas founded Chardonnay day in 2010. It gave us the perfect excuse to gather with friends over food and wine. Of course, it also meant posting impressions of the wines and pairings on Twitter.

Chardonnay Day still takes place annually on the Thursday before Memorial Day. Either Twitter or Instagram are great places to share your experience. If you’re celebrating on this day, be sure to use the #ChardDay hashtag and tag me so I can see how you choose to pair Chardonnay with food!

#LetsTalkAboutWine

Chips, Dips, and Wine Pairings

Pairing wine with potato chips and other snack foods is increasingly popular as food holidays are celebrated with great frequency on social media. For example, National Tater Tot Day is a thing! Next up is National Chip and Dip Day on March 23rd. Celebrating these holidays with glass in hand is a fun way to get people to talk about wine! Read on to get inspired about chips, dips, and wine pairings.

When I was growing up, about the only time my mom served chips and dip was when company was coming over for a cocktail party. Which meant that the crunchy, salty ridged chip I so enjoyed was only paired with the classic savory onion dip about once every five years in our house. The dip, like so many of the foods popularized to make cooking convenient for the 1950s housewife, was prepared using dried soup mix. Nevertheless, that chip and dip combo was something special to my younger self. Biting into a satisfyingly crunchy chip coated in creamy dip was the equivalent of putting on a fancy party dress and staying up late.

Fast forward, and here we are with so many choices. Not only are there different flavored chips, but there are different kinds of chips. I mean, how did Taro chips become a thing? The chips are incredibly delicious, but the marketing team behind that deserves a standing ovation!

Now, consider all the possible combinations for chips and dips. The options are staggering! Throw an adult beverage into the mix, and wow do things get interesting. Let’s see what we can come up with.

Restaurant Chip and Wine Pairings

Wine and food
Delectable house made chips at Seattle’s Terra Plata

In Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood, Terra Plata makes some killer house made potato chips with truffled sea salt accompanied by pecorino-chive cream. I usually order a glass of bubbly Crémant to serve as a foil to the salty chips and mouth coating sauce.

Crazy Good Wine Chips, Gorgonzola Dip, and White Wine at Davenport Cellars

In Woodinville Wine Country’s Warehouse District, boutique winery Davenport Cellars offers “Wine Chips” on their menu. These gourmet potato chips are seasoned with wine in mind and accompanied by a chunky Gorgonzola dip. The Davenport Cellars Roussanne, a plush white wine, is a delectable pairing. Full disclosure: I work with the winery, but this is not a paid endorsement – I eat the heck out of these chips. I am not alone as you can see from one of the comments below.

However, taste is a personal thing and people have strong opinions. So, on National Potato Chip Day last week I took an informal survey of favorite chip and wine pairings on Twitter. Following are some of the early responses. I’ve included Twitter handles to make it easy to follow these chip and wine lovers!

Favorite Chip and Wine Pairings

@GailBenzler
Hmmm. I remember a lovely afternoon we spent at Davenport exploring wines, roving cheese shop and these delicious chips with the @davenportcellar Roussanne. Yummmmm! #nationalpotatochipoday #wine 😋 I discovered a new fave white that day.

@nicoleevents
I love chips!!! My favorite right now is @kettlebrand Backyard BBQ with a @SteMichelle Indian Wells Cab! Simple and tasty!

@wineNweather
The @GrnLakeGirl Special: bbq chips with the giant red 🍷 of your choice 😊🤤

@DivaVinophile
I tried some #lobsterroll flavored chips with a zippy CA white blend and it was pretty good 😋

@pasotours
Calbee seaweed chips with Viognier or NZ Sauvignon Blanc

Wine Glass and Snack Food

Chips and Wine Pairings with Dips

I couldn’t resist coming up with some ideas for dips to go with these chip and wine combos!

@CorkscrewConcierge
Love BBQ chips with Pinot Noir.
Truffle chips and champagne! #NationalPotatoChipDay
VinoSocial: How about a bacon dip with those BBQ chips and Pinot?

@SideHustleWino
I love chips and wine! Almost any chips with Champagne or Rosé but thanks to you and @GrnLakeGirl I now have BBQ chips for reds! Here is a favorite, followed closely by guac and corn chips.
VinoSocial: Albarino often expresses flavors of citrus and a sense of salinity very similar to a margarita. Consequently, it seems like the perfect match for guacomole and tortilla chips!

@AkronWineGuru
Yum Nancy!! My fav is BBQ and Zin🍷😋
VinoSocial: Let’s try a black bean dip with that!

@AlChirp
Irrespective of the chip flavor, I always go with a Sauvignon blanc…Cheers
VinoSocial: A ranch dip sounds like a great accompaniment!

If you are celebrating #NationalChipandDipDay, head on over to Twitter and share your pairing. Be sure to tag me, @VinoSocialNancy. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! #LetsTalkAboutWine

For more pairings with snack foods, check out my Flavorful Sparkling Wine and Popcorn Pairings.

Pin me!

Valentine Wine Pairings from 14 Wine Lovers

What do wine lovers uncork and serve up on Valentine’s Day? Curious, I posed the question on Instagram. Below is a summary of what people profess to be eating and drinking on the day of romance. So, if you are still trying to figure out how to make your sweetheart weak in the knees, here is all you need for inspiration.

What I find interesting is that these pairings come from a mix of casual wine drinkers, weekend wine warriors, students of wine, wine bloggers, professional wine writers, and wine industry professionals.
A big thank you to all for playing along!

pasta and red wine

There’s that adorable scene in Lady and the Tramp where they share a bowl of pasta. 🍝 But for some, that creates more of a Friends “Joey doesn’t share food” situation. 😳 In both cases, there’s no mention of wine! 🍷 So tell me, what’s your favorite romantic food and wine pairing for Valentine’s Day? ❤

@cmkwine
Filet mignon and lobster tails. Wine of course – a nice Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 🍷

@advinetures
So many options! Champagne and oysters followed by a perfectly grilled steak & Washington Cab or Merlot 😊🍷

@thecorkscrewconcierge
Champagne just oozes romance to me and one of my favorite things to have it with is steamed shellfish. Ok, that and French fries.

@winetraveleats
I always start with sparkling wine or champagne. It goes with just about anything and I a great way to clean the palate. My husband is always begging for my homemade chicken Parmesan with either pasta or cheese ravioli. It is a family favorite. I pair with that @luna.vineyards Sangiovese or if it’s a special night, Canto which is their Super Tuscan blend. Candles and a fireplace, nice music and we are all set. Hubby loves Port and dark chocolates to finish.

@whereyoushouldgonow
Always like seafood and a great white – love prawns, scallops- salmon or Halibut – lobster is the ultimate.

@spitbucketblog
It’s cliché but sparkling wine is my wife’s favorite so we always go with something bubbly.
One of the things we love about it is how well bubbles go with everything–scallops, butternut squash lasagna, truffle fries, steak, fried chicken etc. We don’t try to pair it with anything in particular. Just the moment.

@drumrollwine
Dark chocolate and LBV Port.

@ldhtravelatwill
Always wine and chocolate for us.

@rockinredblog
So many great suggestions. I think a beautiful bowl of Bolognese or wild boar ragu with a well-aged Brunello – it’s like an Italian opera.

@mspullthatcork
Rosé champagne. Food optional so I’m not distracted from the wine!

@swirlingdervish
Rosé Champagne and just about anything! Pink bubbles are always festive and fun.

@drinkinnaturephotography
We often make a fantastic breakfast for dinner, like Eggs Benedict with Dungeness Crab. We like to pair that with a great mimosa made with Prosecco.

@martindredmond
Champagne is my favorite way to celebrate love. And it’s so food friendly!

@finefoodiephilanthropist
We’ll start with some bubbly from @laetitiawine and finish with a bottle of @jordanwinery Cab. Only question will be which vintage to uncork with our filets!

What are you serving up? Do tell – head on over to Instagram and share! Speaking of Instagram, I’ve included links to the profiles of those mentioned in this post to make it easy to follow them.

Celebrate Zinfandel Day

The holiday on my mind right now isn’t Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, it’s Zinfandel Day! Organized by the Zinfandel Advocates Producers (ZAP), the holiday is officially the third Wednesday of November. According to their web site, “Zinfandel Day is a worldwide celebration of the Zinfandel grape variety, intended to give Zinfandel lovers around the globe a platform to express their passion for (the) grape and the wines made from it.”

California Red Wine

There is a lot to celebrate about this grape. Sponsored visits to Lodi, California gave me an opportunity to develop a great appreciation for Old Vine Zinfandel. In part, it’s about gnarly old vines, historical vineyards, and multi-generational family businesses. Not to mention, a bottle of Zinfandel is easier on the wallet than Cabernet Sauvignon. Then there’s the ultimate excuse to uncork a bottle of Zin – it’s easy drinking!

Pairing Zinfandel with Food

Why not celebrate Zinfandel Day with a little wine and food pairing?

Turkey Chili and Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a fruit forward wine that is fantastic with comfort food such as chili, pizza, pasta, and that great classic – meat loaf! Or make a batch of my Berry Barbecue Sauce to complement your favorite protein and glass pour.

food and red wine
What’s not to love about Meatloaf and Zinfandel?

Get Social on #ZinDay

Zinfandel Day is a global experience. So, be sure to follow and contribute to the Zinfandel conversation on social media with the hashtag #ZinDay or #ZinfandelDay. Be sure to tag me, too. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Resources

ZAP
St. Amant Winery
Oak Farm Vineyards
Klinker Brick Winery
DeLoach Vineyards