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

Tips for Celebrating International Tempranillo Day

Wine holidays are a thing, and the second Thursday of November is International Tempranillo Day. If you’re not experienced with Tempranillo, don’t worry. Read on to learn more about the celebration, the wine, and mouthwatering food pairing suggestions.

Tempranillo Day Explained

The first annual International Tempranillo Day was organized in 2011 by the Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) to celebrate the Tempranillo grape. It’s an opportunity for wine lovers to open a bottle of Tempranillo and share the experience online via social media with the hashtag #TempranilloDay or #Tempranillo.

About Tempranillo

Tempranillo, Spain’s top variety, is a full bodied red wine that often has a tobacco like flavor. What I love about Tempranillo is that a great bottle can be procured without breaking the bank. Or, for a bigger spend, a truly stellar wine can be had.

The Tempranillo based wines of Rioja have different tiers providing clues as to how long the wine has been aged. “Crianza” level wine has been aged for at least two years, at least one of which was in oak. A “reserva” has been aged at least three years, with at least one of those in barrel. “Gran reserva” means the wine was aged at least five years, with a minimum of two years in oak.

Recommended Tempranillos

Vivanco Crianza Tempranillo
The smoky nose of this Tempranillo hints at its 16 months of age in French and American oak barrels. This is a wine that offers a taste of red berries, as well as depth and a long finish.

LAN Rioja Reserva
This wine made my list of Top 10 Wines of the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Force Majeure Estate Tempranillo
There is not a lot of Tempranillo grown in Washington State. Not to mention, the care that goes into the vines and wine by artisan winery, Force Majeure, is staggering. Consequently, this limited production wine carries a higher price tag and may be harder to find. It’s worth it, though. What strikes me most about this wine is that the fruit shines through unmasked by oak. It’s absolutely lovely.

Pairing Tempranillo with Food

Salad for Tempranillo
Super Grains Tabbouleh Salad

Believe it or not, tabbouleh salad makes a fantastic pairing for Tempranillo.

Entertaining doesn’t get much easier than a cheese and charcuterie platter. The mantra, “what grows together goes together” rings true. So, to complement Tempranillo from Spain look for Manchego, a Spanish cheese made with sheep’s milk. Majon, a cow’s milk cheese originating in Majorca is another winning pairing. Include some chorizo, and perhaps some Marcona almonds and you’re all set!

Food for Tempranillo
Paella

In keeping with the Spanish theme, try a Paella Recipe from The Spanish Table.

A great option for vegetarians is the Zucchini Chickpea Tagine recipe from Herbivoracious.

A dish like Arroz con Pollo makes it easy to feed a group. Here’s a recipe from the humorous David Lebovitz, whose site is a treasure trove of recipes and stories.

For a hearty meal Joanne Weir offers a recipe for Spanish Lamb Stew.

Now, choose how you’d like to celebrate. Then, go purchase some Tempranillo or pull a bottle (or more) from the cellar. To maximize the fun, invite friends over for some delectable food and wine. Be sure to photograph it all, and share your experience on social media using the hashtag #TempranilloDay. Tag me, too, so I can see what you come up with!

Let’s Talk About Wine Label Redesign

This week on Instagram I asked a question about a label redesign:

“Tell me true – do you ever purchase a wine based on its label? Which of these two labels do you prefer? Just look at this – a brand refresh can make a big difference. It can also be a risk. It’s expensive, takes time, and people won’t see that familiar label they’re used to reaching for. Does it even matter? I have my opinion, but I’d like to know yours!”

wine label redesign
The label on the left is the new design.

If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, comment on the thread. Or keep reading here to see the comments posted as of 8/12/18.

Haha! The age old question lol…i am not, i am a minimalist when it comes to label purchasing but ultimately i am a vintage purchaser
VinoSocial: when you choose a vintage are you doing it based on the vintage ratings in the wine publications or looking at cool vintage vs. warm vintage?
Depends, sometimes i do the publication check, but i do normally gage by cool vs warm and what im pairing or just how my mood is lol…lots of variables

I’d be attracted to the new black label over the barn for sure if I was buying by label.

If I don’t know the wine the label can have some influence on which one I try first. If I love the wine, the label doesn’t matter

Yes you’d be surprised the influence a label has on sales – I like the black label

The black label looks more exclusive with its gold lettering. The other one seems more like an everyday wine.

Ooh that’s a tough one. I’ve absolutely purchased fun and/or beautiful labels. For some reason I gravitate toward the classic barn as opposed to the sleek black (even though it looks great).

Interesting you ask this. Thursday our company is hosting a conference ALL about wine packaging, design and marketing and we’ll have guest speakers who’ll talk about the best practices in rebranding assessing risk vs reward

Dark labels are such a risk if you’re selling in retail establishments. They just get lost in the crowd.

It has been ages since buying based on label. Now not so. The black label looks classy and high end and the other more small town/ country life.

The left one looks more expensive, the right one looks more family-owned??

I’m a sucker for nostalgia and landscape paintings. In other words, I will miss that barn on the label. 🙁 The redesign was tastefully done, though.

I never let the “packaging of a wine” sway me in either direction. Reading the labels may be of value when you don’t know the wine. But I can tell you from my retail days so many people purchase wine because how the label looks!

Black label with gold.. looks more professional and well thought out.

I prefer the one with the red barn. I’m a sucker for barns.

I didn’t know they were redoing their label – I’ll miss the barn! 🙁 The new one looks more modern and expensive, but not very unique.

Honestly it all has to do with their brand image. Yes the one on the left is modern and beautiful but is that the “image” they want to project?

Love the Walla Walla wines!

I always do 😂 I’m not as wine savvy as some!

Being in the industry for 2 decades certainly has an impact on purchasing habits. I tend to buy based upon research and prior knowledge but once in a blue moon the label strikes me 😉

Of course! The barn

Many people buy based on labels. I like them back but the black one is more luxurious looking

I know this wine (love it) and the barn helps me find it on the shelf.. I might have overlooked it had I not known of the makeover, so thank you for the share… it’s a “top shelf” and I’m short

I prefer the barn label

I’m a sucker for labels – nothing better than dressed in black👌husband liked left…said it looks classier. We are not familiar with winery so we’re the “outsider” impression

There are so many different takes on this label redesign, which makes it all the more interesting. Many thanks to this fantastic community of wine lovers on Instagram! I’m so grateful that my posts get this kind of conversation started. #LetsTalkAboutWine

Your Hashtag Guide to Washington Wine Month

Are you ready to celebrate the great wine of Washington State, the 2nd largest producer of premium wine in the United States? Your mission, should you accept it, is to find a Washington wine and share it on social media during the month of August. If you’re thinking you already celebrated Washington Wine Month in March, read on for a brief explanation. When you’re ready to join the discussion on social media, see below for relevant hashtags and tags to use across various platforms.

Wait, Wasn’t March Washington Wine Month?

I know, I know, it’s confusing because we toot our horns about Washington wines all throughout March, too! That celebration is more closely tied to the big annual event, Taste Washington, which is a multi-day extravaganza taking place over the last weekend of March. There are parties featuring some of the most prestigious brands in the state, fantastic seminars, and all kinds of food and wine moments leading up to the big Grand Tasting.

Here we are in August, though, and the annual Auction of Washington Wines takes place August 16-18. In case you haven’t heard of it, let’s get up to speed. In short, it’s a non-profit destination wine event with a 31 year history. In fact, according to Wine Spectator, it’s among the Top 5 U.S. Charity Auctions. While that event helps elevate awareness of the quality wines of Washington State, we take the opportunity to keep shining the light on our wine region all month long. In fact, a new campaign is rolling out declaring Washington the new epicenter of wine.

Get Noticed on Social Media

Here’s the 4-1-1 on the main hashtags to use and accounts to tag when posting about Washington Wine Month on social media.

#wawine
This is the standard hashtag to use whenever posting about a wine from Washington State.

#wawinemonth
Use this hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and your post will appear on the Washington Wine Commission site.

#washingtonstatewine
Not quite as frequently used, but as my friends say, it doesn’t suck. I use this on Instagram rather than other platforms.

#newepicenter
This hashtag is being used in the latest Washington State Wine campaign.

#wallawalla
If you’re posting about wine from the Walla Walla wine region, the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference, or want to connect with other Walla Walla enthusiasts, this is your hashtag.

@Wa_State_Wine
The official Instagram and Twitter account of the Washington State Wine Commission representing every licensed winery & grape grower in Washington State.

@VinoSocialNancy
Tag me on Twitter! I’d love to see, comment on, and retweet what you’re posting about Washington wine. Or find me on Instagram as @NancyCroisier.

Now, go pick out some Washington wine and join the #WaWineMonth party!