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.”
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
In keeping with the Spanish theme, try a Paella Recipe from The Spanish Table.
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 face it, sometimes the subject of wine is a snooze fest. To avoid nodding off while reading about wine, I suggest books and web sites that combine visual appeal with a solid base of information on the topic. For this reason I have been following the Wine Folly web site from the start. I am grateful to Avery Books for providing VinoSocial an advance copy of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition for review. Read on for a little Wine Folly history and my take on the latest edition of this master guide to wine.
The story of Wine Folly is an enviable one on how to create a successful career in the wine industry. It all began while Madeline Puckette was working with James Beard Award winning chef Jerry Traunfeld as a sommelier at his Seattle based restaurant, Poppy. Joining forces with two friends, Madeline began the blog Wine Folly with the goal to become the number one wine education site. What I absolutely admire about Madeline is that she figured out a way to combine her background in graphic design with her skills as a somm. Plus, she and her partner, Justin Hammack, were savvy enough to run the blog like a business. They created posters from her dazzling and easy to interpret wine infographics, then offered them for purchase on the web site. Eventually a book deal came along and the rest, as they say, is history.
If you have that first book, Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine you may be wondering whether you really need the new Wine Folly: Magnum Edition. I say, yes, you do. There are some key updates that definitely make this new edition worthwhile.
First of all, the Magnum Edition is hard cover. Then there are updated colorful graphics. Also, there is a lot more content and additions to the chapters on “Grapes and Wines” and “Wine Regions.” Overall, this Wine Folly book is somehow more sophisticated while still being approachable.
Thankfully, all the wine varieties in the Magnum Edition are organized alphabetically without being primarily organized by style and body. This makes looking up wine varieties ever so much easier! No more referring to the index to find a wine. Information still appears for recommended glass type, serving temperature, average cost for quality, and cellaring ability. Now readers also receive information on common styles and suggested wines with a similar flavor profile.
Wine Folly: Magnum Edition Food and Wine Pairing
Be still my heart, this book includes a fantastic section devoted to food and wine pairing, my favorite subject! Wine Folly: Magnum Edition has twelve colorfully illustrated pages with practical pairing infographics.When it comes to making better wine choices for dinner, this is the easiest to interpret guide I’ve seen. Whether you’re interested in pairing with cheese, pairing with protein, or pairing with vegetables it’s covered in this book and presented in an updated easy to read table format.
If you are looking for a great resource to learn more about wine, I highly recommend the book, Wine Folly: Magnum Edition. Get your copy now!