International Grenache Day

International Grenache Day is celebrated on the third Friday each September. According to DaysOfTheYear.com, The Grenache Association established Grenache Day to celebrate this grape and all the varieties and vintages of wine that were produced from it. In fact, over the ages that have passed since it first began being used and cultivated, new varieties have appeared.

Photo courtesy of DaysOfTheYear.com

Grenache (known as Garnarcha in Spain) is one of my absolute favorite red grapes. The first time I sipped this varietal was as a Spanish Garnarcha, and I immediately fell in love with it’s deep, juicy plum and red berry flavors and soft texture upon first sip. Since then, Grenache/Garnarcha has held a very special place in my heart, and it’s a rare day that I see it on a restaurant’s wine list and pass it over.

Grenache/Garnacha is the second most widely planted red grape in the world. How can that be, seeing as so many of us are unaware of its existence? Grenache is one of the world’s most popular blending grapes. Although it is an absolute superstar as a single varietal wine, it is also widely blended with other grapes the world over to provide luscious fruit and to help boost alcohol levels in the finished blend.

Grenache/Garnarcha is the most widely planted red grape in Spain, and a powerhouse in our own Desvia, where it is blended with Tempranillo. This grape is also one of the trio known as “G-S-M” that comprise many popular Southern Rhone blends  (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre). Grenache is also commonly vinified as a rosé .

Grenache has it all, from juicy blackberry, plum, cherry, strawberry and currant, to spicy black pepper and licorice, as well as floral and earthy notes (think violets and rose petals over tobacco and leather), and when oaked, lends notes of cocoa and vanilla. The soft tannins lend a velvety texture on the palate that even the most fickle can’t help fall in love with.

Grenache/Garnarcha can stand up to rustic and earthy dishes with game meats, pork, and beef as well as those with tomato sauce, or even a hearty paella. Hard cheese and dark chocolate are simple pairings that will make this grape variety shine.

The official hashtag used to celebrate this day is #GrenacheDay.

Cheers!
Missa
winedowntastings.com

National Tailgating Day!

Football season is finally back! National Tailgating Day falls on the first Saturday each September. Nothing makes game day more complete than the perfect food. Sure, you could just grab a random six pack of beer, but why have an average food experience when you can have an extraordinary one? This is a job for wine!  Let’s take a tour of some of the most popular game day foods and the wines that make them shine.

Buffalo ANYTHING!

Whether  buffalo wings, buffalo chicken dip, or buffalo pizza, you will dazzle your taste buds by pairing this flavor with an off-dry white wine, such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Sweet loves heat, and the perfect hint of sweetness in each of these wines will compliment the spicy kick of anything buffalo.

Featured recipe and photo cred: Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings from JessicaGavin.com
Shop medium-dry wines here: VINOvations


Jalapeno Poppers/Stuffed Jalapenos

A crisp white wine dominated by citrus, herbs, and minerals, such as a Sicilian Grillo, makes a fantastic sidekick for jalapeno peppers stuffed with goat cheese or cream cheese. Wrap them in bacon for an even fruitier taste and smoother texture. Equally as delicious with jalapeno poppers is a crisp, refreshing Pinot Grigio from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy, typically fruit-driven, approachable,

clean, crisp, refreshing wine with aromas of white flowers, melon and mineral.
Featured recipe: Baked Stuffed Jalapenos by SimplyRecipes.com
Photo credit: Elisa Bauer
Shop Pinot Grigios here: VINOvations


Pizza

Your favorite cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or margherita pizza is a natural compliment for Italian red wines, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Nero d’Avola, or Sangiovese. Italian reds pair exceptionally well with red sauce Italian, and pizza is no exception. The acidity of the tomato sauce, along with the salt and fat content of the cheese and meat will smooth out the wine’s acidity, leaving a beautifully soft fruit flavor on the palate.

Featured recipe and photo cred: Classic Margherita Pizza by SallysBakingAddiction.com
Shop Italian wines here: VINOvations


Chili

A hot, spicy pot of chili can often be tricky to pair perfectly, but you can’t go wrong with a fruity, aromatic varietal. Although dry, a well balanced Viognier can give the impression of sweetness that works to balance and compliment heat and spice. Prefer a red? A lighter, fruity red that is lower in tannins, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay, would be the perfect match.

Featured recipe and photo cred: The Best Classic Chili by TheWholesomeDish.com
Shop Viognier here: VINOvations


Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders

South African grape Pinotage produces inky, bold flavored wines with plum, blackberry, bacon and smoke flavors. This makes it an ideal varietal to pair with red meat and with bacon. Add a tangy cheese into the mix, and we’re talking heaven!

Featured recipe and photo cred: Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders by TheBlackPeppercorn.com
Shop Pinotage here: VINOvations


BBQ

The tangy, yet smoky flavors of pulled pork can be beautifully complimented with a wine that exhibits red fruit supported by black pepper, smoke & tobacco. Syrah/Shiraz is exactly that wine and is a crowd favorite with BBQ dishes such as pulled pork or chicken. Top the pulled pork with a heaping spoonful of cole slaw, and taste the magic!

Featured recipe and photo cred: Perfect Pulled Pork Recipe by kevinandamanda.com
Shop Syrah/Shiraz here: VINOvations


Visit NationalDayCalendar.com for more information on #NationalTailgatingDay

Cheers!
Missa
winedowntastings.com