Happy hump day! If you’re reading this, then you’ve made it through half your week and it’s time to celebrate with a glass of wine. A #winedownwednesday pick should be a no-fuss wine at an affordable price point. During your next trip to the wine store, consider these recommendations for your perfect weeknight red.
An Italian classic, Chianti wines are made from Sangiovese grapes grown in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Your local wine shop may carry a selection of Chiantis, based on varying classifications, which indicate barrel age and quality. I would select a 6-month aged “Chianti” or 1-year aged “Chianti Classico” for a weeknight. Hold the “Chianti Riserva” or “Chianti Gran Selezione” for a special occasion.
Tasting Notes: Red berry fruits, spice, smoke
Food pairings: Pasta with tomato sauce, Pizza
A Chilean Cabernet from the Central Valley boasts big red fruit flavors thanks to the plentiful sunshine in this growing region. While there are a ton of Cabernet Sauvignon options available, Chilean Cabs from the Central Valley will produce good quality wines at an affordable price point. Fire up the grill! It’s only right that you drink this with a hearty steak.
Region: Chile (Central Valley)
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting Notes: Red fruit, vanilla, clove
Food pairings: Red meats, pork
Beaujolais...the no-brainer option! Long considered an easy drinking wine, Beaujolais is produced from the Gamay grape, which exudes pleasant bright red fruit aromas and flavors. I would choose one classified as “Beaujolais Villages” or “Beaujolais Superier”. Yes, the French also love to complicate...I mean, classify their wines!
Region: France (South of Burgundy)
Tasting Notes: Raspberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Bubble gum
Food pairings: Just about anything
Have you ever woken up to a killer hangover and made the promise to never drink again? Chances are you knocked back a few too many cocktails loaded with artificial sweeteners and additives, which can cause bloat and encourage a hangover. Luckily, clean cocktails exist! Think freshly squeezed juices, unrefined sweeteners and heart-healthy herbs.
Grab yourself a quality gin, such as Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin and a few strawberries, raw honey simple syrup and a ginger kombucha. You can make your own simple syrup by boiling down ¼ cup raw honey and ¼ cup water; once the honey melts, transfer into a mason jar and let it cool.
Muddle 3 strawberries in a cocktail shaker, then add the gin, honey, pinch of salt and ice. Shake and strain into a cup with ice and top off with the kombucha. Garnish with a strawberry.
Do you hear what I hear? The twist and pop of a well chilled Prosecco bottle! Bubbly is undeniably a fan favorite to be enjoyed among all occasions. A popular Italian sparkling wine, Prosecco is made in the Valdobbiadene region in Veneto, Italy from the Glera grape. It can also be produced in other parts of Italy such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco DOC is more affordable with a retail value between $12-$20, leaving room in the budget for charcuterie and cheese! In true Italian fashion, a glass of Prosecco is meant to be enjoyed as an apertif to open up your appetite before a meal. Prosecco pairs beautifully with a range of antipasti selections.
Impress your guests with your sparkling wine opening skills! First, chill down the Prosecco by either placing in the fridge for a few hours or in an ice bucket for at least an hour. Short on time? Add water to the ice bucket - this speeds up the chilling process. Once the bottle feels chilled down, be sure to wipe off the water to avoid potential slippage. Remove the top foil, untwist the cage (5-6 turns), with one hand hold the bottom of the bottle and the other hand holds onto the top (cage still intact). The trick is to keep the bottle on a 45 degree angle and to twist from the bottom of the bottle! Do this slowly and with control. The goal is to hear a subtle ‘hiss’ sound once the top comes off. #expertlevel
All good things begin with a glass of vino.
I currently hold a Level 2 Intermediate Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.