The world is still struggling and all of us behind wine down and chill are still trying to help you through it by doing our part. Most of you are drinking more wine lately with virtual happy hours (VHH) so you’re even more interested in learning about different wines so that you can get down to drinking it! Got it. And here’s a birthday shout-out to Nora!
Theme: frozen ground
Winter is coming and all of us at wine down and chill are bracing for impact and hoping that the seasonal chill and rains find their way to the West Coast to put out all the fires raging there.
Listen: freeze out
Tempted though I am to break into song, singing and twirling to “Let It Go,” (is that little ear worm now stuck in your head?), I’m going to redirect our wine down and chill readers to other songs. Nothing quite fits the frozen theme in the context of today’s movie selection better than the original “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with respect to its (decades-later) controversial lyrics which put women at risk. But, we’re going to keep things light here and I tend to lean towards songs by The Boss, like “10th Avenue Freeze Out” and other classics. Here’s a playlist about all things frozen.
Learn: Catalunya, Spain
Nestled in the Northeastern region of Spain, Catalonia is a semi-autonomous (self-governing and independent) area that was colonized by the ancient Greeks more than a millennium ago. Catalunya, home to more than 200 wineries, was formally designated as a recognized wine region in 2001. What makes it different from other wine regions around the world, besides its terroir (the ground, which never freezes there and imparts characteristic wine flavors), is that the region is not neatly defined by tight, geographical boundaries. Rather, about 30 square miles loosely defines the area where the 200+ wineries are distributed across.
Spain has a long history making sparkling wines. Its origins date back to the mid-18th Century after Joseph Raventós, a Spanish winemaker, visited the Champagne region of France. By 1872, after much experimentation, he released his first bubbly wine which used, of course, the French champenoise method. Throughout history, the Spanish and French haven’t exactly been besties so, over time, the Spanish winemakers wanted to distinguish themselves from their French counterparts so they named their “champagne” (a bubbly wine distinction reserved only for those sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France), cava. The Italians, of course, not to be outdone, soon followed suit with “prosecco.”
Wine: Freixenet Ice Cuvée Especial
You all know that I’m a huge fan of bubbles so you can hardly be surprised by today’s wine down and chill selection. Freixenet is the undisputed leading producer of Cava with a history of winemaking and exporting to the USA that dates back to 1861. Even their website bubbles! At first, the winery’s patriarch did not export bubbly wines but was experimenting with small batch fermentation. All that changed in 1911 when they began producing wines in the Traditional Cava Method.
Freixenet Ice Cuvée Especial is a refreshing blend of Macabeo, Xarello, Parellada and Chardonnay designed to be served over ice; even their icy-white bottle invites you to wine down and chill. The bubbles are teeny and delicate but bring notes of pears, tropical fruits, flowers and peaches to the surface. And no, it’s not a sweet wine! You can find it at Total Wine, distributed nationwide, for under $20 per bottle. This is the time to wine down and chill with something icy as the “real white stuff” will soon be making a slippery mess on our steps and roads.
Dine: frozen dinner
Yup. It’s all too easy these days to make a wine down and chill dinner by pulling something ready-made out of the freezer. Here are a few of my faves. Freschetta thin-crust pizza is better than just about everything I’ve had dining in (which is obviously no longer an option). Trader Joe’s frozen falafel bites and meatless meatballs offer incredible possibilities. So, at least for today, forget about spending time in your kitchen when you could be chillaxing with a drink!
Watch: The Frozen Ground
This 2013 thriller now streaming on Netflix and starring the incredible Ed Norton along with Nicholas Cage will unnerve you. Filmmakers of scary flicks have an uncanny way of leaving you unhinged with their cinematography and graphic storytelling. What makes this movie, The Frozen Ground, all the more difficult to get through is that it’s based on a true story of girls gone missing in Alaska. Sadly, you can guess their fate. But movies like this raise our awareness so that we’re more conscious of our surroundings, more inclined to notice and report erratic behaviors and to go the distance to protect those who are most vulnerable.
Sometimes, wine down and chill movie selections have to do more than entertain us – they need to awaken us with their social commentary.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with former Grand Chief of Cree Nation (and a tribe’s only female to have earned the prestigious honor) in my Like a Boss podcast which will be released later this weekend. She has embarked on an ambitious project to tell a similar and equally eerie tale. Her documentary (coming soon) focuses on the 1,200+ young girls from Canadian First Nation reservations who have gone missing or murdered. We all need to do our part to raise awareness of this tragic and widespread issue and to do more to protect our young women all over the globe.
You can wine down and chill all week long
If this week’s theme didn’t float your boat or fill up your glass to wine down and chill, no worries. We’ll continue to offer affordable suggestions for music, wine, dinner and movies with a different wine down and chill theme each week. You can also follow me on Instagram for wine art and photography @WineDownAndChill. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill. If you missed an article, fret not! You can find every article here.
If you like podcasts, well, wouldn’t you know, we’ve got those, too! Three of them, in fact: 1) Like a Boss with snappy insights; 2) wine down and chill; and 3) Monday motivation. All three are available on all streaming channels including Apple, iHeart Radio, Spotify and more. Tune in!
It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!