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Return here each Friday to find food, movie, wine and music recommendations that are paired in a theme. Read on for an easy, no-recipe-required fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine, some music, and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.
Gettin’ spooky with it
Most of us non-kid types whoop it up for Halloween on the weekend before the actual night of trick-or-treating which somehow always seems to fall during the week. Of course, I know this is not true but it seems that way. So, in the spirit of Halloween and all things creepy and extra, our wine down and chill theme of the week is, of course, all about the horrors of the holiday.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Perhaps even my favorite. I love the creativity that goes into costuming and how everyone seems to be extra fun and festive. One of the biggest challenges is designing a costume that allows you to imbibe your wine, and, ideally eat a nibble or two, without destroying the makeup that you took hours to artfully apply. Indeed, the first world problems of wine down and chill moments!
Grapes are scared of fungus
Yup. They are. So are the vintners who harvest the grapes.
This week, a new varietal. Cheers to that, right?! Sémillon grapes are the third most popular export from France. That’s a little known fact and one that I was unaware of until I wrote this column. The grapes are thin-skinned, more golden in color than green and are susceptible to botrytis which is a fungus that destroys grapes, among other plants. Bad fungus!
Aside from the fungus factor, this varietal is easy to grow, generates a high yield and has been exported from France’s Bordeaux region into Chile, Australia, South Africa and other areas with similar terroir. When this grape is grown in cooler regions like Australia, the flavor notes tend to be more citrusy, zesty on account of their higher acidity. In Western Australia, particularly along the Margaret River, the grapes have a distinctive grassy and herbal aroma which adds body and complexity when combined with other varietals. Things start to get interesting when Sémillon grapes are blended with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
The plot thickens …
Miles from nowhere
When we get to our movie selection, you’ll understand why this wine suggestion makes sense. First, I made a pinky promise last week that we would feature something other than a Cabernet Sauvignon, delicious though it is. Second, we did have a little burst of good weather with sunshine and temps in the 70s for the last few days, so having a chilled white wine seemed like a sensible option. Third, Australia is miles from here in NYC. And the wine, Miles From Nowhere Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon, has grassy notes which ties in with our movie theme where people get lost in the tall grass.
This wine down and chill selection is cold-fermented in steel tanks for 14 days. Passion fruit and grass are the notes that I detect first. You may also pick up a scent of herbs, much like an arugula salad and possibly the lychee fruit – at the very least, you’ll detect tropical fruit aromas. Priced affordably at $13 per bottle and best paired with seafood and creamy garlic sauces, it’s a good selection for your Halloween wine down and chill party or evening on your own.
Arugula Scary Salad
While you’re cooking and sipping away at your wine down and chill glass of Miles From Nowhere Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon, ask Alexa to play “Miles From Nowhere” by Cat Stevens. This seafood salad is super simple – and light. Why? Because you’re going to be scarfing down all those Halloween treats, right? Plus, the lemon zest is the perfect complement to the wine.
Five ingredients and five steps
One, rip open a bag of arugula and throw it into a salad bowl.
Two, add large flakes of fresh Parmesan.
Three, pick your protein: choose steamed in-shell shrimp for an extra festive touch or open a bag of faux crab. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, then simply go heavy on the parmesan and consider adding steamed portabellas.
Four, chop up a fresh leek and lightly sprinkle with garlic salt.
Five, season with fresh lemon and sea salt. Optionally, you can add a light drizzle of olive oil. Toss.
Pour yourself a glass. It’s time to wine down and chill.
In The Tall Grass
Stephen King and Halloween are pretty much synonymous. In fact, this horror author’s name should be included in every dictionary’s definition of “scary.” In The Tall Grass is a new flick on Netflix this month directed by King. And, as far as horror movies go, it offers up some new ways to scare you. Of course you don’t walk into the field when you hear voices. Duh. You RUN! Even Progressive Auto has made a commercial spoofing the “voices in the cornfield” theme.
But no, that is not the decision made by the lead characters in this spooky film.
Did you look under the couch and your bed? And behind the shower curtain? You may want to do that before you wine down and chill …