Thank you for making wine down and chill a regular part of your Friday routine! We’ve showcased food, movie, wine and music recommendations paired in a theme for eight months now. How’s that for awesome?  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.

Purple feet

When you think of the autumn and the wine harvest, you probably think of the practice of crushing grapes with your feet which dates back thousands of years. Hence, the purple feet. Foot treading is still popular in Portugal today, often celebrated in an hours-long dance with brandy and chestnuts providing the sustenance needed to get you through the intense workout. For the germaphobes, fret not: workers’ feet are highly sanitized before they begin.

Have you ever tried stomping grapes? I have. It feels really weird! The grapes squish between your toes and the stems tickle your feet. It’s a bizarre sensation that I highly recommend you try. Get out to a local vineyard this weekend for a wine down and chill crushing session as many wineries now offer aficionados the chance to try it. Four Sisters Winery is one such place if you’re in the greater NYC area.

Get your juices flowing

Crushing is an essential part of the wine-making process as it pops open the grapes which allows the juices to contact the seeds, stems and skins. This step imparts flavor to the juice and contact time is controlled to manage the level of tannins and color that will ultimately characterize the wine produced. Obviously a critical step on the journey to wine down and chill.

Foot treading has been replaced with machine crushing which is enabled via a steel auger. Mechanically, the process is much faster – and cleaner! Destemming is a critical step as too much contact time will result in a bitter wine with too many tannins. Pressing is the next step designed to squeeze out every. Last. Drop.

Nothing petite about feet

Today’s wine selection is another red blend. Over the last eight months, we’ve featured a few of them but Apothic Crush introduces us to some new varietals. Plus, the winery has a cool website with an innovative way of highlighting the wine flavors and tasting notes. Who doesn’t like the combination of berries, chocolate, and caramel?

There’s a little black pepper kick, too which makes for an interesting combination although it’s not my personal favorite. I can’t stand anything with notes of black pepper but it’s important to expand your palette and try something new every once in a while. So I did. For $10 a bottle, it’s worth a go for a wine down and chill night.

Two varietals make up this blend. The first is pinot noir, which is a well-known grape that we’ve recently discussed. Petit Sirah is the other varietal that is not as popular, nor is its original title, Durif, given its discovery by a French botanist Francois Durif in 1880. The dark, lush grape is a spicy hybrid of the rare French grape, Peloursin, and Syrah. This is where the peppery notes of Apothic Crush originate.

Crush it like Betty

Betty Crocker has a delicious recipe for Beef Stroganoff which, of course, I’ve modified for today’s easy wine down and chill dinner idea.

Five ingredients and five steps

One, boil some water (how easy can this get?!) and cook up a bag of egg noodles. With or without yolks, your call.

Two, like every good recipe out there, start by chopping some onions and garlic. Here’s where the wine down and chill crushing theme recurs. Smash the onions and garlic with a muddler or the bottom of a coffee cup to soften them up a bit. Fry them in butter or olive oil and sea salt.

Three, pick your protein. Choose beef or seitan strips to get the same oral sensorial experience.

Four, get your muddler back out and gently crush a sliced mushroom medley (shiitake, oyster, baby portabella, button).

Five, cook up a packet of never-fail McCormick Brown Gravy mix.

Pour yourself another glass of Apothic Crush and prepare to wine down and chill. Mix everything together with a small container of plain yogurt or sour cream. Mmmm.

A smashing good time

With another long week behind me (queueing up for buses, trains, and subways all week going in/out of the city has taken its toll), I’m feeling a bit cheeky. And nobody does cheeky humor better than the Brits. Our bespoke theme of crushing brought up some funny search results. Specifically, multiple references on what to do when Netflix crashes. Ha!

But that never happens, right? Instead, let’s get wrapped around this silly little series called Crashing. Ok, it’s crashing and not crushing per our theme but we’ll call it a draw. It’s irreverent and illogical but the first episode had me laughing out loud numerous times, so I’m going to plow through the other five episodes on a binge later tonight. Apparently, redditors have been clamoring for a Season 2 but no go. At least not yet.

The premise makes for a sophisticated RomCom version of The Real World. A bunch of attractive people in their 20s move into an abandoned hospital because the rent is low. Naturally, things get out of control. Laughing without thinking seems like a perfect way to wine down and chill after a long week.

Cheers!