It’s trying times out there so we’re trying to give you short break with our wine down and chill column. And many of you have indicated that you want to learn about wine then get down to drinking it! Got it.
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.
Theme: Palm Sunday
Whether you’re religious or not, Palm Sunday will still happen on Sunday – albeit the annual traditions of people gathering in prayer to get their palm fronds blessed will be obviously altered given the current state of the world. For me, “palm” this week as a wine down and chill theme takes on greater meaning.
Right now, how many of you are dreaming of palm trees and vacations missed? We all know that staying home is the only safe and kind thing to do. Most importantly, we wish all those afflicted by this disease good health plus hope for a speedy physical and financial recovery. Dreaming of palm trees right now seems kind of trivial and disrespectful under the current climate, so let’s think bigger.
Going forward, the art of the handshake and touching palm-to-palm will likely be lost. Ditto for how cash is transferred from one person to another. The bigger picture is how we hold life – our own lives – in the palm of our hand. And, how we also hold the fate of small businesses in the palm of our hands. So, I’m going to bring some of these examples forward with the hopes that readers can support these wine down and chill selections whenever they’re able to do so.
Listen: Palm of Your Hand
Musical artist, Alan Jackson, performed a great rendition of his hit, Palm of Your Hand, back in 2010. You can listen to it here. The lyrics remind us why we chose to share our home with our spouse and to keep those words – that you can never take back – to ourselves so that we can live in harmony during these challenging times and be grateful for who we have in our lives. For those of you that do worship on Palm Sunday, here is a playlist of divine songs to be inspired by.
Learn: wine down and chill Blanc de Blancs
Every time that I hear, “Blanc de Blancs,” I hear the Count from Sesame Street saying it. I don’t know why, but I do. And it makes me laugh. Every. Time. These days, we all need to find whatever we can to laugh about.
We’ve featured “Blanc” in previous wine down and chill columns. Specifically, a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, a Blanc de Blancs, and a Blanc Reserve, but we haven’t featured something from a local NJ / NY winery. It was time that we did so.
Blanc de Blancs literally translates to “white of whites,” which means that only green grapes (which produce white wines) can be used. As is the case for all Blanc de Blancs champagnes, only designated areas in France are permitted to carry that moniker. Chardonnay grapes are the typical varietal for this option.
However, today’s featured wine uses Vidal Blanc grapes which are widely available in the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast region of the US. Not surprisingly, this grape is thick-skinned, hearty and tolerates the colder climate that we experience in the region mentioned. Candied fruit and citrus notes are the hallmark characteristics of this grape, which is often used in ice-wines and semi-sweet, semi-dry wines.
Wine: Tomasello Blanc de Blancs
The week before the world turned upside down, we visited the Tomasello Winery in NJ. The team there was gracious and hospitable. Cheers and thanks to Pamela, Mike and Nancy (shown left to right in the lead image).
Their petting zoo and on-premise bakery made the experience even more fun. We went in for a wine down and chill style tasting, sampling a bit of everything they had to offer, including their apple cider donuts. Mmmm … donuts. The wine that I liked best was their Tomasello Blanc de Blancs Brut.
It offered just enough bubbles to feel festive without seeming over-the-top. The Brut classification means that it leans towards the dry side of wines, but it’s not too dry. Call it the “Goldilocks of Bubbly.” At $20 per bottle, it’s at the upper end of our wine down and chill selection range, but the slight whiff of grapefruit and softness on the palette make it an enjoyable beverage. Perfect for day-drinking between all those zoom calls. Kidding, kidding!
To mix things up (since we’re all looking for a bit of variety these days, having tried just about everything available to us in our homes after weeks of self-isolating), make a wine down and chill Blanc de Blancs Margarita. Seriously, try it! Add three parts wine, one-part tequila (triple-sec is optional) and a squeeze of lime juice and you’re good to go. You may not have fresh lime, but surely you have one of those green plastic lime-shaped squeezy bottles?
Dine: Fill in the Blank
I thought about how to incorporate today’s wine down and chill “palm” theme in dinner, but I came up empty.
Just about everyone that I know on social media is playing the, “Fill in the blank” game. Questions include, “What’s the first restaurant you’re going to visit when this is over? What are you going to order? If you could have one thing right now, what would it be?” So, for tonight’s dinner, wine down and chill is asking, “Which ingredient are you missing but cooking it up anyway?” It’s food, so what if it’s missing an ingredient? Many people are food-insecure in these crazy times so help your local food bank and neighbors if you can.
Yes, the spelling is different from our wine down and chill theme of “palms”, but the idea is the same. POMS is the uplifting comedy that we need right now. And, it’s inspirational. If a bunch of senior citizens can start cheerleading – cheering for themselves and for each other – and win a national contest, then we can all find the courage and strength to get through these challenging times by leaning on each other.
Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Rhea Perlman and a fun cast of gals, directed by another great gal, Zara Hayes, will give you the reprieve that you need after another long and wacky week. You can stream it on Amazon or ShowTime.
It’s the weekend. Time to wine down and chill. Cheers!
Images provided by the author.