Cheers to 2020 and a new wine down and chill format. We understand that you’re busy; 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. Our new format is a snappy combo of Listen – Learn – Wine – Dine – Watch. 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: Two for me, one for you
They say “two is better than one” when it comes to most things. I’m looking at it from the perspective of the number 2 itself. The year is 2020. That’s a pair of deuces right there. Not to mention January 22 was earlier this week and just happens to be the birthday of one of my biggest fans: cheers, Lee-Ann and thank you for all your support!
However, it seems that Millennials (sigh, why all the blame all the time? It’s gotten old, hasn’t it?) are opting to double-fist with seltzer versus wine as sales dipped in 2019 for the first time in 25 years. Two people sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying two glasses each is par for the course when it comes to all things wine down and chill. Last year, we featured a “Twice as Good” twinning theme but twinning is different than an ordinal number theme which was just begging to be done given the year that we’re in.
Learn: Napa Valley Mountain Speak
Cabernet Sauvignon remains the preferred varietal in the US based on consumption data. However, the #2 choice is not a specific varietal at all. Instead, it’s a general catch-all category of “red blends” which now accounts for 11% of the wine consumed here. We’ve discussed red blends in previous wine down and chill columns so we’ll focus today’s article on the valley itself.
This wine region is internationally acclaimed and nestled between – you guessed it – two mountain ranges (Vaca and Mayacamas). Five appellations characterize the grapes and resulting wines that grow between those mountains. Each appellation has a signature flavor profile and wine representative of each can be found here.
Next, some terminology: the latter mountain range, translated from the ancient Wappo language of the indigenous people who first cultivated it, Mayacamas means “howling mountain lion.” As someone who has hiked the area and had a (distant) encounter, it’s aptly named. Relatively short for a mountain range, clocking in around 50 miles, it’s the geographical barrier between Napa and Sonoma Vallies. The Sonoma Valley made world news yesterday with the massive wine spill at Rodney Strong: how does one accidentally open a door and spill 97,000 gallons of Cabernet Sauvignon? They should have checked twice to ensure the door was locked …
Listen: Two of Us
The Beatles’ song, “Two of Us,” is one of the most popular musical offerings with the word, “two,” in the title. One of my personal faves is “Love me Two Times” by the Doors. Enjoy more than 100 two-themed songs on this playlist.
Wine: Rutherford Ranch Two Range Red
Dark fruit and dark chocolate is never a bad combination! The Rutherford Wine Company does not disappoint with this delectable red blend from Napa Valley. Wine Enthusiast was also impressed as they scored the Rutherford Ranch Two Range Red 91 points.
Jay Turnipseed is the proud winemaker behind this $22 secret red blend – which is priced just outside of our $20 range but worth the extra given that it’s been aged 14 months inside French Oak barrels. Staying true to our wine down and chill “two” theme, this blend is never the same twice. It’s a one-and-done opportunity to enjoy the essence of Napa which has annual variability in micro-climate and the flavors imparted.
Dine: Risotto for two
Last week, I had the most incredible risotto that I’ve ever eaten. It was a wild mushroom and kale offering prepared in a white wine mushroom bisque. Beyond! The restaurant wouldn’t share their recipe but I found one here: just be sure to use oyster and shiitake mushrooms. If you’re one of those people who freaks out when there is a “fungus among us,” then check out these easy recipe suggestions with not just one but ten options for Dinner for Two.
Watch: Two Popes
One would think that a biographical drama about the papacy would be a total snooze fest. Not so! When you bring that calibre of acting to the screen around a sensitive topic like religion, paticularly given some of the recent controversy around the Catholic Church, you end up with one “hell” of a movie! It’s a masterpiece.
They didn’t knight Sir Anthony Hopkins without a good reason for doing so. Two Popes also stars the incredible Jonathan Pryce. Both actors have been nominated for Oscars in their respective categories of supporting and lead actor.
It’s the weekend. Finally, sigh, it’s time to wine down and chill. Cheers!