Are you looking for a food & wine column that’s fun to read with wine suggestions that you can easily afford?

Then check back each Friday for our next edition of  “Wine Down for the Weekend”. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home no-need-for-a-recipe fabulous dinner paired with affordable wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

 Winter Is Coming…What Are You Drinking?

Pairing the wine to the viewing suggestion is probably my favorite part of this column. Sampling various wines to ensure that I’m making the right choice isn’t too bad either. 😉 Today, we needed a wine that would complement the intensity of GOT in taste and name, so the obvious choice was 19 Crimes by Treasury Wine Estates.

Uniquely marketed, the wine features images of artists, scholars, and criminals who were exiled from the UK and forced to make the treacherous and often deadly voyage to Australia. We owe all those “criminals” a big thank you for transforming a penile colony into the wonderful country – and grape growing region – that we know and love today. As stated on the wine label, “It would be a crime not to drink it!

What You Need to Know About ‘Shiraz’

This Australian Shiraz is bold and spicy. Priced at a bargain of $10-12, depending on where you live, it’s easy drinking. Australia has been home to this red grape variety since 1788 and it is the only country which calls it “Shiraz.” Everyone else in the world calls it “Syrah.” The grapes are grown in the warm, coastal and river valleys of Western and Southern Australia.

Legend has it that the black-red, very dark-skinned grapes originated in Shiraz of the Persian Empire, known today as Iran, were brought over to the Rhône in France around the time that Jesus walked the Earth. And the rest, as they say, is history. Just like GOT, more than 2,000 years has gone into today’s wine down and chill suggestion.

From a tasting notes perspective, strong aromas and tastes of black pepper are characteristic of Shiraz. Winemakers often blend shiraz with other red grapes. As is the case for 19 Crimes, cabernet sauvignon grapes have been blended in with this red which makes it more balanced with bold jammy and berry flavors that come forward. One of the things that makes this wine a bit unusual is that chardonnay, green-skinned grapes have also been blended with it to bring in a bit of acidity and some sweetness to round it out.

What to Eat

 

 

Today’s choice had to be primal. Substantial. And meaty. What else would you pair with a show about warriors going off to fight a ferocious battle? So, beef goulash emerged as the obvious choice.

Five Ingredients In 5 Steps

One, sauté a large onion with crushed garlic, olive oil and some sea salt in a deep pot.

Two, cut up your protein into large chunks. Choose a slab of beef in any cut, but the more marbled, the better. Or select portabella mushrooms. Sauté with the onion-garlic mixture.

Three, chop up a large white potato and toss in a bag of baby carrots and add them to the pot.

Four, add a box of Swanson beef broth by Campbell’s. Pour in a little of your red wine, but not too much, you need to save it for drinking!

Five, mix in a packet of McCormick’s Brown Gravy. It never clumps. Ever!

Pour yourself a glass and settle in so that you can wine down and chill as you’re going to need to let that cook on low heat for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.

You Know Nothing, Unless You’re Watching…

This is our 8th wine down and chill column and our viewing suggestion this week is Season 8 of Game of Thrones on HBO: odd coincidence or a sign from the Universe? The characters are highly developed, the setting is fascinating and I’m enthralled by the costumes and hairstyles of the female heroines. But, I have to admit that my viewing of the series has been spotty. I’m a busy blogger after all! As such, I routinely seek out the fandom pages to fill in the gaps when I’ve missed episodes.

Much has happened over the past seven seasons. The Martells and Tyrells are no more. Armies of Reach and Westerlands are in tatters. And the North has united. Soon, we will see who emerges victorious in the battle between the living and the dead, the Starks and the White Walkers. It will be the war to end all wars. Or will it be?

I don’t usually feature a dessert option in our column, but Nabisco (Mondelez International) deserves serious props for its innovative use of 2,750 Oreos. Have you seen the GOT opener recreated using only Oreos? Brilliant! As someone who walked on the rooves of Nabisco cookie plants as part of my former life in facilities management, I had the enormous pleasure of seeing the great vats of ooey-gooey white stuff. And, I tasted warm Oreos right off the conveyor belt. You can get your House Lannister, House Targaryen, House Stark, and The Night King themed Oreos at Target.

Stoke the fire (yes, it’s still cold and rainy up here in the greater NYC region), top up your glass and settle in. It’s finally time to wine down and chill.

Cheers! #ForTheThrone

P.S.– props to Stevepb, the photographer of our lovely cover image