Ready to wine down and chill? Do you want to see your photo featured in our column? If yes, then send it to me! While you’re at it, send me your favorite wine, recipe or suggest a theme for a future article.
If you’re ready to wine down and chill, then you’ve come to the right place. Return here each Friday to find a food & wine column that’s fun to read and suggests terrific wine-movie pairings that go with the theme. You never know what’s next for our “Wine Down for the Weekend” column. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home no-need-for-a-recipe fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.
Cheers upfront to cuzzie Linda and Linwood for making some great suggestions for today’s theme and pairings!
Definitely on the rocks – or off my rocker
I guess that it depends on your perspective. You probably looked at the headline image of grapes frozen on a vine and thought, “What the what?” Or, perhaps you chose some other, more colorful language? “Has this chic lost it? It’s July and half the world is suffering through one of the most intense heatwaves. Ever.”
Yup. That’s how my mind works. It’s blazing hot out there, so I think about all things frozen. How hot is it, you ask? It’s so hot (at least in Las Vegas right now) that the blistering 147°F temperature of the pavement can cause second-degree burns and permanent scarring. This is resulting in painful and expensive hospital and clinic visits. What this boils down to is simple — don’t sit on it, don’t walk on it barefoot and for the love of Pete, DO NOT WALK YOUR DOGS on it. Capeesh?!
Depending on your deductive powers of reasoning or intuition, you may, or may not have guessed by now that our theme today is ice. As in frozen. As in, we’re going to wine down and chill, yet chill down in a major way. But, fret not. I’m not going to recommend that you watch that movie of the same name, love it though I did. And no, I’m not going to suggest that you sing that theme song either because those $#@% lyrics have a way of getting stuck in your head. Nope. I’m just going to let it go …
Wine down and chill with a frosé – today’s hottest adult slushie
I pride myself on keeping up with trends. Most of the time, I don’t follow them, I simply like being aware of them. Apparently, sometime over the last year or so, frozen wine has become a thing. Specifically, frozen rosé wine, which some brilliant linguist has dubbed as “frosé.”
Many of us were taught that frozen wine = bad. Freezing prosecco, champagne, cava or any of the other bubblies is definitely bad, like really bad, because it explodes. And there is nothing chill about picking frozen glass shards out of your face. Or your freezer.
However, if you’ve accidentally left a bottle of wine in the freezer too long, no worries. Especially if it is sealed with a screw top. Simply put it in the fridge and let it warm up until it’s slushy or back to its original liquid form. For the most part, our tastebuds will be unable to distinguish any notable difference in its flavor. But the catch is that you do have to drink it right away because the air that gets in will make the flavors go off.
A rosé by any other name…
Chop up a handful of fresh strawberries, coat liberally with white sugar and squeeze the juice of a half lemon all over the mixture. Freeze it for several hours. Select a bottle of dark rose. Yes, a few months ago, I recommended that you should select your rose wines following a “the lighter the better” strategy. But here, freezing dilutes the flavor and takes a bit of the color out so choose a darker option.
Gruet Rosé hails from the Gruet Winery in New Mexico. Admittedly, it’s not the first wine region that pops into your head but, priced at $15 per bottle, it’s worth expanding your horizons with this bubbly pinot noir. Its slightly sour cherry and lemon notes blend well with the sweetness of the strawberries and added sugar. This option is a sparkling wine, as in, don’t freeze it! Instead, combine the wine with ice cubes and the frozen strawberry mixture in a powerful blender to make your wine down and chill slushie. Enjoy this delightful pink beverage!
Some like it cold to wine down and chill
Aren’t you lucky? Today we have not one, but two dishes to prepare. Plus two movie options! Maybe it’s the heat getting to me? We already know that I like ice … and I am Canadian after all.
Only a few more than five ingredients and five steps
One, this is super easy Gazpacho. Grab a big handful of 4-5 large tomatoes plus as much thinly sliced red onion and finely minced garlic that you can handle. Add a cup of vegetable broth plus a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Plus, some sea salt of course. Purée it all until you have a chunky soup or, if you prefer, purée it until you have obliterated all possibility of recognizing what’s in it. Then put it in the fridge, fill up your glass and move on to dish #2. By the time you’ve enjoyed sipping your frosé, the gazpacho will be ready.
Two, this is equally easy to prepare. Quarter a head of iceberg lettuce. Cook and chop up your favorite bacon (pork, turkey or veggie option) to cover the wedge of lettuce. Then liberally pour ranch dressing all over it and call it done.
Pour yourself an icy, frosted glass. Let it cool you. Now, you can wine down and chill.
Melting in this heat
In keeping with the other theme here which is being a wee bit off my rocker, I’m going to suggest two movies today. Let’s begin with Option 1.
As a science geek, I have a penchant for learning. Hence, I love documentaries. However, I recognize that not everyone shares my passion for such things. Some may feel that watching glaciers melt is one notch below their interest level for watching paint dry. Others may be intrigued to better understand climate change and see how keen observations plus metrics can be applied to validate, or potentially invalidate, hypotheses on the subject. Either way, the cinematography is breathtaking, the content is alarming, and you should add it to your “must watch” list. Check out Chasing Ice, a 2014 Emmy award-winning film now on Netflix, or check out the trailer here.
Ice in your veins
There is absolutely nothing chill about Option 2. If you don’t have ice in your veins and are simply trying to wine down and chill tonight, then you should probably go with Option 1, above. Personally, I can’t even get through the 2:27 trailer for Free Solo without getting nauseous. In a phrase? NFW.
Alex Honnold defies gravity. And sanity, for that matter. As the world’s premier free solo rock climber, he has achieved something that nobody else in the world has: he free climbed (as in, no ropes, no net, no second chance) El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, inching his way straight up 3,200 feet. And he survived. What if he falls? Alex was quoted as saying, “Falling would have dire consequences.” Indeed. The movie is available on amazon and has been nominated for, as well as already received, numerous awards.
So, now that we’re iced up, we’re finally ready to wine down and chill.