I’m certainly having some fun with this weekly column. How about you? While our team is hitting SXSW coverage hard, feel free to provide suggestions on food, wine and show pairings that you’ve come up with!
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 an affordable bottle of wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, “wine down and chill.”
This week, as the eternal optimist, I am eschewing science. Instead, I’m clinging to the old proverb, “If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” I am doing whatever it takes to change my mindset, especially after the back-breaking burden of shoveling over the past week or two. Multiple times. So, I decided to embrace winter. And my inner-child.
Do you want to build a snowman?
Last week, I garnered all my Canadian, eh, experience and built a snowman that was taller than me, topped off with a wonderful fedora hat set to a rakish tilt. I completed the look with a matching Burberry scarf. Over the past week, I have watched it melt. Perhaps with a little too much joy and exuberance as there is something twisted about building something only to be happy to see it disappear. But that’s what Spring Fever will do to people.
Building a snowman triggered some thinking about this week’s theme. What better way to throwback to childhood than munching on a BLT while watching the new season of the show, “Arrested Development”? We’ll make it grown-up style, of course, and pair it with some rosé wine for a mature spin on a childhood favorite. Read on for a surprisingly sophisticated wine down and chill evening.
What to drink
When I think about rosé wines, I think about friendships. Sharing. And joy. There’s something about the pink deliciousness that sparks those feelings.
This is the perfect week to invite some friends over for a wine down and chill evening. Although rosé wines are perfect for a “girls’ night in”, they certainly are not that limited. Make the leap. For about $12, you can expand your palette and add a new wine to your rotation.
The Bertrand Coté des Roses bottle itself definitely leans to the feminine side with its beautiful rose and vine details, but it also happens to be a respected rosé. If you want to upgrade to the 2017 vintage ($19.99), you will understand why Wine Spectator scored that vintage at 91 points. This week, you have the option of going low dough at $12 or springing for the $20 version. Either way, you will be happy with your purchase.
Some background on rosé wines
This rosé is made in the dreamy, southern part of France, the Côte de Rhône, which yields close to half a billion bottles of assorted wines each year. The historic wine-growing region is hilly and warm. I envision myself there now, basking in the sunlight … but I digress as I’m sitting here at my desk looking out at what’s left of the snowbanks. Wines have been cultivated in the Côte de Rhône since the Romans discovered how wonderful life can be when you combine grapevines, sunlight and rich soil. Mmmmm.
The steep slopes in the northern part of the region can make the harvest arduous, hence the higher price tags of some of the wines grown there. However, the grapes found in the Bertrand Coté des Roses are grown in the southern part of the region. The Cinsault grape is red-skinned and loves bright sunshine. It also has a higher heat tolerance than other varietals. My kinda grape!
Last week, in our wine down column, we touched on the importance of acidity. A little bit can go a long way towards a refreshing finish and crisp or “light” taste. Similarly, a little bit of the extract from the red grape skins also goes a long way towards creating the pretty pink blush hue of this wine. Pour yourself a glass, take a sniff. Can you detect floral notes with a slight whiff of grapefruit?
Call me déclassée or whatever you like but I enjoy my rose wines icy cold. As in, yes, I will add ice-cubes. I do have the steel wine pearls which are highly effective in keeping your wine chilled. However, they weigh your glass down. And there is something decidedly off-putting about seeing shiny, steel, ginormous bullets at the bottom of your delicate crystal glass filled with a pastel pink wine. I just can’t. Do. It.
I’ll leave the ice-cubes option up to you but ensure that your wine is cold. If you were unable to source the Bertrand Coté des Roses pre-chilled, and you simply cannot bear the thought of adding ice-cubes, pop the bottle into the freezer for about 30 min while you’re getting dinner ready. Sadly, this takes the fun out of preparing your meal with a glass in hand. But, fret not, today’s food suggestion can be assembled pretty quickly, so it won’t be long until you’re on the couch in full-on wine down and chill mode.
What to eat
Today’s food pairing variation tilts towards what is most popular amongst the Millennials, but BLTs are timeless. In fact, they date back over a century. Rumor has it that the 1903 version of the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book was the first published reference to the recipe. Sandwiches themselves date back to the mid-1700s when the Brit, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich (you see where this is going, don’t you?!), created the item so that he didn’t have to leave the gambling table to eat his supper. Let’s put a grown-up spin on this delectable classic.
Five ingredients and five steps
One, upgrade your bread selection to focaccia or a ready-made square-crust pizza flatbread. Panini loaves are also an option. Whichever you choose, butter both sides. Liberally.
Two, slice up some tomatoes-on-the-vine. It’s not in season yet but snag the yummy Jersey ugly tomato if that’s available to you. Lightly sprinkle some sea salt.
Three, slice up an avocado. Choose an avocado that is soft to the touch and gives in when you apply pressure. Slice around the pit to halve the avocado from top to bottom, not the middle. Cup the half avocado in your hand and whack the knife into the pit, twist and remove. Tip: if you leave the pit in the avocado and store it in a covered container in the fridge, it will last a day or two without turning brown.
Four, grill up the bacon. Of course the bacon. As in the first letter of BLT. You have options including smokey pork bacon, a strip of healthier turkey bacon or meatless veggie bacon strips. I personally like the Sweet Earthfoods hickory and sage benevolent version of bacon.
Five, the lettuce. This time of year, it’s hard to find fresh and tasty green, leaf lettuce so you may opt for a bag of pre-washed romaine lettuce.
If you don’t have a George Forman Grill, a cast-iron or Teflon frying pan will work just fine. Cook up the bacon and drain the grease, but don’t clean the pan. Layer on the bread, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and top slice of bread. Grill or pan-fry about 2 min each side for a warm and toasty grown-up BLT.
By now, your rosé should be close to the winter temperatures outside here in the city today. Perfect! Pour yourself a glass and settle in to wine down and chill.
What to watch
Arrested Development Season 5, Part 2 is finally here. Although I watch movies regularly, I don’t typically watch TV shows. Especially since I don’t often catch wind of whatever new show is “hot” until it’s halfway through whatever season and then who has time to binge-watch eight or eighty episodes to catch-up? No judgment, please. I’ve done it. And I’ve suffered for it!
However, this show has me thinking that I need to binge-watch and catch up. I’ve seen a few episodes and laughed uproariously loud. The casting is brilliant pairing Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, and so many others. This humor is as inane as it is intelligent.
Part 2 of Season 5 airs tonight, March 15, and it promises to bring something for everyone. From a pending murder trial to the antics of the gay mafia to a proposal for a “smart” border wall, we are all going to be laughing. So, ice up your pretty pink rosé, start streaming, chow down on that BLT-avocado, wine down and chill. Cheers!