A Reason to Celebrate

Have you made your plans for tonight?

(I’ll give you a moment to let that question sink in. And don’t worry—there’s only a 1-in-365 chance that you’ve forgotten your anniversary.)

Okay, since this is a wine blog that talks a lot about food, you may think the question has something to do with Julia Child, given the attention that what would have been her 100th birthday (on Wednesday) has received. America’s most famous cook died on this date in 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday.

But this isn’t about her.

Today also marks the anniversary of a very important development for the world of wine. On Aug. 13, 1913, true stainless steel—dubbed “the steel that doesn’t rust”—was cast for the first time by Harry Brearley of Thomas Firth & Sons in Sheffield, England.

Among this amazing product’s many uses is for making vessels utilized for aging wine. In particular, stainless steel tanks are used for aging fresh white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, et al. When a vintner does not select oak barrels for aging a wine, he/she likely will opt for stainless steel tanks.

But, although certainly worthy of celebration, today is not International Stainless Steel Tank Day.

So, what’s the reason for making plans tonight, assuming you’re not a vegetarian? (Yes, that was a giant clue.)

Today is National Filet Mignon Day.

The origin of this most important day for carnivores and red wine lovers is not clear. One would suspect that it was conjured by a restaurant organization or perhaps a beef ranchers’ group, but nobody knows for sure. It has been taking place for many years, however, so who are we to argue with tradition?

What does one do on National Filet Mignon Day? Well, if we have to explain, you’re probably one of those people who doesn’t believe in The Great Pumpkin.

The answer, of course, is: eat filet mignon! Fire up the grill at home, or go out to your favorite steak house and indulge in one of life’s wonderful culinary treats.

For our international readers, here’s a quick translation guide to help you break the language barrier when ordering:

  • In Italian—filetto
  • In Spanish—lomo
  • In Swedish—oxfilé
  • In Dutch—ossenhaas

Now, the all-important follow-up question: What kind of wine should one drink with filet mignon?

Well, a steak this tender and delicious calls for an equally special wine: Cabernet Sauvignon. In particular, look for a big, bold rendition from the Napa Valley or from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley.

A Cabernet-based Bordeaux blend also would make a sublime pairing partner.

Or if you’d prefer to think (and drink) outside the box, a California Petite Sirah offers complementary flavors for the beef, and a mouthfeel similar to Cabernet’s.

Many people (your faithful Vinesse blogger included) like to wrap a slice of bacon around the meat when cooking filet mignon. If that’s your method as well, save the Cabernet for another day and go with either the aforementioned Petite Sirah or Zinfandel.

A bacon-wrapped filet and a glass of Zin. Now, that’s a party!

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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