How are you going to celebrate National Red Wine Day?
The 2022 edition is set for this Sunday (August 28), and while its origins are sketchy, it nonetheless provides a great excuse… uh, reason… to open a bottle (or two) of wine.
Not sure how you should mark this momentous occasion? Here are four ideas…
1. Grab your favorite bottle of red wine off the rack and share it with your favorite family members and friends — you know, the ones who truly enjoy a great wine. (Save your everyday bottles for those who would just as soon be having a beer or a cocktail.)
2. Is Cabernet Sauvignon really that much more complex than Merlot? Here’s an opportunity to test that generally accepted view by opening one bottle of each varietal and taste testing them side by side. Of course, no two renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon are the same, and the same holds true for Merlot. But it’s a fun exercise, and regardless of the complexity-versus-mellowness question, you’ll be able to taste some of the similarities (and differences) in flavor.
3. Conduct a vertical tasting of your favorite red wine. If you’ve been saving up multiple vintages of the same wine, here’s an opportunity to see how it evolves over time by opening up one bottle from each of three different vintages. The purpose: to pinpoint that “sweet spot” for drinking — i.e., the number of years following the vintage date that the wine is in its prime, at least according to your palate. You might be surprised that you prefer “younger” wines, thus exploding the myth that all red wines get “better” with age.
4. Try something new. Never had Cabernet Franc? Now is the time to try this floral and alluring varietal that more often than not is used as one of the ingredients in red blends — most notably, the great cuvees of Bordeaux. It can be really fun to “deconstruct” certain types of gourmet dishes, and this would be a similar exercise, only with wine. The more you learn about the individual ingredients of a red blend, the better you’ll understand the vintner’s thinking when assembling that blend. Cue “The Game of Love,” the song by Carlos Santana: “It just takes a little bit of this, a little bit of that…”