Wine Wednesday

Dark Horse Big Red Blend

“This wine rains kisses in your mouth.” –Insatiable By Gael Greene

The first Wednesday of every month is Wine Wednesday! Spectacular wines under $10.00. Yep. Under $10.00. Sometimes wine is less expensive where I am, but most of the time it’s more expensive. Hopefully that means that I will pick wines that are well below the $10.00 limit for most of you.

I will post wines that I particularly like. I am no specialist by any means, but I do love wine. I know the basics of the different varietals, what regions generally produce, how wines are made, but this space is all about preference. We all like what we like, and you might like what I like too. I will post food pairings and why those pairings are suitable for the specific wine.

Dark Horse Big Red Blend (Blend Number 33-1)

Price: $6.95

Variety: Malbec, Rubired, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot.

Well I bet you’re kind of sick of entertaining, huh? All of those holiday cocktail parties have taken their toll. But let’s face it: you still have a need for some good wine, cheese, and charcuterie. No? Okay maybe I’m the only one that sits in front of Netflix with plates of the stuff and a large glass of wine. Come along with me—right this way—and I’ll teach you my ways! Plus if you do have a few get-togethers this month, this is the perfect, simple solution to that party food fatigue.

I love this Dark Horse Big Red. With bold, dark fruit notes, a subtle oaky background, and mild tannins, it’s a real crowd pleaser. It’s just what you’re hoping for when you open a bottle of red wine. And it’s perfect for enjoying with food because it’s not super aggressive. It’s also a red blend which means that there are many new flavors that can come to the forefront depending on what you eat with it or what you’re looking for. Aka the Big Red Blend is amazing for a meat and cheese plate.

I’ve done plenty of wine and cheese pairings before, so I wanted to focus on the meats for this post. I know a few people have some anxiety when they walk up to the expansive meat counter. Hopefully this will get you a bit more in the zone and ready to speak the lingo! And to prove that I’m not completely full of shit, I asked my parents to comment on what they tasted with this huge spread.

First up: the wine itself. We all loved this wine, and my dad described it as slightly oaky with a dry finish, and something he can’t place in the flavor.

Next: The meats!

Sopressata a soft, Italian pressed and cured meat made of pork products specific to regions of Italy. The particular variety purchased for this plate was hot and from San Francisco. And it uses red wine in the spice mix—perfect! My parents described it as spicy and good with the wine. I think spice (in this case hot peppers and paprika) is always a good contrast and complement with red wine. While you always hear red wine being described as full-bodied, spice can kind of act to break up that flavor.

Italian Dry Salami a dry-cured Italian pork that is characterized by its hard texture. This one had more of a neutral flavor than the sopressata, so the red wine was more at the forefront of flavor. My parents and I liked the slightly herby flavor which brought out some green, herby notes in the wine.

La Quercia Speck Americano a fully aged prosciutto. Prosciutto is made from the leg of pig, dry aged, and sliced thinly. This prosciutto is from Iowa and was cold smoked. With the wine, it brings out some more of those smoky, oaky flavors. And my dad commented that it was fatty which felt good in the mouth with the wine.

Okay and because this is a charcuterie plate, we had to have some cheese and other goodies!

Black Pepper BellaVitano a hard cheese with a black pepper rind—salty and sweet. The black pepper complements the wine well. It’s also rather rich in umami flavor, so the wine tastes more savory than on its own.

El Greco Manchego Cheese a Spanish, strongly flavored cheese. It’s tangy and fatty and brings out some of those funkier, fermented notes in the wine. My dad and I loved this, but my mom was not a fan. So caution: only for the funky cheese lover.

Spicy Red Peppers oiled spicy peppers lend similar spice levels to the sopressata with the addition of a sour note. These cut through the richness of the red wine.

Green Olives brined olives are mostly salty and sour with a bit of umami flavor. The predominant sour note works similarly to the red peppers in that they act to cut through the red wine richness.

Mini Rosemary and Olive Oil Toasts buttery, garlicky, herby. They soak up some of the wine which directly lends some of those herby and garlicky notes to the wine’s flavor.

Black Pepper Water Crackers mostly let the wine sing with a hint of black pepper to bring out some sharp black pepper notes in the wine.

Wow that was a marathon! I bet you’re ready for a glass of wine now. I know I am! Happy New Year you guys!



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