If you're anything like me, there's rarely a time when you open a nice bottle of red and don't finish it. Before your first impression of me is that I'm an alcoholic, let me clarify this by saying, I usually share with someone. Let me also take a minute to say, more power to you if you finish a bottle on your own. However, I'm getting old and hangovers last multiple days so it's a shared bottle for me. Now that that's cleared up, let's get back to talking about wine.
When given the choice, I gravitate toward a full-bodied red. More specifically for my winos, Malbec. There's something so satisfying about twisting off the cork, hearing the glug, glug, glug as it splashes into the wine glass and leaning down to you put your nose into your glass for a deep in-hale. Finally, it's the moment of truth, the first sip. Tip your glass back, close your eyes and taste the rich dark fruit and smoky finish as the Malbec courses through your entire body and transports you to the fertile valleys of Argentina. If you're not drinking Malbec made in Argentina, you're doing it wrong.
Now that I've sufficiently made your mouth water and have nearly convinced myself I should pour a glass before noon, let's get on to the pairings.
I’ve read the advice from the experts, fully believing and knowing they know what they’re talking about. However, when it comes down to it, I don’t and most likely will never have the sophisticated taste of a Sommelier.
I've had a glass of red with lean red meats cheese and chocolate. It's delicious, the wine pairing experts are correct. However, I've also paired red wine with asparagus, brussels sprouts and kale, which I've read should "never be paired with red wine." I've done pairings the right way and the wrong way, so before I move to my favorite pairing, I want to make it abundantly clear if I haven't done so already, I'm not an expert.
Popcorn. My perfect pairing with red wine is popcorn. The first time I had red wine with popcorn was nearly ten years ago with my sister, and I haven’t looked back since. So, everyone who thought Olivia Pope started that, you're wrong. It was my sister. At least, that’s the story I’m going with until someone proves me wrong. Which most likely won’t take long. Anyway, yes, popcorn with red wine is my ideal pairing and the perfect meal replacer if you’re not feeling up to cooking which, most of the time, I’m not.
I pop my popcorn over the stove in a pan using grape seed olive oil and red popcorn kernels (the popcorn isn't actually red). It’s truly a personal victory when I can pop all the kernels and have no un-popped seeds in the bottom of the bowl. After adding a generous amount of sea salt, I have the perfect bowl.
Right now, amidst the general holiday season stress and the added craziness of COVID-19, I find I cherish the quiet, peaceful moments even more. I love the nights when I can pop a bowl of popcorn, open a bottle of Malbec and cozy up on the couch to watch a movie. Currently, there’s the added bonus of turning off all the lights aside from the ones on my Christmas tree that give off an extra warm and peaceful glow. Did anyone else just take a deep breath and imagine the peacefulness? Same.
If you only retain one thing from my babbling let it be this. During these next few months with all the cooking, cleaning and general holiday stress, take time to kick back with a salty bowl of popcorn, a generous pour of Malbec and a cozy space…And seriously, leave the bottle.