Wine of the Week: National Drink Red Wine Day

WASHINGTON — It’s not even Labor Day, and already it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the red wine. Why so soon? Well, according to the website, Aug. 28 is National Red Wine Day. Not that people need an excuse to drink red wine during the summer, mind you, but here it is.

So, who do we have to thank for National Red Wine Day? Evidently, wine writer and aficionado Jace Shoemaker-Galloway. It’s anyone’s guess as to why this date was selected, but does it really matter? After all, there are plenty of good reasons to pop the cork out of — or twist a screw cap off — a bottle of good juice on a regular basis, including health benefits and meal enhancement to name just a few.

Just remember to enjoy a nice glass of red wine. That does not mean that it has to be an expensive bottle or even an older bottle. As a matter of fact, over 90 percent of red wine is meant to be consumed within a year of its purchase. National Red Wine Day is all about enjoying the small luxury of having a glass of wine, preferably with family and friends, in a responsible fashion.

And if wine is not your thing, fear not. National Drink A Beer Day on Sept. 28 is just around the corner. But until then, here are a few recommendations for a day devoted to raising a glass of red wine.

If you want to start off with a lighter-styled red wine, then pinot moir is an excellent choice. I think most pinot noirs with delicate fruit really shine on their own. The 2016 Josh Cellars Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California displays aromas of raspberry and bright cherry on the nose. Pretty flavors of strawberry, cherry and red plum float across the tongue with grace and charm. Subtle notes of vanilla play out on the earthy finish where soft-grained tannins provide a smooth landing. It is a perfect with cedar plank salmon. $16

Moving one notch up the silk road on the tongue, the 2016 Skyfall Vineyard Merlot from the Columbia Valley of Washington State delivers a lot of finesse for the money. It is a wonderfully inviting wine featuring flavors of black cherry, dark plum and ripe boysenberry built on a well-balanced frame. Delightful notes of vanilla and cocoa powder shine on the stylish finish, where the firm tannins and nice acidity form a solid backbone, providing great structure. Perfect with dry-rubbed steak. $16

For something with a little age on it already when you open it, try the 2014 Cune Viña Real Crianza from Rioja. Made from 100 percent Tempranillo, this wine is aged one year in a combination of American and French oak barrels and an additional year in the bottle before it is released from the winery. Brilliant cherry color, and an approachable nose of sweet red fruit and dried herbs. It is medium-bodied, with delightful flavors of red cherry, red currant and tobacco. Subtle spice notes and vanilla appear on the palate medium-length finish. $16

Big does not always mean expensive. The 2014 Clos de los Siete from Argentina is a behemoth. The winery was founded by legendary wine consultant Michel Rolland along with a group of six Bordelaise partners. Using a combination of malbec, merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon, Rolland crafts a wine that is massive and seductive at the same time. Scents of blackberries, dark cherries and black pepper fill the bouquet as flavors of blackberry, black olives and cassis liqueur coat the palate in waves of complexity. The superbly balanced finish highlights dark mocha notes that glide down the tongue like silk. Pair it with gourmet burgers topped with Gruyere. $20

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