We all love a holiday—a chance to take time off, gather with friends and family, and even better, have an excuse to open something special to toast with. Having just celebrated a very monumental holiday, in memoriam of those who gave up their lives so that we all might enjoy our freedoms and life as we know it, it was also the start to summer celebrations.
Everyone is well aware of most federal and national holidays like (brand new) Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc., but are you keeping up with the cheer-full holidays, better known as Wine Holidays? “What,” you say?! “There are holidays to celebrate wine?!” Yes, now you have (another) reason to drink wine, and hopefully expand your palate.
If you were not already following wine holidays until now, this serves to enlighten you. Unfortunately, National Drink Wine Day has passed. That occurred on May 25th, but there is still time to catch up and toast ahead! June has several wine holidays to enjoy:
June 13th is Rosé All day! Rosé is an incredibly versatile style and can be found in so many different regions, you will not have a problem if you invited a dozen of your favorite wine lovers over for a Rosé party on this momentous occasion! If you have yet to experience Rosé from the region in Tavel, in southern France, this is a great excuse to do so. In Tavel, the primary focus is to make good Rosé. Some other unique areas you might consider are Navarra, Spain, with their versatile Rosado (perfect with barbecue and grilled chicken). You might start with a toast of sparkling Rosé from Cremant de Alsace. It’s made solely from Pinot Noir, and the strawberry, apple, buttery marzipan notes make it extremely versatile with food, or by itself to toast the holiday!
June 20th is Drink Chenin Blanc Day! Chenin Blancs are often by-passed and under rated. This is one of the most food-friendly wines, so if you have not explored them, now is your chance! Try a Vouvray, which can be found dry, semi-dry and sweet. Venture over to the South African Stellenbosch region, where it is often called Steen, and you will find a generous amount of minerality and slate characters. Chenin Blanc is also made into a sweet wine where the grapes have been allowed to hang on the vine and are harvested late, with noble rot set in; Quarts de Chaume, a famous sweet wine in the region offers orange marmalade and ginger notes.
June 21st is a great time to try one of the oldest wine grapes in Italy. Lambrusco Day! Okay, you are probably thinking, “Ick, isn’t that the cheap, sweet wine that tastes like cherry cola?” No, not at all! Lambrusco got a bad wrap in the 70s, when it was thought that Americans wanted sweet, fruity wines. Lambrusco still has a way to go before its reputation is respected, but now is the time to be an ambassador for Lambrusco, and set your friends straight! The best Lambruscos are dry (secco) and barely sweet (semi-secco), and are almost always made in a semi-sparkling, frizzante, style. They make for wonderful food pairing and celebratory bubbles!
Now that your palate is excited about wine holidays, you can follow along with the fun. The fun continues through the rest of the year. Look on to July with a whole week devoted to the Prosecco region! Of course, you are familiar with the famous bubbles of this region, in which there are many styles to explore, but it also includes great Rosés and still wines.
No one said you really must have an excuse to enjoy good wines, but perhaps this will encourage you to try out new grapes and/or styles and share the fun with friends!
Happy wine holiday and happy exploring! Cheers!!