Want to have a party? Just check the calendar for various food holidays and voila, instant party theme. Although I recommend avoiding National Brussels Spouts Day or National Gazpacho Day.
How do fruits, vegetables, nuts and wines come to have national days? The president has the authority to declare commemorative days by proclamation. The Senate, governors, mayors and other public officials may also declare national days.
Even individuals can submit their requests for such days to Chase’s Calendar of Events, whose editorial board will decide whether to publish the date in their calendar.
National Wine Days are a recent phenomenon in America, whose wine culture sputtered along from the late 18th century until the enactment of Prohibition in 1920, which effectively killed the wine industry in America.
The act was repealed in 1933, but the American wine industry did not begin to recover until the 1960s, emerging from dormancy by producing bulk wines carrying no varietal designation.
Likely the single most defining moment in American wine history occurred at the famous 1976 Paris blind tasting. Both an American red wine and an American white wine were selected best of their categories by a panel of French judges. The American wines won over some of the most prestigious French wines of the day.
This event caught the attention of the world, but more importantly it caught the attention of the American wine-drinking public, who started seeking out American varietal labeled wines like those from Robert Mondavi, Chateau Montelena and Stags Leap Wine Cellars.
In 2011, America became the largest wine consuming nation by volume. More Americans are drinking wine, but our per capita consumption is still relatively low in comparison to other countries.
Today, given the local availability of a plethora of good wines in all price ranges, National Wine Day would be an excellent excuse for hosting a party honoring American wines. Consider pouring some of the following:
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. $8 range in most grocery stores. Woodbridge was a value label for the late Robert Mondavi, whose winery is now owned by conglomerate Constellation Brands, the largest wine producer in the world.
Pleasant, approachable, easy-drinking, dry, fruit-laden wine, without the herbaceous and green pepper flavors and aromas I find off-putting in some sauvignon blancs. Chill this wine before serving with summer fare.
Chateau Montelena 2007 Chardonnay. $45 at Tyson Fine Wines and Things. Chateau Montelena’s 1973 chardonnay took first place in the white category in the 1976 Paris tasting. The winery, established in 1882, came into the hands of current owner Jim Barrett in 1972. Classic California fruit-forward chardonnay, with tropical flavors and a hint of vanillin on the palate. Good structure with a nice smooth finish.
Conn Creek 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet. $22.50 at the Wine Cellar on Quintard. Conn Creek, situated on the famous Silverado Trail in Napa, has been producing wine for 40 years. From 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, this wine is aged 22 months in 40 percent new French oak. Great, dark, berry fruit flavors with nuances of cedar. Tannins are integrated into a remarkably smooth delicious wine that performs more like the pricey wines from some of its neighboring vineyards.
Rombauer Zinfandel 2009. $30.25 at Tyson’s. The Rombauer family has been producing wine since 1980. Zinfandel is one of the earliest varietals planted in California. Much of California’s bulk red was made from zinfandel. This is a big, delicious wine packed with jammy flavors. Slight sweetness on the approach, smooth with a lingering finish.