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Many of the “new” holidays you hear about these days are silly.  I am not looking for more reasons to have to buy cards and presents for people.  There are some new holidays, however, that are simply fabulous because they encourage people to have fun and enjoy life.  International Grenache Day is one of those holidays.  This past Friday 9/21 was the my first celebration of this fine excuse to drink a nice wine and I recommend this holiday to everyone!

Grenache is one of my favorite varietals, and even though it is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, it is not one that everyone comes across very often.  Grenache is called by different names in various parts of the world, and often has a very different style depending on where it is made.  Called Grenache in France (it is grown in the Rhone region of southern France), Garnacha in Spain and Cannanou in Italy, this lovey grape translates into rich, smooth and often elegant wines.

The Cass Grenache I opened Friday was a medium to light bodied and earthy wine.  It reminded me of my favorite style of Pinot Noir that often is described by those characteristics.  Not all Grenache is light and earthy though.  Last week in a restaurant I had the Orin Swift D66 Grenache from France and it was much richer, riper and full bodied.  Back to the Cass Grenache though – this wine is simply lovely and pairs very nicely with foods.

Fontina and Mary’s Gone Seed Crackers

While I made dinner, I enjoyed the Cass with some fontina cheese and crackers.  The rich and creamy cheese was lovely with the acidity in the wine.  YUM!

Baked Salmon with Roasted Butternut Squash

For dinner I made some roasted salmon with fresh herbs alongside butternut squash.  The wine really complemented the subtle flavors in both dishes.  I roast salmon quite often and really think the secret to cooking it perfectly is quite simple.  Start with the oven at 400 degrees, and as soon as you put the salmon in, lower the heat to 275.  In about 20 minutes, perfectly cooked, and more importantly, not overcooked salmon awaits.  I used different herbs every time from parsley to chives to thyme to oregano.  Fresh is best but dried herbs work too.  Rub the herbs into the salmon with salt and olive oil to prevent them from drying out or burning.

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