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Wine Suggestions for Shark Week

I've always been a person who's into holidays. Give me a reason to celebrate, and I'm on board for it. That's why our next panel tasting will take place on Cabernet Day. Life is too short not to celebrate every chance we get, and I find that people who take the occasion to celebrate are generally happier people.

I'm a fan of all holidays, and growing up, my mom would decorate my house for literally every holiday. We'd not only have a Christmas tree, but we'd also have decorations for Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, birthdays, and the 4th of July. I haven't adopted my mom's flair for decorating, but I do try to celebrate all the holidays I can, as appropriately as I can. This usually means drinking an appropriate beverage, which for me, means finding a wine to match the holiday. 

There are some holidays that have perfect pairings when it comes to wine, i.e., New Year's and Champagne. However, other holidays offer a little more flexibility. Generally, I advocate for drinking what will make you the most happy while remaining true to the spirit of the holiday. For example, I may waver between red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, but I do try to drink American wines on American holidays like Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July. After all, if drinking an appropriate beverage tempers your enjoyment, it's not really in the holiday spirit, is it?

For that reason, I generally don't offer holiday wine suggestions, but this week, I've been struck by the novel idea of drinking South African wines during Shark Week. Shark Week is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and I'm not sure why I hadn't though of this idea before this year. Anyways, in preparation for "Air Jaws Apocalypse" (filmed off the coast of Seal Island, in False Bay, South Africa), I thought it best to drink False Bay Chardonnay. This is a terrific, unoaked Chardonnay, with notes of peach and citrus. I enjoyed this tremendously on Sunday night, as I went the extra mile, and prepared a meal of swordfish, with a lemon caper butter sauce, to kick-off Shark Week. Talk about perfect pairings. The swordfish and Chardonnay were exceptional compliments for each other, and I even managed to match the wine's place of origin to the geography of the TV show.

Even though the watchers of Shark Week elected to have the 50-ft reconstructed mechanical Megalodon shark "ChompDown" on a keg of beer, as opposed to a barrel of wine, I've continued to enjoy wine with my Shark Week watching. On Monday night, I enjoyed a fantastic South African red, from Paarl called Black Pearl. A 2008 blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Shiraz, with silky dark fruit flavors, it was a perfect accompaniment to a chicken stir-fry with peanut sauce. It didn't hurt my Shark Week watching experience either.

Finally, recognizing that Great Whites aren't confined to South Africa, I opened a 2008 Edward Sellars Syrah from Paso Robles last evening. It was delicious, with notes of spice, and rich flavors of cassis and blackberry. and a While Paso Robles isn't too close to the ocean, it's not too far either, and like I said, if you can't enjoy your beverage, it's not quite in the holiday spirit, is it? Happy Shark Week, everyone!

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