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Chili wines

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It's National Chili Day! It doesn't matter whether you prefer mild chili, Mexican-style chili or some good old Texas 3-alarm chili; chili and cold weather just go together. Despite what some believe, chili did not come from Mexico. Oh sure, the recipe has been influenced by Mexican culture, but it also has input from Spanish and Native American cultures. Most historians think that chili originated in Texas where all of these cultures came together.

The first documented recipe for chili con carne dates way back to September 2, 1519. According to one legend, Spanish priests called the first chili "the soup of the devil" because they believed that chili peppers were an aphrodisiac. Hey, they may well be.

There's only one way to make National Chili Day better and that's to extend it all the way through the weekend. So I now proclaim this National Chili Weekend!

But wait! You can't enjoy great chili without something great to wash it down with. And of course that has to be wine. What wines go with chili? Well, I'm about to tell you.

Zinfandel seems to go well with chili and a few I like are the 2010 Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma, 2009 Ridge "East Bench" Zinfandel and the 2009 Rancho Zabaco "Heritage" Zinfandel. In fact, I saw a couple of bottles of these Zins the other day at Totalwine in Charlotte. For a real treat, try a 2009 Bogle Vineyards Phantom with your chili. It's a great blend and pairs well with most any kind of chili. Check out Wine Maestro and see if they a few bottles left.

All you need to do now is mix up a batch of great chili and start your celebration. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and find out that chili peppers really are an aphrodisiac.

TheWineaux@juno.com

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