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10 Reasons to Celebrate National Drink Wine Day

criterion wine and cheese

Devon Broglie is the Master Sommelier for Whole Foods Market and is one of only 236 Master Sommeliers in the world. He’s spent thousands of hours studying, tasting and curating wine and is a veritable globe-trotting expert. Whole Foods Market is the only national grocer with a Master Sommelier on staff to taste and select wine for the department.

National Drink Wine Day is Saturday, February 18, and — unsurprisingly — I’m excited to open a bottle or two over dinner with friends. We want you to be able to do the same, so for one day only, all our Criterion Cellars wines are 20% off*. These wines are some of my favorites in the entire department — here’s why they’re special:

In the years leading up to my becoming a Master Sommelier in 2011 and since, I’ve tasted tens of thousands of wines. These tastings honed my ability to recognize the unique characteristics of different grapes and regions, and they also sparked an idea — a concept for a new and different line of wines called Criterion®. The series offers textbook examples of sought-after varietals from around the world and provides a reference point — an educational guide really — for novices and experts alike. Criterion wines say, “This is what a sauvignon blanc from the Dry Creek Valley in California should taste like,” or “This is what a malbec from Mendoza in Argentina should taste like.” There are now ten Criterion wines, and as far as I am concerned each one totally nails it.

If you’re into Cabernet, grab the Criterion Coonawarra Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon — it’s the bottle I’ll be opening first. It is a perfect example of Cabernet from the other side of the world, and it’s great with a filet, T-bone steak or dark chocolate. Wine Enthusiast magazine agrees — it recently got an incredible rating — 90 points.  

But no matter your preference (or dinner plans) we’ve got nine more worthy ways for you to celebrate. Read on for tasting notes and a handy pairing guide.

(*Valid February 18, 2017. While supplies last. No rain checks. Sale prices not legally available in all states.)

Farm to glass: Pick up a bottle tonight knowing that Devon and wine buyer Doug Bell searched the world to find, taste and vet it … just for you.

Criterion Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc | Fresh, crisp, full-bodied. Tropical, bright citrus aromas. Snappy grapefruit, green apple and mineral flavors. Classic Sonoma. Great with with Caesar salad, goat cheese, seafood of any kind.

Criterion Central Otago Pinot Noir | Elegant, balanced. Violet, berry and herbal aromas move to textured flavors of black cherry and spice. A quintessential New Zealand pinot noir. Pair with lobster, beef loin, seared scallops — a food-loving wine.

Criterion Chianti Classico | Dry, complex. Lovely balance between red fruit and cherry notes; spice and a mineral backbone in the finish. Serve with firm cheeses, grilled steaks, roasted tomato-based sauces.

Criterion Mendoza Malbec Reserva | From Argentina’s Uco Valley in the Andes. Generous flavors of berry, rich warm spice aromas. Pairs beautifully with braised beef short ribs and a side of roasted veggies.

Criterion Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave | An ideal example of what made Italy’s Friuli region famous. Fresh, juicy, crisp. Peach, almond and floral aromas. Apple, stone fruit and nectar flavors. Perfect with seafood, light pasta or risotto.

Criterion Rioja Reserva | From Spain’s renowned Rioja region. Complex, balanced, ripe. Baking spice and vanilla aromas. Black cherry, dusty earth and spicy oak flavors. Awesome with paella or hard cheeses.

Criterion Carménère Reserva | From Chile’s Valle de Colchagua. Full-bodied, rich, spicy. Blackberry, nutmeg aromas. Plum and basil flavors. Serve with steak, herb-roasted lamb and vegetable lasagna.

Criterion Chablis | Green apple and lemon fruit with limestone minerality and a steely finish.  Easy pairing with raw oysters, cooked shrimp, or anything fresh and light.

Criterion Barolo | From the beautiful, rolling hills of Piemonte, Italy.  Robust with dried cherries and rose petals, tobacco and incredible structure.  Osso buco, grilled lamb, or anything fire roasted can’t miss.

Editor's note: We are prohibited by law from selling alcohol in some of our stores. Please see our list of stores that do sell alcohol or our list of stores that do not sell alcohol.

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alex says …

Dear Devon : Do you have another Red Wine from the New World to show? Best Regards , Alex

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ALEX - Our exact wine vendors will differ between stores. Check with a wine team member at your local store for their suggestion based on the vendors they carry, they will be happy to help!

Randall Wadsworth says …

I had the great good fortune to visit Mendoza, Argentina in February 2015. All the red grape varietals in the Uco Valley are wonderful particularly the Cabernet and Syrah. Malbec and the various red blends were full bodied with jammy fruit. Apparently pests are minimal hence there is a more limited pesticide application:) I also visited Paso Robles not too many years ago and fell in love with the town and the wines. Red Zinfandel is one of my favorite grapes due to its fruit forward characteristics. The wineries there grow many European varietals like Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Albariño, Pinot Grigio, etc. Apparently the mineral soil quality imparts unique changes to the grapes that is highly appealing. Nadeau Winery is doing dry farming which I was surprised and delighted to find. The California drought is making this more problematic for their operation:(

joe zanfardino says …

Are you ever going to gain the ability to sell the Hearst Ranch Wines which you offer in your West Coast Stores????

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JOE - If you're curious about your local store, check with them directly to see if they can look in to ordering this!