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  • Loralyn Mears, PhD

Wine Down and Chill like Sarah Connor

This article was originally published on November 1, 2019 at

Ready to wine down and chill? I am! It’s been a couple of stressful weeks with my furbaby and today is her big day for surgery. Fingers crossed…

If you’re in the mood to wine down and chill, then return here each Friday to find food, movie, wine and music recommendations that are paired in a theme. Read on for an easy, no-recipe-required fabulous dinner paired with an affordable wine, some music, and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill. And if you’re on Instagram (who isn’t?!) then find me there at, no surprise, “winedownandchill.”

My name is Sarah Connor, I’ve never seen one like you before

If the feature photo of super badass Linda Hamilton, aka Sarah Connor, didn’t trigger the association with “I’ll be back,” then you’re clearly not a fan of James Cameron’s Terminator franchise. To be fair, the succession of crappy sequels have chased fans away and diluted the value of the brand since it first debuted in 1984. However, $1.2 billion in revenues later, it’s still going. Unlike the 1997 two-year marriage between Hamilton and Cameron. In her words:

“Let’s get this shit right this time. I don’t know why I’m in this world where the only thing that is valued is perpetual youth.”

And she exited Hollywood for New Orleans to live with her chihuahua, Noodles. Insert slow-clapping emoji.

At this pace, it will soon be rivaling the Star Wars franchise for the longest-running series of prequels and sequels. Hamilton is no stranger to playing strong characters. And, by all accounts, with her return to the franchise for Terminator: Dark Fate, critics agree that she singlehandedly “steals the show” and everyone is “acting in her movie.” Do not mess with Sarah Connor. I repeat, do not mess with her.

I need your clothes, your boots … and your wine

It almost didn’t matter which varietal it was. We were pretty much pre-destined to go with whichever wine the Sugar Creek Winery produced with the grapes grown alongside the Terminator River. And it just so happens that my father loves Malbec wines. And Arnold movies. Indeed, we’ve got a little dark fate of our own going on here with today’s wine down and chill adult beverage selection.

This wine is not easy to find. But you can order the Sugar Creek Winery Terminator River 2016 Malbec online for a reasonable $24 and have it shipped to your home for a wine down and chill night. Although Argentina is recognized as the undisputed leader of Malbecs, this Chilean option does not disappoint.

Make it a Malbec

After harvesting the Malbec grapes from the Inferno Canyon in the Maipo Valley Region of Patagonia, Chile, this single varietal wine is fermented in French Oak for 12 months. Aging in oak helps balance out the acidity, reduce the bite of the tannins and allow the fruit to come forward. Malbec wines are characterized by their big, dark fruit flavors that are similar to those of Cabernet Sauvignon. So, given that I am my father’s daughter and how much I like Cab Sauv, is it any surprise that I like Malbecs, too?

Blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, and oak all come through. But it seems lighter. There’s less of a strong finish with Malbecs. So it pairs well with off-flavor items like stinky cheeses and mushrooms.

He’ll live

Or will he? It’s unclear if the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will survive this go ‘round of post-apocalyptic tyranny. Given the ominous movie title, “Dark Fate,” his chances don’t sound very good. We’ll have to wait and see.

Until then, we’re going to cook up something hot and spicy. To be transparent, I was stumped for a menu suggestion for today’s wine down and chill. I mean, what do you cook with a theme like Terminator? Even related sub-themes like badass, dark fate and Sarah Connor don’t lend much to the imagination. That said, this meal will not disappoint! Sure, it’s a few more than our normal five ingredients but totally worth it.

This badass cauliflower recipe comes from my little sister. And I’ll be joining my middle sister at the movies soon enough to watch Dark Fate. See? This wine down and chill column is somehow a total family affair today.

Twelve ingredients and five steps

One, dice up a head of cauliflower. Coat it in fajita seasoning and a pretty decent amount of cumin.

Two, slice up two red peppers. A jalapeño or two is optional but strongly recommended. Toss with the cauliflower.

Three, slice up a small red onion. Toss chopped garlic plus sea salt with the cauliflower and peppers. Spread the mixture on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 min at 425°F.

Four, drain a can of black beans and add to the veggie mix after it’s been roasted. See? We’re bringing in the dark bit of Dark Fate. 😉

Five, toss everything with lime juice, cilantro and hot sauce. Fire it up! If you like, add some Mexican Cotija cheese crumbles. If that requires too much effort to find, go with feta. Same, same’ish.

Pour yourself a glass to wine down and chill.

Combine cauliflower, red bell pepper, red onion, olive oil, garlic, fajitas seasoning, cumin, and salt in a large bowl; stir until coated. Spread vegetable mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

Hasta la vista, baby!

He’s back like he always said he would be. Even more importantly, she’s back! And she looks fabulous. I guess it’s amazing what you can do, even at 63, if you give up carbs (No wine?! Yikes!) for one year and work out hours and hours every day. So it’s no wonder that she’s every bit the badass that she was when we first saw her in the role 35 years ago.

There’s not much of the story here to give away with Terminator: Dark Fate. Robots are in control. The Terminator is back. So is Sarah Connor. And they reunite for an epic, glorious battle to save the planet. Count. Me. In!

Finally. It’s time. Now you can wine down and chill.

Cheers! I’ll be back … next week! Same time. Same place.

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