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  • Loralyn Mears, PhD

Wine Down with a Unicorn

This article was originally published April 5, 2019 at

Are you looking for a food & wine column that’s fun to read with wine suggestions that you can easily afford?

Then check back each Friday for our next edition of  “Wine Down for the Weekend”. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home no-need-for-a-recipe fabulous dinner paired with a bottle of affordable wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

Admittedly, selecting this week’s wine to pair with our Netflix viewing suggestion, Unicorn Store, took a bit of thought. And sampling, but I digress. Choosing a rainbow stir-fry as the accompanying meal was easy.

Although I must admit that I was tempted to simply bake rainbow icing and sprinkles cupcakes and call it done but my inner voice brought me back in line. After a bit of trial-and-error, it seemed that the best choice was the blended red wine, Melodramatic.


Since I was going for rainbows with their multitude of dazzling colors, I surmised that a blended wine would be the right pick for today’s wine down and chill pairing. The eye-catching name and label practically made Melodramatic Red Blend leap off the shelf and into my shopping basket. This California winery has “fun” built-into the brand with their cheeky “50% damsel – 50% villain” tagline.

Pour yourself a glass. Take a look at that intense ruby-red color. Now smell those cherry and blackberry notes which are characteristic of my favorite varietal, cabernet sauvignon, which is one of the major grapes within this blend. The taste should remind you of breakfast toast with a some caramelized vanilla and jam.

There’s a hint of pepper, too. I think that represents some of the magic pixie dust we’re all seeking. Plus, given our theme, the very fact that cabernet sauvignon grapes resulted from an accidental cross between the red, cabernet franc grape and the green, sauvignon blanc grape, makes it even more magically delicious!

Lightly oaked, this wine does not aim to be pretentious. Priced at just $12 a bottle, and rated a respectable 82 points by Wine Enthusiast, it’s the bargain blend you should add to the rotation. Blended wines have been around for centuries but purists have ruthlessly mocked the concept to the point that they nearly disappeared for a while. However, they are undergoing a pretty dramatic resurgence right now with sales of red wine blends up nearly 10% since last year.

Refill your glass, it’s almost time to wine down and chill.


Today’s theme of magic and the art of the possible calls for a meal that’s bright and showy. Given that today’s movie pick is about unicorns, it makes sense that we’re going to make a rainbow stir-fry today.

But, before we wine down and chill, we need to do a bit of chopping.

That is, only if you’re a masochist like me and my sisters. Buy one fresh pepper in every color available including a few of the hot and zesty variety. Add zucchini, yellow squash, bok-choy and purple cabbage then spend at least 20 minutes chopping everything up. Or just pick up a bag of veggies already chopped. Your choice. Good thing there is room on my counter for a glass of wine beside the cutting board!


One, to make your life simple, buy a bag of chopped, mixed veggies in the fresh market or frozen. Or go all in, masochist-style, and buy the brightest most vibrant colors of veggie that you can find.

Two, chop up some red onions into large chunks. Sauté in oil until they are caramelized. In non-chef terms, that means until they are translucent (nearly see-through) and a bit charred.

Three, boil up a bag of tricolor quinoa to get your meatless protein. Again, we’re thinking rainbows here, people. Brighten up! For the carnivores, fry up a steak or chicken breast then slice it up and add it in.

Four, pan-fry the mixed veggies and onions together with a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic right out of the jar.

Five, combine everything and toss with a bottle of Kikkoman’s stir-fry sauce.

Pour yourself a bit more wine if your glass is looking sad. Next, admire your handiwork. That rainbow stir-fry should be a cornucopia of colors inviting you to dive right in.


After binge-watching all ten episodes of The Santa Clarita Diet Season 3 last weekend, I’m looking forward to a one-and-done movie tonight. By the way, I loved it and can’t wait for Season 4. Tonight, however, Brie Larson, an Oscar-winning actress, makes her directorial debut on Netflix. She also stars in Unicorn Store together with the ageless and incomparable, Samuel L. Jackson. Although the reviews thus far have been a little tepid, it is Springtime and I think that we could all do with a little magic in our lives. This movie offers exactly that. Along the themes of never giving up, believing in yourself and practicing makes perfect, Unicorn Store will make you happy that you streamed it for your weekly wine down and chill session.


Cover Image Source Credit: Stefan Keller

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