Saturday marks the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby! The Mint Juleps will be flowing, glorious hats and seersucker suits will be flaunted and gazillions will be spent on a race that is very hard to bet on (20 horses). My favorite part is the horses going into the starting gate ready to bolt. I love the Derby! Perhaps it is because we grew up going to my grandparents horse farm all the time as kids. We spent every Spring, Summer, Fall and even went occasionally during the Winter months to Buck Ridge farm. Growing up surrounded by horses, farmland and a horse-loving dad and grandfather make it easy to love the Derby. Always a historical event, always fun!
Every Derby year we prepare our mint simple syrup and our bourbon and get those Juleps read to go. We read about the horses, the jockeys, the trainers, in particular which horse(s) Bob Baffert trains. Then we pick our horses, settle down with our frosted julep cups and get ready for the announcer to yell, “They’re off!”.
I love the tradition of the Derby, especially the Mint Juleps, but if you happen to not be a Bourbon fan there are other options– options are always good, especially for guests who are not bourbon fans. Whether it is a BBQ or a Derby watching party, not everyone may share your tastes. I have written about 14 Hands Derby Red blend before and honestly folks, it keeps getting better. Not only does it have a great Derby inspired label, the wine does not disappoint. A blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Barbera. Your nose first catches blackberries and plum followed by chocolate and black pepper on the palate. A very smooth and easy red to sip on. Paired perfectly with BBQ or grilled veggies. A crowd pleaser, for sure.
A tad too hot out for you to enjoy glass of red wine? That’s OK, 14 Hands has a great Rose.
I am a bit of a Rose snob and tend to only drink Rose from Provence. However, that may be changing. 14 Hands Rose is from the Columbia Valley (love this region) and made up of Syrah and Grenache. I opened this up on the deck with a friend and my husband. All of us were surprised by the taste and the characteristics. Not super dry like I tend to like, but not sweet either which I tend to dislike. Think rhubarb, which is a weird huge looking plant, tart when used to make rhubarb pie. The tartness in 14 Hands Rose is subtle and the hints of dried strawberry takes over the palate. Very crisp and refreshing and perfect for a hot summer evening!
So if Mint Juleps aren’t your thing, crack open a bottle of the 14 Hands Derby Red Blend or the 14 Hands Rose and enjoy the historical Kentucky Derby race this weekend. And remember, this is only the first leg of the Triple Crown, so more to come!
Wine can be found online or at local stores. $12
The above photos are of Crack Ruler (my fathers horse).