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Cheers to February Fiestas

If you haven’t had your fill of house parties and dinners between Halloween and New Year’s Eve, take heart: February is the new December when it comes to entertaining at home. Although Groundhog Day may not exactly be a reason to celebrate—unless we get the good news that spring is on the way—there are plenty of other reasons to cook up a storm, fill the fridge with wine, and invite over your best amigos.

Super Bowl XLVII, February 3

Yes, chicken wings, pizza, nachos, and meaty chilis rule the night, but you should take the time to make your own, and don’t forget about wine. Finger foods or small portions are best whether you are sitting or standing in front of the large-screen TV, and stemless glasses are less likely to get knocked over when excited fans jump off the couch. If you’re going with pizza, show some Latina pride and spice it up with chorizo (try these Mini Kale Chimichurri and Chorizo pizzas), jalapeños, or piquillo peppers. If you’re a white wine drinker, fresh and oak-free work well with spicy foods, so look for fruit forward, mineral-rich Albariño or Verdejo from the north of Spain. Strong reds work as well—bold Argentine Malbec or luscious Chilean Syrah are winners in our book.

Puerto Rico's Carnaval Ponceño, February 6 - 12

New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro aren’t the only pre-Lenten party places. Puerto Rico’s Carnaval Ponceño is a weeklong celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday, so you have a week to hold a masked party of your own. Start with some good Puerto Rican rum: Bacardi is always appreciated, but if you can get your hands on them, Don Q or Barrilito are also terrific. You’re going to want to load up on meat before Lent sets in, and with both pork and chicken, staples of Boriqua cuisine, we like the berry-rich notes of Pinot Noir. Look for affordable bottles from New Zealand.

Valentines Day, February 14

Avoid the restaurant hassle and cook a special but simple dinner for two at home. Whatever you are cooking, start off with something elegant like caviar or foie gras, and pop open a delicious but affordable bottle of South American Sparkling Wine or Spanish cava, which will pair well with either of these luxurious treats.

Presidents Day, February 18.

The 17th is a great day to plan a traditional Sunday dinner with your family and friends. Cook up a big pot of arroz con pollo or guisado de puerco con chile rojo. If pollo is on your menu, look for bottles of Chilean Sauvigon Blanc. Cold climate Chilean versions tend to be less grassy tasting than their cousins from elsewhere in the world. With a stronger pork dish, big-bodied reds are the way to go. Shiraz from Australia will hold up to the hearty flavors, or bring home some bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile or Argentina.

Academy Awards, February 24

Throw a star-studded Oscar party. Roll out a red carpet in your entryway, make the dress code “Vintage Black Tie,” and drink wine from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Emilio Estevez’ Casa Dumetz, or Drew Barrymore’s Barrymore Wines. And of course we can’t forget Spanish Tempranillo from Antonio Banderas’ winery, Anta Banderas, in Spain’s Ribera del Duero.

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