Showing posts with label wines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wines. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Star Spangled Startini

2 ounces flavored vodka of your choice
2 ounces pomegranate liqueur
Gold sugar on rim (optional)
Star fruit for garnish
Pour vodka and pomegranate juice into cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with gold sugar and top with a splash of chilled champagne. Serve and enjoy! Yummy :).
*If you are feeling really patriotic you can use a touch of red and blue food coloring to make the star fruit red and the drink blue, or vice versa (it looks festive and won’t change the flavor!)
- See more at:
2 ounces flavored vodka of your choice

2 ounces pomegranate liqueur


Gold sugar on rim (optional)

Star fruit for garnish

Pour vodka and pomegranate juice into cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with gold sugar and top with a splash of chilled champagne. Serve and enjoy! Yummy :).

*If you are feeling really patriotic you can use a touch of red and blue food coloring

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Getting the Most from Your Small Private Wine Cellar

Getting the Most from Your Small Private Wine Cellar

So, you have decided that you really need a home wine cellar. You’ve built or bought the exact cellar you need, temperature and humidity controlled, and it looks just great. The big question now is, how should you stock it?

First of all, the only rule is that there are no rules. Your wine cellar, like your refrigerator or your pantry, should reflect your tastes and those of your immediate family. So if you really don’t drink much white wine, then don’t fill your cellar with it just because you should.

You need to decide what your objectives are. Do you want to have wine for everyday drinking, which are ready now, or is the cellar designed for laying down vintages which will come into their own in the years to come? Are you buying for drinking, or investing? Chances are, it’s going to be the former rather than the latter.READ MORE HERE! 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Wine Choices For A Summer Barbecue


Wines For Summer Barbecues
Summer is in full swing, school's out, and the temperatures are sizzling. It must be barbecue time! As you do your shopping for the weekend's big cookout, you should be adding wine to that supermarket cart.
Why wine, instead of the more familiar beer? Well of course, you should be offering your guests a choice, but don't shy away from serving wine, just because it maybe seems a bit upscale for a meal you're going to eat with your fingers.
One of the best barbecues I ever attended was in the south of France, right near the border with Italy. We sat in our host's garden, which was bursting with flowers, fruit and vegetables. In the distance, the blue Mediterranean shimmered. We feasted on spicy sausages and chicken, hot from the grill and flavored with rosemary picked from the mountains. Along with this came chunks of home made bread, a huge salad bursting with savory sweet tomatoes and basil, dressed with olive oil and lemon,all washed down with young red wine made by our host from his own grapes, young purple red and loaded with fruit flavors. For desert, peaches, picked warm from the garden wall, bursting with sweetness. Everything had been grown, raised and made on the farm, and that memory as constituted my ideal for a barbecue ever since.
The keynote is, whatever you cook, if it's going to be for special guests, rather than just a slung together treat for the kids, you should make sure that the ingredients are of the very best. Go to your farmers' market and buy squeaky fresh salad greens, flavorsome tomatoes, and a variety of home made bread – plus some interesting cheeses for nibbling. Find a Greek deli to offer you the best of olives, dripping and delicious, note to mention extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and fresh lemons for your salad dressing. Think of a country feast for your summer entertaining, and you won't go far wrong.
Barbecues offer robust flavors – burgers, steaks, ribs, oily fish like tuna, often accompanied by rich and spicy sauces. So, contrary to the advice often given for summertime wine drinking, you should turn your back on light florals and fizzes, and instead, wines for barbecues should be big strong reds and hugely oaky whites with a touch of sweetness. The king of summer outdoor drinking is Shiraz, and the queen is Chardonnay. In both cases, look for New World offerings – wines from Chile, Australia and of course, California are amongst the best.
For a particular treat with your barbecue this year, seek out Edna Valley Chardonnay; although not heavily oaked this is a delightfully complex wine with cinnamon notes which I love to pair with grilled chicken. For a very special, expensive treat, look no further than 1999 Noon Reserve Shiraz, with its berry and coffee notes, a massive wine, coming into its best around now, but with room to grow if you care to lay a few bottles down. This wine can stand up to anything, and works brilliantly well with a first class home made hamburger.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring Is Here, So Head For The Vineyards

It's spring, and all over the world, wine lovers are beginning to consider what this year's vintage will be like. Now is a wonderful time for a vineyard tour, to see the work of you favorite wine maker, and perhaps, to be one of the first to taste a new wine masterpiece. Maybe it's even the year to finally spread your wings, and go and visit one of the classic wine making regions of the world.
So how can you get the best out of your visit? Here are some useful tips.
Have a designated driver
You are going to be drinking alcohol, naturally, and even if you promise yourself to be careful, feeling inhibited is going to spoil the day. So bring along someone who will enjoy the outing, but who won't mind not drinking.
Arrive early
Popular wineries are simply that – popular. So they do get very busy. To get the best out of your visit, come at a time when you won't have the share the owner's attention with a big mob.
Do a little research beforehand
Even if you are not the world's greatest wine buff, you'll get much more out of your visit if you do a little homework first. That way you'll appreciate so much more what you are seeing, and you might even have some intelligent questions to ask, which owners always appreciate.
Bring a box
You know you're going to buy wine. More than you planned on in all probability. Of course, you may be buying some by the case – I hope you do. But for the odd choice bottle, it's handy to have a box so it doesn't rattle around loose in the car. And it will probably gather some friends along the way to join it on its journey.
Plan to visit a couple of places in a day
Organize your trip so that you can call on two or even more vineyards in a day. Pick contrasting ones if you can, say, a big place and a small family run enterprise.
Remember your manners
Speaking of small family run places, remember that many vineyards are actually someone's home, and act accordingly. Praise and appreciate what you see, including gardens, dogs and children!
Be restrained
You are there to taste, not have a party! If swill and spit facilities are on offer, then use them. Save the glugging down for the wine you carry back home. Remember to eat as well as sip; many vineyards have great restaurants in the area, or restaurants on the premises.

You can of course take a winery tour, and lots of people enjoy the cameraderie of such a trip. In particular, if you are on your own, it's a nice way to meet agreeable new friends. Personally, I like to go my own way, with just family and friends - it allows for more spontaneity.

Some World Class Wine Growing Areas To Visit

Nappa and Sonoma Valley, California
With world class wines and over 450 vineyards to choose from, it's not surprising that over four million people a year visit this area just to check out the wine. Can be crowded as a result, so seek out the smaller places, and the less popular times of year.
Wilamette Valley, Oregon
Cooler and even more laid back than its famous neighbor to the west, this is an area with over 200 vineyards, specializing in the cooler climate varietals such as Pinot Noir and Gewurtztraminer. A good place for al fresco eating, with lovely scenery.
Bordeaux, France
What can we say? Elegant, distinguished, venerable, dignified – a region for the serious wine lover to savor. The cellars of Bordeaux are home to some of the most thrilling wines ever made, and some of the world's greatest winemakers. Remember to inquire about shipping cases back home. And don't even start me on the food....!
Cape Town, South Africa
One of the most beautiful places in the world, and one of the oldest established wine making regions outside Europe. Sensational wines, lovely people, delicious food – a visit to these vineyards would be the vacation of a lifetime.
Tuscany, Italy
My personal favorite, Tuscany at any time of year has everything you could possibly want. Marvelous food, astonishing art, breathtaking scenery and beyond gorgeous vineyards to visit. Wine culture, and life, at its very best.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Simple Recipe For Mulled Wine

Brings back the memory of Christmas past, Warm, spicy and sweet,  flavors of this easy to make mulled wine.

The nights are drawing in. The air is getting crisp. Winter will soon be upon us, and as the cold weather begins, many of us start to think of  delicious spicy mulled wine.

My Childhood memory of mulled  wine is attending the Christmas service at church. The church had no electricity, so the service was lit by candles held by the congregation, who were swaddled up in scarves and hats. Young men who maybe never attended church from one year’s end to the next turned up with their girlfriends, old couples struggled out of their snowbound houses to make the service, the place was packed to the aisles.
The ancient church was filled with the smell of fresh cut pine branches, which were the only decorations against the whitewashed walls. And added to that smell, as the service progressed, was the mesmerizing perfume  of the mulled wine being warmed up at the rear of the church by the Womens' Auxiliary.
At the end of the service, the congregation gathered behind the age-worn pews to drink cups of mulled wine, the heady, sugary, spicy drink , which says "Christmas". And, of course, this was accompanied by mince pies - that traditional confection of buttery short crust pastry filled with a delectable mixture of dried fruits,nuts and spices. A gathering doesn’t get better than this!

Here is that you'll need for 2 servings :

2 cups Ocean Spray cran-raspberry juice
1 cup red wine
1 orange spice tea bag
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks

Place the cinnamon sticks, tea bag, brown sugar and cran-raspberry juice in a glass Pyrex measuring cup; heat in microwave for 2-3 minute or until hot. Remove from microwave and add the wine  let stand  for about a minute to steep. Pour into 2 cups Then just enjoy the warm, spicy  sweetness, cheers!  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sherry - Not Just for Weddings And Funerals

"legs" by Angelo DeSantis via Flickr
Sherry originated in Spain, and the name is an Anglicized corruption of Jerez, the town in Spain which is the center for the sherry industry. Made from white grapes, it is stored in oak casks and fermented, producing a wine of around 15 - 22% proof, with distinctive characteristics.
Spanish sherry must by law be made in the "Sherry triangle", and production of sherry is closely controlled, and is usually made from just one of three white grapes - Palomino, Pedro Ximinez or less frequently, Moscatel. Sherry from countries other than Spain is generally an inferior product, fit mainly for cooking, if that. It's advisable then to buy only Spanish sherry in order to understand this magical drink.
The character of sherry can range from bone dry, to rich and sweet. The dryer the sherry, the less time it will keep once opened. A dry sherry should really be drunk on the day it's opened, so if you can, buy half bottles, as sherry is a sipping,not a quaffing drink. Sweet sherries are longer lived, the sherry acting as a preservative, but all sherry is best drunk as soon as possible after it's opened - and you shouldn't need much encouragement.
Sherry is often served at weddings and funerals, as it seems to find favor even with people who "don't really drink". Despite its maiden aunt image,sherry is in fact a subtle and rather heady drink, and deserves to be rediscovered by today's serious food and drink lovers. (As a side note, look for whiskies which have been matured in old sherry casks, these are particularly splendid with great depth and character.)
Dry sherry should be drunk as an aperitif, and it is particularly delightful with Spanish food. In the summer, a Fino or Mazanilla can be drunk poured over ice, accompanied by olives and a tapas selection of Spanish cheese, dried meats and salamis, for a light and sophisticated meal. You can even serve sherry with soda and ice as a long summer drink, or in place of more customary white wine with a fish dish such as paella. This is far from conventional, but as with all food and wine combination ideas, someone once had to try it and see if it worked - and this one works for me!
The heavier, sweeter sherries such as Oloroso and Cream are delicious served with rich cake, and are traditionally offered in England with Christmas cake. A bowl of Californian walnuts in the shell, a decent cheese and a full bodied Cream sherry are an indulgent winter nibbling treat. Sweet sherry also works with other deserts, even some of the less exotic chocolate creations.
If you enjoy sherry, then invest in the correct copa glasses, a long tulip shape which enclosed the aromas and preserves the correct temperature - room temperature for all but dry sherry is my preference.
Perhaps my favorite way to drink sherry is to find a bone dry sherry, served very cold, and accompany it with a sweetish garlic chicken liver pate, crusty bread and some caramelized onions. Heaven!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Famous Myrtle Beach Peach Martini

From Chef Curry Martian At The Aspen Grill

Oh my! this drink is truly heaven,  Power up your pucker and get ready for this decadent peach martini. This cocktail is truly heavenly. It’s no wonder it’s a smashing hit at the Aspen Grill. The sparkling white wine in this drink lends a fizz on your tongue upon first sip. After a few more sips, the flavors melt on into your mouth creating a luscious, peachy warmth. For a refreshing and bubbly martini that reminds you of summer—this is it.

Serves 1

1/2 peach, peeled, sliced

Cracked ice

3 Tbs. Skyy vodka

1 Tbs. peach schanapps

2 Tbs.sparkling white wine use prosecco

Slice peach and mint, optional

In a cocktail shaker, mash or muddle 1/2 peach. Add ice, vodka and schnapps,stir..Strain into chilled martini glass; top of with wine.garnish with peach and mint serves 1.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Wines

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Summer’s here, and the time is right, for dancing in the streets.” Yes, and for drinking the best and most delicious wines with our outdoor summertime meals.
Recently on a visit to Mexico, I was in a town where they closed the main street in the evening. All the restaurants put their tables outside, we ate plates of delicious Yucatan delicacies, drank local young red wine, and danced to Latin beats all night. The perfect picture of summer fun.
So, what wines and foods should we be matching this summer? Summer food is bursting with flavor, with casual dining coming to the fore. Barbecue of course, salads, seafood, and fruit in profusion. And we are looking for cooling drinks as the sun gets hotter.
When we are entertaining on our patios, enjoying the cool of the evening after a hot, gritty day, we want to offer our guests drinks which will quench the thirst and match the food whether it’s a robust barbecue or a palate pleasing seafood salad.
If you’re looking to quench your thirst, then you don’t want to be taking too much alcohol on board. So look out for light whites with their generally lower alcohol content. For example, young Vino Verde wines from Portugal, with their sharp lemony, grassy flavors and light green color, pair beautifully with Greek style salads loaded with feta cheese, heritage tomatoes and olives.
Rose wine is a summertime favorite. The light pink color is refreshing just to look at in the glass, and the typical fruity flavor is popular with everyone. Match it with barbecue if you don’t want to drink the traditional beer. Add soda, ice, and mint to make a cool and delicious spritzer, and feel free to drink way into the summer evening with no ill effects in the morning. Often made from excellent grapes like syrah, roses should never be despised as simple quaffing material, they can offer intriguing fresh and complex fruit and flower flavors. Drink with seafood for the perfect partnership.
A classic wine based beach, barbecue and party drink from Spain is Sangria. Sangria was traditionally made from a local red wine, with sugar or honey, chopped fruit such as oranges, lemons, melon, pineapple, even mango and berries, with a slug of brandy added to cheer things up. It’s now more usually made with cheap (but please, not horrible) red wine, soda or Sprite, with sliced orange and lemon added for color and flavor. Feel free to throw in ice. Sangria is a wonderful party drink, it’s also pleasant with a picnic or a barbecue, but for a more serious meal, complement you food with one of the many exciting summer drinking wines.
For a lighter flavor, use white wine to make a Sangria blanca. For really hot weather, freeze the fruit you are going to use in your sangria, frozen green grapes look rather good in Sangria blanca. Look for a savignon blanc or a good blend from California for your white Sangria.
Don’t neglect red wine when planning your summer wine buying. For fun drinking, seek out Italian Lambrusco, with it slight sparkle. Once considered a simple cheerful quaffing wine, Lambruscos can now offer some excellent and relatively complex flavors.
The real wine lover wants exciting wine. When choosing reds, use summers more casual feel to explore a little off the beaten track. Choose wines made from blends, such as pinotage, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and seek out wines from countries which perhaps you haven’t yet considered – such as Argentina and Chile.
Of course there is one wine which stands head and shoulders above all other for summertime drinking. If it’s a summer wedding, a Christening, an anniversary, a birthday or just Thank God It’s The Weekend – it has to be champagne. Time to explore this most magnificent of drinks, which seems to have been created to be enjoyed in every location where we enjoy the delights of summer – from beach to ballroom.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring into wine

Sweet Wine Club
The weather is warming up, flowers begin to bloom, the birds are singing – spring is here, and thoughts begin to turn to lighter, fresher food. Salads, grilled food, fruit, take center stage, as do the bright and light wines which we love to drink with them. Pay attention to your food and wine pairings and your spring entertaining will be doubly enjoyable.
Now is the time for the full bodied reds of winter to make way for Chardonnays, Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blanc and the like. Spring wines should be light, fresh and perhaps with on the light side of the alcohol register.
Riesling, in its light, crisp and dry incarnations is a beautiful white wine to pair with fish and shellfish. In particular it matches ideally with smoked salmon. A glass of Riesling with smoked salmon pate and a salad is the perfect springtime lunch.
A light rose, especially those originating from Provence or Rioja pair delightfully with dishes from the Mediterranean such as Salad Nicoise and grilled tuna.
For a special occasion, seek out a light and sparkling Prosecco, a little like champagne but rounder, softer, and more affordable. Make Bellinis with the earliest soft fruit, and use it to toast the coming of spring.

When spring arrives most of us feel a longing for salads and vegetables, and it can be hard to find the right wine to pair with a dish which has the slight acidity of a citrus or vinegar based dressing. But a hearty salad, especially one using cheese or nuts, does call for wine. Try one of the lighter, fresher reds, such as a young Pinot Noir, which will call out the complex flavors of the meal.
Shellfish really comes into its own in spring, and scallops drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce will feature on many foodie tables as the weather warms up. White wine is called for of course, and Chardonnay is the go to wine for seafood for many of us. But try instead a flowery Sauvignon Blanc which will cope with complex flavors of the sauce, as well as the sweetness of seared scallops.
Lamb is a classic springtime favorite, and a first class leg of organic lamb roasted and served simply with new potatoes and steamed spring vegetables is a seasonal must. Lamb needs red wine, and Chianti is a light and fresh red which retains the gaiety of spring whilst being robust enough to stand up to lamb and even to the traditional mint sauce accompaniment.
Springtime is a time for enjoying fresh food and wine pairings as the world comes back to life. It’s a time for adventure, and for trying out new things. Let’s leave behind the winter chills and the comfort food, and step out with some bold new taste combinations

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wine Facts to Know

Senso - Sangiovese - Rubicone - IGT @
What is the ideal temperature for wine?
Don’t make the mistake of over-chilling your whites or serving your reds too warm. Every wine has its “sweet spot” temperature that brings out all of its finest qualities. Here is a simple infographic that will help you find the right temperatures for your favorite wine. 
Whites: chilled (45-55 degrees F) for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Reds: slightly cooler than room temperature (about 65 degrees); Younger fruity reds benefit from chilling.
Sparkling Wine: thoroughly chilled; refrigerate several hours or the night before serving.
Dessert Wine: room temperature.
Chilling tones down the sweetness of wine. If a red wine becomes too warm, it may lose some of its fruity flavor.
Should I ever use a decanter for my wines?
A decanter is used mainly to remove sediment from older red wines.  Also, it can be used to open up young red wines.  Otherwise, wine will “breathe” enough in your glass and decanting is not necessary.
Why should I swirl wine in my glass before I drink it?
By swirling your wine, oxygen is invited into the glass, which allows the aromas to escape.


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 France is the most influential wine-producing area in the world and has developed superfine natural still wines and the finest sparkling wine—champagne. The Bordeaux region furnishes red wine known as claret (or simply Bordeaux) and white wine, both dry except for Sauternes. The best-known Bordeaux wines are those of Médoc (red), classified and known by the vineyard names, as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux, and Château Latour; Graves (red or white); Sauternes (white), sweet, made from overripe grapes and including the noted Château d'Yquem; and St.-Emilion and Pomerol. Burgundy wines, red and white, are somewhat lighter in body than the Bordeaux. Connoisseurs prize the Burgundies of the Côte d'Or, especially the white Montrachet, and red Clos Vougeot and Romanée. The Chablis area produces fine, white Burgundy. Good wines are made in the Loire valley (Vouvray), the Rhône valley (Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), Alsace, and the Jura Mts. A great quantity of wine is produced in S France, some of it made into vermouth, distilled into brandy, or used for blending, and some of it of superior quality. great meal to go with this type of wine

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This popular and versatile grape thrives in many different climates so the wine is produced in many parts of the world. The wine can be soft and subtle or rich, buttery and full-bodied. In warmer regions, aromas can include ripe pears, melon and pineapple. It adapts well to oak, which adds scents of vanilla, butter, cedar, smoke and spice. However, the wine is sometimes criticized for having too much oak and alcohol. In cooler regions, and especially with unoaked styles, the wine is more lean and acidic and offers notes of green apples, lemon and lime. In Burgundy, chardonnay makes some of the world's finest whites, referred to by their regions, such as Meursault, Chablis and Pouilly-Fuissé. Chardonnay will pair well with rich dishes such as roast chicken, lobster in butter sauce, corn dishes, beef bourguignonne, breads, cheese, chicken and poultry, egg dishes, Asian dishes with black bean sauces, pork, seafood or recipes that have a cream base.

Check out these great wines!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Wine for Valentine's Day

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When choosing a wine for Valentine's Day, look for romantic wine names. Okay sure, this is a bit hokey and subject to the excesses of the marketing department, but a wine name that suggests romance shows that you

at least put a little thought into your selection; many of these wines are actually good, and will save you some coins for that Valentine's gift.
You can't go wrong with bubbles to start the evening on a festive note."Champagne" is probably the most romantic word in wine, but there are alternatives that fit the Valentine's mood. One is La Vie en Rose sparkling wine. from Domaine du Pas Saint Martin in France's Loire Valley, it is priced at a fraction of the cost of true champagne, yet provides atmosphere with its vibrant red color. Geek Alert: it's made using the "methode ancestrale", with a single fermentation rather then the induced second (bubbly) used to make champagne and most other sparkling wines. It is also made from an obscure grape known as grolleau noir, so wine lovers can quietly cross another variety off their century list when their dates aren't looking.
The Beaujolais cru called Saint Amour probably enjoys higher sales in February then in any other month. Look for the bottling from Georges Duboeuf'; it's pleasant, fruity and food-friendly. After all, you want the wine to facilitate, not dominate, your evening. White wine lovers should consider the Hugel pinot blanc called Cuvee les Amours from Alsace. Its richness makes it an ideal partner for winter seafood dishes.
Of course, in any Valentine's Day meal, dessert is the piece de resistance, the mood-setter for the rest of the evening, If your indulging with a rich chocolate dessert, I recommend two approaches with wine: First, port matches chocolate's intensity with power, A late-bottled vintage port or a good tawny, such as the Burmester Jockey Club, reserve will do nicely
The second approach to balance chocolate's richness with a lighter, fruitier wine. Three years ago, it was recommended brachetto and other sweet, frizzy, low-alcohol reds from northern Italy as ideal playmates for chocolate. Now this category seems poised to become the next fad, capitalizing on the meteoric rise in sales of moscato. Even Yellow Tail, the popular Australian label, last month introduced Sweet Red Roo (citing a 246 percent increase in U.S., sales of sweet wine last year).
Unless you're courting an animal-rights activist, you might not want to go with a critter wine for Valentine's Day, So I suggest sticking with a brachetto, such as the widely available Rose Regale from Banfi (or La Romantica from Vinchio-Vaglio Serra (This winery has a cheaper, lighter version called La Passione). The category is growing; Red Dream from Rinaldi, is made from the malvasia grape and is somewhat richer and sweeter than brachetto. Another popular malvasia is the delightful Fracchia Antichi Giochi Casorzo called Voulet ; if that doesn't sound particularly romantic, it does in Italian. Red Wine Store

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Red Wine and Dine with Pinot Noir

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Andre' Tchelistcheff, the famous California wine maker once said "God made Cabernet Sauvignon, but the devil made Pinot Noir"; what is Pinot Noir? It is a red wine whose characteristics can best be described as having a sensual, silky texture and a variety of seductive aromas which include: strawberry, cherry, black cherry, raspberry, violet, cinnamon, sassafras, mushrooms, truffles, rose petal, fresh earth and barnyard. (although not agreed upon by all, the barnyard aroma is meant to be a positive description which refers to fresh earth as found on a farm, but can also refer to bacterial spoilage called Brettanomyces).

Pinot Noir loves a cool climate where it can ripen slowly, but maintain vivacious acidity. Soils of chalk and limestone that drain well make the wines work hard to survive and thus produce great wine. It's health benefits are possible because, the grapes must work hard to protect themselves from disease and rotting in cool climate, and as a result produce more anti-oxidants; it has 4 times more resveratrol then other wines. This thin skinned berry is known as the "heartbreak grape" because of it's difficulty to grow and is unstable even when bottled. For this reason, you often pay more for Pinot Noir then most other red wines

In the 2004 movie Sideways, the character Miles, discusses with Maya, the virtues of Pinot Noir which he considers the antithesis of plummery Merlot that can lack acidity; because of this commercial boost it is now one of the fastest growing red wines in North America.
Among the oldest of grapes grown to make wine by ancient Romans, Pinot Noir now thrives in many regions such as Austria, and Germany (known as Spatburgunder in both regions), Niagara, Okanagan Valley, Italy (Pinot Hero), New Zealand, Switzerland (Dole) Oregon and California. Cooler regions such as Caneros, Russian River alley and Anderson Valley in the Sonoma Valley, Santa Maria alley (Santa Barbara Valley) and Monterey County. The most famous region is Burgundy, France and especially the Burgundian sub-region Cote d' Or (Slope of Gold), where famous names such as Domaine Romanee-Conti and Laflaive grace labels.

Pinot Noir pairs with a variety of beef, turkey, chicken, fish, pork dishes and more because it is flavorful but not heavy in alcohol, oak or tannin. The best matches include: prime ribs, roast beef, brisket, turkey, pork tenderloin, mushroom and truffle dishes. Also on the menu are: Cog au Vin (chicken cooked in red wine), Beef Bourguigonne (beef coked in red wine) grilled salmon, cassoulet, roasted and braised lamb, pheasant, duck, shark, swordfish and tuna with rosemary; eat, drink and be merry.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Basics of Wine Tasting

Published by The Wine Minstrel on September 29, 2012
Learning how to taste wines is a straightforward adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both wines and winemakers. Look, smell, taste – starting with your basic senses and expanding from there you will learn how to taste wines like the pros in no time! Keep in mind that you can smell thousands of unique scents, but your taste perception is limited to salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is the combination of smell and taste that allows you to discern flavor.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 15 minutes

Here’s How:

  1. Look:Check out the Color and Clarity.Pour a glass of wine into a suitable wine glass. Then take a good look at the wine. Tilt the glass away from you and check out the colorof the wine from the rim edges to the middle of the glass (it’s helpful to have a white background – either paper, napkin or a white tablecloth).What color is it? Look beyond red, white or blush. If it’s a red wineis the color maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red, brick or even brownish? If it’s awhite wine is it clear, pale yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown in appearance?
  2. Still Looking. Move on to the wine’s opacity. Is the wine watery or dark, translucent or opaque, dull or brilliant, cloudy or clear? Can you see sediment? Tilt your glass a bit, give it a little swirl – look again, is there sediment, bits of cork or any other floaters? An older red wine will often have more orange tinges on the edges of color than younger red wines. Older white wines are darker, than younger white wines when comparing the same varietal at different ages.
  3. Smell: Our sense of smell is critical in properly analyzing a glass of wine. To get a good impression of your wine’s aroma, swirl your glass for a solid 10-12 seconds (this helps vaporize some of the wine’s alcohol and release more of its natural aromas) and then take a quick whiff to gain a first impression.
  4. Still Smelling. Now stick your nose down into the glass and take a deep inhale through your nose. What are your second impressions? Do you smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus? A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics. Swirl the wine and let the aromas mix and mingle, and sniff again.
  5. Taste: Finally, take a taste. Start with a small sip and let it roll around your mouth. There are three stages of taste: the Attack phase, the Evolution phase and the Finish.
  6. The Attack Phase, is the initial impression that the wine makes on your palate. The Attack is comprised of four pieces of the wine puzzle: alcohol contenttannin levelsacidity and residual sugar. These four puzzle pieces display initial sensations on the palate. Ideally these components will be well-balanced one piece will not be more prominent than the others. These four pieces do not display a specific flavor per se, they meld together to offer impressions in intensity and complexity, soft or firm, light or heavy, crisp or creamy, sweet or dry, but not necessarily true flavors like fruit or spice.
  7. The Evolution Phase is next, also called the mid-palate or middle range phase, this is the wine’s actual taste on the palate. In this phase you are looking to discern the flavor profile of the wine. If it’s a red wine you may start noting fruit – berry, plum, prune or fig; perhaps some spice – pepper, clove, cinnamon, or maybe a woody flavor like oak, cedar, or a detectable smokiness. If you are in the Evolution Phase of a white wine you may taste apple, pear, tropical or citrus fruits, or the taste may be more floral in nature or consist of honey, butter, herbs or a bit of earthiness.
  8. The Finish is appropriately labeled as the final phase. The wine’s finish is how long the flavor impression lasts after it is swallowed. This is where the wine culminates, where the aftertaste comes into play. Did it last several seconds? Was it light-bodied (like the weight of water), medium-bodied (similar in weight to milk) or full-bodied (like the consistency of cream)? Can you taste the remnant of the wine on the back of your mouth and throat? Do you want another sip or was the wine too bitter at the end? What was your last flavor impression – fruit, butter, oak? Does the taste persist or is it short-lived?
  9. After you have taken the time to taste your wine, you might record some of your impressions. Did you like the wine overall? Was it sweet, sour or bitter? How was the wine’s acidity? Was it well balanced? Does it taste better with cheese, bread or a heavy meal? Will you buy it again? If so, jot the wine’s name, producer and vintage year down for future reference.
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