Thursday, June 30, 2005
Some Fun Wine Quotes
"Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it." --- Anonymous
"Compromises are for relationships, not wine." --- Sir Robert Scott Caywood
"Beer is made by men, wine by God!" --- Martin Luther
"Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures."--- Michael Broadbent
"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance." --- Benjamin Franklin
[at his first sip of champagne] "Come quickly! I am tasting stars!" --- Dom Perignon
"Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age." --- Pope John XXIII
"Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that 'age appears to be best in four things - old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.'" --- Francis Bacon, 1624
"I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food." --- W. C. Fields
"Wine is life." --- Petronius, Roman writer
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I was enjoying this the other day. Good stuff from Ravenswood. If you haven't tried their "County Series" I recommend you give it a try.
Flavor: Bright, flashy, ripe raspberry, blackberry and vanilla flavors are wrapped around a soft sweet fruit core highlighted by scents of cinnamon
Composition: 95% Zinfandel, 4% Carignane, 1% mixed blacks
Appellation: Sonoma County
Aging: 24 months in French oak, 35% new
Ageability: Up to 10 years
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Ruby Port Wine Sauce (v1)
What You Need:
1 Bottle Ruby red Port Wine (750ml)
1 Shallot (sliced)
1 cup chicken broth
1 clove garlic (minced)
What To Do
Add entire bottle of port wine, garlic, and shallot to pot
bring to a boil and reduce by 1/2
Then add chicken broth, return to boil and reduce by 1/2 again
I know it may seem like their is not a lot there, but a little goes a long way...It's great stuff!
1 or 2 spoonfuls for a nice fillet and heaven is on the way.
Monday, June 27, 2005
RED WINE BARBECUE SAUCE
This BBQ sauce is basted on the meat as it grills. It would also be great served alongside for extra dippin'.
What You Need:
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
What To Do:
Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add garlic, cumin, and chipotle chile powder; stir 1 minute.
Add red wine and simmer 2 minutes.
Stir in ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and liquid smoke; simmer 2 minutes longer.
Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Makes about 1 cup of BBQ goodness.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Grape Info - White Grape Varietals
CHARDONNAY (shar-don-NAY) Chardonnay that is being extensively planted throughout the world. In addition to being highly prized, Chardonnay is easy to grow and quite versatile. It's high in extract and, unless picked late, has good acid levels. Chardonnay is offered in the New World (outside western Europe) as big, creamy and juicy with copious amounts of oak. In Burgundy, it is more complex and long-lived, with less tropical and more mineral and apple flavors reflecting the cooler climate. The wide range of growing soils, as well as the winemaker's influence, produces a diverse spectrum of Chardonnay wines with varying characteristics.
SAUVIGNON BLANC (SOH-ven-yawn BLANC) Sauvignon Blanc wines have noticeable acidity and a grassy, herbaceous aroma and flavor. They are crisp, flavorful wines that generally should be drunk young.
GEWURZTRAMINER (guh-VURTZ-trah-mee-ner) A friendly and willing grape of the Muscat family with rich, pungent character and a nose like roses and a can of lychee nuts. It is good in Germany and Italy; great in Alsace where even when dry, it is so pungent it seems best with dessert. Good versions exist in the New World.
PINOT GRIS/PINOT GRIGIO (PEE-noh-GREE) This pleasant and tasty grape offers good drinkability in Italy, where it is commonly referred to as Pinot Grigio, Germany and the New World, but reaches its greatest heights in Alsace. It can taste of cream and apples and exists in well-made versions both sweet and dry.
RIESLING (REESe-ling) One of the world's greatest grapes, Riesling was treated with the respect it deserved 100 years ago when its finest bottlings routinely were bid for higher prices that Lafite or Latour. Grown throughout the world with mixed results, America offers decent versions and Australia gives the most credible of the New World offerings. Alsace offers the finest outside of Germany, with higher, more obtrusive alcohol levels. All of Germany's great wines (except a tiny portion) are from Riesling. This grape is rich and crisp when young, but can age for ten to fifty years and beyond, depending upon the winemaking style.
VIOGNIER (vee-ohn-YEA) A rare but cultish grape originating in Condrieu in the northern Rhone Valley. It is now being rapidly planted in California where it yields good examples showing pungent Gewurz-like notes and rich Chardonnay-like flavors.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Grape info - Red Grape Varietals
RED GRAPE VARIETALS
Labeling the wines according to their varietals helps the consumer know what to expect when they select a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel. For a U.S. wine label to bear the name of the variety, it must be made with no less that 75% of that grape variety in the total blend.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON (cab-er-NAY soh-veen-YOHN) A primary grape variety grown throughout the world also one of the most important of several grape varieties used in red wine blends such as Meritage. The flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape include Blackberry, black raspberry, black currant, bell pepper, eucalyptus, mint, black olive, green olive, earth, mushroom, chocolate, cocoa, molasses, smoke, plum, cedar, tobacco, licorice, graphite. Depending on the vintage, good Cabernet Sauvignon can age for decades.
MERLOT (merh-LOH) Is extensively grown throughout the world. High-quality Merlot wines are medium to dark red in color, rich, and fruity. The flavors of the Merlot grape are of black currant, cherry, and mint. Merlot wines are rounder and more supple than Cabernet Sauvignons and usually can be enjoyed much earlier.
PINOT NOIR (PEE-noh-NWAHR) Is a grape variety that is very difficult to grow in the United States. It is widely grown in the region of Burgundy, France. The flavors are Cherry, raspberry, strawberry, prune, plum, pomegranate, coffee, spice, coriander, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, earth, smoke, mushroom, "barnyard", caramel, allspice, violets, lavender, jasmine, cocoa, sausage, citrus.
ZINFANDEL (ZIN-fan-del) Is considered California's red-wine grape. The flavors are Blackberry, raspberry, jam, cherry, port, plum, chocolate, olive, bell pepper, cloves, black pepper, spice.
SANGIOVESE (SAN-gee-oh-VAY-SEE) Cherry, raspberry, red plum, blackberry, cinnamon, dried flowers, vanilla, pepper, truffle, smoke, chamomile, rose petal, tar, coffee, anise.
SYRAH (see-RAH) Blackberry, black currant (cassis), black raspberry, black plum, white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, anise, prune, oak, soy, chocolate, smoke, sausage, toast, violets
CABERNET FRANC (KA-behr-nay Frank) This grape is related to Cabernet Sauvignon, with more fruit-basket style fruit and less tannin. Less long-lived than its cousin, Cabernet Franc brings an herbal note ranging from slightly tobacco-flavored to pungently leafy. Used in Bordeaux, especially in Pomerol, but important in the Médoc as a blender. 100% Cabernet Franc wines are offered elsewhere in the world, notably in the Loire Valley where Chinon is the pinnacle.
GAMAY (GAH-may) Raspberry, strawberry, cinnamon, cloves, rose petal, jasmine, violets, cranberry, mineral.
BORDEAUX BLENDS (borh-DOH) The red wines of Bordeaux, all made of a blend from three and sometimes five permitted red grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The best red Bordeaux wines are slow to mature and need several years in the bottle to age gracefully.
BARBARESCO (bar-bah-RESS-koh) A wine from the village of Barbaresco, made from the Nebbiolo grape. This wine must be aged for two years, one year in wood. The Barbaresco Riserva must be aged for three years, one year in wood. These wines have rich, spicy flavors with notes of cherry, tar and perfume.
BAROLO (Ba-roll-lo) Outstanding red wine from the district of Piemonte in Northern Italy. Produced from the Nebbiolo grape. A robust red wine that can age for many years. By D. O. C. law Barolo must be aged in wood for a minimum of two years, if aged four or more years in wood it is allowed to be called Riserva.
BRUNELLO (Brew-nel-lo dee Mawn-tal-chee-no) This is a rare red wine from the district of Tuscany. Named for the Brunello grape, a clone of the Sangiovese grape. By law the wine cannot be sold until it is at least four years old, if aged five or more years it may be sold as a Riserva. The flavors are sweet cherry with leather tones.
GRENACHE (gren-osh) Grenache's roots are in Spain, where it is called Garnacha, but it is planted throughout southern France's Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, and the Southern Rhône regions, where it's blended with Cinsault and Carignan. It is the backbone of the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is blended with as many as twelve other grapes.
Tomorrow we will post some white grapes.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Some Summer Sangria
What you Need:
1 Bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rioja, Zinfandel, Shiraz)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice
2 Shots of vodka or gin
1 Cup of sliced strawberries or raspberries
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale
What to Do:
Pour wine in a big bowl or pitcher and squeeze juice from the lemon, orange and lime wedges into the wine. Throw in wedges (try to keep out the seeds) and add sugar, orange juice and vodka or gin. Chill overnight. It's best to let these ingredients have a party of their own
Add ginger ale and ice just before serving.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
That's it for the hard sell for now... You have to admit, the camera phone idea is a good one.
Wine and a Camera Phone
Here's the scene: Have you ever been out to dinner and had a really good bottle of wine? Of coarse you have. How many times have you looked at the bottle to remember the name only to be wandering aimlessly through your local wine shop hoping you'll magically remember the name of the bottle you had a few days ago. Well, now you have an option. Next time you are dining and come across that great bottle of wine you can just whip out your camera phone and snap a shot of the label. PRESTO! Instant logging of your wine. The possibilities continue. Once you have a few bottles under your belt, you could print them out and make your own digital wine label scrap book. I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this, but when the light goes off, you want to share it.
I guess this means I need a new phone. If you have done this already or have other thoughts on this topic feel free to post a comment.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Encore Wine Tote / Envoy Wine Tote / Escape Wine Tote / Estate Wine Tote
Casa Blanca Wine Tote / Grenache Wine Tote / Havana Wine Tote / Cellar Wine Carrier
Claret Wine Tote (Basket Style) / Reflex Wine Tote / Monte Carlo Wine Tote
Corsica Wine Tote (Basket Style) / Corvina Wine Tote / Vintage Wine Tote
Adagio Wine Tote / Reserve Wine Carrier / Rhapsody Wine Tote
Monday, June 20, 2005
1. Keep in mind how the fish will be cooked (grilled, poached, broiled, etc.) along with its natural flavor and texture. Try to complement or contrast the flavor and texture of the fish with your wine.
2. Try a spicy wine such as a dry gewurztraminer from France for fish prepared with heavy spices. You could also pair the fish with a red Burgundy from France or pinot noir from the United States.
3. Pair delicately flavored fish in subtle, mild sauces with lighter, more delicate wines.
4. Consider a higher-acid wine such as a red Anjou or white Burgundy from France, or a riesling from south Australia, for a fattier, richer fish such as a hearty, oily piece of salmon.
5. Try a full-flavored, smoky Viognier or a heavily oaked, premium Napa chardonnay for any grilled fish.
6. Try pairing shellfish with white wines that have a fair amount of acid. Whites from cold regions like France's Loire Valley or Chablis, or from Oregon, will have plenty of acid backbone to match the buttery flavor of lobster or fresh oysters.
* The first rule of food and wine pairing is always to drink what you like, no matter what someone else says.
* The old adage of white wine with fish and red wine with meat is a good rule to live by, but there are some notable exceptions.
* The most important thing is to keep experimenting with your choices. It's not an exact science, so let your taste buds lead the way. One more thing... Enjoy the journey!
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Wine Tasting 101 (Sideways)
Wine Tasting is an educated art that combines experience, knowledge and the cultured use of the three senses involved: sight, smell, and taste. Though it takes many years of practice to recognize certain wines and their area of origin solely by taste, once you know the basics of Wine Tasting, anyone can find it quite enjoyable.
As you begin your journey into the wonderful world of wine, it is recommended that you keep a journal of the various wines you taste. This way, you will not only remember what you have tasted, but you may also compare it to other wines, track wines that you purchase or would like to purchase, and have a resource when describing wines to others in a pseudo-educated and pretentious way. If you so choose, you may also save wine bottle labels to remind you of the wine bottle appearance if you are searching for it later, since you may have been in a drunken stupor while initially viewing the wine bottle.
Make sure that your materials and environment are ideally suited for tasting. Your tapered wine glasses should be dry, clean and not washed in detergent, which may distract from the wine's aroma and flavor. The ideal tasting environment is a light-filled neutral setting, free of distracting odors such as a call girl's perfume or scented candles. It would also be helpful to have a white backdrop to hold the wine up against to gain a neutral perspective of the wine's color. Your best buddy's dirt-free white t-shirt will do just fine. You should not eat before tasting, as the flavors of your food may affect the tasting experience. Always taste white wines first, then rosés, then reds.
The Process: Sight, Aroma & Flavor
1) Spit out your gum into an appropriate trash receptacle.
2) Fill the glass to 1/3 full with your chosen wine. No more, no less.
3) Hold the glass up at a 45 degree angle and examine the wine against the light and look for color and clarity. White wines start off on the light side with a straw or greenish hue, and as it ages, it becomes a dark golden or even brown color. Red wines are dark purple-red, and as they age, they can become a lighter red-brick to brown. The wine should be clear and bright, not cloudy or hazy.
4) Swirl the glass. Visually observe the body of the wine, and check for "Good legs," which may indicate a thicker body and a higher alcohol content or sweetness level. Swirling also releases the aroma of the wine or "bouquet."
5) Now stick your nose in your glass (don't be afraid to get in there) and smell the wine in a deep yet gentle whiff. The smell of a wine is called its "nose." Contemplate the condition (gentle, musty, earthy), intensity (weak or full) and character (fruit or flower) of the smell and make a note of it. Your nose is more sensitive than your mouth, and can pick-up on subtleties. Therefore, spend as much time as necessary determining the intricacies of what you smell.
6) The taste of the wine is known as its "palate," which you will determine next. Take a small mouthful and allow the wine to hit every part of your mouth, enveloping all of your taste buds. Don't be embarrassed to swish around a bit like you are using mouthwash. Check for Sweetness/Dryness, Acidity, Tannin, Weight or Body and Fruit.
7) Use your spittoon to discard the wine from your mouth, so that your mouth can contemplate the aftertaste. Or swallow if you're secretly seeking a nice buzz.
8) Take a moment and think about the experience of the taste, including your first impressions, the flavors while it was in your mouth, and the aftertaste. Make a note of these thoughts.
9) You are now on your way to becoming a wine connoisseur.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Interesting Wine Photo
Thursday, June 16, 2005
The wine tote that holds one bottle is great for those occasions that are more intimate. Picnicking with your honey, a cozy diner for two. You could also use a single bottle wine tote if you are meeting a group of friends and everyone is bringing some vino for all too enjoy.
The two bottle wine tote is the most versatile. It allows you to bring a white and a red or a red and a bottle of champagne, or two reds, I think you get the picture. Plus, by having that extra bottle of wine you wont run into trouble when the couple you are meeting for dinner forgets to bring a bottle. Believe me, there is nothing worse then showing up to a BYOB restaurant with 1 bottle of wine to share between 4 or more people. By the time you have a glass just catching up with your friends you have nothing left for your meal.
The three bottle wine tote is usually designated to the serious wine lover and the person who likes to have lots of choices. I can say that there has been times when I wish I had a few options. Don't get me wrong, the wine I carry to a restaurant is something I want to drink no matter what I decide to eat for dinner, but sometimes you decide to get the tilapia fish special and you have a nice bottle of white wine sitting in your wine fridge at home.
The most important things to look for when buying a wine tote is a pocket inside that will hold a corkscrew. Good quality wine totes, like the ones from Rhino Wine Gear, will come with a corkscrew and a nice pocket to store it in. Corkscrews are affordable enough that you should never be stuck without one. I recommend keeping one in your car in case of a wine emergency.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Shrimp in Garlic Wine Butter Sauce
Shrimp in Garlic Wine Butter Sauce (SHRIMP SCAMPI)
1 lb. large fresh shrimp, shelled, cleaned
1/4 stick butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 lg. cloves of garlic, chopped
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp. parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine (your choice - feee free to try different varieties to find the taste you like best)
Salt and pepper to taste
add oil and garlic (saute for a couple of minutes)
Add butter (let it melt)
add wine and lemon juice simmer together for a few minutes
add parsley, salt, and pepper.
Add shrimp and saute quickly stirring until tender, about 5 minutes.
Serve with wine sauce over shrimp on pasta or rice or by itself with some bread for dipping.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Choose wine glasses that are made of good thin clear glass, with little decoration and not colored. You want to be able to see the wine through the glass. There are specific red wine glasses and white wine glasses. Red wine glasses usually have a wider bowl shape, and white wine glasses usually have a narrower bowl shape. You will also find that some wine glassware manufacturers make glasses for specific varietals of wine. Champagne glasses have a narrow opening. The narrow glass offers less surface area for the tiny bubbles (carbon dioxide) to escape. This type of glass is called a flute.
Hand wash your glasses with hot water. Be careful when using soap. Soap can leave a residue on the glassware that interferes with the aroma of the wine. Rinse well… Then rinse again.
Pour wine to about the lower one-third of the glass. This level is desirable for two reasons: It leaves room in the glass for the aroma to work its way up the sides of the glass. Secondly, you won’t spill the wine over the top edge when swirling the wine in the glass.
Keep a good supply of wine glasses on hand. Your wine guests will appreciate having wine in good wine glasses.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Here is a little history on the Viansa Winery.
Founded in 1989 by Sam and Vicki Sebastiani, Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace is a destination winery in the Carneros grape-growing region at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country. Sam and Vicki created Viansa as a way to share their love of good food, wine and their Italian heritage with visitors from around the world. Dedicated to the marriage of wine and food, Viansa (short for "Vicki and Sam") truly offers visitors a taste of Tuscany in Sonoma Valley. Today, this family-owned and operated winery is proud to be the premier producer of Italian varietals in the United States!
Viansa's tile-roofed Tuscan Villa sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, overlooking Viansa's 90-acre waterfowl preserve, which has drawn acclaim from environmental groups across the nation. Outfitted with hand-painted murals, massive beams and Italian marble, the villa exudes Tuscan charm. The extensive grounds are planted with Italian cypresses and stone pines.
Viansa boasts a line-up that includes wines made from well-known grapes such as Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio along with lesser known varieties such as Arneis, Aleatico and Primitivo. They also offer an array of award-winning California varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, as well as our own proprietary blends.
Be sure to give them a visit. You will love it!
Friday, June 10, 2005
Clams Vin Blanc
Ok, i love this recipe. It's perfect in the spring and summer.
What you need:
cherrystone clams - (I like to use about 5 dozen with this)
1 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
garlic - chopped/minced/crushed/or pressed - Anyway you like (1 clove for each dozen)
1 onion minced
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 cup parsley, Fresh finely chopped
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
pinch of hot pepper flakes (this one is up to you. If you like a little more kick add a little more)
How it's done:
Wash clams to get the sand off, then place in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients.
Cover and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until clams are opened.
** Always discard any unopened clams.
Divide the clams up in individual bowls; pour juice over clams.
You will need some Italian bread or a some crusty French bread for dipping.