The Right Wine In A Hurry

There is also a bit of a panic when a new wine is needed that night, and it has to be good. But panic not, rather than look for a good wine online and hope some local shop has it, or look at the shop blindly and hope the workers know wine; try using the internet to its fullest to make for a more hassle free wine shopping experience. Many large stores will have a website nowadays with the current wines on selection available to peruse or even reserve. Any wine of interest can be than be researched, see what other people thought of it. Write down the exact name of the wine, maybe a backup option just in case, and those wine carriers to take care of one thing that could easily be just a small part of a very hectic afternoon spent in preparation.                 While not a fool proof way to get the best wine every time, it is the most trustworthy way to get a good bottle of wine or two the day they are needed. Perfect for impromptu visits from family or friends or when nothing in house suits the meal for that night.

Wine Gift Guide

Thinking about all of the holiday gifts that are needed to get can really make even just over a month seem like too short a time to get everything bought and wrapped. It is easy to check any wine lover off the gift list without ever needing to know their wine preferences though. A wine aerator or nice wine bags are good options. These are good gifts because they are not dependent on what type of wine they like but instead are focused on wine enjoyment in general.                 Wine gifts cover a large spectrum of possible gift receivers too. From the old time friend to the grown up child, they are just as much needed gifts as invitations to socialize. A new corkscrew set for an old friend could suggest that getting together to catch up, over a bottle of wine, would be nice.  These types of gifts make an extra special impact when they have a personal touch. So even if the gift receiver already has one of the wine related gift given, it has a little something to make it special. Initial engravings are an excellent example of personalizing a gift. In general, a wine related gift is eagerly accepted.

               

Case Against Agressive Decanting

There is a temptation sometimes in this busy world to make things less chaotic, to cut corners or take easier options.  Some of these time savers are just that, a great way to shave a minute or two, but think carefully about which of these time savers are used because some will actually cost the overall experience by cutting into the quality.  Things like not thawing meat all the way have obvious consequences because the inside remains partly uncooked, but rushing a wine can have a subtle damage on the meal.  Enjoying wine is just one part of the ceremony like process that includes selecting the wine, bringing it home in wine totes, decanting it, pouring a glass with care, taking a whiff of its bouquet and finally taking that slow sip of indulgence.  The reason a slow decanting is vital to catching that perfect moment in a wine is because no two wines require the same amount of time to bloom fully. This means that making the decanting go too fast would easily mean blowing right past the ideal moment.  While aerators and specifically designed decanters may aid the process, it is best to keep an eye and nose on a wine while it heats up to closer to room temperature and releases its aromas.

                 

Smoked Fish Pairing, Tricky

Strong flavors can be hard to deal with sometimes, smoked fish being an example of a harder flavor to pair with wine.  In fact for most pairing advice smoked fish seems like a paradox. Fish is full of delicate flavors that are typically paired with a white wine, but smoking foods almost always adds deeper notes to the fish as well as heightening the fish’s natural flavors in a way that could possibly make it too strong for some white wines to be enjoyed thoroughly in a pairing.  The chance of just a random wine from the six bottle wine totes suiting smoked fish is slim, as smoked fish is known for not working with wine well for a reason. Thanks to the great variety of smoked fish available though, there is a possibility for a match.                 The classic smoked salmon matches rather easily with a mildly dry red with light herb flavors and maybe even citrus notes.  This combination works so well because fresh wines clean the mouth between bits of fish, but salmon can stand up fairly well to a red.  More white meat fish like trout that have been smoked pair better with smoky, oaked whites like chardonnay. 

On Freezing Wine

Frozen wine may seem like a tragedy but it is really a fast and easy way to keep wine fresh in a pinch. A partial bottle of wine can simply be stopped or recorked and put in the freezer and saved for another time.  Interestingly enough freezing wine does not damage its delicate tastes or smell. Time would harm a wine more than freezing.  The only possible chance of damaging a wine in the freezer comes from long term freezing or the bottle getting popped open or cracking from the expanding water. Even wine that may have been altered by long term freezing can still be cooked with, if drinking it doesn’t seem appealing anymore.                 Fill three bottle wine totes with care still though. Freezing cannot replace a good wine cellar for aging wine. In fact open bottles are the only ones that can be frozen. Due to water expanding as it freezes an unopened bottle could easily crack or shatter in the freezer.  Of course it is still a great way to save a partial bottle. For best results, let the wine thaw slowly over a day or so, otherwise some dissipation may occur.

Wine and Mood Relationship

A lot of children are resistant to trying new foods, they seem to know for a fact that just the look or smell of the food means it is going to taste bad. On a lesser scale even an adult can pull this mental trick on themselves, even when they don’t try to, because the mood one is in can affect the way they perceive tastes. While no one, hopefully, goes into a wine tasting or sits down with a glass planning for it to taste bad; but a foul mood can make even a beautiful wine taste unbalanced.                 To avoid this mental trick take a few minutes to de-stress before taking out the wine accessories, maybe even consciously try to be put in a more positive mindset. This will make for a more enjoyable wine tasting experience or a more delightful glass of an old favorite. Even a short cool down time at a wine tasting before any wine gets taken out, may improve perceptions overall. As an added benefit, happier guests at a tasting or party will talk more and make for a generally more jovial time.

Canadian Wine

Many are surprised to find that Canada has a thriving wine producing region. But indeed it does have a handful of suburb vineyards that are trying very hard to make a name for Canadian wine. Some of the regions known within Canada for their wine are Okanagan Valley, the Niagara Peninsula and Nova Scotia just to name a variety of them.                 For those looking to put some Canadian wine in those wine carriers, a trip up North may be the easiest way to really experience the wine of Canada. Maybe Nova Scotia, the coldest wine region in the world, may be a bit of stretch for a wine tour vacation; try the Niagara Peninsula. The Niagara Peninsula grows over three quarters of the grapes in Canada and has a variety of climates often compared to the Loire valley of France. They grow chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot noir in this area as well as the classic ice wine that more people link to Canada than other wines.  Not to mention this region is known for its pleasant villages and country inns make it feel more like a normal wine region to vacationers. Giving a new wine region a try makes for not only a unique experience but maybe a sneak peek into some of the best upcoming vineyards. 

All in the Aftertaste

The tastes and smells that linger with the drinker after the sip of wine has left their mouth, either having been spit out or drank, if the most important factor in truly enjoying a good wine.  The aftertaste is also called the “finish” and expert wine reviewers pay extra attention to how long a wine’s finish lasts. This is because a quality wine will have a long and complex finish, often which includes tastes not even present in the initial sip.                 Wine with a good finish make a great part of wine gifts to those just starting to appreciate the subtleties of wine drinking. Paying extra attention to how long a wine leaves its impression on the palette is how to really taste the wine like a professional.  They take note of any taste that lingers in the mouth, or any taste that appears only in the aftertaste. All too often people will take a sip of wine and not wait patiently for the aftertaste to finish before taking a bite of food, or another sip of the wine. Not only is this an amateurish move to pull at a wine tasting, but also a way to get cheated out of a lot of the wine enjoying experience. Give thirty seconds between sips minimum to really take in a wine’s true flavors.

Pork Loin in White Wine

There is something about cold weather that makes well cooked pork tenderloin even more enjoyable.  But getting a pork loin to its tender and still juicy perfection can seem like more work than a simple weeknight meal is usually worth.  Really though, a succulent pork loin can be just as easy as any other imaginable meal. All that is needed is some crisp white wine, a pork loin, seasonings of choice and a couple of varieties of vegetables.                  Start by browning the pork in a pan with the seasonings, just enough to keep the juices sealed in when it is cooking. In an oven pan add a little bit of oil and a cup and a half of the white wine. Thinly slice some onions if desired and add them to the pan with the pork. Cover all this foil and put in the oven on a low setting. Every now and then check the pork and pour some of the juice at the bottom the pan on it, adding the vegetables during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. The wine helps make for a succulent and tender cut every time.  Serve the meal with the remaining white wine showcased with wine accessories; it is after all, the star this meal.

Decanter Science

While it is clear that decanting a wine softens and improves it, what happens to the wine on the molecular level?  That is, why does merely sitting in a crystal wine decanters change a good wine so much?  The changes to a deep red wine can be so dramatic that it can seem like some form of wine magic, but science can quickly explain all that is going on here.  Most of the change to a wine while it decants comes from mild oxidation and some evaporation. While it seems like decanting softens the tannins, it actually does nothing of the sort. But the slight oxidation that occurs does makes the tannins seem more fitted to the rest of the flavors and aromas in the wine; the reason for the smoother illusion. Also a little bit of evaporation gets rid of some of the rubbing alcohol or other unpleasant tastes that are caused because of too much alcohol in the wine.                 This amazing and totally natural process called decanting is truly a gift for wine fans, but certain types of wine flourish in decanters while others only twinkle a little.  Reds love decanters while whites can be rather indifferent to them, and of course there is no point in putting a sparkling wine in a decanter. But that is just a general rule; try anything in a decanter for a good experience.

Fix a Wine

There are a number of funny things that can happen to a wine, and even though the wine may still be good there are not many who would drink an off wine. Luckily are there fixes to many of these problems that are simple and make the wine drinkable and indeed enjoyable.                  Wine, young and old alike, can have compounds in it that can give off smells or tastes or sediment that gives it a poor appearance. A lot of the time these conditions can be fixed with decanting. Wine decanters are a true gift for wines; they settle sediments and aerate the wine. Aeration dissipates a lot of the unpleasant compounds that can be smelled in wine.  One fairly common problem that cannot be taken care of with a decanter is a rubbery smell caused by a compound called mercaptans, which are often found in young wines. But this sulfur based smell can still be banished with some copper. A clean penny, dated before the 1980s can be dropped in the decanter for a minute to salvage the wine. Of course while a lot of wine can be saved, if ever a smell or look is too unappealing it is just fine to open a different bottle of wine. 

Wine Bags and Paper Bags

Wine should not be exposed to large amounts of sunlight, this is common knowledge. A little indirect sunlight is not going to ruin wine immediately, or else stores would have them in a cave; but if ever wine bags are not an option and sun is a danger there are more options than just hiding wine bottles from the sun. Say the wine cellar needs work done on it or a collection needs transported; instead of hoping there are enough wine bags around to store it all, try paper bags.  Either the ones from grocery stores or even lunch bags both block out the sunlight that could otherwise damage the bottles’ contents.                 While they cannot provide the controlled climate of a good insulated bag, paper bags are even okay from long term storage if the proper climate can be achieved but darkness cannot.  Just remember to label the bags because jostling the bottles too much can be just as damaging as the light. Labeled bags stop the need to check which bottles is what, similar to indicators on the top of the cork or the bottle’s neck. Protecting wine when first taking it home is just obvious, but protecting it in the home is just as important.

Essential Tools

Even the only occasional wine drinkers require a few wine accessories to enjoy a glass of wine. While a growing number of bottles are screwcaps, corks are still widely used; so at the very least a wine glass, corkscrew and stopper are needed.  Rather than think of these tools as a necessary evil, think of how they can enhance the experience of popping open a bottle of wine and relax.  Wine tools can make a huge difference in how enjoyable wine actually is. A good corkscrew makes opening a bottle less of a battle and more like opening any other bottle or jar in the kitchen. Find a corkscrew with a good handle to give the best grip.  Another good tool to have for a wine fan is a bottle stopper. It is illogical to expect a bottle of wine to not need put in the fridge; even with company there is always part of a bottle left when the night is over. This is where it is a good idea to have a stopper; otherwise any leftover wine at the end of the day is basically trash.  Don’t waste good wine, put a stopper in it.  This keeps the wine fresh longer in the refrigerator.  Appreciating wine tools just got easier.

Wine Stain? Remove it Right

Red wine is both an enjoyment and a constant threat in a way. Especially at parties when those six bottle wine totes are involved in the shopping and even at simple dinners when one bottle is all that gets touched, red wine can ruin the evening. One little slosh and the host has a mess to clean off their carpet. An unattended glass gets spilled and the damage could be much more significant, maybe even including a guest’s clothes. No real precautions can be taken to avoid red wine spills and the stains they produce on carpet, clothes and furniture. Of course while it is downright silly to try to prevent these accidents, they are actually not too hard to clean up.                 The most important note on any red wine spill is to act immediately. There is no greater weapon in removing the stain successfully than getting to it right after it happens. Wither the stain is on a rug or piece of clothing, try to dab or suck off most of the wine. This is a great job for a wet vac because it pulls the liquid out quickly. The next step is to pull out even more of the stain with club soda or other clear carbonated liquid. Not only do the bubbles pull more of the wine stain out, but they keep the spot wet until the stain is out. Once it dries the stain is set.

History of the Wine Glass

While they may seem as old as the ancient tradition of wine making, glasses are a much newer advent. A wine glass with bowl, stem and foot as we know it today would have been hard to find before the industrial revolution. Glass was hard to make before then, making a wine glass just as priceless as a goblet made of gold or silver.                 This is not to say though that wine glasses were not always sought after. Even ancient wine drinkers, at least the ones that got to experience wine from a glass cup, recommended glass for everyone. During the industrial revolution this became a feasible option for even the common man. This subsequently produced a wave of wine appreciation because now the full bouquet of the wine was open to the drinker. Wine glasses are now shaped specifically for different types of wine like white, red, champagne and sherry. This veritable rush of improvement in the cups wine is enjoyed from seems like it shouldn’t have happened only a couple centuries ago, but indeed it did. So always be thankful for that wine glass and its ability to enhance the vintage in it.   

The Vineyard on an Island

Wine can be a real undertaking to make.  Between growing the grapes, fermenting, bottling and selling it can seem to take a village just to produce a bottle. This makes it easy for wine to become part of a big industrial effort but on a small French island the process is still done by only a small group of monks. The Lerins Abbey, on a small island of the same name, is home to only 20 monks but churns out 30,000 bottles of premium wines every year along with their religious duties.  The island is not only a perfect wine growing region but also is an ancient monastery.                  While it hasn’t always been a vineyard, the island has a rich French history. Founded as a monastery in the year 405 it has been inhabited in some way or another ever since, and not always by monks.  For a period of 20 years after the French Revolution was sold to an actress.  But in 1859 the ownership again changed into the hands of someone focused on religion.

                In the 1990’s the monks of the island decided that they wanted their wine to be not only the best possible but sought after in the wine bags of the wine fans in France, because it does no good to make it if no one wants it. And indeed they are succeeding, their wine is so sought after that the monastery is now able to live their modest lives solely on the sales of the wine they make.  While unlikely that their wine will ever be sold outside of France it is good to know about such long standing wine traditions that are still alive today.

Drink Now

A lot of the time in wine reviews there are certain wines that are said to be for drinking now. This can be a bit alarming to some readers, which makes it strange that the phrase is still used to frequently. This phrase doesn’t mean that if a wine isn’t drank immediately it will turn to vinegar or anything so extreme as that. The phrase drink now just means that reviewer decided this particular wine would not benefit or even change from any extended amount of bottle aging; it is at its best right now.                 An example of a wine best drank now would be a fresh and juicy rose wine. They can keep for a long amount of years but really are just as the day they are put in stores as when they are a decade old.  This brings up the interesting point that some wine is great when young, making it easy to seem the wine expert in front of friends. Fill three bottle wine totes with two wines to drink now and one to age. Friends will see this care and knowledge as to what is good now and what can age, soon they may ask for advice too.

Glass Stoppers for Wine

Having only been around for about four years, this is an extremely new trend in the ancient world of wine, but glass “corks” are still an almost unknown brilliant idea. Originally made more out of necessity than any aesthetic reason, these glass stoppers are a tool in fighting against the compound TCA that makes “corked” bottles of wine. Yup, these classy looking glass stoppers were not made to look slicker than a traditional cork but to be completely sterile. They can catch a person by surprise the first time a glass stopper is encountered. They sit, see through and pretty, just under the foil cover of the wine bottle but they are not some kind of defect; just the possible future for corking wine. It should be obvious from glance that corkscrews are not needed for these, just flick them off the top of the bottle and it is already ready to reuse. But it seems there is a charm to corks, because these seemingly perfect wine stoppers are not very popular, even with their ability to be simple washed and recycled by the home wine lover and winery alike. Of course if a wine can be aged or not with these glass stoppers is still up for debate, maybe that is why classic corks are still the most widely popular way of stopping up a bottle of wine.

Wine Problems?

Sometimes even good wine can have things that look like problems with them or the bottle or cork; even if the wine is still good. While rare these things can be confusing when encountered by the average wine drinker.  These visual problems can include things like sediment in the wine and crystals on the cork. Both of these are purely aesthetic issues and can be fixed quite easily by simply decanting the wine in question. This will allow all sediment to settle to the bottom. The crystals on the cork that are sometimes present on the cork where the wine touched it are simply tartrate crystals, similar to cream of tartar used in cooking, these sea salt looking crystals are tasteless and harmless unless they break off into the wine. If they are floating around the bottom of the bottle just treat them like all sediment and enjoy just the same.                  These are just of the issues that can arise with a bottle of wine and always make sure to check that all of the bottles in those six bottle wine carriers does not have any problems with the look of the cork to insure an enjoyable bottle of wine.

Make A Cheese Platter

Having some guests over and wanting to serve some wine with a cheese platter is actually a bit of a task.  A typical cheese platter has a combination of cheeses, fruit and crackers on it and all are supposed to pair with the wines being served.  But this is a great undertaking for something that is thought of as an appetizer or mere edible decoration. Make things simpler by picking between three to five cheeses that, rather than pairing with the wine being served, span the spectrum of cheeses.  This means having a slightly soft cheese, a smoky cheese, a hard cheese, and maybe a blue cheese. Fruit is a great way to add some healthier bits to a cheese platter to appeal to people who are watching their diet or do not like cheese as much as others.  These fruits don’t have to be anything in particular as long as they are fresh and delicious.  The crackers served with the cheese are even less of a concern than the fruit because just providing a couple of varieties will please everyone, they won’t eat a cracker that they usually don’t like the taste of.                 Of course this is just a very rough guide to cheese boards and the other wine accessories that are involved in serving guests wine, but it is still the frame work of a good social event.