Mulling is the method of adding spices to a drink by heating it slightly and infusing it with other flavors. While cider, mead and many other beverages than wine can be mulled, they all bring to mind warmth and comfort. Mulled wine is very popular in colder climates because of this warming characteristic. But mulled wine isn’t just one drink; there are as many varieties of mulled wine as there are varieties of wine. In fact picking the right spices to go into mulled wine takes some thought. Different wines will make distinctive mulled wines if made with spices that suit the wine. For example a strong red benefits from the perk of citrus, in particular orange. But each wine will have unique tastes that could benefit from the addition of unconventional spices like rosemary or anise or even sugar. Two bottle wine totes seem to be more filled with more warmth already than the refreshing roses of the summer. But even more warmth and holiday feeling can be found in a good mulled wine. But always remember that it is better to steep the spices in the wine for a long time than heat the wine too much.
Knowing French wine and knowing French wine regions are really one in the same. Like most of Europe, France labels wine based on region rather than variety like in America. This means that knowing the wine regions of the country gives one a greater knowledge of the actual wine that the country produces. The Loire Valley for example is one of biggest wine producing regions with vineyards scattered along almost the entirety of the Loire River. The key trait of wines from these regions is that they come from very old vines; this area of France has been developed for a very long time. In fact the Loire Valley is home to large collection of the castles in France. Taking note of what foods are favorites in each region is a great and easy way to pair with the wine from those two bottle wine totes. For example wine from Provence would go great with a seafood dish because Provence is right along the Mediterranean Sea. Taking knowledge like this and pairing them based on regional tastes is not only a unique way to pair wine with food but also a great way to seem like an expert in wine and the region in question.
Sometimes in the summer it is just too hot for a simple glass of wine, cooling off with some wine based drinks is another great option. Punch and cocktails based on wine are a wonderful and unique to beat the summer heat. Try a pink lemonade punch made by blending ice with pink lemonade and adding a juicy rose wine. There are many versions of these chilly adult drinks, and they are well loved in the summer. Sangria is one of the best known summer wine punches. Try two bottle wine totes filled with good Spanish red wine or burgundy and rose to start the best sangria ever. Add to it no more than four different fruits to keep the flavors uncluttered. Good fruits to put in sangria are melon, citrus, mango and pineapple depending on the wine going into it. Other good wine drinks are out there and just waiting to be invented, so experiment with adding ice, fruit and other flavors to find personalized ways to refresh. Maybe what once started as a simple mix could become a well-loved summer favorite with friends and strangers alike like the wonderfully fruity May Wine. All May Wine is is dry white wine and strawberries halves, so don’t be too intimidated to get creative.
Every wine country is known for something other than wine. French wine in general is known as refined and upscale for example. But Spain, Spain is known for its plain value. Ask anyone fond of spanish wine and they will say that the best part of wine from Spain is that even a sixteen dollar bottle is high quality wine that anyone should be proud to serve to their in-laws. Take a Segura Viudas Reserva Brut Sparkling, it is only a $16 bottle from Spain but it has a crisp flavor that is combined with a rich yeastiness to make a true experiance. While it is easy to find in even common town liquor stores it has stony minerality and red apple tones in the bouquet. The Spanish pride themselves on having simple, good wine without any tricks or high price tag. This extreme pride goes toward insuring that every vintage taste just as lovely as it can, because if the grapes are good than the vintner should do all he can not to let them down. Cava, sparkling Spanish wine, is still made in the traditional manner because it is believed that that is why it is so clean and fresh tasting. Two bottle wine totes and very little money are all it takes to enjoy the pride of Spain at home.
With a New Year upon us, many people are taking the time to look ahead at the year to come in order to spot trends to watch for in the wine industry. Many experts in the industry feel that the market will continue to improve with the largest growth in the value wines segment. While for many the economy is improving the desire to still spend wisely is still there making wines that offer exceptional taste in a affordable package top draws. For this reason many speculate the wines from South America will continue to gain in popularity during 2011. A vast majority of these offerings have a full body taste with plenty of depth and character all in a bottle that will cost less than $25. With a large selection from Cabernet to Sauvignon and Chardonnay there is a wine for every palate from this region.
Of course value wines do not have to come from South America as there are plenty of offerings from everywhere including right here in the States. But whatever you choose to bring home in those Two Bottle Wine Totes this year be adventurous and try things out of your normal range as you may just be pleasantly surprised.