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.


Robert Finigan

The time of a great wine critic has ended on the first of this month with the passing on of Robert Finigan, who has been a prominent figure among wine critics since the 1970s when he broke into the wine world with honest reviews of both fine European and emerging Californian wines.  His opinions were highly valued during his life, especially his tastings of pinot noir and burgundy.                  While later in his career he became interested in being a food critic, he was always an influential wine critic that was brutally honest in his expectations of a wine.  He was an advocate for the consumers too with his praises of wine in all forms, great and small, and looking for the good in any price range. 

                Born in 1943 Robert found his calling to wine and the culinary in college at Harvard.  Thankfully for the world of wine, he became interested in because of his roommates’ associations to wine.  His reviews will be valued for years and years to come and influence selections in wine totes, even if he won’t be around to write more of them. He is survived by his wife and sister, who just like us will miss him greatly. 

Port in Summer

In the heat of summer, advised pairings for port can seem far too heavy; especially pairings with chocolate. The late summer weather can easily make chocolate and port seem like a heavy and cloying dessert; far too much. This isn’t to say though that port and chocolate is never good during the summer. There are a variety of ways to enjoy the classic combination even in the summer. Think of lighter ways to enjoy chocolate, like ice cream or mousse. Chocolate ice cream and chilled chocolate mousse pair nicely with port when they are made with quality chocolate, because it is overly sugary dishes as well as hot dishes that would make this inappropriate feeling for summer.                 Of course for the more adventurous of fans of the port and chocolate pairing, a port and chocolate mousse could make a sophisticated dessert.  But the easiest way to appease the port fans out there in the summer is to top a cool and light dessert with a dark chocolate top and serve with port. A drizzle of dark chocolate makes strawberries and cream a whole new experience, as well as perfectly accepting to being paired with port. Either way, fill those wine totes without regard for the season because where there is a will there is a way.

Pick Spain for Value

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.

Wine and Lamb

Easter is next Sunday and while most people will already have meal plans, some may be asked to bring a bottle of wine or dessert to a family brunch or Easter dinner.  While the dessert is easy, just pick a family favorite or something easily prepared; but picking a wine to go with a meal can be a little harder when the menu is a mystery.  Feel free to call and ask what is being served. A common Easter dish is lamb though so if learning what will be served is not an option it is okay to assume lamb may be the main dish.  Picking which wine to put in wine totes for the occasion means thinking on one of two paths complement or contrast. A good wine to conplement a citrus flavored leg of lamb is a lightly oaked, citrusy chardonnay. The citrus notes in both make the meat and wine meld their flavors and bloom together.  On the contrast side of things would be a wine that counters the lambs succulance of fat and salt with high acid such as sauvignon blanc or a slighlty dry champagne.  Of course pairing wine with food is not an science so much as an art, sometimes unusual combinations that no one would have thought of, work just as great as the tried and true pairings.

Beer for Wine

Sometimes even the most steadfast beer fan needs to try something new.  While it is commonly thought that not everyone can like everything, a fan of beer can convert to wine.  The two drinks have surprisingly a lot in common; they are made with yeast and flavors like chocolate and coffee are prized in both.  Of course beer and wine also have a variety of tastes and styles, and for a beer fan to find a need for wine totes they will need to know what wine to try. Luckily because of all they have alike, it is easy to use a beer lover’s favorite brew to pick a wine that they will love.                 People who like a good Pilsner for example should try a crisp sauvignon blanc on for size. The light and clear taste of the both will build a bridge between the two drinks.  People who would like wine like chardonnay, a dry Riesling or chenin-blanc are those currently a fan of smooth wheat beers. 

                The two drinks have so much more in common than the average fan of the other is willing to admit and they cross over quite nicely.  For example a good beer is never drunk from the bottle, just like wine it needs to aerate for all of the flavors to come out.

Can Wine Be Ruined By Cold?

With much of the United States experience not only cold temperatures but snowy weather as well it makes many enthusiasts consider the optimal temperature for their wines. It is common knowledge that excess heat can quickly ruin a good bottle of wine, but what about extreme cold? For those who live in hot climates to ensure that their wine makes it home from the shop safely it is important to use a wine totes that provide some kind of thermal insulation like a cooler. Heat can literally cook wine in its bottle when it is above 55 degrees, so the higher the temperature the less time it should be exposed.

Luckily in winter shoppers do not have to worry about leaving that bottle of wine in the car while they run other errands. Unlike the heat during summer cold air below the optimal storing temperature will not ruin a bottle so it cannot be enjoyed. Actually cold temperatures will slow down the aging process so there is no worry about the cold harming your wine this time of year.

Some wine lovers will even take the cold to the extreme and will freeze a bottle of unfinished wine to save it for a future use. While this may not be a perfect way to keep open wine it at least does not cause it any harm.

End the Meal With Dessert Wine

There is a large variety of dessert wines available at wine shops all across the country but is seems most people do not enjoy these wines unless it is around the holidays. Many are afraid they will not enjoy these notoriously sweet wines. Yet just because someone does not like a sweet table wine it does not necessarily mean that your palate will not like a sweet dessert wine. Really there is no better end to a dinner party than some kind of sweet and it does not always have to be one that you eat.  Dessert wines can be a simple way to finish off a meal and give that little taste that many crave after eating. And unlike other desserts these wines will not add more food into the stomach but will aid in digestion.

Of course dessert wine does not have to be served alone at the end of the meal, they can also be the perfect complement to a dessert to add to its flavor and finish off the meal. But whether you intend to serve alone or with a dessert consider adding one of the many dessert varieties into your wine totes the next time you go shopping for wine. Once you begin finishing off your meals this way you will continue to do so even when you are dining alone.

Napa's Wine Library Events

Fans of the Napa Valley experience will be sad as the season for events in the valley draws to a close for this summer.  The most recent event that you could have, or maybe did go to, was a big Wine Library Tasting hosted on the 15th.  But every summer brings a slew of wonderful events in what is likely America’s most well known wine region.  The Napa Valley Wine Library, if you don’t already know about, is a group of winery owners in the 60s that realized people needed resources and literature with wine information if they were going truly enjoy wine.  Now it is a group of serious wine lovers and you can become a member for $75.  It might be something you might want to do if your ideal summer includes a few spectacular wine themed events than you may want to look into it. The Wine Library’s typical summer events are all about sharing wine information on wine with the public and introducing people to the full spectrum of wines offered up by Napa Valley’s wine makers.  When going to one of these events remember to take your Corvina wine tote and to expect a serious experience for your senses.

Taking the Kids to Napa Valley

                Most people wouldn’t think to bring their kids with them to California’s Napa Valley because of the over 21 nature of most of the traditional activities on the area.  But wineries in the area are getting smart about entertaining the children of the people who visit them.  Aside from simple things like just having toys available, they also have things like speakers explaining to the kids about the good and bad bugs present in vineyards.  And that is just for while you are enjoying the wine tastings and other traditional Napa activities. The varieties of fun available at Napa Valley presently are a great way to get out with the whole family.    A few vineyards offer things like horseback riding through the grape vines.  But not all of the valley’s joys are in its vineyards.  Napa also has a lot of beautiful farms, a lot of them organic, that offer tours and other activities.   You can even find places that do things like teaching you to milk a cow.  Probably not what you expected to be doing in the wine famous Napa Valley but think of it as a vacation for the whole family, so much more fun.  But don’t be timid to still fill your four bottle wine tote with your new found favorites.

Wine Industry Booming In Idaho

When most wine lovers stop and think about wine country in the western part of the United States of course Napa Valley comes to mind. Napa is renowned for its premium wines and beautiful scenery. Of course for those looking for new wines and new places then maybe a trip to Nampa may just be the answer. This area in the canyon country of Idaho is growing quickly with a boom that now has 40 wineries operating in the region. Idaho is more than just potatoes and wine lovers should grab their four bottle wine totes, carriers, & bags and head to the area looking for new wines to bring home in them. While the region may never be the equal to Napa Valley it is quickly matching areas in Washington and Oregon both in production and in how they are so accessible to guests who want to experience more than just a bottle of wine.

If you are planning a spring or summer wine vacation then consider heading off the beaten path to experience a wine region that is growing when other areas are experiencing economic troubles.

Olympics Bring Attention To Ice Wine

While much of the wine world is focused on the upcoming Valentines Day the Olympics are also set to start over the weekend. With the eye of the world on Vancouver for the next week many will enjoy not only the games but the sites and experiences of the region as well. For wine lovers in Canada nothing will pare better with the Olympic Games than the ice wine which is very popular in the country while more obscure elsewhere. While Canadians and Germans are more likely to place these unique dessert wines in their wine totes while shopping for the wine cellar since these countries produce the most. But with the national spotlight on the games many more will hopefully discover this wine which features grapes that have frozen while on the vine.

The frozen grapes are processed much the same way as regular wine grapes. While the water within the grape is frozen the sugars and other solids are not. This makes a very sweet wine after being crushed and fermented that pares well with many desserts. Of course ice wine is labor intensive and hard to manage making it a more expensive wine that many use only for special occasions.

Attend A Fall Wine Festival This Year

It may not quite feel like fall yet here in the United States but all over the country fall wine festivals are getting ready to take place. There are festivals in just about every state this time of year to promote the regional vineyards as well as the local cuisine and more. For the wine connoisseur attending a fall wine festival is one of the best ways to try lots of offerings from small vineyards all in one location. A quick internet search in your area will give the wine festivals that will be going on in your area if you are interested in attending one this fall. Many include local vineyards or all sizes as well as other vineyards that come into the area solely to participate in the festival to broaden their market. Many of these vintners also sell bottles of their wines during the festival so a attendee would be wise to bring along wine bags to bring home some of their favorite bottles from the event.

These festivals are not only a great way to spend the weekend finding new wines that you love but also an excellent way to spend time with others who love wine just as much as you.