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Wine

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My Trip to Napa

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Entrance Robert Mondavi Winery

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Barrel Room Robert Mondavi Winery

THE GOLDEN RULE

Martin Hudson, Berry Bros & Rudd Hampshire Wine Shop Deputy Manager, recommends keeping the acronym BLINC in mind when buying or tasting a wine.

1. "B"  This stands for Balance (affected by fruit ripeness, acidity, oak or no oak, tannin in reds, alcohol levels and maturity).

2. "L"  Length (how long the flavour lasts in your mouth)\.

3. "I"  Intensity (how strong the flavour is).  

4. "C"  Complexity (if the wine has several layers, ie aftertaste).

 

Taste Wine Like a Pro

 

The most important aspect of tasting wine is smelling it. Most of "tasting" something is experiencing its aroma.

 

Smelling and Initial Tasting

  1. Bring the glass down to a normal level and, while holding the stem, swirl the glass rapidly.  This will increase the surface area of the wine by  allowing it to move up the sides of the glass. This also helps to release the volatile chemicals of the wine into the air.
  2. Stop swirling. Insert your nose into the glass and inhale by taking quick, full sniffs. Some people prefer to take short sniffs, some prefer to just stick their nose in and leave it there for a while. Determine any off-odors, identify any grape aroma and rank the strength of the aroma.
  3. Analyze the aroma further. Try to detect the smell of fruity or floral notes. Decide what they remind you of if possible. Next, note the presence of spices, such as pepper, anise, cinnamon, vanilla, tea or possibly nuts. Finally, note the presence of other aromas, such as cedar, oak, dust, moist earth, herbs, chocolate, tobacco, toastiness, smoke, tar, mushrooms, red meat, grass, hay, or asparagus.
  4. Sip a small amount of wine and move it over your entire tongue so that all your taste buds come in contact with it. The trick to tasting wine is to allow the aromas of the wine to enter your nasal passageway at the back of your throat. Some people pucker their lips and suck in a small amount of air through the wine. Others find it easier to chew the wine as if it were food. Both of these methods will force the aromas of the wine through the nasal passage and will increase your experience of the wine.
  5. Note how long the flavors remain in your mouth after you've swallowed the wine. This is called length. Some wines can have up to one minute of length. Also be aware of any overbearing presence of alcohol. A wine should have enough balance that you're barely aware of the alcohol in it.

 

Tips

ð       If you've snickered at people who swirl their wine incessantly, you won't any longer. This is the best way to allow wine to have its intended effect on your senses.

ð       Some funny (but genuine) taste and aroma descriptors are: horsey, barnyard, cat urine, mossy, hot, stewed, cooked, yeasty, dirty and candied.

ð       Strong aromas of wet cardboard, vinegar, Madeira, sulfur or nail polish indicate a problem with a table wine. Wines that smell of these are not harmful to drink, but they won't taste very good either.

 

Judging

  1. Look for a very light shade of straw-toned color in white wines such as chardonnay and white Riesling. For semillon and sauvignon blanc, look for a more definite yellow color. For sweeter wines, look for a more golden color.
  2. Note colors of red wines range from pink to different tones of purple. Rosas are usually medium pink. A brown tinge in a rosa is usually no desirable.   Red wines range from "medium red" to "high red." A purple could indicate a young wine or a particular variety of grape.
  3. Check for clarity of the wine. Notice if the wine is clear and free of suspended material - this is termed a brilliant wine. Some descriptions to use include brilliant, clear, dull, and cloudy.  Dull indicates haziness, and cloudy indicates heavy amounts of suspended material.
  4. As a beginner, focus on unwanted smells such as yeast, wood, mold, sulfur dioxide, oxidation (brackishness), acetic acid (vinegar) and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg). Taste for sweetness or dryness. An acid bite indicates the vitality of the wine. Taste for excessive tannins (bitter and rough)and for vinegar flavor, which is usually not desirable.
  5. Note boldness, fullness and richness while tasting. These tend to indicate a wine with good body.
  6. Taste for sweetness or dryness. An acid bite indicates the vitality of the wine. Taste for excessive tannins (bitter and rough)and for vinegar flavor, which is usually not desirable.
  7. Clicking; An old tradition in France is the snapping of your tongue when tasting a wine. Snapping the tongue off the roof of your mouth and making a clicking noise on the roof of your mouth is a way of saying that you like or don't like the wine. The louder the click the more you like the wine. If you are ever at a wine tasting being hosted by one of the vineyards supplying the wine, always snap on their wine (even if you do not intend to bring any of their wine home).  

How to Chill a Bottle of Wine Quickly

 

  1. Fill a bucket with ice and cold water
  2. Submerge the bottle up to its neck in the bucket.
  3. Remove after 20 minutes

 

Tips:

    • Many people put wine in the freezer to chill it quickly. Although this works, it can be tough on more delicate wines.
    • It takes 2 hours to chill a bottle in the refrigerator and a bit more than 1 hour inice alone.
    • White wines, champagnes and rosé wines (which have a pink color) are commonly  served chilled. Red wines are served at room temperature although if it's hot out, you might chill the wine in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, then leave it on the counter for 10 minutes to warm up.
    • Use a salt and ice mixture: Crush some ice, put it in a bucket, and pack it around the wine bottle. Then sprinkle it with a lot of salt. (Best - 23% salt by weight, 77% ice by weight). This will bring down the melting point of the ice and you can get below 32F very quickly. This is probably the quickest way to chill beer (5 minutes).

 

20 Great Wines Under 20 Dollars 

 

Wine                                                                                      Score                         Price

1. CROCKER & STARR

Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2004                               94                                $20

2.THORN-CLARKE

Shiraz Barossa Valley Shotfire Ridge 2003                 93                               $20

3. BUEHLER

Zinfandel Napa Valley 2003                                               93                             $15

4. MATUA

Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Paretai 2004              93                              $17

5. ST.-URBANS-HOF

Riesling Qba Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2004                         91                             $11

6. FINCA LUZ’ON

Jumilla Altos de Luz’on 2003                                         93                              $16

7. NOVY

Syrah Sonoma County 2003                                          92                             $19

8. WILSON

Riesling Clare Valley Polish Hill River 2003              92                             $19

9. ARGYLE

Chardonnay Willametta Valley 2002                             91                            $13

10. ALLEN SCOTT

Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005                             91                            $13

11. QUINTA DE RORIZ

Douro Prazo 2003                                                               91                             $13

12. BABICH

Sauvignon Blanc Marborough 2005                              90                            $13

13. CHATEAU MARIS

Syrah Minervois La Liviniere La Touge 2002             91                            $14

14. GERG NORMAN ESTATES

Shiraz Limestone Coast 2002                                         90                           $16

15. THIERRY GERMAIN

Saumur-Champigny Domaine des Roches Neuves 2004

                                                                                               91                            $16

16. FAIRVIEW

Goats do Roam In Villages Red Coastal Region 2003

                                                                                              90                            $13

17. ALTA VISTA

Malbec Mendoza Grande Reserve Terroir Selection 2003

                                                                                             91                           $19

18. CANTINA TERLANO

Pinot Bianco Alto Adige Classic Terlaner 2003      91                           $18

19. QUINTA DE VENTOZELO

Douro Reserva 2000                                                        90                     $14

20. SABASTIANI

Cabernat Sauvignon Sonmoa County 2002            90                            $17

 

 

 

Eddie Osterland’s Master Sommelier

Top Ten Wines to try Before you die!

1. 1st Growths: Chateau Latour, Mouton, Lafite, Margaux, Haut Brion

    1983, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1995

2. Penfold’s Grange Hermitage

    1996, 1997

3. Chateau d’ Yquem (1/2 bottles)

    1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990

4. Vintage Madeira : BUAL

    Oldest you can afford

5. White Burgundy: Domaine Leflaive, Paul Pernot, Etienne Sauzet

    2001 1er Cru $$$ 2001 Grand Cru $$$$

6. Red Burgundy: DRC, Dujac, Lignier, Groffier, Chevilon, et al

    1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999 Grand Cru $$$$$

7. Champagne: Tête de cuvee…Cristal,Taittinger, Krug, Dom P…

    1985, 1990, 1996

8. Hermitage “La Chappelle”, Guigal Cote Rotie “La Landonne”

    1985, 1989, 1990, 1995

9. Tuscany: Sassicaia, Solia, Brunello di Montalcino

    1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

10. Eiswein, German: Gunderloch, Robert Weil, Zilliken, J.J. Prüm

     1999, 2001

      Let your retailer assist you with this…there are many substitutes !

 

Wine and Guest Calculator

 

 

 Number of Guests 

 

10 

12 

15

20

25 

30

35

40

45

50

 

 

Champagne  
(Bottles)  

4

5

6

7

9

11

13

15

18

20

23

 

Wine  
(Bottles)  

5

8

8

10

12

14

17

20

23

25

28

 

Cocktails  
(Fifths/on the Rocks)  

2

3

3

31/2

5

6

7

91/2

91/2

101/2

111/2

 

Cocktails  
(Fifths/straight up)  

21/2

4

4

5

61/2

8

91/2

8

121/2

14

151/2

 

Hors d'Oeuvres  
(see amounts below)  

40

50

60

60

60

75

90

105

120

135

150

 

40 - 50 people: 4 types of Hors d'Oeuvres
60 - 90 people: 7 types of Hors d'Oeuvres

105 - 120 people: 8 types of Hors d'Oeuvres
135 - 150 people: 10 types
of Hors d'Oeuvres

 

How to Choose a Good Wine for a Vegetarian Dish

 

Pairing wine with vegetarian food follows the same principles as pairing wine with meats - the goal is to find complementary flavors.

 

  1. Pair strongly flavored dishes, such as those made with garlic, with robust reds: syrah or cabernet sauvignon. Try a sangiovese for tomato-based dishes.
  2. Try a crisp white with more subtle dishes: a sauvignon blanc from California, New Zealand or Sancerre in France.
  3. Select pinot noir with its delicate, earthy aromas for strong, mushroomy dishes.
  4. Pick a crisp French Chablis or a slightly grassy California or New Zealand sauvignon blanc for Mexican or Southwestern dishes with corn or green chiles as long as the dish isn't too spicy.
  5. Look for a slightly sweet German riesling, gewrztraminer or a French rosea to go with spicy dishes, such as curry.

Tip: Experiment with wines from around the world - as you become familiar with their aroma and flavor profiles, you'll come up with your own favorite pairings.

 

 

Cook With Wine

 

When cooking with wine, follow these simple guidelines from the author of "Taste" and "The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook."

  1. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it (like in a dessert), use a dry wine, not a sweet one
  2. In general, use a white wine with fish, chicken and pork dishes, and a red wine with beef, but you can certainly experiment. White wine is probably more versatile for cooking than red.
  3. Add wine to dishes when you want an acidic note. A little wine in a cream sauce, for example, can temper its richness.
  4. Use whatever wine you have on hand. You don't need to use the same wine in the sauce as the wine that will be served at the table. Since you're cooking the wine, grape variety isn't a big deal.
  5. Pick a decent, but not stellar wine for cooking. Don't use a wine that you wouldn't want to drink and don't use a wine that you really want to drink .
  6. Avoid using "cooking wine" from the supermarket; it contains added salt.

 

Tip: The best features of an expensive wine disappear in the cooking.

 

 

Entertaining with Wine

 

More wine is ruined by being too warm than too cold. A wine that is served too cold is easily warmed, but a wine served too warm can be difficult to chill. Therefore, when in doubt, serve it colder than you might think necessary. A wine that is too warm tastes alcoholic and is not a pleasure to drink.

In general, white wines are served cooler than red wines.

 

These serving temperatures should be used as guidelines.

65╟F / 18╟C would be the equivalent of leaving the wine out at room temperature for about 4 hours.

39╟F / 4╟C can be achieved by leaving the bottle in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

 

65╟F / 18╟C Australian Shiraz, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhône Wines, Vintage Port

 

63╟ / 17╟C Bordeaux, Châeauneuf-du-Pape, Ribera delDuero, South African Pinotage and Catalonian, Chilean, and Australian Cabernet

 

61╟F / 16╟C Red Côte d'Or Burgandy, southern French Reds, southern Italian reds, Rioja, Toro, Australian and California Pinot Noir, Tawny and Ruby Ports

 

50╟F / 15╟C Côte Chalonnaise, Douro red table wines, young Zinfandel, Oregon Pinot Noir, New Zealand Cabernet and Pinot Noir, Oloroso and Cream sherries, Bual and malmsey Maderias

 

57╟F / 14╟C Chinon, Bourgueil, northern Italian and Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, Valpolicella, young Chianti

 

54╟ √ 55╟F / 12 √ 13╟C Young Beaujolais, red Sancerre, Bardolino, Lago di Caldaro, young Sanish and Portuguese reds, vin de pays

 

50╟F / 10╟C California and Australian Chardonnay, Sauternes, top white Côte d'Or Burgundy, sweet German Wines, Rhine and Mosel Kabinett and Spätlese, Tokay, Australian liqueur Muscat, Italian oaked Chardonnay, oaked white Rioja, Fino and Amontillado Sherries, sercial Maderia, white Port

 

48╟F / 9╟C Good white Pessac-Léognan and Graves, north-eastern Italian whites, Washington State Chardonnay, Chilean Chardonnay, Australian Semillon, New Zealand Chardonnay

 

46╟F / 8╟C Alsace, Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise and mâconnais whites, dry German wines, Franken wines, Austrian Riesling, English wines, Australian Reisling, Cabernet and grenache rosé

 

45╟F / 7╟C Good Champagne and Sparkling wine, Sancere, new York State, Chilean and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

 

43╟F / 6╟C White Bordeaux, Muscadet, Anjou, other Sauvignons, Asti, unoaked white Roja

 

41╟F / 5╟C Qba German wines, Soave, young Spanish and Portuguese whites, Vinho Verde, Swiss Chasselas, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, cheap rosé

 

36╟ √ 39╟F / 2 √ 4╟C Inexpensive sparkling wines

 

Preserve Wine in an Open Bottle

 

Wine is pretty delicate once you've opened it. These suggestions will help you keep your wine fresh as long as possible.

 

Steps:

  1. Heat is the number one enemy of open wine, as it begins to oxidize. Keep wine in the refrigerator after opening to slow the oxidation process. Recorked wine should last two to three days in the refrigerator.
  2. For longer storage, purchase a wine stopper and pump. You can find this invaluable contraption at any serious wine store, home kitchen supply store or on the shopping list.
  3. Place the stopper in the top of the wine bottle and pump the air out using the pump. The stopper forms an airtight seal to keep air out indefinitely.
  4. Buy a canister of preservative gas for another (though less effective) way to preserve open wine. Spray the gas into the wine bottle and then quickly place the cork back in the bottle. The gas forces the air out of the bottle.

 

Tips;

Ø      Remember that oxidized wine will not hurt you in any way; it just tastes funny. Oxidized wine is perfect for cooking, so certainly don't pour it out.

Ø      Save Wine in Half Bottles; Keep a couple half bottles (375 ml.) handy for storing leftover wine. This will greatly diminish the air space left in the bottle. Store wine in the fridge. Bring red wine back to room temperature in a cool (not too warm) water bath.

Ø      Wine can be purchased in a pack of 4 187 ML bottles. These little bottles are ideal for storage of wine from the unfinished larger bottles. They come with screw top lids.

Ø      Freezing wine; If you're going out of town and don't want to pour an unfinished bottle of wine down the drain, cork it tightly and freeze it. Of course, this isn't a good idea for a very costly wine, but your "vin ordinaire" will be perfectly drinkable after you defrost it. Also, wine expands when it freezes, so make certain that the bottle isn't full or it will break in the freezer.

 

FOUR EASY STEPS TO TASTING WINE

It's always best to order your food first and don't be shy to ask for your waiter or sommelier's opinion. Remember that the best wines to choose in a restaurant are usually the lesser-know ones, such as reds from Languedoc and the Loires, Rioja from Spain and many Italian wines.

1. When your bottle arrives, check the label for the following: vintage, name of the wine and producer.

2. Check the temperature of the bottle. Most people make the mistake of serving white wine too cold and red wine too warm. If the bottle is too warm, ask for an ice bucket to chill both whites and reds.

3. Make sure that each bottle is opened in front of you and that red wines are decanted at the table. Decanting is necessary to open up the wine and release the aroma.

4. Check the appearance of the wine when it is poured. Whether white or red, the wine should be clear and bright. Then take a sniff. The wine should smell clean and fresh. "Don't forget to swirl it around the glass to release the aromatic compound into the air space," says Martin Hudson. Finally, take a sip. Roll the wine around the tongue so it reaches all your taste buds and swallow. The wine should have no off-flavours. Note if there is any lingering aftertaste.
Though this ritual needn't be a big production, don't be afraid or embarrassed to take your time. If anything is wrong, be sure to speak up immediately
.