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July 2019

Why are Wine Bottles Dark?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 16 Views No comments

Ever read a review where they spoke about the rich red color of the wine only to find it bottled in a dark glass bottle. I use to wonder why wine didn’t come in clear bottles so we can see how good it looks. Sometimes you can tell if a white wine is bad by the darkness of it as compared to other bottles.

So I did a little research and found out many interesting things about the color of the bottle. There is a reason why they recommend a wine cellar or cave to store your wine bottles and that is because the conditions are cool and dark.

Most colored bottles have UV filters that prevent the sunlight from degrading and prematurely aging your wine. You will find a majority of red wines come in colored bottles for this reason.

Now many of the colored bottles are produced from tradition and so they follow the colors that have always been used. No matter what color the bottle is, test has proven that a darker bottle helps protect the degradation.

I believe you can find a similar argument with beer as well. Many of the bottles have distinct shapes for the style of wine they are. It is pretty easy to determine the style of wine and where it originated just from the shape and color of the bottle.

So I hope this is as informative as it was to write it. Thanks again and as always, enjoy.

Further reading: Which is Drier, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio?

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Which is Drier, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 19 Views No comments

White wine is generally labeled into two categories labeled dry or sweet. To answer a question of which white wine is drier is very hard to answer due to the complexity and characteristics of the wines. Dry wines tend to have more complex flavors, higher alcohol, and less acidity than sweet wines. To explore the answer more in depth, we must define the characteristics of each varietal.

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is also found by the name Pinot Gris sometimes. This wine is generally light and crisp and usually paired with simple light meals. Some Pinot Grigio’s are very dry with hints of natural citrus and apple flavors. Pinot Gris grapes mature early and thrive in cool climates. Now how dry this wine is depends on the region and wine making style. This is where the answer gets a little tricky. While some Pinot Grigio’s appear to be drier due to fermentation and are high in alcohol, others may appear sweeter due to early maturation with higher sugar levels. So depending on the region and it is possible to have a Pinot Grigio that seems a bit sweeter.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a very neutral grape and the flavors it most commonly have are from the influences of Oak and Terroir. Many of the North American Chardonnays appear to have more Oak and vanilla hints than their French counterparts. This hint of vanilla and the oak can make the Chardonnay have a buttery, nutty feel to it which people may generally mistaken for sweetness. Chardonnay is world renown for being added to champagnes and many white burgundys out of France.

So the matter is that since they are both dry then which one is drier? That is why it is hard to answer but in general, Chardonnay is the drier of the two although it is possible to have a Pinot Grigio that may be dry as well.

I think the best way to decide is to pair it with food. Chardonnays are great with heavy hearty meals while Pinot Grigio’s are great with light dishes and seafood. So hopefully this article helps a little. As always,drink well my friends.

Further reading: Where do I Find Wine Recommendations?

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Where do I find Wine Recommendations?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 8 Views No comments

Besides learning the wine lingo and learning how to taste wine, it is not uncommon for many new wine drinkers to ask where to find good wine recommendations. As vast as the wine industry is, there is a good answer for that. There are many blogs as well as fun and interesting comments on wine on the internet. Some of the advice you receive online is sometimes inconsistent so one of my recommendations is to check out reputable wine publications. There are some major magazines and online sites that have accurate descriptions and even a rating system.

Wine spectator was founded first as a tabloid newspaper in 1976. Created by Bob Morrisey, it was later sold to the current publisher Marvin R. Shanken. It was around 1981 when they created the Restaurant Award Program that reviewed restaurants and rated them in three categories. It publishes 15 issues per year and includes articles, tasting notes, and wine ratings.

The Wine Advocate was created by Robert M. Parker Jr. and publishes bimonthly. The first issue was published in 1978 and was originally called The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate. Robert Parker introduced a Point quality scale which had a major impact on the wine industry. Robert M. Parker originally studied law until 1984 when his publication made enough money for him to quit. He gained international popularity when he predicted that a 1982 Bordeaux wine was highly rated.

Wine Enthusiast is another great publication created in 1988 by Adam and Sybil Strum. Reaching 680,000 readers with great wine and spirit reviews as well as additional wine lifestyle content, Wine Enthusiast also has a website with great wine information.

These are some of the major players in rating and recommending wine. All the publications not only give you great recommendations but also have articles describing tastes and characteristics of grape varietals. Check them out online or pick up the magazine from your local newsstand and enjoy.

Further Reading: What Wines are Good to Use for Cooking?

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What Wine is Good to use for Cooking?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 6 Views No comments

I remember my mom always telling me that if you can’t drink the wine then don’t cook with it. It is funny because I am reminded of her sayings every time I go to the supermarket and see the five dollar bottles of wine in the beer section. I think this saying which is used by many has some truth to it. One of the facts to remember is that when you add wine to a pan, the only thing that cooks out is the alcohol. The flavor of the wine is still in the dish so it would be wise to pick some thing worth drinking. The cheap cooking wines you often find in the supermarket and sometimes the dollar store actually have a lot of sodium which could be bad for your diet.

The unknown rules for cooking

One thing you should do is to think of wine as an ingredient that plays some importance as the other ingredients. For instance, you aren’t going to use an artificial cheese or powder for your mac and cheese recipe and so the same consideration should be taken with the wine.

It isn’t wise to use a really expensive wine but you shouldn’t use a really cheap wine that might spoil your meal. There are some average wines that are priced reasonably and are descent to cook with. Now the main thing to remember and most important is to have fun. Experiment with different varietals.

A little chardonnay in the chicken alfredo or a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon in the lasagna sauce. Choosing a wine is similar to food pairing in that a light bodied wine should be used for light dishes and a dry heavy wine should be used for hearty heavy meals.

Red wines are good for pasta dishes, sauces, and red meats. White wines are gooood for cream sauces or with poultry and seafood dishes. I usually recommend a dry white wine because the flavors or sweetness of the wine might counteract with the seasonings in the dish so to play it safe, I use a nice dry base to start out with.

If you use a wine in your recipe than your wine that you will serve with the food should be the same varietal. So if you make an Alfredo sauce with Chardonnay, then you don’t want to serve a Cabernet Sauvignon with it.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a wine that you are just going splash in your dish and always experiment. The different characteristics of wine can enhance and add character to your food. Have fun and enjoy and save the expensive wines to serve with the food and not in it. As always enjoy!!!

Further reading: What is Noble Rot?

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What is Noble Rot?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 14 Views No comments

Botrytis Cinerea or also known by the name Noble Rot is a form of grey fungus which grows on certain types of fruits.

This fungus is brought on by moist, wet conditions, at which point is known as Grey Rot. The Noble Rot fungus sometimes actually helps wine in producing a sweeter wine. Grapes usually become infected when they are ripe. Once infected and exposed to drier conditions, the grapes become raisined and this is known as Noble Rot. Some wine producers use this technique purposely to produce sweeter wines.

The origin of using infected grapes can date back to around 1570 but the vineyard classifications began in 1730 in the Tokaj region in Southeastern Slovakia. Many crops are lost to Grey Rot but many distinctive sweet dessert wines like Tokay, Tokaji, Aszu, and Sauternes are among those produced from the Noble Rot grapes.

The name Botrytis cinera comes from Latin and translates to “Grapes like ashes” which is in reference to their color. The fungus removes water from the grapes leaving high amounts of sugars, acids, and minerals. The more concentrated the product is the more intense flavors it has. Besides grapes, Noble Rot affects many other plants like strawberries, tomatoes, etc.

It has been shown that field workers who pick the Noble Rot grapes can be subjected to a rare form of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (winegrower’s lung).

Popular myths

There are many stories behind the practice of making wine from Noble Rot which include a story about a Riesling producer at Schloss Johannisberg in the Rheingau region who awaited the approval of the estate owner before cutting the grapes. The owner was Heinrich von Bibra, bishop of Fulda and he sent his abbey to give the message to harvest but was robbed en route to deliver the message and so the harvest was lost to the rot and given to the peasants who made a sweet delicious wine from these grapes known as Spatlese or “late harvest” wine.

Further reading: What is Full Bodied Wine?

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What is a Full Bodied Wine?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 10 Views No comments

The body of a wine describes the textures or the weight of the wine and how it feels in the mouth. It is more a feeling that comes from a combination of elements like acidity, glycerol, extract, alcohol, etc. A full bodied wine has a complex well round and rich flavor that lingers in the mouth.

Some people describe it as a dry puckering type feeling from the tannins interacting with the saliva in your mouth. Red wines and white wines can have full bodies. Some of the red wines associated with full bodies is Cabernet Sauvignon, and French Bordeaux. Dry whites include Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Usually aged in wood and aged. Some dessert wines like Sauternes are considered full bodied because the extra sugar adds weight to the texture. It is hard to judge the body of a wine since it pertains to ones wine feel because everyone has their own opinions and feelings.

Smell, taste, legs, and viscosity can be seen and are more a physical attribute as compared to a feeling like judging the body of a wine. Some wines that are higher in alcohol can be considered full bodied.

To compare it to another product, I will use milk. A full bodied wine would be similar in texture to cream or half and half, a medium body would be similar to regular milk and a light bodied wine would be like 2% milk which is more watery and thin.

There are certain recommendations on what foods go well with wine. This is not an exact science but could help bring out the flavors of your meal. An overpowering wine will ruin the food is not properly paired.

The general rule is Full bodied wines should pair well with hearty meats, steak, beef, heavy pastas, etc. If the meal is big and hearty then the wine should be as well.

If you want to have a salad or some seafood, something light then a good light bodied wine will help bring out the flavors of the meal. I remember having a nice Vinho Verde with a salad and it made the green bell pepper so lively and it tasted so intense from the wine complimenting the flavor.

The best way to learn about body is to try different wines. Find the differences between mouth feel and you will be able to determine the body of the wine. Hopefully this article will help you learn a little more and as always, enjoy.

Further reading: What is a Decanter and Why Should I Use One?

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What is a Decanter and Why Should I Use One?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 27 Views No comments

Decanters have a long history associated with them. Similar to a carafe, decanters have played an important role in serving wine. Dating back to the Roman times, decanters were filled with wine from an Amphora, which is a vase like ceramic jug with two handles and served from the table. The decanters were easier to handle by one person or servant. glass decanters were pioneered by the Romans but due to limited amount of glass, silver, gold and bronze were used. The Venetians also used glass decanters during the Renaissance period. The design style of decanters allowed for more air to interact with the wine. They usually have a long slender neck and wide body. In 1730 the British glass makers added a stopper to limit the exposure to air. The designs haven’t changed much since then.

Multipurpose

Decanters add many factors to their usage. One of the main reasons was that the Amphora’s contained sediment on the bottom of them from the aging wine and by using a decanter; you can filter out these sediment particles to prevent serving them in a person’s glass. Not only was filtering a factor but the size and shape of the decanters allowed it easier to pour.

Another factor was that the wine was aerated. When you aerate a wine and allow it to breathe it mimics the effects of swirling the wine in a glass. The stimulation and movement of the molecules in wine trigger the release of more aromas. Aerating is more beneficial to wines containing more tannin and is very tannic in nature.

Debate

Decanting wine and the effectiveness of using a decanter is debatable and many people have mixed reviews. While many claim that prolonged exposure to air can diffuse a wine more than stimulate, other believe there are benefits. Some also believe that although great for very tannic wines, delicate wines like Pinot Noir and Chianti can be harmed through decanting.

In the end it is a matter of opinion. I personally like the look and feel of the decanters and it adds a little class to the wine serving process. The aesthetic value of the decanter adds that certain flare to a party or get together. Decanters aren’t just for wine. Many use decanters to hold their Single Malt Scotches, Cognacs and Whiskeys. There are many styles and designs to choose from.

Further reading: Weddings and Champagne: History & Customs

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​Weddings and Champagne: History & Customs

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 9 Views No comments

There is so much tradition associated between Champagne and Weddings. Toasting has become second nature with celebrations and special occasions. From commemorations, retirements, housewarmings, and even launching boats, champagne has been the wine of choice for celebrating.

The history of this beloved drink goes back to Roman times. They were the first to plant these vines in the Northeastern part of France. Known before medieval times, Monks would produce Champagne for use in their rituals and sacraments.

French kings were traditionally anointed in Reims where this lovely wine was served in coronation ceremonies. The oldest recorded Sparkling wine was made by Benedictine monk’s in1531 and it was called Blanquette de Limoux.

The name was from an English scientist Christopher Merret who documented an additional fermentation from added sugar in a paper he presented to the Royal Society where he named it methode champenoise in 1662. Great marketing which included copyrighting the name Champagne and creating strict regulations made Champagne popular among the common folk who could “live like a king” or at least drink like one with Champagne.

Laurent Perrier boasted in 1890 that Champagne was the favorite among King Leopold of Belgium, George1 of Greece and many other dukes and noble knights. He gave the image of affordable luxury which led to its association with celebrations.

The Toast

There are many mysteries surrounding the origins of the toast. Some apocryphal stories talk about poisoning and by clicking or touching the glasses together would cause the drink to spill into each other's cup.

Other stories include an ancient practice of placing a burnt piece of toast on top of the wine which took away some acidity makes the wine more drinkable.

Even in medieval times there was a toasting cup with two handles called Coupe de Mariage which a couple would share during a marriage and a small piece of toast would be placed on the wine to ensure a healthy life. Raising your glass and saying a few kind words have become customary.

Served in long flutes to keep the bubbles fresh and a long stem to keep the wine chilled, weddings and other ceremonies would not be the same without the Champagne. As always I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Further reading: Which is Drier Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot?

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Which is Drier Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot?

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 9 Views No comments

Many people come into the store and are interested in a nice red wine but aren’t too knowledgeable about the varietals and the styles of red Wine. There are so many varietals and styles of wine to choose from that unless you have some information or knowledge of wine, it could be difficult to find a nice bottle of wine.

Let’s first start with the term dry. Every wine has Tannins in it which is a polyphenolic compound that binds to proteins. Plants produce tannins to keep animals from eating their leaves by leaving a bitter astringent taste.

The good thing about tannins is that they give certain characteristics to wine. The astringent puckering feeling in red wine is actually the tannins interacting and binding with the proteins in your saliva which give a full bodied or dry feeling in wine, so a dry wine would be a wine with lots of tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon has more tannins than Merlot so technically, the Cabernet Sauvignon would be the drier wine of the two. There are instances where a Merlot can be drier than a Cabernet and it all depends really on the winemaker who produced the wine. What also determines the dryness of a wine is the harvest time.

One way to make a sweet wine is to harvest the grapes as late as possible so they could condense their sugars. As red wine ferments or when the yeast eats up the sugars and leaves the byproduct of alcohol, sometimes if the process is ended early there will be a lot of sugar left in the wine which would make it sweeter.

If the grapes are harvested early, the grapes will have fewer sugars and more acids, making them dryer. So there are many factors involved when determining how dry a wine will be.

If you are just starting out, I would go with a nice Merlot. It is an all around wine that isn’t too dry and isn’t too sweet. Merlot can be paired with many foods and is really a good bottle of wine. While the flavor profile is similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot tends to be less distinctive and slightly more herbaceous overall in taste and aroma.

Hopefully this article sheds some light on your next selection. You can find many great values and wide selection at TheLiquorStore.com

Further Reading: Tannins: Overview, Benefits, Side Effects, & More

Tannins: Overview, Benefits, Side Effects, & More

By gitka gitka 10 months ago 28 Views No comments

Any wine connoisseur is going to run into the term Tannins when drinking wine. Although the word is freely used in many wine circles, some may not know the exact meaning of the word. The word Tannin has quite a history, originally coming from the word tanning. Tannins or tanning was a term applied to the tanning and curing of animal skins. Tannins are located in plants and the extracted polyphenolic compounds bind well with proteins changing the properties. In plants, tannins act as a defense mechanism giving an unpleasant taste to its leaves to sway off herbivores. This process exists in grape vines and in wine.

Tannins found in wine are actually quite helpful in giving a distinctive taste to a wine. The pleasant combination of sugar, acidity and tannins can produce an amazing tasting wine. The next time you taste a dry red wine, it is most likely due to the amount of tannins in the wine. The tannins bind to the saliva proteins of the mouth giving you that pucker type dry feeling. They can also add a little bitterness which can compliment a wine with a lot of sugar or acid. Not only do the tannins give quality to wine but it also gives the ability of aging. You may come across a review that might say drinks young or will be better in 1-2 years. Terms like these are based on the tannins. Wine sometimes when first bottled may be big and very tannic or astringent, but as the years go by, the tannins soften and give great quality to many red wines. So the real secret to producing great red wines is based on how you control your tannins. There is also research that might suggest that the tannins affect the color of wine as well.

Health Benefits

The newest craze and research is on Resveratrol which is a molecule found in the skin of grapes. There is a host of health effects promoting the consumption of full bodied wines. The benefits include prolonging the life of obese mice, as well as benefiting the cardiovascular system. To be a bit more scientific, oligomeric procyanidins also known as flavanoids are in fact condensed tannins which suppress production of peptides which are responsible for hardening arteries. Although more research is needed in this area, it was shown that red wine has reduced the risks of stroke and heart attacks and Alzheimer’s disease. Other reports say that tannic acid can help maintain normal kidney function, and act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the stomach possessing inflammatory properties helping bowel movements.

The Downside

The good definitely outweighs the bad but there are a few downsides to tannins. Tannins are located in everything from chocolate to coffee, wine and many other products. One downside is that tannins love to stain which is why dentist recommend limiting coffee or wine intake. Another bad downside is that tannins block the body’s absorption of Iron so it is suggested to drink your tea or coffee after a meal to prevent throwing off your vitamin consumption. Some people also complained that tannins are associated with migrane headaches but the research so far hasn’t associated any real evidence of that.

So to sum up the following article: Tannins are great for your health and can give great qualities to wine and many doctors are recommending a glass a day for many in hopes of improving their cardiovascular health. More research is needed to find the full effects of tannins in the body so go enjoy a glass of wine and start drinking your way to good health.

Further reading: Summer Wine Recommendations

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