Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The wine microchiller is the handiest contraption I have ever seen. Any restaurant or bar that serves a lot of white wine by the glass will definitely appreciate the wine microchiller. If you have a lot of parties or entertain a lot of people in your home, you may also definitely consider the purchase of a wine microchiller.
The microchiller resembles a restaurant ice cream freezer, only a lot more pleasing to the eye. The microchiller is able to chill up to seven bottles of white wine at the same time. All you have to do is place them in and you have easy access to the bottles every time you need to pour a glass. The wine microchiller also holds up to five bottles of champagne, which is great for weddings and anniversary parties. Bottles are chilled in ten minutes, so you no longer have to wait hours for your bottles to chill in the refrigerator.To read the full article, please continue reading here...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Confused? Wine tasting is harder to describe than it is to do. We suggest just tasting as many different wines as possible. Taste, experience, remember, and above all, enjoy!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Wine tasting notes are usually made to help us evaluate a wine to see whether we like it or to evaluate how a wine is progressing in aging. But what kind of notes do you want to make? What are you looking for when tasting a wine? Here are a few pointers, although there are no hard and fast rules.
1) The nose knows: nose, bouquet, aroma, or fragrance
These are all terms that describe how the wine smells to you. Does it remind you of a flower scent? Then it can be called "floral". It may be "grassy" like a freshly mown lawn. Or it may come across as fruity, like a cherry or strawberry or melon might smell. Imagine yourself in nature and see if the scent is something growing around you, like eucalyptus. Or imagine yourself in the produce section of your local supermarket. Does the wine make you feel like you're standing near a bushel of pears or oranges? Or does it take you somewhere else in the grocery store, i.e. reminding you of nuts, chocolate, coffee or butterscotch? Or it may just smell like grapes! Write down whatever associations, if any, you sense. If it helps to write down "Smells like vinyl car seats on a hot day" then write that down. The basic idea is to help you remember the scent.
Some varieties of wine grapes are known for their aromatic aromas. Viognier, for example, usually has a very floral scent reminiscent of exotic flowers like gardenia, freesia, or jasmine often with a hint of ripe peaches or apricots. Chardonnay, on the other hand, is often described as appley, nutty, toasty, and sometimes pear-like or even pineappley depending on where it is grown. In general, winegrapes have a tendency to pick up the flavors of the soil and whatever is in the surrounding environment as they grow in the vineyard. So you may encounter the scent of roses, jasmine, violets or eucalyptus and it will not be your imagination.
Anything that tastes moldy or like a chemical is an off-odor. These are BAD odors that usually mean the wine has undergone some undesirable chemical or microbiological change. Forget that wine! Dump it.
Sometimes you will find that a wine doesn't have a nose or bouquet at all. It can still be a good, very drinkable wine albeit most award-winning wines have both a nice bouquet and great taste.
What's the difference between aroma and bouquet? Aroma is present in the grapes and in the wine from the time it is first made. Bouquet is an additional, pleasant characteristic that develops only in the bottle, many months or years after bottling.
Tasting for Sweetness - The first thing you will probably notice is the relative sweetness or dryness of the wine. This is determined by the amount of natural sugar in the wine. Is it pleasant or overbearingly sweet, i.e. cloying? High alcohol content also makes wine taste sweet.
Tasting for Acidity - Another sensation you will notice almost immediately is the tartness or acidity of the wine. Just think of the difference between grapefuit juice and water. Acid may sound harsh but it is very important in making wine taste crisp and fresh. If there is too much acid, the wine will taste bitter and unpleasently sharp. If there is not enough acid, the wine will taste flabby and flat, like day-old beer in a glass.
Tasting for Tannin - If you are drinking red wine, you may also notice the tannins in the wine. Tannin is a chemical that comes from the stalks, pips and skins of red grapes. It tastes astringent and "mouth-drying", and makes your mouth "pucker". There are many kinds of tannin. Some tannins taste bitter. You're probably familiar with tannin if you drink strong black tea. Tannins are most noticeable in young red wines. Over time, as wines age, tannins "soften" and give the wine a certain full-bodied weightiness that is very enjoyable. (Tannin is also found in the bark of trees, where the taste protects the trees against insect infestations.)
Tasting for Alcohol - Alcohol, of course, is found in all wine. A moderate amount of alcohol in wine adds "sweetness" to the taste. If the alcohol is too high and out of balance with the tannin and fruit, and so on, then the wine will feel hot in your mouth --like a dash of Tabasco-- and difficult to drink.
Tasting for Fruit and Varietal Characteristics - The more tasting you do, the more acquainted you will become with the characteristic flavors of the major varietal grapes. With experience, it becomes easier to discern the flavors of the various varietal grapes -- Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignong Blanc, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon.
The question is how prominent the fruit flavors are in the wine. Young wines are often "fruity". Fruit flavors are usually considered a positive component in the quality of the wine. If you can't smell some kind of fruit in the wine (cherry, raspberry, peach, melon, mango, pineapple or whatever), then it is not a fruity wine.Fruit is often confused with sweetness but they are not even related. Sweetness in wine is determined by the amount of residual sugar left in the wine after fermentation. Dry wines with very low levels of residual sugar and no discernable sweetness can taste very fruity. Sweet wines can taste fruity or not. That is, 'fruit' may be present or absent but it has nothing to do with the sweetness of the wine.
Tasting for Body - Body is a tasting term referring to viscosity, thickness, consistency, or texture. A wine with "body" often has higher alcohol or sugar content than other wines. Tannin, also, is a major component of what we call "body" in wine.
A good way to comprehend the feeling of "body" or "weight" in wine is to think of milk. Recall the difference in "mouthfeel" between skim milk, whole milk, and heavy cream. Wines are usually classified as "light-, medium-, or full-bodied".
Tasting for Aftertaste - This is the sensation that lingers in your mouth just after swallowing a sip of wine. Aftertaste is important in wine tasting because it can reveal an extra attribute or a fault. Sometimes certain flavors become noticeable in the aftertaste, i.e. chocolate "in the finish". A long, pleasant aftertaste, where all the components of the wine are in balance is a sign of quality. On the other hand, an aftertaste is undesirable in sparkling wines and champagne which, ideally, should be crisp and clean with no lingering aftertaste at all.Overall Assessment - When the aftertaste is gone, ask yourself what your general impression is of the wine. Do you like it? Do all the components seem to be in balance? If you think the wine (especially young red wine) is too astringent, consider that it might improve and mellow or "open up" with age. Or is the wine ready to drink now? What kinds of food might go nicely with this wine? If you want to assign it a score of your own choosing, go ahead.
Woah, time really passed fast. I have been away for one week and the feeling of coming back to write about wine is so good.
Okay, let me talk about wine tasting this time round...
The point of wine tasting is simply to find wines that we will thoroughly enjoy. There's no right and wrong when it comes to wine tasting. Having said that, here are some basic tips that will be helpful for us to evaluate a new wine to see if it suit our taste.
- Start with a clear wine glass. The rim of the glass should bend inwards to help funnel aromas to the nose, and allow you to swirl without spilling on your tie.
- Now pour a little wine into your glass. An inch or less is best. If you are tasting several wines, begin with the lightest (sparkling wines, roses, then light whites followed by full-bodied whites) and progress to the heaviest (light reds to more full-bodied reds followed by dessert wines). This will help keep our taste buds more sensitive and so we can better appreciate each wine in the series. A sip of water between wines can also help preserve your palate.
- Notice the color of the wine. It often helps to hold the glass up to light or hold it against a white background, like a white napkin. The color can give you a clue as to the age of the wine. White wines generally gain color as they age. Red wines lose color. That is, young red wines are more red or burgundy while older wines tend to show a hint of tawny brown around the rim. Regardless of age, the colors of wine are just fun to see, ranging from pale yellow-green to ruby red to brick red-brown.
- Swirl the wine a couple of times by moving the glass in a circular motion.Holding the glass by its stem, instead of the bowl, allows you to swirl more easily. Swirling is done to aerate the wine and release vapors, evaporating from the sides of the glass, for you to smell.
- Then put your nose right over the rim of the wine glass and breathe in. Take note of the wine's aromas and bouquet.
- Take a sip, letting the wine spread across the tongue from front to back and side to side before swallowing. Notice the flavors and acidity of the wine. How silky or rough does the wine feel?
- Swallow a small amount if you wish to note any lingering "finish". But if you are tasting a number of wines in a winery tasting room, for example, your host will usually provide a large container for you to spit out the wine instead of swallowing. Everyone in the wine trade is accustomed to the swirl-sniff-sip-slosh-and-spit routine. No one wants an intoxicated taster or worse an intoxicated driver.
Monday, December 4, 2006
According to a study result published in the Nature Journal, British researchers have revealed that old fashioned red wines from the vineyards of France and Italy are helpful for protecting the heart. These wines contained high concentrations of 'oligomeric procyanidins', the antioxidants which are good for cardiovascular health.
The study compared red wines produced using traditional methods, from France and Italy to red wines produced using modern methods, from the U.S., Australia, Spain and South America.
Researchers from the William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary, University of London, said: "Procyanidins, compounds commonly found in red wine are good for your blood vessels and are probably one of the factors contributing towards the long life spans of the people from the southwest of France and Sardinia (Italy)."
In describing the difference between old and new methods of making wine, researchers say that the modern techniques used in creating new wines often only ferment the seeds and skins for no more than a week. That results in fewer procyanidins in the finished wine.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
According to an article titled Sherry Wines, this wine is from Jerez, Spain. The English discovered these wines and called them “jerries”. This wine is fortified with grape brandy. There are several Sherry-type wines that are produced outside of Spain. There are also a number of styles of sherry.
Sherry is made from three different types of grapes including the Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscat. Sherry-style wines that are made outside of Spain may include different varieties of wine.
Sherry is different from other wines because it is treated differently after it has been fermented. The wine is first fortified with grape brandy and then if it is to be the “fino” style of Sherry, the wine is fortified with yeast, which is allowed to grow on top. The “Oloroso” style of wine is fortified so that the wine is so strong that the yeast “flor” cannot grow on top.
Christopher Columbus may have been the first Spaniard to bring Sherry to the New World. Ferdinand Magellan is also responsible for transporting Sherry around the world. Sherry was better equipped to survive a ship journey as it is fortified.Well, I have learned something new today. Cool...