Posts Tagged ‘white’

White from white.

 

Much as we admire the op art of Bridget Riley, the films of Francois Truffaut and the frocks of Mary Quant, sometimes we grow tired of black and white. Two decidedly colorful champagne styles have overstated their case for decades. Champagne labelled blanc de blancs literally means ‘’white from whites” which is to indicate the wine is a white colour made from white grapes. Actually the wines should be dubbed jaune de verts because they are pale yellow and made from green hued grapes. By law in Champagne, blanc de blancs can only be produced from chardonnay and most other sparkling wine producers around the world follow this tradition as well.

Blanc de blancs is the new kid in Champagne, having been around only about 85 years of Champagne’s three century history. The first blanc de blancs was produced in 1920 by Eugèn-Aimé Salon, the founder of the highly collectible house of Salon. Two decades later, Taittinger launched its beloved blanc de blancs, Comtes de Champagne, and the rest is history. Blanc de blancs is now produced by most of the famed Champagne houses including Billecart-Salmon, Deutz, Charles Heidsieck, Jacquesson, G.H. Mumm, Bruno Paillard, Philipponat, Pol Roger, Louis Roederer and Ruinart amongst others on the Hong Kong market. Salon and Krug (Krug Clos du Mesnil) produce full-bodied blanc de blancs, but otherwise expect blanc de blancs to be light, dry and elegant. Its ethereal character and graceful finesse makes blanc de blancs a superb aperitif and ideal partner with seafood and fish. But don’t drink these wines when young as they’ll take the enamel off your teeth. Blanc de blancs requires at least 2 fashion cycles to mature, developing admirable character and complexity about 8-10 years from their vintage date.

 

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on the rise ...

On the rise …

 

It used to be the drink reserved for a hot summer’s day but now consumers are increasingly turning to Rose wine throughout the year with sales up 10 per cent in the last 13 years.

Rose now accounts for a record one in eight bottles of wine bought in supermarkets and off-licences, up from one in 40 in the year 2000.

Sales of rose wine in shops are currently worth £646 million in Britain, nearly £1.8 million a day, according to figures from market analysts Nielsen.

While growth in rose wine buying has slowed in recent years – attributed to poor summer weather – experts believe it is becoming a drink that is enjoyed all year round.

It is especially popular among women drinkers on a night out or sharing a bottle at home with friends.

Some winemakers have specifically targeted women drinkers by making less strong varieties with a typical alcohol by volume level of nine or 10 per cent, compared with other wines which can be up to 14 per cent in some cases.
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The wine trade’s recent rhapsody in pink has resulted in a rosé marketing binge which can confuse as well as entice.

Not so long ago, rosé was just a swimming pool wine: slippy and thirst-quenching, a frivolous herald of summer weather. Then it became popular. We all started to drink pink, even the French, who don’t just knock back getting on for twice as much rosé as they do white wine, but also more rosé than they make: over a third of the pink wine produced on the planet is consumed in France.

 
Now rosé is also chic. And as always along with chic comes prestige, high prices – and Brangelina, whose 6,000-bottle release of the first vintage of rosé from their Château Miraval bolt-hole in Provence (€105/£88 for a six-bottle case) sold out within five hours when it went online earlier this month.

 
Oh la la. Does rosé just have delusions of grandeur or is it actually grand? You can now buy the still stuff in (increasingly expensive thanks to the cost of the glass) yacht-christening sizes: magnums, jeroboams, clanking great nine-bottle-big methuselahs. Pink champagne, which once had all the class of a hen-night stretch limousine, is now super-smart – and super-expensive.

 
And then there’s the performance of flogging rosé “en primeur” à la Brangelina, often before the wine has even been bottled, for all the world as if this pale-pink mayfly of a wine were a fancy first growth or limited-production burgundy – which seems presumptuous beyond belief.

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Super Sexy, Drew Barrymore, releases wine label.

Super Sexy, Drew Barrymore, releases wine label.

 

Meet Drew Barrymore, the expanding solo retail brand.


The 37-year-old actress, who has spent her lifetime performing, announced this week that she has undertaken lines of wine and cosmetics.

“I just want to do the things that you actually do in life, which is drink wine and play with makeup,” she told OK! magazine in an interview posted Thursday. “It took years… to make both of these brands.”
Barrymore Wine, which launched itself with a Pinot Grigio, was created to honor her family, she said on the label’s website. In promotional copy highlighted by Buzzfeed, she pokes fun at “Real Housewives of New York” star Ramona Singer, who has also launched a Pinot Grigio: “Move over Ramona Singer, you’re so yesterday’s news… let the “Real” Stars, not reality stars, show you how to drink Pinot Grigio!”

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Wines being aged in a cellar.

Wines being aged in a cellar.

 

Wines have changed and so have our palates

My greatest wine dream—and I’ll bet it’s yours, too—was a wine cellar. Not just the actual cool-temperature space, but one that was filled. I dreamed of a cellar so full that I could easily forget about whole cases of wine for years at a time, the better to let them age to a fantasized perfection.

That dream came true. It took me years—decades, really—to achieve. And it cost me a disproportionate amount of my limited and precious discretionary income, especially when I was only just starting out as a writer. I was motivated, obsessed even, by a vision of what might be called futuristic beauty. How soaringly beautiful it would be in 15 or 20 years!

I wasn’t wrong—then. But I wouldn’t be right for today. What’s changed? Surely me, of course. I’ve had decades of wine drinking to discover that my fantasized wine beauty only rarely became a reality. But I had to find that out for myself. And I’m glad I did.

But it isn’t all personal, either. In recent years it’s become obvious that an ever greater number of wines that once absolutely required extended aging no longer do.

Simply put, most of today’s fine wines—not all, mind you—will reach a point of diminishing returns on aging after as few as five years of additional cellaring after release. Stretch that to a full 10 years of additional aging and I daresay you will have embraced fully 99 percent of all the world’s wines, never mind how renowned or expensive.

I can hear you already. What about this famous red Bordeaux? Or that fabled red Burgundy? What about grand cru Chablis? Or a great Brunello di Montalcino? Or Barolo?
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A distinctive eucalypt smell makes Australian reds easy to spot in a blind tasting. But how does it get into the wines?

 

mint-info0

 

Would you like some mint in your cabernet? Or perhaps a dash of eucalypt in your shiraz? If so, you’ll need a vineyard near eucalyptus trees and Australia has plenty of those on offer, endowing the country’s red wines with a distinctly minty character.

The aromatic compound that causes this character is called 1,8-cineole. First identified by a German scientist in 1884, it is the main component found in the oil from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. But to this day, nobody has quite fathomed out its journey from tree to bottle.

There have been conflicting theories. A French study suggested that the compound originated in eucalyptus trees surrounding vineyards and was airborne, while an Italian group proposed that aromatic compounds in grapes, known as terpenes, were the creators of 1,8-cineole.

In an attempt to get to the heart of the issue, the Australian Wine and Research Institute (AWRI) in Adelaide set out to confirm just why so many of the country’s cabernet sauvignon and shiraz-based wines are affected. In a study of 190 wines, it found that the existence of eucalyptus trees near grapevines can influence the concentration of the compound. The closer the trees, the higher the concentration of the minty smell.

Digging deeper, the AWRI then discovered that the machine harvesting of rows close to eucalyptus trees was likely to result in leaves from the trees being mixed in with the bins of grapes. Among their key findings, the scientists reported that even hand harvesting could “result in a surprising number of eucalyptus leaves in the picking bins.” From their experiments, they concluded that the “presence of eucalyptus leaves and, to a lesser extent, grape-vine leaves and stems in the harvested grapes” were the “main contributor to 1,8-cineole concentrations in the wine.”

But that didn’t explain how even meticulous producers, who remove the eucalyptus leaves from their grapes before processing the fruit, still end up with a minty smell in their cabernets. The answer, it appears, can be found in the… read on

A new study has found that darker and heavier bottles can protect the quality of white wine.

 

The research conducted at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) at Charles Sturt University (CSU), in collaboration with Dr Daniel Dias at The University of Melbourne, examined the impact of light on the quality of white wine, with the ultimate aim to improve its shelf life.

Lead researcher, Dr Andrew Clark said, “A series of experiments dating back to 2008 have attempted to better understand the impact of light on several white wine components that have previously not been investigated. The components were tartaric acid, which is a major organic acid in wine, and iron, a metal ion found at low concentrations in all wines.

“Although not well understood in wine, these same agents were in fact used as photographic emulsions by the pioneers of photography in the mid-1800s.

“We have shown that a chemical process, known as iron (III) tartrate photochemistry, can adversely affect white wine as it may… read on