Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

We can only wish ...

We can only wish …

 

Let me be clear. I don’t make wine. I have never made wine. Everything I may know about making wine comes first from books and secondly from correlating what winemakers say about making wine with how their wines taste.

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of “learning”, and I can now say with full conviction that there is no one way to make wine.

I have heard all the theories, listened as winemakers proclaimed everything from biodynamics to barrel aging, from high acid to high approachability as the only answers, the “right” answers.

I have had to hold my tongue with some difficulty as winemaker after winemaker disparaged their peers whose wines I have praised in print. “Added a little water”? “Added acid”? “Used more than 25% new oak”? All verboten.
Read on …

(by Gemma Correll)

 

My sixth Wine Bloggers Conference was approached with trepidation. I’ve been questioning the utility of the semantics of “blogger” and “wine blogger” of late. Also, I knew nothing of Penticton, British Columbia. Finally, very few of my closer blogging-friends and colleagues would be in attendance.

The format was the same. Bring together “wine bloggers” in a wine region to discover that region, learn about wines from other parts of the world, explore their wine writing avocation amongst their peers and strengthen the camaraderie of the group. It turns out my trepidation was without merit. It was a very successful conference for me despite nearly coughing up my lungs with a nasty bout of the flu. I learned a lot this weekend.

1. Modern Greek Vin Santo is an amazing wine and should be discovered by all wine lovers.

2. Lungs can’t actually be “coughed up”, but you can exercise and tighten up your stomach muscles in the process of discovering it’s not possible.

3. Penticton, British Columbia really is a “must visit” for serious wine lovers, and its “Penticton Lakeside Resort” was the most beautiful venue yet for a Wine Bloggers Conference.

4. It would do all wine bloggers good to focus equally as much on the quality of their writing as on the extent of their wine knowledge.

 

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sw-lgflag

 
Swedish alcohol supplier said the country’s state-run liquor monopoly sent back 6,000 bottles of a Spanish wine because it tasted better than the samples.

Kare Hallden, chief executive officer of alcohol supplier Spruce Up, said state-run liquor store monopoly Systembolaget chose to stock Spanish albarino wine Fulget after choosing its samples over 50 competitors in March, The Local.se reported Friday.

However, Hallden said the store sent the 6,000 bottles back to the company in May because the wine delivered was “clearly better” than the March samples.

 

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Closures

A new wine cork that screws into the bottle is being unveiled. But why is there still so much snobbery in the battle between traditional cork and screw-top?

The sound is unmistakeable.

A scientist might talk about the explosive pop of a wine cork in terms of pressure or elasticity.

But for wine lovers, the distinctive creak and pop means something good is happening. It triggers associations – social intimacy, relaxation, nuanced aromas, celebration – that go far beyond just a slug of alcohol.

The unveiling this week of a new style of cork raises the question of why the traditional kind continues to dominate much of the wine world.

The Helix is opened with just a twist of the hand. No corkscrew is necessary as the top of the bottle has a thread inside.

The glass bottle and cork combination for wine is thought to have started in the 17th Century. But newer materials exist today that some argue are better suited for sealing a bottle than cork.

Screw caps and plastic corks have been embraced by producers fed up with wine becoming “corked” – the unpleasant musty taste, likened to wet dog, which is caused by tainted cork.

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Almost all table wines are vintage wines – meaning all their grapes were harvested in the same year. However, Australia, New Zealand and countries in the European Union are permitted to include a portion (15 per cent) of wine that is not from the specified vintage year.

Fortified and sparkling wines are often labelled non-vintage (NV), meaning that the grapes are blended from different vintage years in order to maintain a consistent “house style”. If you see a French Champagne labelled with a vintage year, it’s likely that the growing conditions produced such outstanding grapes that the producer was motivated to produce a single-vintage wine.

Weather conditions
So how does vintage affect the taste of wine? It’s mainly about the weather. Wine regions have their own micro-climates that influence many aspects of the grape-growing season. A good vintage year sees the right weather conditions produce a high-yielding crop, with perfectly ripe grapes that are neither too sweet nor too acidic. Creating this perfect balance of flavour is what determines a good vintage year and therefore a good – and sometimes great – quality wine that will age well.

The weather conditions during the year of ripening are important. For example, if it’s a particularly rainy season, the grapes can swell up and lose their flavour. They can also be at risk of developing fungal diseases that could potentially ruin the entire crop. Wet, rainy seasons generally produce wines with high acidity – not great for the ageing potential of the wine.

Frost is another risk factor for grape growers, especially in colder European countries. In some areas, the risk is so high that growers use heaters in the vineyards to keep their grapes warm.
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stiletto boot and mouse

 

While the empty bottles have long been gathered, the words continue to flow following the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference, which concluded just a few days ago, in Penticton, British Columbia.

The Wine Blogger’s Conference has run for six years now, and this year brought together over 200 bloggers who share their love of the ancient fare either in personal blogs or with paid gigs at magazines or newspapers. It’s an enormous networking opportunity, as well as a chance to personally meet growers and bottlers, who want to make media connections of their own, and to show appreciation.

It’s also a sign of just how much wine blogging’s combined and varied voice has grown lately. Increasingly, readers are adding what’s served up to their RSS feeds, as digital sommeliers help them figure out what wines go with life in general.

Wine bloggers are far more than individuals who toss one back then bandy about terms like “oaky” or “buttery”, “grassy” or “mellow” for the rest of us to decipher. They truly want to broaden the wine-tasting experiences of their readers, trying out perhaps lesser-known wines from around the globe, in search of unique flavors that vintners have brought forth through a variety of secretive techniques. Bloggers Peter and Nancy at Pull That Cork just recently covered their experience with wines from South Africa, while blending in a history of the wine-growing history of the Cape area.
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Winemakers in New Zealand are hailing the 2013 vintage as ‘one of the best in history’, with a record harvest 28% bigger than last year’s crop.

 

New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan described the summer as ‘outstanding’ with ‘near-perfect conditions for growing grapes’.

‘The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit-driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape-growing regions – 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.’

Nearly 350,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2013, a record volume up 5% on 2011 and 28% bigger than last year’s small crop, which left New Zealand short of wine to feed its expansion plans.

Key region Marlborough and key grape variety Sauvignon Blanc both had good years, with volumes up 33% and 26% respectively, while the Pinot Noir crop was 36% bigger than in 2012.
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Your money or your wine ...

Your money or your wine …

 

Need a loan? Why not offer up those thousand-dollar wines as collateral

The next time you need a loan, consider throwing in the vintage you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

According to Bloomberg News, Goldman Sachs accepted nearly 15,000 wine bottles as loan collateral from Andrew Cader, a former senior director of the bank’s specialist-trading unit. Loans are typically secured by assets like real estate, yachts, and artwork, but because of the low-seven-digit dollar market value of the wines, Goldman accepted the collection. Included in the mix of bottles, mostly from the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, is a 1929 bottle of Domaine de la Romaine Conti that would normally sell for nearly $4,000.
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French wine in a can?

French wine in a can?

 

Making its debut at the prestigious Vinexpo beginning Sunday in Bordeaux: French wine in a can!

Will Winestar’s single-serving cans create a riot in the hallowed halls of the international wine and spirits fair?  Maybe not.

The Paris-based company isn’t dealing in the generic swill those adorable single-serving bottles typically hold. Their wines are all A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Each 187-milliliter can (one-fourth the size of a typical 750-milliliter bottle) lists the wine estate, the appellation and the grape varietals as well as the vintage. Working with the European office of Ball Packaging, Winestar founder Cédric Segal developed a can with a coating inside “to make total isolation between the wine and the can.”

The first series hails from Château de L’Ille from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of southern France. The white is a blend of the local Rolle (Vermentino) grape, vintage 2011. The rosé is Syrah and Grenache, vintage 2012. And the red is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the 2011 vintage. The cans sell for about $3.30 to $4.

Segal says he got the idea when he was traveling in Asia and saw that Australia was selling quality wine there in cans. Why couldn’t that work just as well with French wines?

He realizes that the French have a very strong tradition with the bottle and doesn’t expect the can to be adopted immediately in France. “Most export markets, though, have already accepted the screw cap and synthetic cork, so it’s not such a big leap,” Segal said.

 

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Today I’d love to share 8 fun tips for drinking wine!

It’s nerdy, but I like learning etiquette tips (do you?) and thought you might like to hear these fascinating wine dos and don’ts before heading out to holiday parties and romantic dinners. Below, I wrote out the tips, and the genius Gemma Correll illustrated them. Here goes…

1. Fill red wine glasses 1/3 full, white wine glasses 1/2 full, and sparkling wine 3/4 full.

 
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