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The age old question of capping or corking gets some scientific scrutiny. The following are excerpts from an article by Rachel Ehrenberg on Science News.
“Don’t judge a wine by its cover. In a survey of the chemistry and flavor of pinot noir and chardonnay, consumers couldn’t discern wines capped with natural corks from screw caps, scientists reported March 25 at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society. The results suggest that the way its bottle is stopped has little if any effect on a wine’s flavor.
“Wine quality should really be judged by the wine, not the cork,” said Michael Qian of Oregon State University in Corvallis, who led the research. “The right kind of screw cap is just as good as a cork, or even better, because it is more consistent.”
The permeability of a wine’s cork determines the amount of oxygen that enters the wine, and this acts on other compounds that affect flavor. Some traditionalists assert that real corks are the only way to get just the right amount of healthy gas exchange needed for a flavorful wine, while screw caps are suffocating. But Qian’s survey found that wine was just as appealing to taste testers whether it was aged in bottles topped with screw caps or traditional corks. And instead of stifling the wine, one kind of screw cap and the synthetic cork actually did the opposite, allowing the wine to breathe too much."
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Dreadnought Wines Introduces “The Bacchus Bunch” – The Pittsburgh Branch Of The International Wine Century Club!Submitted by dreadnought on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 09:19.
For 30 years, Mike Gonze and Dreadnought Wines have represented boutique wineries from around the world, and have introduced wine lovers to a broad range of varietals. A varietal, is of course, a grape. Most folks have sipped a Chardonnay, a Merlot, a Cabernet or a Riesling. There are still many people out there who don’t understand that those names aren’t just a type of wine, but they are the names of the specific grapes used to make that wine.
But how about a Buttafuoco, Dzhani, or Ehrenfelser? These are grape varietals that may be more familiar to serious wine aficionados.
Several months ago, Dreadnought Wines discovered an international club for people who seek out different wines and grape varietals called The Wine Century Club. To join the club, which celebrated its 1st birthday on Friday, March 17th, one must have tasted at least 100 different grape varieties. It was founded a year ago by Deborah and Steve De Long for adventurous wine drinkers everywhere.
Just as the world of wine grapes is ever increasing, the club is also expanding rapidly. It began with 33 and now has 109 members from all over the world, including Finland, Georgia (USA and former USSR), Germany, Spain and Brazil. At the present rate of growth (330%) the club will surpass the readership of the Wine Advocate in five years and the population of China in just 12 years. Part of this growth was fueled by the introduction of the first local chapter of the Wine Century Club - Vino Cellars 100 - in Williamsburg, VA. Thanks to Heather Hatcher (Chapter President), Bill Bean (Chapter VP) and Paul Luchsinger (Chapter Secretary) and all its members for their initiative in what should be the first of many local chapters.
The newest Chapter will be here in Pittsburgh with “The Bacchus Bunch.”
For most people, becoming a Wine Century Club member means starting a quest. It is the very rare wine drinker who can sit down with the application and be able to check off 100 grapes with ease. But although the task of reaching 100 may appear daunting at first — and for most potential members, reaching the goal will indeed require some work — it can be very fun and rewarding.
For many years, Dreadnought has been introducing wine lovers to different grape varietals at their 1st and 3rd Friday Wine Events at their shop at 2013 Penn Avenue. And now this regular event series, as well as the many classes offered, can lead potential Bacchus Bunch Members toward their goal of reaching 100 grapes!
The first step for most potential members will be to simply check off those grapes that we have all drunk for years: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir; Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc… grapes that Mike Gonze would classify among the “Classic Varieties”. One needn’t think about specific wines and vintages that have been tasted. These are grapes we all KNOW that we’ve tried.
After that, simply reading down the list of grapes on the application form may jog the memory about many more wines. Depending upon where one has lived and traveled as a wine drinker, we’ll all likely remember more grapes we’ve had. Perhaps they’re not popular now, at least as varietals (some will remember the days when one would see French Colombard, Grey Riesling, and even Green Hungarian on shelves in the US), but they are wines we have tasted nonetheless.
At this point, you can begin the process of hunting for new grapes to try in stores and on wine lists. But there is another step one can take to potentially add a number of additional grapes. These would be called “discovered tastes.” Think about the wines you’ve drunk that don’t list any varietal names on the front of the bottle (and probably don’t have any on the back label either). Ever enjoyed a crisp Muscadet? Sipped on a bit of Marsala? Had a Spanish sparkler like Freixenet? Tried Mateus Rose? If so, you could easily add Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), Catarratto Bianco and Grillo (Marsala), and potentially seven other grapes for Freixenet and Mateus (the producers list the grapes on their websites)!
Participants in the Bacchus Bunch will be given an ‘application’ that lists well over 100 grape varietals. Members will mark the varietals they have tasted (and don’t worry…there are blank spaces for varietals not listed). Once they reach the official 100 tasted, they will send their completed application to Dreadnought Wines, who will submit the application to the International Club. Once accepted, members will receive a dynamite certificate welcoming them to the international club, and the new member will be honored with a fun evening of pomp and circumstance at Dreadnought, involving grapey crowns and togas, along with the presentation of their certificate.
Of course, the completed applications are accepted completely on the honor system. Should applicants lie about the varietals they’ve tasted…well…may the curse of Bacchus curse their palates!
Dreadnought is proud to be a part of the Wine Century Club, and welcomes wine lovers to participate, and best of all it’s FREE. For more information, interested potential members can call Dreadnought Wines at (412) 391-1709, stop by one of the First and Third Friday Wine Events, or just visit the store at 2013 Penn Avenue in the Strip District (across the street from Penn Mac) Monday through Saturdays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
One of our favorite wineries, Scott Harvey Wines has created their very own Wine Zodiac. They sat down with licensed sommelier, Jerusha Frost and astrologer, Camille Willis to determine the best wine for each zodiac sign. Click here to see what wine Scott Harvey, Jana or Super Hero wine best suits your sign!
This Months Sign is Aries: People born under this sign use their youthful energy to ensure righteousness and to prevent injustice. What better way to fuel these warriors in their quest than with the InZINerator. Full of big, bold, black cherry flavors, it is a lone warrior in a world of basic Zins. There is only a hint of sweetness slyly reminding us of Aries' playful, humor-loving side. It's a time of year for new beginnings and a zest for life. Serve with recipes in the Aries spirit - energetic & bold.
I like to eat healthy, but when it comes to dessert - I am WEAK! If I'm at a dinner party and there is no dessert, I feel cheated.
When it comes time for dessert, most people head for the coffee pot, or feel that the sweetest of cakes need to be accompanied by a shot of espresso. Crazy!
There is a plethora of desserts wines available for pairing with sweet treats. And no, not all of the wines are ‘sweet’. In their gift basket selection, Palate Partners has always offered the ‘Chocolate & Red’ combination. The holidays have always brought us ‘Bubbles and Bon Bons’.
Here comes the class that will teach your tongue how to enjoy wine with your finest of desserts. Sample sweet goodies paired with wines.
Wednesday, March 17 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM
$45 per person - Pre-paid reservations required - (412) 391-8502
Or make your reservation here.
By Kevin McCallum for The Press Democrat
As frugal consumers turn to more affordable vintages, strapped wineries are forced to adapt.
The North Coast wine industry, home to the highest concentration of high-end wineries and vineyards in the nation, is reeling from the impacts of a recession that has made it chic to drink cheap wine.
Few are immune from the sea change sweeping the industry, from ultra-luxury brands fetching over $100 a bottle to high-volume supermarket wines struggling to keep prices above $10 amid a flood of inexpensive imports and deeply discounted domestic wines.
“This is beyond a recession. This is a complete resetting of the clock,” said Sebastopol winemaker Tim Olson, co-owner of the boutique Olson Ogden wine brand.
Falling wine prices have affected everything from the value of vineyard land, to how much money banks will lend wineries, to how much wineries will pay for grapes. Layoffs have hit even the strongest wineries, while the very viability of others is in doubt.
Stories abound in Wine Country about wineries either on the block or on the brink.
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The following article appeared on oregonlive.com. We’ve been praising the wines of the Paso Robles region for years - especially Eberle Winery, Norman Vineyards and Sylvester Winery. Since most are family owned operations with relatively low annual production, they don’t warrant national distribution. But we’ve got them here at Dreadnought Wines. Just once more reason to make Dreadnought your source for wine.
The Wild Boar Room at Eberle Winery
“Paso Robles, a one-time California cow town, is becoming a superior wine-producing region known by few non-aficionados outside the state. Located on California's Central Coast, the Paso Robles viticultural area's consistent quality and relatively moderate land prices have combined for phenomenal growth.
In fewer than 20 years, the number of wineries has grown from 30 to 250 and counting, plus at least 600 hopefuls making boutique bottles at custom crush co-ops to hawk at restaurants and local wine bars.
Esteemed reviewer Robert Parker has said the region of rolling, oak-studded hills holds California's greatest potential. Winemakers swear by a climate and limestone-infused soils that mimic the southern Rhone region of France.”
A court in France on Wednesday, February 17, found a group of 12 French wine producers and traders guilty of selling millions of bottles of fake Pinot Noir wine to U.S. wine-industry giant E. & J. Gallo Winery.
"The scale of the fraud caused severe damage for the wines of the Languedoc (region) for which the United States is an important outlet," the judge said while delivering the verdict. The judge in Carcassonne, south-west France handed out suspended jail terms and hefty fines to the defendants.
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New World Cabernet Sauvignon is big and in your face – my kind of Sunday afternoon wine. Deep in color and strong in flavors – expect black fruit (blackcurrant, black cherry) and oaky spice. A good Cab is deep in color, intense, full bodied and best poured with suitably powerful foods like a home-made Sunday roast or a meat feast pizza.
Perfect while you’re watching the Olympics on the tube; whether you’ve been sucked into curling or watching hockey.
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We seem to be living in an endless winter – but on the bright side, we still have a justifiable reason for cooking up a hearty stew and pulling the cork on some delicious winter-warming reds. Try these from the Dreadnought list:
Bravante Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Sylvester Syrah 2006
Yorkville Cellars 'Hi-Rollr' Red 2006
Mansfield Merlot 2004
When it comes to wine, it’s difficult to answer the question I frequently get asked: Is organic better? With regards to taste, it’s almost impossible to determine; it’s like comparing apples to oranges. I'm not convinced that you can taste the organic difference in your glass.
What I do know is that I appreciate winemakers who make a commitment to producing an organic product. I respect organic wines, mostly, because the effort required in growing organic grapes and making wine under the ever increasingly strict regulations requires a dedication to quality on the winemaker's part. And, it’s the right thing to do for our planet.
One of the wineries that we represent is Yorkville Cellars, whose vineyards have been certified since 1986. They are the only winery in California that grows and produces all eight of the main Bordeaux grapes, each as a varietal wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere.
The following is some insight from their website.
“Although organic farming is seen as something ‘new and cutting edge’, it is in fact a return to traditional methods of agricultural production. Since the ancient Roman era, farmers used techniques such as crop rotation to maintain soil health, and grazed livestock on non-planted fields to add fertilizer in the form of natural manure. These basic techniques produced crops year after year, without reducing the long term soil fertility.
The basic goal of organic farming is to create healthy, living soils. This is achieved in two ways. First is the use of only natural fertilizers, compounds that contain a wide range of the nutrients needed by plants and avoiding the concentrated fertilizers that are heavy on the three main plant foods; nitrogen, potassium and phosphate.
The second main part of organic farming is avoiding harmful chemicals. Many of the compounds used to control pest insects also kill beneficial insects; those that might eat the ‘bad’ bugs or even bees that pollinate crops. The loss of beneficial bugs can throw off the balance in the field, causing even greater infestations, requiring the use of stronger pesticides, or more frequent applications. The average sprayed vineyard in California will be sprayed over 15 times each year!”
Of their wines, their Sauvignon Blanc is our favorite of the moment. It has body and a smooth finish, is concentrated, rich and opulent with lime and lemon flavor. Aromas of pineapple and lime flow from the glass, and it finishes with a blast of lime and minerals. The wine partners with virtually any fish dish and makes an outstanding aperitif. You can order this wine by visiting our wine list or giving us a call.
Odd that there is no mention of Pennsylvania in this Wall Street Journal story.
"States suffering through tough times are reaching for a tonic. Lawmakers in several states with tight control of liquor sales are considering legislation that would shift the job to private industry, saving money and raising revenue.
Some states are seeking a windfall by auctioning licenses to private companies to run the retail operations. Others are considering selling distribution centers. Also, privatization would remove costs including paying employees and overhead such as energy bills.
Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, Vermont and Mississippi are all weighing proposals that would reduce the powerful roles they play in the distilled-spirits or wine businesses through state-run distributorships or retail stores.
The privatization faces resistance from religious groups, labor unions and mom-and-pop shops, suggesting how economics are trumping other concerns in the struggle to overcome the recession."
The wine industry received sobering news this week: California shipments dropped in 2009 for the first time in 16 years. Sales figures show that wine consumption is up 2.1 percent nationally, but consumers are turning to cheaper imports from Chile, Argentina and Australia to tantalize their palates as global production exceeds demand.
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Because of the downturn in the world economy, sales of French Champagne have significantly decreased over the past few years. Fortunately, an excellent alternative is California sparkling wines. Compared with their French counterparts, California “sparklers” are lighter, not quite as dry, and best of all, are more affordable and food friendly.
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Had to read this headline. Urban Vintners Take on Napa's Finest. It’s an amusing story about making wine - wait for it - in your garage. This is the story of Brian Mast of Waits-Mast Family Cellars and Steve Goldbeck.