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There are a plethora of so-called wine blogs out there. We search them constantly, but seldom find them of interest. The one that consistently provides insight is by Douglas Green. We’re printing this one in it’s entirety to give you a taste. Other recent blogs discussed choosing aperitifs, the benefits of wine on the waistline, and what your wine choices reveal about your personality. If you like his style - devoid of bells and whistles, but generally on point, follow the link at the bottom.
Wine serving rules and traditions were developed centuries ago, before air conditioning and central heating was part of our daily lives. This implies that serving wine at room temperature is probably the Western European room temperature of centuries ago.
The rooms in those were cold which means that serving wine at 17°C -20 °C is probably the right temperature for red wines. I suggest that on warm days you can put red wine in the fridge for while just to bring temperature down a bit.
White wine has more personal temperature preferences. Some people say that adding ice to white wine is an absolute no-no while others say an ice cold glass of white wine is the perfect drink. My opinion is go for what works for you , just as long as you enjoy your glass of wine.
The following article, “Dreadnought, plenty of wine classes available to students” is by Samantha Stahl, Senior Staff Writer for The Pitt News
For the average college student, wandering down the wine aisle of the liquor store is like navigating Wonderland — it’s confusing, alienating and strange. Timid students looking to indulge in grape-infused splendor seek refuge in the boxed wine aisle, figuring anything that comes in a bag couldn’t be any scarier than the milk pouches we sipped on in elementary school.
Mike Gonze, president of Dreadnought Wines, is here with good news for those who usually dive towards the bottom shelf for their weekend buzz — wine doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive.
“We’re working on trademarking the expression, ‘Take a stranger to dinner,’” Gonze said in response to the anxiety of wine purchasers. “The difference between a $10 and $50 bottle of wine is sometimes where the grapes are from. Experience the $10 bottle. Just because a bottle is cheaper doesn’t mean it’s bad.”
In 1986 Gonze received a call from the Community College of Allegheny County, which was interested in starting a wine class. Gonze volunteered and created a Wine 101 course. The class was such a success that he went on to teach at other CCAC campuses until 2006. It was then that he began teaching classes in the store and for private group functions like the Pitt Program Council wine-tasting event.
Class participants learn expected basics like how to notice the color, smell and taste components of the wine, but they also receive a history lesson of what they’re drinking.
“Wine is history. Wine is part of a culture,” Gonze said. “As a student, aren’t we supposed to be studying what other people are doing? I really believe that we are a multinational environment, so we should experience other cultures.”
Gonze has since expanded from his original Wine 101 course. Dreadnought offers Wine 102, which teaches students to “define a personal taste profile.”
“Too many times people say, ‘I want the good one,’ and they use price as the definition. Meaning, ‘Oh it must be good if I spend $100.’ But I don’t think that’s the definition, and I want to get people to see that. That’s the goal of Wine 102,” said Gonze. The prices of the sampled bottles aren’t revealed until the end of the class so students experience the wine for its flavor rather than price.
Gonze also discourages wine drinkers from reading bottle reviews. “I don’t buy wine based on review. Just because that person liked that wine, that year, doesn’t make that a good wine. No one can tell you, ‘Oh you’re going to like this Cabernet.’”
Sarah Ubinger, who graduated from Pitt in 2007 and has taken both Wine 101 and 102 said the classes have improved her appreciation for wine. “[Before taking the class,] I always drank wine and knew that I liked red more than white, but that was the extent of what I knew about it. Now I know it’s more complex; there’s more that goes into choosing.”
Brian Lenz, 25, who also took Wine 101 and 102, said the classes have encouraged him to “ask questions from people who do know what’s on the label. If you want something good to go with your food, ask at the store. If you’re starting from scratch, your chance of guessing the right one out of the 1000 bottles in the store is not good.”
Lenz, like Ubinger, said that before taking the class, “I always drank wine but didn’t know a darn thing about what I was drinking.” He enrolled in the course because he “just wanted to learn more. There’s a lot to know about wine.”
Gonze says the number one goal of his classes is “getting people comfortable with the buying decision. Have fun, don’t be overwhelmed. Learn what you like — that’s what college is all about. Education is about learning and experiencing life. Wine is food — experience it. Don’t be afraid of it.”
Dave DeSimone has written a great article about Gary Eberle for Fanfare Magazine, entitled, “For the Love of the Grape.” Excerpts follow with a link for the full story at the bottom.
“Gary Eberle, Pittsburgh native and founding winemaker of Eberle Winery in Paso Robles, California, loves making big appearances.
As a Penn State Nittany Lion football player in the late 1960s, he regularly rumbled onto Beaver Stadium field before large crowds. Today the ruggedly built Eberle makes dramatic entrances by piloting his own small aircraft on regular cross-country trips to drop in on old friends and customers.
"Flying gives me a competitive advantage in selling wine, making friends and having fun," Eberle says. In Pittsburgh, his local distributor, Dreadnought Wines' Mike Gonze, always receives a visit as does Eberle's old pal, Chef Toni Pais.
"Gary loves making big red cabernets that go well with food," said Gonze, whose firm has distributed the wines in Pennsylvania since the early 1980s. "But he also makes extremely food-friendly white wines."
Eberle did not set out early to start the winery. But after graduating from Penn State, he headed south to Louisiana to pursue a graduate degree in biology. While frequently enjoying the "Big Easy" pleasures in nearby New Orleans, Eberle's abiding passion for good food and wine came to life.
He switched gears, obtaining a winemaking graduate degree at the prestigious University of California-Davis before setting out to start his own winery. Relying on Pennsylvania investors, Eberle started modestly. Today, the winery produces approximately 30,000 cases annually, still modest compared to large wine conglomerates. But Eberle prefers focusing on quality, rather than quantity.
An avid experimenter, Eberle indulged his passion for the famous, food friendly Rhone varietals by being California's leader in planting Roussanne, Viognier and Syrah. He even dabbles with traditional Portuguese grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, to make fortified port wines.
Eberle attributes the success of his wines to the quality of grapes grown in Paso Robles' unique microclimate. Cold nights and warm days created by the area's proximity to the Pacific Ocean allow grapes to hang longer on the vines, developing complex aromas and flavors while retaining acidity and balance.
Access to consistently high quality-fruit creates a key advantage "We don't have to press the beegeebers out of our grapes, so we also have soft tannins," Eberle says. Soft tannins enable Eberle's red wines to highlight opulent fruitiness balanced with light oak, fine acidity and silky tannins. This enhances compatibility with food.
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."
Continue reading here.
Dreadnought Wines Introduces “The Bacchus Bunch” – The Pittsburgh Branch Of The International Wine Century Club!Submitted by dreadnought on Thu, 03/25/2010 - 03:19.
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.
Continue reading here.
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