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Thought this blog from Douglas Green should be shared in its entirety.
Rarely do two people agree completely over a glass of wine. What is the difference between a “good” wine and a “bad” wine? This is tougher than one might think.
Wine is a very subjective art in which we see people waxing eloquent over wines or those who spit the same wines out with a look of utter despair. This might be the strangest part of the wine business: Rarely do two people agree completely over a glass of wine! I know why this happens but it does not answer completely the difference between the good and the bad in vino.
Here are a few items to consider:
Frame of mind — This is a biggie when it comes to evaluating a glass of wine. We know that emotions play a big part in the physiological make up of people. A stressed-out wine drinker creates bitterness on the palate, as well as bitterness in the mind and soul.
A simple cold — Nasal congestion, clotted palate or coated tongue can be real killers as to deciding the good, bad or ugly of a bottle of wine. Hay fever, allergies and colds can greatly affect the sensations on the palate. What is needed is a strong sense of smell and taste and a clear mind and heart when judging a wine or simply deciding the good or bad of the bottle.
Food — One of the more overlooked aspects of deciding the worth of a bottle of wine is what preceded the wine on the palate. Greasy foods, foods with hot spice, foods with a lot of milk-based items can really put the nix on a pretty nice bottle of wine. This is why wine is rarely served in Mexican restaurants, Indian restaurants or Thai restaurants, where the cuisine might be really spicy or hot. Heat and spice can tear the heart or delicacy from the middle of a wine and make the experience less-than-great. This is why we have beer!
Ego — This is a big one. Some folks, if the wine is less costly than they think merits a nice wine, will dismiss the wine completely and never try it again. I have seen this happen more times than I wish to say. I have seen really nice wines under R40 get shunned from the table simply because of their low price point. I know it sounds nuts, but it’s true. Conversely, I have seen really expensive wine get all kinds of acclaim because of the reverse reaction.
Temperature — Nothing is worse than a warm bottle of Chardonnay! Equally bad is a cold bottle of Syrah. Wine must be in line with what accents its goodness as far as temperature is considered. I have also seen really over-chilled Champagne and white wines where the wines are so cold nothing hits the palate but ice cubes. This is not a good thing and tends to really knock an otherwise really nice bottle of wine on its butt.
Moderation is the ticket — Chill slightly, eat judiciously and try not to be anxious or upset when evaluating that glass of wine. Don’t let the price fool you either. Let it go and let the wine speak for itself and (try) don’t get in the way of what really might be out there.
With all the hype of the movie that opens August 8 with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep (who looks hysterical in the trailer) just thought I would mention this book for any of you foodies out there who might have missed it when it was originally published in 2005.
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, 30 year old Julie Powell recounts how she conquered Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Needing something to break the monotony of her life, Powell decided to cook all 524 recipes from Child‘s classic 1961 book - in the span of one year.
Hilariously original, Powell discovers incredible determination and hidden talents in cooking, writing and living. Julie and Julia is a joyful, humorous account of one woman's efforts to find meaning in her life. A great read for the final days of summer.
In addition to rating specific wines, wine publications such as the Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate provide ratings for entire vintages. The word vintage is descriptive of the year in which the grapes were harvested, not the year that the wine was bottled.
According to the Wine Spectator, 2007 should be a banner year for California Chardonnay with the publication rating the Carneros, Napa and Sonoma regions each 96 points. This is very good news for the consumer because when several regions receive such a high rating, there will be a large selection of very good wines available at a low cost.
The 2007 crop benefited from the lack of spring frosts, summer heat waves, and fall rains — all of which allow the grapes to ripen in an even and uniform manner. This weather pattern provided winemakers with concentrated fruit containing an intense variety of flavors.
In comparison, 2006 was a wet and cool year, with the Carneros, Napa and Sonoma regions each rated 90 points. So if you're looking for a crisp white, check California's 2007 Chards.
E. S. Brown on winegeeks wrote the following a few years back:
“Holy crap it’s hot out there. For much of the United States it seems that spring was just a weekend somewhere in May, come and gone as quickly as New Coke. Now that summer has officially parked its sweaty self over my home in the Midwest, it is time to break out the summer wines. For many of us who would normally say that “While we enjoy all wine, red is the color of my heart,” the desire to find a crisp and refreshing quaff for the patio has us scrambling to the cellar or the local shop. The thought of drinking a glass of heavy red wine right now feels just that- heavy. Syrah? Forget it. Super Tuscan? Super no. Cabernet Sauvignon? Are you kidding? So what are we left with?
Boy, am I glad that I asked in the second person. There are hundreds of great wines out there that are perfect foils for the dog days of summer. Although there are about as many styles as there are bottles, a few common denominators exist when selecting a vino for the patio. Start with crisp acidity, throw in a low alcohol content and then mix vigorously with lighter fruit flavors. The end result is a racy wine that will delight the senses and dance across the taste buds instead of plodding along like a palate attached to an anchor.”
So - what are you drinking this summer?
Her name is Natalie Oliveros, but she's better known as Savanna Samson to her followers.
Now she's winning over wine aficionados with her tasty vino. It's something she takes very seriously. Oliveros landed one of the top Italian winemakers, Roberto Cipresso, to help her with her project.
Their wine quickly garnered a rave review from fastidious wine guru Robert Parker, who gave her Italian red wine, Sogno Uno, a score of 90 to 91 out of 100.
Savanna hopes her wine will bring her mainstream success. She also hopes the success of her wine label will help rekindle relations with her parents, who disowned her for entering the porn business. "Even my parents feel they are proud of the wine and they can finally speak highly of me again," she said. "I am very proud of my wine."
Epicurious.com, the food/recipe site, has partnered with Snooth.com, a site for wine aficionados, to provide wine pairings for the site’s extensive (over 25,000) recipes. Starting today, when users view Epicurious’s recipes (with the exception of kid-friendly and breakfast recipes), they will also see multiple wine suggestions for that recipe.
The pairings are chosen based on the recipe’s primary ingredients, type of cuisine, and preparation method. The Epicurious and Snooth teams worked together to emphasize affordability and availability; nearly all pairings feature nationally distributed brands and/or wines that cost less than $20.
For those of us living in PA - it doesn’t offer much help, as most of the wine suggestions can not be shipped to Pennsylvania. However - it gives us a place to start the thought process.
So two great web resources have just gotten better.
Low price does not necessarily mean low quality.
When McDonald’s launched the McCafe, we were lucky enough to be selected to fill the cups with stuff other than brown liquid. The containers were filled with packets of coffee from local Fortune’s Coffee, along with sugar sticks, chocolate espresso beans, and biscotti, the necessary coffee companion. Each filled cup was cello wrapped, and then finished with a hand tied color coordinated bow.
Managers from the surrounding area stores received a McGift, and each of them was delighted to receive an unexpected treat that they did not have to make!
These gifts cost very little to create, yet had an enormous impact. They generated lots of excitement for the new product launch. We like to believe that we did our part to create the success of the McCafe!
“Super Hero Wines” is owned by winemaker Scott Harvey, who produces wine under this label along with “Scott Harvey” and a label named for his wife, “Jana Winery”. We’ve met Scott and he has visited our store for special tastings. Thoughtful and intelligent, he is amazing to talk with if you want to learn something new about the world of wine. One Last Kiss Rosé is almost identical to the Jana Winery Grenache Rosé, so if you have tasted that one and liked it, you’ll enjoy this well balanced offereing from Scott.
Small yields of flavorful grapes (92% Grenache and 8% Semillon) were harvested early to produce a light and delicate wine, with low alcohol (11%). One Last Kiss delivers a European style, dry Rosé of Grenache.
Really pale pink with just a hint of a red tint to it - this wine’s color is fresh and aesthetically appealing. The nose is a bit tricky with no distinct, singular scent, but there is definitely some citrus (orange peel) with a touch of strawberry and watermelon. On the palate is a smooth vanilla wash, with cherry as the predominant fruit. Honeydew and pineapple follow with a faint bit of lemon. There’s some herbaceousness to it as well. Overall it delivers excellent acidity with good balance. The cherry carries through to the finish, along with a little of the watermelon.
Clean and crisp, this is a truly enjoyable, mid-length rosé. Slightly chilled - it’s perfect for summer sipping and a great partner for seasonal chicken dishes and your favorite salads.
Quick, what's America's biggest wine region? If you answered California's Napa Valley, you're way off - thanks to a federal ruling that creates a new region starting today.
It's the Upper Mississippi River Valley, covering a whopping 29,914 square miles and encompassing portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. That's 39 times the Napa Valley's 759 or so square miles. The new region is huge news for midwestern vintners.
American Viticulture Areas, or AVAs, recognize a unique grape-growing region that may be historically known and that contains specific geological features. The new region was created after area wine and agriculture officials petitioned the Alcohol Tobacco and Tax and Trade Bureau, which controls the designations. Use of an AVA isn't a stamp of approval, but many consumers like the idea of buying wine from a specific area, following the French concept of "terroir" -- that wine should reflect the character of the land it came from.
Ninety years ago, Iowa was sixth in grape production in the US but that was with the Concord grape, associated with sweeter wines, not today's drier, more food-friendly wines. The wine industry re-emerged in the last decade, surprising some with medals in national competitions. Though the region is big, the wine industry there is small - but growing rapidly.
Are you excited about Wisconsin grown wines?
okay first. sorry i've been so out of the loop. promise to start posting regularly again.
At a time when Starbucks is losing business and countering attacks of being "out of touch" with its $4 cups of coffee, the powerhouse coffee shop chain is trying a new approach at three Seattle stores.
It's changing their name, removing their logos, and even serving wine and beer.
The company's newest shop, set to open Friday, will be called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. The vibe will be more artsy: there will be live music, poetry readings and alcohol options of wine and beer. But could the new strategy backfire?
R.J. Hottovy, an analyst at investment research firm Morningstar, said, "I think it is a little bit of a risky move, especially if they were to do this on a large scale."
In March, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz acknowledged the company needed to adjust its approach in a down economy. "This is a time when every business can no longer embrace the status quo, and (must) do everything they can to get as close as possible to the customer."
Starbucks says it may expand the new approach to other cities if it succeeds in Seattle.
So how much will a glass of Chardonnay set you back?