Wine Knowledge!

So here we are again! For my fellow readers, another delightful post and for me an empty bottle of wine and some fresh rambling. I figured since the snow is coming down I might as well pop the cork and spill some fresh knowledge to all of you. Before we get into that a few things I wanted to mention.

1. Never date a girl with a hook for a hand

2. Dont forget to tip you serving staff

3. Never wear a brown belt with black shoes.

And lastly remember, Beer is made by men, wine by Gods!

This entry will be a little more in-depth then your average wine facts so buckle up! I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as enjoyed typing it!

Having knowledge how each wine tastes is wonderful, but to understand characteristics of each wine and how they are produced is essential in understanding difference in taste from vintage to vineyard.wine-chardonnay

Chardonnay has a highly vigorous vine, with extensive leaf cover which can inhibit the energy and nutrient uptake of its grape clusters. Vineyard managers counteract this with aggressive pruning and canopy management. When Chardonnay vines are planted densely, they are forced to compete for resources and funnel energy into their grape clusters. In certain conditions the vines can be very high-yielding, but the wine produced from such vines will suffer a drop in quality.

The Sauvignon Blanc vine often buds late but ripens early, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. In warm regions such as South Africa, Australia and California, the grape flourishes in cooler climate appellations such as the Alexander Valley area. In areas where the vine is subjected to high heat, the grape will quickly become over-ripe and produce wines with dull flavors and flat acidity.

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The leaves of Pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon, but larger than those of Syrah. The grape cluster is small and cylindrical, vaguely shaped like a pine cone. Some viticultural historians believe this shape may have given rise to the name. Pinot noir tends to produce narrow trunks and branches. In the vineyard it is sensitive to light exposure, cropping levels (it must be low yielding), soil types and pruning techniques.

Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation – the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and resistant to rot and frost – and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character “typicity” of the variety. The most widely recognized is the herbaceous or green bell pepper flavor caused by pyrazines, which are more prevalent in under-ripened grapes

Most red wines derive their color from grape and therefore contact between the juice and skins is essential for color extraction. Red wines are produced by de-stemming and crushing the grapes into a tank and leaving the skins in contact with the juice throughout the fermentation (maceration). It is possible to produce white (colorless) wines from red grapes by the fastidious pressing of uncrushed fruit. This minimizes contact between grape juice and skins.

Most white wines are processed without de-stemming or crushing and are transferred from picking bins directly to the press. This is to avoid any extraction of tannin from the skins or grape seeds, as well as maintaining proper juice flow through a matrix of grape clusters rather than loose berries. In some circumstances wine makers choose to crush white grapes for a short period of skin contact, usually for three to 24 hours.

During this primary fermentation, which often takes between one and two weeks, yeast converts most of the sugars in the grape juice into ethanol (alcohol). After the primary fermentation, the liquid is transferred to vessels for the secondary fermentation. Here, the remaining sugars are slowly converted into alcohol and the wine becomes clear. Wine is then allowed to age in oak barrels before bottling, which add extra aromas to the wine, while others are bottled directly.

The process of storing and rotating wine is very important. If the bottle is improperly stored at an incorrect temperature can “cork” the wine. Each vineyard has their own techniques, but as a rule they should be stored out of sunlight, and the temperature should be a constant with little humidity. After proper time of aging in bottle it is ready for you to serve it to your guests.

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Wine Publication #6

“Hey! Which one of you stole the cork from my lunch”

Earlier in the blog I gave you all a list of delicious red wine varietals that I either heard about or had the pleasure of tasting. Since I rarely drink white wine it took me a while to compile a list such as this because I wanted to be sure that I was giving my readers what they want. Also,women love white wine! Now gentlemen, if you want tips for impressing a women, I can provide you with a little liquid luck to get you started. Thats right guys, like superman had kryptonite, women have white wine.

*Warning: Exposure may cause extreme vulnerability and loss of inhibition*

Now ladies, if you are looking to escape the advances of many drunken, sex starved men for a night try swinging by your local wine stores and picking up a few bottles recommended below for they will surprise you in both taste, price and quality!

White Wines:

2010 Martin Ray Russian River Valley Chardonnay…………………………….($20) *

2009 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc……………………………..($20)

2010 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc…………………………………………….($19)

2010 Benton Lane Pinot Gris……………………………………………………………($18)

2009 Tenuta Luisa, Pinot Grigio………………………………………………………..($17)*

2010 King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris………………………………..($15)

2009 Concannon Conservancy Chardonnay………………………………………($12)

2010 Pacific Rim Riesling………………………………………………………………..($12)*

2008 Penley Estate Aradia Chardonnay……………………………………………..($11)

2008 Wakefield Promised Land Riesling…………………………………………….($10)

2010 Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay Central Coast…………………………..($8)

* Denotes personal recommendations

A lot more great wine selections to come

Stay classy and enjoy responsibly!

Buon Appetito America

JCL

Mussels Scampi

“I really love to cook with wine…Sometimes I even put it in the food”    

            Alright everyone, a month hiatus has done the body good and now let’s get back to what makes this lovely world go round…FOOD! This next recipe is a staple in many fine dining locations but it is so easy and overlooked in many homes today. We are talking one of my favorite and underrated seafood dishes hands down. Mussels Scampi…Thats right America, Mussels! It’s quite easy to take a wrong turn following a recipe which may end in disaster. However, with garlic, butter and white wine, you can never go wrong!

Mussels Scampi

Serving size: 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pound raw Mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4-5 cloves minced fresh Garlic
  • 3/4 cup dry White wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

* Most importantly be sure that your mussels are very fresh and tightly closed when you buy them. If you do not have fresh mussels than make something else!

In a medium sautee pan, sautee the olive oil and garlic over medium-low heat (do not let garlic brown) after about 30 seconds melt your butter in the sautee.

Next, pour in white wine and mussels and raise heat to medium/high and steam mussels till shells open. (about 4-5 minutes) Place a pan cover slightly ajar over the mussles to help infuse the steamed white wine flavor.

Right before serving add a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper to the pan and toss mussels gently.

Pour mussels with all its remaining juices into a large serving bowl and garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

* Serve mussels scampi with some fresh bread because the sauce that remains is excellent for dipping!

and as always,

Buon Appetito America!

JCL

Recommendation

As I was sitting at dinner last night I found that I was absolutely in love with the wine that we had ordered. It was extremely luscious, Italian and had a great full body feel to it… What can I say I like my wine like I like my women…Keeping all my readers in mind I snapped a picture just in case you ever come across it!

Some wine maker notes:

This 2009 Le Sughere di Frassinelo is a super Tuscan red wine that scored 91 points from wine spectator:

  • This red is imbued with black currant, cherry and cedar aromas and flavors. The tannins are firm, but nicely entwined with the texture, and this finishes with a harmony of fruit and spice

This vintage in particular is sold for about $15-$17 a bottle in stores!

Buon Appetito America

JCL