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Wine

Spring into Summer with Rosé Wines

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Different Shades of Rose Wine

Italian Rosé

Prosecco producers call their rosé sparkling wines Spumante (technically, Prosecco can only be made from white grapes). The best are lively 
and fruity. It is fragrant with summer fruit aromas, fresh and lively on the palate, dry, crisp and easy to drink.

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Saving Leftover Wine

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Left Over Wine

Wine recycles beautifully into many different pleasures. Learn how that leftover holiday wine can bring you joy well into the new year!

Wine can still go on, even after the party’s over.

Even though the clock starts ticking when you pull the cork. most wines will last at least a day or two. But eventually, almost everyone will have a few glasses of unused wine. And if you’ve just hosted a holiday party, you probably have more than just a few glasses to deal with. You might even have, when combined, a few bottles.

It’s tempting to simply pour it down the drain, but don’t. Wine recycles beautifully into many different pleasures. That leftover wine can go on bringing you holiday joy well into the new year.

Make Mulled Wine SyrupThis recipe comes from Serious Eats. Use the syrup to top pancakes, ice cream, pound cake or fruit.

Add it meals to boost flavor. If you plan ahead, you can prepare a menu that will make use of any leftover vino. If that’s not an option, keep the corked bottle by the stove or in the fridge and use it for impromptu cooking. Add a little to jarred pasta sauce to round out the flavor. Add it to beef stew or soup, or splash a little in gravy.

Cook with it. While wine that has been opened for a while might no longer be drinkable, it is still useful for braising meat or vegetables. You can also use to make a great fondue.

Freeze it! I like to pour leftover wine into an ice cube tray and slip it into the freezer. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and store in an airtight container in the coldest part of your freezer. Use the cubes when cooking or use them to keep wine spritzers or punch cold. Just drop the cubes into any appropriate cold beverage and it will stay fresh without being diluted by watery ice cubes.

Leftover white wine can remove red wine stains. While this seems to work best for a fresh spill, if you have a stain and some leftover Chardonney, why not give it a try? Apply the white wine sparingly to the red stain and blot with a clean, damp cloth. Repeat as necessary to completely remove the stain.

Make Sangria. Both white and red can be use to make various types of sangria, a fruity mixture of wine and other spirits like brandy. Try Spanish Red Wine Sangria or Super Fruity Sangrai

Add it to vinaigrettes and salad dressings in place of traditional vinegar. From Eveningedge.com 

Make Vinegar. You can make vinegar almost by accident if you leave a bottle of wine on the counter long enough, but in case you want to elevate it to an art form, visit thevinegarman.com and try out a few recipes.

Or you could just light a fire and curl up with a big glass and someone cuddly. Yea, I think I’ll do that.

Want to know how to reuse the leftover wine bottle corks? Check out Cork Dork for some neat ideas.

Preserving an Open Bottle of Wine

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Open Wine BottlesA big question many people have about wine is how to preserve an open bottle for future drinking.  Typically, they’re wonder- ing if they should invest in a system that replaces the air in the bottle with an inert gas, or in a vacuum system that removes the air from the bottle entirely. They are surprised when I suggest that they just cork the bottle and put it in their fridge.

To understand why, it’s helpful to know what is happening to a wine once a bottle is opened and oxygen allowed in. This oxygen initiates a complex series of chemical reactions, first by combining with phenols (flavor components) to form hydrogen peroxide, and then with the hydrogen peroxide interacting with ethanol (the alcohol in wine) to form acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde has a cidery aroma and a flat texture. The taste that distinguishes intentionally oxidized wines like sherry and madeira from traditional wine is their elevated level of acetaldehyde.

Many wines benefit from exposure to oxygen, within reason. This is particularly true with young red wines, which receive a high level of reductive compounds from the skins of grapes. Adding some oxygen to these wines, either by decanting a wine or just by letting it sit in a glass after having been poured, will often liberate flavor compounds that are at first tied up by the reductive elements. But eventually, all those reductive compounds are combined with oxygen, and even a young red wine will begin to oxidize and show the acetaldehyde in sherried,flat flavors. And older red wines, and most white wines, have much lower tolerances for oxygen before beginning to show symptoms.

How long after opening do you have before a wine becomes unpleasantly oxidized? For the most delicate older wines, it may only be a few hours. Most younger wines will give you several hours safely, and some robust red wines will last happily for a few days. But eventually, all of them will start to show oxidation’s undesirable effects.

Key to knowing how to slow down these symptoms is recognizing that oxidation is a chemical reaction. Like most chemical reactions, the rate of oxidation is temperature- dependent. Combine oxygen and wine at room temperature and oxidation happens relatively quickly. At 40°, you slow the process dramatically. This is why the most effective way of slowing the process of oxidation once a wine has been exposed to oxygen is to chill it down. When you’re ready to drink it, the next day or later in the week, if it’s a red or a richer white, just take it out 20 minutes or so before you want to pour it and let it warm up a bit.

Note that you’re not buying an indefinite amount of time by chilling down an opened bottle; cooler temperatures slow down the chemical reactions but don’t stop them. But if you get a week of drinkability rather than a day, as has been my general experience, you’ve made real progress.

Will the various systems that exchange the air in a partly-empty bottle for an inert gas (typically argon or nitrogen) help? If the gas is being inserted into the bottle as the wine is removed absolutely. But if, like most at-home wine preservation kits, the inert gas is applied only after the bottle is partly emptied, they likely only help at the margins. Each time the wine is poured, oxygen is absorbed by the wine as it is sloshed around the emptying bottle, and after several pours, there’s enough oxygen dissolved in the wine that the process of oxidation will continue even if there’s a layer of inert gas applied to the surface.

Similarly, the vacuum pumps that remove oxygen from a bottle don’t eliminate the oxygen that has already dissolved in the wine, and they have the added complication that they do cause the wine to respire carbon dioxide, which is typically in solution in wine as a by-product of fermentation. This CO2 provides acidity in the wine, and removing it can make a wine taste as flat as oxidation would have.

One great technique, if you know or suspect you’ll only finish half a bottle, is to have an empty half- bottle available, which you ll and cork right when you open your original bottle. Because that wine has had only minimal exposure to oxygen and can’t absorb any more because of the bottle’s seal, you can typically preserve it for a week or more safely. But it does take some planning. If you find yourself with a partial bottle at the end of a leisurely dinner, don’t stress. Just reclose the wine bottle, and stick it in the fridge.

Wine Tasting Basics

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Wine Pairing BasicsWhat was once a pastime of the well-to-do is now a pleasure that most of us can partake in but in order to wine you need to learn some wine tasting techniques. However, due to lack of experience many of us quietly sit back in wonder as we watch wine aficionados, swirling their glasses and swishing the juice of the Gods between their cheeks.

Attending a wine tasting can be a fabulous, glamorous, fun event that you can absolutely enjoy as long as you take a few things into consideration.

First off, don’t be intimidated. The sommelier is likely the only person who’s spent any significant time learning about the ins and outs of wines, everyone else is pretending like they know what their doing so you can too.\

Do a wine-tasting practice run at home so you’re all ready for the big day.

 

Step 1

Choose the right glasses for your wine. If you’re doing reds you want to have nice big glasses, meanwhile whites deserve the standard wine glass.

When you open your bottle of wine, let it sit and breathe for 10 mins.

 

Step 2

Smell the wine when you first open it to determine if it is good.

The following are signs that your wine is probably not going to be good:

A strong vinegar smell means there was a problem with the wine-making process or bottling process which in turn has created acidity in the wine. If it smells very acidic it will taste like vinegar.

If your wine smells like a wet dog or a wet basement, there was likely a problem in the wine-making/bottling process and in turn has left you with a bad wine.

 

Step 3

Fill your wine glass one-quarter of the way up.

Step 4

Check out the color of your wine like a true professional to determine wine quality. If you tilt the wine glass to the side in front of something white you’ll be able to get a better idea of the color. If a white wine is brown, you have a problem. However if a red wine is dark that’s just fine. Whether red or white, the wine should be nice and clear. If there is something akin to a sediment sitting at the bottom of your red wine glass it’s normal.

Step 5

Always hold your wine glass by the stem. Holding your glass by the bulb will warm the glass and in turn warm the wine. Just holding your glass in this manner will put you steps ahead of the other tasters.

Step 6

Give your wine a little breather by swirling the wine slowly around in the glass while holding the stem of the glass. The swirling will also provide you with scents. If the wine appears to hang on to the sides of the glass that’s a good thing. A thicker wine indicates it is likely one that is full-bodied, which in the business they call having legs. A leggy wine is likely one with good alcohol content.

Step 7

Continue your wine swirling to get the scent notes. Your wine can have layers of scent s that range from woody to fruity. Some wines like a good Syrah will give you an interesting spice layer.

Step 8

Now it’s time to taste – and remember if you’re doing a wine tour, you’re going to just taste not swallow. Take a sip of the wine and roll it around on your tongue so you get all of its notes. Once you’ve noticed all of its nuanced flavors you should spit it out into a spittoon. If you’re at your last tasting or enjoying wine at home then go ahead and sip of course.

Step 9

Aspirate yourself. Before taking a sip of the wine, purse you lips and inhale through the mouth and out through your nose. This gives the wine a chance to mingle with your mouth and directly reach your nose by going through the mouth and into your nasal.

Step 10

 

If you go to this wine tasting with a group of amateurs this step will be just fine. However if you’re mingling with aficionados you may feel out of place, but don’t. You want to take a sip of wine and air at the same time and you’ll see what a change a little air can make. This experience will bring out the gourmand in you.

Step 11

If you’re still tasting the wine a minute after you have already swallowed, this is a great sign! This means your wine has a – LINGO ALERT – nice finish. That’s exactly what you say too. If your wine gives full flavour anywhere from 40 seconds to a minute after the sip you can indeed say that’s a good quality wine.

Step 12

If you really want to impress your fellow guests, do a little refresher pf the vaious tastes you’re set to encounter:

Syrah – spicy and dark with layers of black pepper.

Cabernet – full body read with delicious, bold fruits like cherry.

Merlot – nice red with plum, floral and spices.

Zinfandel – Dark fruits

Pinot Noir – A nice delicate red with light fruit with earthy, peppery flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc – Nice white with hints of grapefruit

Chardonnay – nice white with fruity flavors with two styles – buttery or crisp and fresh

Wine Pairing Basics

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Oh to have such troubles as choosing the right libation with the right vittles, this surely is a trifle of the modern world.

That’s enough of waxing poetic, the truth of the matter is that wine is great and food is great, but the manner in which you’re supposed to put the two together can be a downright mysterious.

Well, you’re in luck, because we’re going to unravel that mystery and by the end of the article you will wax poetic about the harmony of the perfect grape accent on a cheese vestibule (or something close to that).

Meat Eaters

When you’re eating meat you need something hefty and powerful to balance out the flavors. A Beaujolais is one of those few wines that will fit the bill across a variety of meat dishes.

Going into particulars you’re going to want wines that are low in tannins like Beaujolais or Dolcetto.

On the flip side if you’re eating steak you can take in some tannin and enjoy the boldness. You’re going to find that boldness in a beautiful Bordeaux or Barolo, which after a sip and then a bite will get you humming M’ama Mia.

Chicken

A simple chicken dish deserves a simple wine that together provides harmony and a settled in feeling. A feathery Chardonnay will give you an almost perfect pairing with chicken every time. The only times you may want to stray is when you get into heavier chicken dishes with creams and fats, in this case you can go with a Merlot or Beaujolais.

Seafood

Delicate things like other delicate things in life and on the palate. So if you’re enjoying light dishes like a seafood dish you want to pair that with a light wine like a Chablis or an effervescent Pinot Grigio.

Sour Foods

If you’re noshing on something that makes your toes curl in sour ecstasy then take a sip of Sauvignon Blanc to further the good-oh-so-good.

Spicy Foods

If you’re whipping up some spicy Indian or Thai then you’re going to want to balance out all of those sharp (but delicious) flavors with something sweet. A great choice is a Riesling, which has a kiss of sweet with a whole lot of body.

Good ‘ol BBQ

Mesquite, sweet or honey garlic good, whatever you’ve got on the BBQ a Shiraz can handle for sure. Wines that have that special kickback spice note like Shiraz and Malbec are big and bold enough to handle the strong flavors a sweet smoky BBQ can bring. In fact the added spice those wines bring to the table can take your BBQ from ordinary to extraordinary.

Getting Cheesy

We all know about the love affair between wine and cheese, and we also know that some of the couplings are better than others. However, if you choose yourself a dry rose wine – you can’t go wrong. A dry fruit rose wine has just the right dimensions to have flings with all sorts of cheese types and keep them all happy all of the time.

Salty Foods

Bubbles and bubbles can make champagne fun enough to drink on its own, but when you pair this sweet treat with something salty … well Hello!

Sparkling wines always have sweet undertones which is why pairing them with a cut of cheese is just about the best way to accent their flavor and enjoy the bounty on your tongue.

Sweet Foods

And to end off your meal you are going to want a sweet celebration of all that was had and all that is going to ensue. Desserts are paired best with complex wines that provide just the right balance of sweet to accent your post meal dish.

Muscats are particularly lovely with dessert as are Madeiras and this may be a surprise but a Riesling doesn’t fare too badly either.

Food and Wine Basics

Although you may not be registering in a Sommelier school near you anytime soon, the information you’re now armed with will give you a head up on anyone else anywhere you go.

Although there are numerous other wines to explore, these basics we’ve provided in this introduction to wine basics will give you a perfect foothold in this little world of the perfect sip’n bite.

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