Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Candy is a Great match for Wine... Check this Out!

Oh Yes Halloween!  Quickly becoming a holiday for adults. Yet another reason why America is so cool!

While the kids are trick-or-treating a lot of parents and folks take the time to throw wine gatherings; After all…that’s one of the best parts of being and adult. Another good thing is you can buy you can buy as much candy as you want. What can you say being an adult has its perks…

Believe it or not some of your favorite candies can match up pretty well with wines.

Yes you heard correctly and it’s mighty good too.

Let’s take a look at 3 of my favorites.

Sour Patch Kids and a Late Harvest Riesling from Washington State or a Canadian Ice Wine 
It’s the mouth-watering acidity of the Riesling with sweet and sour notes of granny smith apples, apricots and nectarine and honey flavors floating around make for an all-in-one match with the puckering Sour Patch Kids candy.

Hershey Krackel Fun Size Miniatures (in fact that whole bag has some merit) w/ Banyuls and Brachetto d'Acqui

...I started with just Krackel but I had to throw in the whole bag  :-)
I will bring both wines out for this and interchange them

First is a Banyuls with its perfect match up for chocolate. It’s a ‘chocolate love letter’. A grenache-based fortified wine with cherry flavors that goes great with dark chocolate and nutty candies

The second is the sweet, frothy red Brachetto d'Acqui to wash everything down with its aromatic slightly sparkling quality. All this goes so well with the crunchy goodness of these mini chocolate candy bars.

Butterfinger and a nice Madeira wine

Thomas Jefferson would probably approve. He had a sweet tooth. The Madeira’s sweet raisin, toffee, nutty and graham cracker flavors go with that crunchy chocolaty peanut butter wafer salt action and texture of the Butterfinger candy bar. A good Tawny Port from Australia would be really good too.

Now you can either take a look at your kids’ bag and pluck a tasty treat or just buy it up and have them handy. After all you are an adult… ;-)

Now that you know this; there is no stopping you now!!!

There are some great wines that go with the theme. Here is a link to several good ones to try…

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If Wine in a Box is just as good as Wine in a Bottle... why does Boxed Wine Expire?

A friend of mine asked me; or sort of was trying to make a point that Wine in a Box is just as good as wine in a bottle and why should he pay more for a wine in the bottle which is more expensive.

I basically told him. That…” it’s a pretty safe bet that a more expensive wine is usually a higher quality wine”....but whether it is a better wine would be totally up to him. He looked at me a little strangely. Like I was from another planet.

Only you can decide if you like a wine or not.

I also told him that in expensive wine there are 3 things you can look to that makes things more expensive and it has to do with techniques…

1.       are they using oak... and how;

2.       time in the whole process of making the wine;  and

3.       the terroir (the whole location, land and climate thing)

In value wines to find it’s hard to find those 3 things in play and if you do the wine would probably be coming from a developing country.

I also added “that is what is great about wine…It’s in the eye of the beholder."

Likewise; according to an article I read from the Wine Spectator; the bags in the box will let microscopic amounts of oxygen pass through, into the wine, and after a while, that oxygen will make the wine taste less fresh. Which makes sense.

Bag-in-the-Box wines aren’t meant for long-term aging, so that’s good, honestly the packaging doesn’t really allow for it. You really don’t see cellars full of plastic bags of wine. Can you imagine life with giant Wine Capri Suns in the cellar...Probably not.

By the way the “expired” wines will not make you sick, but they might not taste like they did when you first bought them; most likely the fruit flavors have likely faded alot, and wine has taken on nutty and oxidized characteristics on the nose and flavors. But...some wine is awesome like that and is made to be that way...But, that's a whole other story!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is Chenin Blanc the most versatile wine?

I often go for a dry Chenin Blanc for pairing with seafood. it has so many flavors though. It's full-bodied yet crisp, aromatic, lively and complex. It is a wine of excellent quality. The talking points on the fruits such as pear, quince, pineapple and apple flavors and regions of the wine make so it can be explained to regular wine drinkers.  "How in the world does a Macintosh apple get in a white wine from France?" Also, the can wine get very interesting as it ages.

Chenin Blanc goes with everything from rich scallops, shrimp to delicate filet of sole. Look to France's Loire Valley for this wine or South Africa; some California. It is a good Cheese. Ideal serving temperature for the wine 45ºF- 50º . It can be stored a little lower than that.

Retail is usually $25 and up. It has several styles dry to sweet and you can also find good values at lower price points. Use a white wine glass, like a Chardonnay style; although since it can be fuller and viscous and has those fruit aromas; try a Bordeaux glass just for kicks to show it off to friends or customers. Try it with a country fried veal steak and mashed potatoes or Gyro meat!

In the olden days in France they used to try to hide the acidity of the under ripe grapes in parts of the Loire. Now the less ripe grapes are made into awesome sparkling wines like Cremant de Loire. In Anjou you'll find the I think best expressions of dry Chenin Blanc with the quince and apple flavors sometimes flowers and honeysuckle; which in Vouvray they get that style and can even get Noble Rot to make great dessert wine which evolves and improves with age. Very versatile; Don't you think?!?

PS: There so much you can write about this place! ... but I'll be brief... there is a favored place within Chaume in the Loire that has a separate appellation called Quarts de Chaume which pays attention to grape maturity an the yield can be lower; which can mean the wine can age for years and years. Try to find one of those to drink now and another to lay it down.

Friday, October 10, 2014

What major factors influence wine styles?

In regards to key wine styles. Today, wine is produced everywhere Brazil, Israel, Australia, the world even in Wisconsin, USA where alot the great cheese of the world is at! Get the point?!?

The grape variety, the environment, the care given to the grapes and how the wine is made and matured are vital.

Tradition is key; but economics is crucial too. The ability to grow the crops sustainably within a given climate is probably most essential these days, I think.

Wine, is historical, artistic, romantic, geographical, cultural... gastronomy is so important, investment potential and science is big time important as well-- one giant ball of thinking and enjoyment.

Terroir: the climate, the soil and the grape varieties... are at the core of terroir ... The land or soil, a sense of place...The climate-soil-water relationships; again the grape varietal, wine processing, wine aging and the wine region.

Sometimes it doesn't matter what the weather does, but generally when weather is on target, wine regions produce outstanding wines. I heard somewhere that winegrowers are calling it the "Goldilocks Effect" which is cool!

So how do the you organize and choose the most ideal wines for your taste? Well, there is a system to wine styles that most appeal to you. Think about Elegance, Boldness, Fruitiness and Suppleness and how it fits around those terms to start. It's in the eye of the beholder though and very nuanced. Trust yourself!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Is Tobacco the cure to Ebola?

Is Tobacco the cure to Ebola? It looking positive that it is...The question now is...Wll our leaders make it viable for Big Pharma to work on the cure. Or will they push under the rug and delay it.

As fellow blogger of Vinography Alder Yarrow writes…’Like many such medicines, tobacco began its life as a gift from the gods, to whom it would return with messages from the living when smoked. From dark pitch to burnt caramel to sweet fruit, and always laced with wood, the smell of cured tobacco makes its way into many wines, most often thanks to wood itself. The toasted oak of a barrel can lend Cabernet, in particular, a deep note of pipe tobacco, shown best as a grace note rather than a blast of flavor. At its best, tobacco's richness marries with the darker qualities of fruit to add spice and mystery, if not a bit of nostalgia, to a glass of red. Sounds like it’s better to drink it than to smoke it.’

Various medical studies have proven that wine in moderation is good for your health. Good for your heart in fact! There are antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart and there is a polyphenol called resveratrol that has gotten major attention because it .helps prevent damage to blood vessels and reduces the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and prevents blood clots. Wow!

So let's keep an open mind...

According to two CBS news articles on August 12 and 15th and recently other very high profile News outfits such as USA Today, NBC and Web-MD. There are a number of Ebola treatments and vaccine in development, and one comes from tobacco plants grown in specialized greenhouses at another operation, Kentucky BioProcessing, in Owensboro, Kentucky.

That experimental treatment, called ZMapp, uses proteins called antibodies, and is designed to inactivate the Ebola virus and help the body kill infected cells. It hasn't been tested in people but had shown promise in animal tests, so it was tried in three people sickened by Ebola in West Africa - two U.S. aid workers, who appear to be recovering, and a Spanish missionary priest, who later died.

 So the big question…

Q: Why isn't ZMapp being tested more widely to find out if it works in people?

A: There's not enough available. The antibodies are grown inside tobacco plants, and then extracted and purified, a slow process. U.S. officials have estimated that only a modest amount could be produced in two or three months, unless some way to speed production is found.
Tobacco seems to be the cure to the Ebola virus. So let’s get on with it and fix the issue.

This is a new Generation and a new time they need to help push through all the gridlock thinking.

Everybody know, there continues to be reporting about how bad tobacco is for you and the lawsuits continue. There is money to be made on the issue; Nevermind a person’s right to choose and the ‘Pleasure Police’…But that’s a whole other story. People like tobacco as much as people like wine or chocolate; period.

There’s no doubt to smoking’s certain calming and medicinal effects. Not to mention it does murky up the lungs and has negative addictive features such as a link to Cancer which has not been cured yet. Because the negative health effects were not initially known, the issue continues to be exploited.

But now that there is news that Tobacco is the successful cure to the the Ebola virus. It may be time to give tobacco it’s due.

According to a cool and informative CNN news article years ago; tobacco was first used by the folks of the pre-Columbian Americas. Native Americans actually developed the plant and smoked it in pipes for pleasure, medicinal and ceremonial purposes. They were on to something way back then.

Christopher Columbus brought a few tobacco leaves and seeds with him back to Europe, but most Europeans didn't get their first taste of tobacco until the mid-16th century, when adventurers and diplomats like France's Jean Nicot -- for whom nicotine is named -- began to popularize its use. Tobacco was introduced to France in 1556, Portugal in 1558, and Spain in 1559, and England in 1565.

The first successful commercial crop was cultivated in Virginia in 1612 by Englishman John Rolfe. Within seven years, it was the colony's largest export. A lot of our major leaders smoked and or grew tobacco from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to Barak Obama over the next two centuries; the custom and growth of tobacco as a popular past time and cash crop which partly fueled the demand in North America for slave labor and todays hemorrhaging of our legal system.

Cigarettes, which had been around in crude form since the early 1600s, didn't become widely popular in the United States until after the Civil War and the invention of the first practical cigarette-making machine; sponsored by tobacco baron James Buchanan "Buck" Duke, in the late 1880.

That’s essentially the origins…

Truthfully, he negative health effects of tobacco were not initially known; in fact, even back then most early European physicians subscribed to the Native American belief that tobacco can be an effective medicine. Which now we know is true and always has been true.

Let’s do all we can. Let’s make the cure to Ebola…and use the tobacco for its medical properties; this gift from the gods and help save as many people as we can! Sure we can make it controversial, but why??? Put your paradigms to the side... 

We can save lives!