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Wine Tasting Tips

Wine tasting is not the same as drinking it. To experience the true flavor of a wine requires that you pay attention to your senses of sight, smell, touch, as well as taste.

Sight: Look at the wine — in daylight if possible. The best way is to tilt the wine in the glass and look at it against a white background. What do you see? Is the wine clear or cloudy? The color will vary according to what wine it is. Red wines vary greatly in color — a Merlot, for example will usually be an intense ruby red while a Cabernet Sauvignon will be a darker, deeper red. As red wine ages, you will see hints of reddish-brown around the edges. White wines become more golden as they age.

Smell: Through our sense of smell, wine reveals its pleasures to us. To determine the aroma, swirl the wine vigorously in the glass. As the wine coats the sides of the glass, it releases its bouquet. The aromas can be quite different depending on how far into the glass your nose goes. At the top of the glass, they are more floral and fruity; deeper in the glass, they are richer. Try to detect the full range of scents from berry to floral to spicy to woody … and so on. Consider intensity and appeal.

Touch: This does not mean you dip your finger into your wine glass! When tasting wines, the touch is the feel of the wine on your tongue. Is it soft or brisk? Does it have a refreshing zing around the edges of your tongue? Or is it flat and flabby? Tannins (used in red wines to keep them from spoiling) will feel sort of prickly on your tongue. Younger red wines are usually more tannic. The ideal touch is a mellow softness — a velvety feeling in your mouth.

Taste: This is the final step and should be taken only after you’ve used your other senses. When tasting a wine, take a small amount in your mouth, swirl it around lightly so all your taste buds are exposed; then keep it there for a brief period. Does the wine taste the same as its aroma? Is it sweet, acidic, crisp? Is it light or full-bodied? At this point you can either spit it out (especially if you’re tasting several wines) or simply drink it, but be sure to experience the aftertaste (the finish). What is the memory of the wine on your palate?

atime4wine

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Chardonnay is America’s fastest growing varietal. Considered to be a low maintenance grape, is grown in a multitude of climates and produces high yields. But what should we know about this renowned white wine?

Chardonnay is probably one of the most renowned white wines, followed by its cousins, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer , Pinot Grigio, Semillon Viognier and Chenin Blanc. Serve these wines in glasses that have a smaller bowl that tapers in at the top. This will help concentrate their more subtle aromas.

Served at a cool 9-10 °C, Chardonnay features quite a separate range of impressive flavours, from its expected buttered, oak overtones to fresh, fruity flavours of apple, pear, citrus and melon. Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation will yield diacetyl, giving it a big buttery taste. The Chardonnay is then transferred to oak barrels where it will develop that signature oak flavour. These wines will pair excellently with pork, seafood, and chicken dishes that also have heavy cream or buttery bases. Lovers of Italian food will be glad to note that Chardonnay goes very well with Pasta carbonara, alla vongole, lobster, crab or scallops.

The more citrus, unoaked Chardonnay is stored in steel containers which impart the more citrus, fruity flavours. This version of Chardonnay goes better with lighter meals, smaller dinners or appetizers. Think Caesar salad, omeletes and quiches, ham and bacon.

Unoaked Chardonnay goes especially well with grilled or roasted salmon. These are merely suggestions for pairing some foods with Chardonnay. Although the often quoted rule of thumb is “red wine with red meat, white wine with fish or fowl,” a better rule is “A good paring is when the food and wine do not overshadow each other”.

Source: examiner.com

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Wine quote of the day

Great wine quote of the day:

“From wine what sudden friendship springs!” – John Gay.

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If you need an excuse to pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly this festive season, here it is: It’s good for your heart.

British academics have found that champagne is packed with polyphenols – plant chemicals thought to widen the blood vessels, easing the strain on your heart and brain.

And researchers believe the health benefits aren’t limited to the expensive stuff but are also found in cheaper alternatives such as cava and prosecco.

The Reading University study builds on earlier findings that two glasses of red wine a day help keep heart and circulatory problems at bay.

Polyphenols are believed to boost the levels of the gas nitric oxide in the blood, which then widens the blood vessels.

They are found in relatively high levels in red wine but not in white.

Champagne, however, is most commonly made from a blend of red grape varieties pinot meunier or pinot noir and white chardonnay.

Researcher Dr Jeremy Spencer said: ‘The question was would champagne have the same impact as red wine or would it have the limited impact of white wine?’

He showed that champagne had a far bigger impact on nitric oxide levels than a polyphenol-free ‘dummy drink’ of alcohol mixed with carbonated water.

Polyphenols are also found in tea, olive oil, onions, leeks, broccoli and blueberries.

Dr Spencer added: ‘The benefit is the same but it doesn’t seem as much fun somehow.’

Source: dailymail

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Entertaining people the festive season? …Here is a few handy tips on ‘How to remove red wine stains from fabric’

There are some stains you hardly have to worry about right away and then there are those that need to be taken care of right away. Red wine stains would be in the latter category.

From painstakingly washing the fabric by hand to simply tossing it into the washing machine, effective methods are available for getting rid of those dreadful red wine stains.

Things You’ll Need

  • Landry detergent, laundry pretreatment or dish soap
  • Clean sponge
  • Washing machine
  • Paper towels
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Towel or washcloth

Instructions

1.Blot the stain immediately with paper towels. If it is a dry clean only garment do not pretreat the stain and get it as fast as you can to the cleaners. Pretreatment of the stain can cause irreversible damage and the dry cleaner may not be able to remove the stain.

2. Combine 1 teaspoon laundry soap or pretreatment  and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture, squeeze it halfway dry, then gently blot the stain.

3.Place a dry towel or washcloth between the front and back of the garment if the stain has not penetrated through to the back of the fabric. This will prevent staining on the back of the material.

4.Review the washing instructions on the label of the fabric. Heed any special care instructions.

5.Wash in cool water and air dry if the fabric is machine-washable.

6.Wash gently in the sink with a mild detergent if the fabric is hand-wash only.

Source: ehow.com

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Red meat; red wine, white meat and fish; white wine. That’s the rule on food and wine matching, isn’t it? Not for the more adventurous – and confident – among us.

Although the before mentioned approach does sit true in many situations, it is vital to not only consider the colour of the wine but also the balance of flavours and textures when combined with what you are about to eat.

Be brave, experiment and don’t be afraid to get it wrong. Before you invite VIP guests round, that is.

When throwing a dinner party it’s worth considering which wine to serve with each course rather than scrambling around your rack, fridge or floor for the nearest bottle to uncork/screw.

You know when you have got it right because it feels right, simple as that. Average food can be lifted considerably when paired with a perfectly matched wine. Good food, however, can also be crushed.

The crisp and tropical Chenin Blancs should match up well to creamy dishes or salads, while the smooth and fragrant Chardonnays stands proud next to a soft cheese course.

Source: getreading.co.uk 

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