August 2009

wine swirlingJust a few health benefits of drinking wine:

– While wine offers certain medical benefits, it may slightly increase the risk of contracting certain kinds of cancer of the digestive tract, particularly the esophagus. There is also a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

– Red wine, typically more than white wine, has antioxidant properties and contains resveratrol, which seems to be important in the cardio-protective effects of wine.



red wineHere are the Top 10 Wine Myths

1) Wine goes bad and starts turning into vinegar about a day after popping the cork.

FALSE: A freshly opened bottle can last more than three days, and typically the wine gets better as time goes by.Studies by the Wine Institute have shown that wine drinkers actually prefer a wine the longer it has been opened (those studied preferred 3 days old to 2 days old, and 2 days old to 1 day old etc.).

This myth is insidious because it causes people to either not drink a wine because they fear they won’t be able to finish the bottle in one night or, even worse, to neglect or throw out perfectly good wine because they think it has gone bad.

2) Uncorking a bottle for a few hours before drinking to “let it breathe” will improve and soften the wine.

FALSE: This one is a little controversial, but tests show that simply uncorking a bottle of wine doesn’t do much to let a wine open up due to the small surface area of the wine exposed to air. One good analogy I’ve heard: Expecting a wine to breathe by popping the cork is like expecting a weary traveler to feel refreshed from a long plane ride by simply opening the cockpit door.

To really let the wine breathe you need to decant it and let it stretch its legs. And speaking of legs…

3) Wine “legs” or “tears” indicate high quality in wine.

FALSE: “Legs” are the viscous clear streams of fluid that run down the inside of a glass after the wine has been swirled. In general more pronounced legs do indicate a greater amount of alcohol in the wine, but legs or tears indicate nothing about the quality of the wine.

Fredric Koeppelexplains it well:

“It would require several paragraphs to explain this phenomenon fully, but the short version is this: The contention between the surface tension of the wine and the interfacial tension that acts between the wine and the inner surface of the glass draws the liquid up the inside of the glass to the point where, exposed to air, the alcohol evaporates, the surface tension of the remaining water intensifies, and the water forms a drop that clings to the glass and slowly slides back down.”

4) Smelling the cork can tell you something about a wine’s quality.

FALSE: Smelling the cork won’t tell you anything about the quality of the wine. The waiter or sommelier at a restaurant will hand you the cork so you can check to see if there is mold or if the cork is broken, but smelling it won’t tell you if the wine is corked or not. For that you need to smell the wine itself.

Also, for you CSI types ordering the older, more expensive wines, the cork should have the vintage date on it and it should match the vintage printed on the label. If it’s different, you can ask for a new bottle since the one you’ve been given has been doctored!

5) You need a different wine glass for different types of wine (Burgundy, Bourdeaux etc.).

FALSE: Slews of tests have shown that a standard ISO wine glass allows you to pick up the bouquet of both red and white wines as well or better than specialty glasses.

In general, as long as the glass is taller than it is wide, whatever you choose to serve your wine in will be fine.

6) “Old Vine” and “Reserve” have specific meanings that guarantee quality.

FALSE: The terms “Old Vine” and “Reserve” have no legal or generally agreed upon meaning. An “old vine” to me might be 120 years old, but to another winery wanting to market its wines as “old vine” 35 years could just as easily suffice. Likewise “reserve” can mean the best 4 barrels of production in one context, or a couple million cases a year in another. While the terms give some information about the wine in the bottle, it’s best not to assign too much weight to them.

7) Dom Perignon invented Champagne.

FALSE: Our favorite monk is famous not for inventing Champagne, but for devising the mushroom cork and metal closure that allowed vintners to keep the bubbles in the bottle. The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is about 90 pounds per square inch, which is roughly 3 times the recommended pressure for filling automobile tires. Because of this, at the time Perignon invented the closure, people were having a difficult time keeping the corks on their bottles.

8)The first winery in Napa was Mondavi.

FALSE: Charles Krug Winery was the first, founded in 1861. Mondavi was the first to open a winery in Napa after prohibition ended however, and has since bought Charles Krug.

9) The first winery in California was in Napa.

FALSE: The first winery in California was Buena Vista Winery, established in 1857 in Sonoma County.

10) The first winery in the US was in California.

FALSE: Not even close! The very first commercial winery was established in 1823, and was located in Missouri. Interestingly the very first AVA recognized by the BATF was in Missouri as well: Augusta.

Information Provided by: Pinot Blogger

wineTips On  Pouring Wine For Guests

Whether you have special friends over, or you’re a waiter or waitress at a nice restaurant, it’s always good manners to know how to serve a bottle of wine properly! Here are the steps to follow.

Present the Bottle
You always want the drinkers to know what they’re about to drink. Show them the bottle, with the label and vintage clearly showing. They will want to check the winery name and vintage to ensure both are what they want. I’ve been served the wrong vintage *several* times at restaurants, and it really does make a difference what year you get for many wines.

Open the Bottle
Whether it’s a Champagne cork, a regular cork, a screwcap or any other closure, open the bottle with a minimum of noise and fuss. Your sole aim is to get the cork off without letting the wine escape, the bubbles escape or bits of cork fall into the bottle. Note that you don’t need to show the cork off. That was really only done to prove to the buyer that the cork matched the wine – i.e. that the restaurant hadn’t pre-opened the bottle, poured out the good wine, and poured in bad wine, then corking it with a new cork. People don’t usually worry about that sort of thing in modern times.

Pour Out a Sample
10% of all wine bottles with cork in the top end up “corked” – that is, mold naturally found in tree bark taints the wine’s flavor. It ends up tasting like cardboard and wet paper. You always want to taste a wine to see if you detect those flaws. The wine is served to whoever ordered the bottle – male OR female, young OR old. That person swirls it, takes a sip, and says whether they think it is OK or not.

Pour Out the Wine
It’s usually best to serve clockwise around the table, standing over the right shoulder of each person as you pour. Never fill up a wine glass fully – you want it half full at most, so there’s room for the person to swirl the wine and release its aromas. They can always refill (or the waiter can) when they need more. It’s also less likely for the person to spill it that way. 

Leave the Remaining Bottle in a Cooler
No wine – neither red nor white – should be served at “room temperature”. They should all be kept chilled to varying degrees for serving.

NOTE: If the wine needs decanting, you’re sort of in trouble – wine can’t “breathe” in 5 minutes. It needs to be in a decanter for 30 minutes to an hour usually. Just popping the cork and letting the wine sit, in bottle, for 5 minutes isn’t going to make any difference. Also, a wine that needs decanting is one that has sediment – meaning if you have to go down into the cellar, bring it upstairs, pour it into a decanter – some of that sediment is going to be mixed into the wine. 

Information Provided By Wine Intro

wine tastingHere are some tips for wine tasting


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 a 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 tastebuds 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 are 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?


Information Provided by

wine:foodHere is a wine and food pairing guide to stimulate your taste buds!

Below you will find very general complementary food and wine pairing recommendations. Use them for reference, as a starting point. 

Wine guide for typical dishes:

  • Chicken – Chardonnay or lighter reds such as Rioja, Barbera, Grenache, Burgundy
  • Green Salad – Herby whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc.
  • Grilled Fish – Light medium bodied whites such as Pinot Grigio, Chablis
  • Pasta (red sauce) – Chianti, Zinfandel, Pinot Blanc
  • Pasta (white sauce) – Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gavi
  • Raw or steamed shellfish – Crisp, acidic wines such as Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Steak – Full-bodied red such as Cabernet, Bordeaux

Wine guide for Asian cuisines:

  • Chinese – Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir
  • Indian – Zinfandel, Chardonnay
  • Japanese – Beaujolais, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
  • Thai – Chablis, Chardonnay

Wine guide for cheese:

  • Creamy soft brie or camembert – Red Burgundy, Chardonnay, Chablis
  • Strong goat cheese –Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume
  • Hard Gouda – Chianti, Dolcetto, Pinot Noir
  • Semi hard cheese – Semillon, Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Smoked cheese – Gewurztraminer, Sauternes, Shiraz
  • Strong blue cheese – Sauternes, Port, Hermitage, Madeira


Information provided by