Snooth - Articles http://www.snooth.com/articles/?of=rss Read the opinions of wine professionals en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:32:59 -0400 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:32:59 -0400 http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification Snooth webmaster@snooth.com Magnificent Immigrant: Taiwan Wine Tycoon Makes Canadian Top-25 http://www.snooth.com/articles/magnificent-immigrant-taiwan-wine-tycoon-makes-canadian-top-25/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The vineyards of Canada were a far cry from the computing boards being cranked out in a factory in Taiwan.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That didn&#39;t stop Lulu Island Winery boss John Chang from traveling halfway around the world to start his own winery with his wife in 1995. &nbsp;If the computer parts magnate-turned-winemaker story isn&#39;t enough to intrigue inquisitive minds, the skeptics will be quite startled to know the Taiwanese businessman made a name for himself making, of all things, blueberry wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chang&#39;s success at his winery, which is located just outside of Vancouver in Richmond, won him a spot on the Royal Bank of Canada&#39;s 2015 list of Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. The honor made headlines in his hometown newspaper, the Richmond Review.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;What makes Chang&#39;s blueberry wine so special,&rdquo; reporter Fatima Riaz asked in her recent story about Chang. &ldquo;Instead of using concentrated blueberry juice, Lulu Island Winery uses 100 per cent fresh blueberries. The winery doesn&#39;t have to go far: Richmond produces a large blueberry crop.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chang&#39;s wine venture began as Blossom Winery in 2000, then changed names to Lulu Island Winery in 2007.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chang offered his own perspective on his success. He said the expansion and profitability of his company is based on principles of customer service, quality and innovation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Blueberry wine isn&#39;t the entrepreneur&#39;s only specialty. He&#39;s a big-time producer of ice wine. In fact, Riaz pointed out that Lulu Island is responsible for 50 percent of the ice wine produced in British Columbia.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> About 70 percent of the winery&#39;s ice wine is exported to China, Japan and Taiwan.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Chang plans to open three more wineries in the coming years, the story said. The tycoon has purchased a winery in the Niagra-on-the-Lake region in Ontario and would like to buy another Niagra winery in 2017. Chang is in the process of building a Grizzli Winery in Canada&#39;s famed Okanagan Valley.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the story, Chang&#39;s innovation isn&#39;t just about expansion, either. He has plans to produce ice brandy.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> A press release by the contest&#39;s organizers noted that this year&#39;s list of winners included immigrants who been living in Canada for as long as 40 years and as little as four years.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The list also included chef and trained sommelier Vikram Vij, a well-known Vancouverite who&#39;s made appearances on Chopped Canada and Top Chef Canada.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="http://canadianimmigrant.ca/canadas-top-25-immigrants/canadas-top-25-immigrants-2015/john-chang"><strong>CanadianImmigrant.ca</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6613 Napa Valley Naughty? Paper Posits Napa Drinkers Prefer Beer http://www.snooth.com/articles/napa-valley-naughty-paper-posits-napa-drinkers-prefer-beer/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The world of statistics and science becomes a very interesting realm when wine &ndash; or any type of alcohol for that matter &ndash; is thrown into the mix.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Recent research has shown that drinking a certain amount of booze makes people more attractive, while compounds in red wine have amazing healing powers. Yet too much wine has all sorts of negative effects.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Consumer studies have shown that wine buyers are using social media outlets to make their decision about wine purchases, yet they still usually buy their wine in stores.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And this week, in a rather interesting twist of data interpretation, a Napa Valley newspaper is claiming that Napa&#39;s residents love beer more than they love wine. The source? DUI records from local police.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The paper in question &ndash; <em>The Napa Valley Register</em> &ndash; has long been a reliable source for wine-country news, so the story comes as a bit of a surprise, not because the &nbsp;actual DUI reports are unreliable but because the conclusion drawn from the numbers are interesting, to say the least.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The paper reported that the majority of people who are pulled over in Napa under suspicion of drunk driving are not twirling the wheel to the tune of a half-empty bottle of Cabernet in the passenger&#39;s seat, but are under the influence of beer.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Wine may be the beverage that has made Napa Valley famous, but beer is what the locals prefer to drink,&rdquo; the story began.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Statistics for the story were sourced from the DUI Prevention Coalition, who noted that, in 2014, 361 beer drinkers were arrested for suspected DUI, while 174 were nicked for hard liquor and 114 were popped for wine.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to one Napa source who used to work at a winery bar, &nbsp;his colleagues are &ldquo;sick of wine&rdquo; and would rather spend their time plunking down lagers than sipping S&eacute;millon.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The bar worker&#39;s insight is more than just an anecdote. According to the DUI Prevention Coalition, those who had to attend DUI education classes were offered a survey which asked questions about what they were doing and where they were before their arrest.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Those surveys showed that &ldquo;most survey participants worked in the service industry, mainly as restaurant servers and bartenders.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> More than half of respondents were &ldquo;between 26 and 46&rdquo; years old.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That tourists aren&#39;t the leading offenders makes sense, as most visitors arrange transportation in groups or have planned out their day to avoid driving drunk.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/driving-steering-wheel-dash-691751/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6612 The Reserve Wine List: An Artifact From a Different Era? http://www.snooth.com/articles/the-reserve-wine-list-an-artifact-from-a-different-era/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>From deep in the recesses of a gourmet restaurant does the reserve wine list come, a mythical collection of ultra-fancy quaffers pulled from a secret corner like the sword from the stone.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> While the Sword in the Stone is a verifiable mythical story, the reserve wine list is not, though it is fast become the stuff of legend and less the stuff of everyday life &ndash; according to several influential restaurateurs who spoke with The Wall Street Journal reporter Lettie Teague in her column this past week.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Every time I see a reserve wine list I think, &#39;If you really want to get ripped off, here you go,&#39;&rdquo; restaurant boss Joe Bastianich said in Teague&#39;s story.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> He went on to imply that the wines he chooses for his restaurants are all deserving of &ldquo;reserve&rdquo; status, thus eliminating the need for a high and holy list of heavy hitters.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Other restaurant owners, like N.Y.C. Sparks Steak House&#39;s Michael Cetta said they offer their reserve list &ndash; called the &ldquo;library list&rdquo; &ndash; to certain customers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Rich Americans, wealthy South Americans and Wall Street high-rollers made the cut. Cetta&#39;s observations are interesting, considering Old World countries are not on his list, a fact which may point out that European wine drinkers are more sensible in their choices or more aware of the staggering markup of reserve-list wines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> In the case of Sparks, the restaurant&#39;s reserve list includes a &#39;95 Petrus for about $4,300. Teague pointed out you could pick up the same bottle in certain retail stores for anywhere between $1,400 and $2,200 less.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> <div><br /> Price beefs are par for the course, though, Teague pointed out. That restaurants mark up their wines is nothing new. Perhaps what makes the reserve list such an interesting topic is that it makes the diner feel like they&#39;re getting exclusive access to wines normally reserved for rich Western Hemispherers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet at the same time, as one source pointed out, the whole idea of an exclusive wine list is anachronistic &ndash; it exists outside of time, in a certain sense. Powerhouse wines abide among single comma brethren seemingly oblivious to the emerging era of tasty, affordable wines.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And equally as anachronistic is the manner by which these wine lists are offered to guests: &ldquo;You only get the goods if you look like you can afford it.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> An archaic philosophy indeed, particularly in a time when wine-world influencers don&#39;t need Armani suits, Rolex watches and an air of superiority to shift the opinions of their online followers.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/glass-wine-glass-drink-wine-83547/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6611 Feeling the Heat: China Says Hello to Wade Wine http://www.snooth.com/articles/feeling-the-heat-china-says-hello-to-wade-wine/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>It&#39;s beginning to seem like creating your own wine label has now become a rite of passage for the truly famous.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Everyone from Bravo TV housewives to Brangelina-level celebrities have invested their time and money into creating wines which bear their name or brand.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This past week, <em>Sports Illustrated</em> reported that championship guard Dwyane Wade has jumped into the relatively sparse NBA pick-up game that is the wine world, launching in China his personal &ldquo;Wade&rdquo; label.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;We always knew Dwyane Wade was a classy guy, but now he can really back up that assertion: Dude has his own wine label,&rdquo; SI&#39;s niche-news site Extra Mustard reported this past weekend. &ldquo;Wade launched &#39;Wade&#39;, his cleverly named wine label, this week during a Chinese tour that included stops in Beijing and Shanghai.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Long extolled has been the Chinese fancy for red wine, so Wade displays a level of savvy not present in the wines of other celebrities who chose U.S.-based releases of wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The bottles themselves are rather austere considering Wade&#39;s level of fame in the NBA.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A maroon capsule covers the neck almost all the way down to the shoulder. The label is white and square and features a half-circle bump on its top edge. The half-circle features a modest gold seal, and beneath the seal &ldquo;Wade&rdquo; is written in formal capital lettering.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> There are not basketballs, no NBA trophies and no Miami Heat propaganda &ndash; just the tidy, somewhat tepid design one would expect from a serious wine.<br /> <em>Sports Illustrated</em> said Wade has yet to reveal the varietals involved in the wine, or whether or not it&#39;s a blend.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What little is known about the wine apart from the information released by SI are photos posted in the article as well as photos from Wade&#39;s Instagram account.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Both <em>Sports Illustrated</em> and popular sports news website Bleacher Report published Wade&#39;s Instagram photos.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> In one shot, Wade is sitting with fellow NBAers Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and LeBron James as they raise their glasses of red for a toast. It&#39;s not known if the wine in their glasses is Wade.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> What is certain, though, is that the wine they&#39;re drinking is probably not the creation of Yao Ming, the retired Houston Rockets center whose award-winning wines have set the bar pretty high for Wade and other NBAers.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe also has devoted his retirement to wine, starting Doubleback Winery, perhaps the most prestigious athlete-crafted wine of the past 15 years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://instagram.com/dwyanewade/"><strong>Dwyane Wade&#39;s Instagram Account</strong></a></p> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6603 Summertime Bathing: Smithsonian Explores Effectiveness of Wine Baths http://www.snooth.com/articles/summertime-bathing-smithsonian-explores-effectiveness-of-wine-baths/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>This past year gargantuan NBA star Amar&#39;e Stoudamire blazed across the wine-world&#39;s headlines when he posted an Instagram photo of his hulking body submerged in a vat of red wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&#39;s hard to tell if the bearded behemoth is giving bedroom eyes, tired eyes or the eyes of a maniac who appears to be sitting in a tub of blood-tainted water. Either way, his photo revived a homeopathic practice, which, according to Smithsonian&#39;s Helen Thompson, is a tradition that&#39;s been around since the 1990&#39;s.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo; Wine baths can be pretty expensive,&rdquo; Thompson wrote this past week in Smithsonian magazine. &ldquo;So, is there any science to back them up or is this just a fruitless fad of the rich and famous?&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For the answer, Thompson turned to Matt Davenport, an assistant editor for Chemical Engineering News, whose opinions and findings were featured in Smithsonian&#39;s weekly video series, &ldquo;Speaking of Chemistry&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Davenport&#39;s video began with a few quick shots of Stoudamire, then a photo of the New York spa where he received the treatments. Fluff aside, he then launched into the supposed benefits of red wine baths.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sitting in the vat of vino, they say, gives your body premium skin-to-skins contact with a trio of antioxidants &ndash; anthocyanin, sulfur dioxide and tannins. Evidence from the world of science shows, Davenport noted, that antioxidants may have some extremely beneficial attributes.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> But, of course, the main question in the wine-bath debate isn&#39;t whether not some of the properties of red wine are beneficial; it&#39;s whether or not those benefits can be absorbed through the skin.<br /> And that, Davenport said, is where the controversy comes in.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Many of wine&#39;s antioxidants are phenolic compounds (resveratrol, for example), which means they might be helpful, but they&#39;re definitely not designed to be soaked in through the skin.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> If&#39; it&#39;s a wine bath you want, you&#39;d be better off turning that wine into a sunscreen-like cream which will stick to your skin for a long time and thus increase your body&#39;s exposure to the antioxidants prevalent in red wine, he said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Of course, even if you were able to keep the wine on your skin for a long time, you&#39;re fighting a losing battle.&nbsp; Antioxidants&#39; potency breaks down the longer they&#39;re exposed to oxygen.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Any remaining hope of wine&#39;s real benefits were washed down the drain when Davenport said there are much better ways to exfoliate your skin, another supposed benefit of wine baths.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> During the video, Davenport and a colleague sat in a kiddie pool filled with red wine. At one point, they ate lunch in the pool.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;It&#39;s not luxurious, because it&#39;s a child&#39;s poo,&rdquo; his colleague said. &ldquo;But, I mean, it&#39;s a nice way to enjoy your lunch.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/swimparallel/5321605441/in/photolist-97fBTX-oGmRtp-CXFzY-CXFA1-CXvFG-84SD7C-d5GfLS-9R8zQc-7kYGN9-bmq3ny-5jWYzq-84Pxka-bmqEeP-cnNys1-bF6Utp-4AZoK9-bb7Lqa-74TpoY-9fzak-NVwFz-kwyLh-Jz8hP-JeRZb-ek6bHV-7iSvcP-4LjbaA-7iSARk-d4NSgC-6zHaWc-d4NS85-7iWeAN-4wkTKu-d4NSwj-9dsPvL-mksTaH-ietpvH-6ph1qK-7NMYFh-cr2hP5-hLB1BA-6phrhV-6ph5cR-gzitqq-hXXoDf-jNn5BB-8xj9wg-6pmcbC-8xDP5L-pq2Pnz-4Rc8Ev"><strong>Kat</strong></a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/"><strong>Flickr Creative Commons</strong></a></p> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6607 Home Blending: Blasphemy, or the Better Part of Vino Valor? http://www.snooth.com/articles/home-blending-blasphemy-or-the-better-part-of-vino-valor/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>We&#39;ve read the articles about aerating wine with blenders, the home remedy which supposedly adds years to a wine&#39;s flavor in a matter of few violent seconds.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While whipping your wine into a frenzy may be a relatively &ldquo;old&rdquo; trend, a new DIY trend appeared in the headlines of a recent story by United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian: blending.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> That&#39;s right &ndash; some consumers are taking blends into their own hands, adding a little bit of this and that to create mixes, which, according to The Guardian, are pleasing palates, not the least of which is the paper&#39;s wine expert David Williams.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Williams talked about the practice in an article this past weekend, in which the reporter detailed his personal mixing methodology. Reader be warned: All the holy temples of wine etiquette come crashing down as he describes his favorite home blend of Tesco Simply Soave and Jamie Oliver&#39;s Prosecco.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;An inch of Soave at the bottom of the glass, topped up with Jamie&#39;s bubbles: it&#39;s nobody&#39;s definition of fine wine, but to me at least the resulting concoction is much better than the sum of its parts,&rdquo; Williams wrote. &ldquo;It&#39;s even better with a slice of pear and a couple of ice cubes.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> He calls the creation &ldquo;Simply Jamie&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Williams isn&#39;t the aloof type, though. He knows he&#39;s fiddling with hundreds of years of wine-world taboos, from mixing two wines together at home to adding a slice of fruit to &ndash; gasp! &ndash; dropping a few ice cubes in his all-wine concoction.<br /> Yet while his method may seem like madness, Williams&#39; blending theory isn&#39;t all that foreign once he explained it. In many ways, blending at home is just an extension of the wine&#39;s natural life span.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;It shouldn&#39;t really feel strange,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;After all, you&#39;re only continuing work that winemakers do all the time: blending.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Like many who try their hand at certain aspects of the winemaking process, in his elementary foray into wine blending Williams realized that this single aspect of the process is quite complex.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The skill of blending is just that, a skill. Knowing how to tie together several different varietals which are, in many cases, from different vineyards, requires an equal measure of &ldquo;sense-memory,&rdquo; &ldquo;tasting ability,&rdquo; &ldquo;logistical rigour,&rdquo; &ldquo;scientific analysis,&rdquo; and &ldquo;imagination.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> He referenced Penfolds Grange and Champagne Krug Grande Cuv&eacute;e as prime examples of the subtleties of blending &ndash; dozens of locations are used to create these masterpieces.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Williams closed his article with a list of six of his favorite blends; all mixed in the winery, mind you.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/wine-bottles-wine-rack-363214/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6606 Welcome to the New Cellar Door: Aussies, Kiwis Buying Online http://www.snooth.com/articles/welcome-to-the-new-cellar-door-aussies-kiwis-buying-online/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>This past week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published a story that may be of some interest to wine drinkers around the world, partly because it provides proof that online wine sales are on the rise and partly because online social media accounts play a big role in how Australian wine drinkers make their decisions about what they&#39;ll purchase next time the walk into a wine store, virtual or not.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> However, the data, which was sourced from a report by Wine Intelligence, shows that wine buyers under 35 years old weren&#39;t headed online simply because they like being online &ndash; price was the top reason why purchasers went online.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;People are&nbsp; going to websites to buy wine online primarily for discounts,&rdquo; Wine Intelligence regional boss Natasha Rastegar told ABC. &ldquo;We&#39;re seeing Australian wine drinkers becoming increasingly price savvy. The online world offers them even greater opportunities to get better discounts or to investigate price differences in more detail.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Rastegar went on to point out that social media is the bridge across which nearly every online purchaser walks before buying wine.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Wine selfies, photos of events at wineries and filtered snapshots of a night at home with a bottle of wine are all viable online entry points. Add in the fact that many wine experts, both old guard and new wave, are quite happy to tweet and Instagram their way through a bottle of wine, thus influencing the opinions of their followers.<br /> Rastegar said that one in four Australians under the age of 35 has purchased wine online based on a post they saw on a social media site.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Perhaps the most interesting factoid in the ABC story is that, according to the Wine Intelligence representative, the people who buy wine online in Australia are more likely to be experienced oenophiles who appreciate the wide variety of wines from which they can choose online.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This fact brings up an interesting question: Are the level of online sales and social media influence in Australia and New Zealand a trend among the average wine drinker, or is it a reflection of the burgeoning tastes of a high-level community of wine drinkers who turn to the social media accounts of their equally experienced wine buddies to make a decision about their next Friday-night bottle?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Though the trends may seem like the spell doom for grocery stores, the data pointed out that one of the leading online wine sellers in Australia and New Zealand is a popular brick-and-mortar bottle shop.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/technology-keyboard-computing-785742/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6605 Catch the Corsican Rosé Wave http://www.snooth.com/articles/wines-of-corsica/?viewall=1 Christy Canterbury MW <p><div><br /> Corsica may fall under French jurisdiction, but its spirit is clearly distinct from that on &ldquo;the continent&rdquo;, as they say. Read the street signs in French or in Corsican; if you know some Italian, you&rsquo;ll grasp the latter easily. After all, Corsica was Italian for a solid seven hundred years before the island raised the French tricolore flag in 1769.</div><br /> <br /> The island of Corsica is a jagged slab of granite that thrusts almost angrily toward the sky. These dramatic mountains give Corsica its majestic beauty, which in turn gives it the moniker, &ldquo;l&rsquo;&Icirc;sle de Beaut&eacute;&rdquo;, or &ldquo;the Beautiful Island&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Latitude-wise, the island extends from southern Bolgheri in Tuscany to 35 miles south of Rome. It is sunnier and drier there than anywhere else in France. However, the mountains are cold at night, even in in the face of summer&rsquo;s fury, and the wind from the Mediterranean can be cooling &ndash; if drying, as long as it&rsquo;s not shooting up from Africa. Still, at night the sea radiates back all the heat it absorbs during the day, keeping the lower elevations toastier than you might expect.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Grapes are cultivated on the slopes leading to the high altitude bases of these mountains, as well as in the eastern plains. This side of the island is not only flat, but also alluvial. The area produces basic wines, often used in bag-in-boxes and sold off in bulk.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The rest of the island produces the enticing bottlings we see exported to &ldquo;the continent&rdquo; and beyond. In the west, granite dominates. In the south and southwest, granite mixes with sand. (No surprise: Corsica&rsquo;s most famous beaches are there.) On the northern end, we find schist, limestone and clay surface.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> On the slopes, the vines are traditionally trained in the goblet style (an ancient method of training vines without trellises that creates a big, bushy growth). Irrigation is prohibited, which has caused great concern for the last eighteen months. There&rsquo;s been almost no rain. It&rsquo;s only when there&rsquo;s no rain or too much heat that talk of vintages crops up. Otherwise, the years are stable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Corsica has largely escaped &ldquo;Cabernetization&rdquo;. The local Nielluccio wine grape is one of the most popular. Its genetics strongly resemble Sangiovese.The Nielluccio grape&rsquo;s origin has been a subject of debate: Some believe it is native to Corsica, while others feel it was brought to Corsica by the Genoese of Northern Italy some time during their rule of the area (between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries). Another red Corsican grape is Sciacarello; its name is derived from the local word &ldquo;sciaccarellu&rdquo;, which means &ldquo;irresistible&rdquo;. Vermentino, also known as Malvoisie de Corse (Corsican Malvasia) is a white grape that enjoys popularity around the Mediterranean. You will also find Grenache, in addition to Syrah, Carignan and other southern French varieties, too. Fifty-five percent of the production in Corsica is ros&eacute;; fourteen percent is white; and a small dribble, one percent, is sweet, vindoux-style Muscat. Thirty percent of production is red. All of the styles combined account for just one percent of France&rsquo;s wine production. There are 264 producers and 104 independent wineries.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The island&rsquo;s wines are subtle, eschewing copious new oak (and often any new oak at all) and goopy extraction. Minerality shines through, and there&rsquo;s sometimes a hint of sea salt in the whites and ros&eacute;s. These are wines of refreshment.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The occasional white &ndash; like the famous (and mind-bendingly delish) <a href="http://closnicrosi.fr/">Clos Nicrosi</a> &ndash; ages well, and many reds can easily be kept seven years to a decade. The diminishing supply and production of the heralded sweet wine Muscat du Cap Corse can last ages. Don&rsquo;t miss one of these older, elusive beauties if you find one!<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When I picked up my economy rental car in Corsica, I asked &ndash; jaded from other rentals in France &ndash; how the pick up was for getting on the highway. The woman stared at me with a quizzical expression and replied, &ldquo;There are no highways in Corsica.&rdquo; Just as there is no way to rush around an island packed with granite peaks, it&rsquo;s often not possible to rush out and pickup some Corsican wines to sip. It may take some looking around considering the island&rsquo;s small production and export levels, but your journey will be well worth it.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em><strong>Editor&#39;s Note:</strong> According to Patrick Fioramonti of Le Vin Corse, the 2014 Corsican white wine vintage is Exceptional. The red wine vintage is Very High. Other famous vintages include 2001, 1990, 1987, 1985, 1977, and 1974.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> See attached list for Snooth Editorial&rsquo;s Top Corsican Ros&eacute;. We had the opportunity to taste some of these stellar selections last month at<a href="http://nuitrose.com/events/2015/la-nuit-en-rose-new-york"> La Nuit en Ros&eacute; New York</a>, the world&#39;s first and most &nbsp;fantastic wine cruise festival dedicated entirely to ros&eacute; wines and champagne.&nbsp;While these Corsican selections may require some leg-work to find, the effort is well worth your time. Create the demand!</em></p> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6608 Soccer League Teague: WSJ Wine Expert Defends Mom Favorite http://www.snooth.com/articles/soccer-league-teague-wsj-wine-expert-defends-mom-favorite/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>A better case for the virtues of Sauvignon Blanc among the minivan mavens and the wine elite may not exist.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This past week, <em>Wall Street Journal</em> wine expert Lettie Teague brought out the big guns in defense of New Zealand&#39;s signature quaffer, Sauvignon Blanc. What set Teague&#39;s article apart from the usual varietal-specific defenses is the comprehensiveness with which she waved the Blanc banner.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Some wine drinkers are thrill seekers, forever in search of the unpredictable or little known,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;Others seek something less surprising: a wine that is competently produced, attractively packaged and, above all, tastes reliably good.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Sauvignon Blanc is the champion of that latter group, excelling in the production process, the packaging arena and the way the wine entices the palate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Part of the wine&#39;s draw, she said, is that New Zealand&#39;s government has regulations in place which require a &ldquo;Wine Export Certificate&rdquo; for every wine which leaves the country, a sort of stamp of approval which verifies the quality of the bottle culinary diplomat.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Winemakers give the certificate only after they&#39;re sure that the wine is without major flaws and that its labeling is accurate.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Teague said winemakers will even go as far as to test the wine to make sure its chemical makeup is in accordance with the level of alcohol and acidity purported by the producer.<br /> What results from this rather detailed process is a fleet of Kiwi wines upon which the average mom, dad or wine enthusiast in general can rely.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Teague said her friends love Sauvignon Blanc, in part, for this reason: They can usually count on buying a non-skunky wine from the island nation.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Coupled with the ability for the wine lover to buy a decent bottle of the stuff for under $15 and Sauvignon Blanc becomes, as one friend of Teague&#39;s said, &ldquo;the favorite wine of soccer moms everywhere.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Along with consistency and quality comes brilliant label design &ndash; Teague noted that many of the wines feature labels which reflect the &ldquo;cool and refreshing&rdquo; character of the wines.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> And, of course, there&#39;s the flavor of the wine: bright, but not too bright; acidic, but not too acidic; fruity, but not too fruity.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> According to Teague, Sauv Blanc&#39;s seductive combination of taste, quality, consistency and style are the driving factors behind the wine&#39;s popularity in the United States. In the past five years, the number of cases shipped to the United States has more than doubled.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/glass-wine-white-wine-wine-glasses-85167/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6604 That Merlot Looks Quite Nice on You: Duo Makes Bottle Jewelry http://www.snooth.com/articles/that-merlot-looks-quite-nice-on-you-duo-makes-bottle-jewelry/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Yount Street Glass isn&#39;t where you go for a glass of Merlot, Cabernet or any other drink for that matter. In fact, the wine itself has nothing to do with what&#39;s going on within the walls of the tiny Yountville (Calif.) business.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The wine bottles that once carried your favorite varietal, however, are on center stage for two artists who transform used wine bottles into pieces of jewelry.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Their work was featured by reporter Susan C. Schena, a reporter for the Dixon Patch (Calif.), who marveled at the duo&#39;s handmade works.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There&#39;s a small garage studio on Yount Street in Yountville where something magical happens every day,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;The two ladies who live there &hellip; are very environmentally conscious. Not only are they saving the world one wine bottle at a time, but every day they transform those wine bottles into pieces of art in the form of beautiful jewelry.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the story, the two founders &ndash; Cindy Kapjian and Kay Lafranconi &ndash; got the idea to use wine bottles for jewelry when they were stumped after trying to search for a gift for Kapjian&#39;s niece. Remembering a Napa art studio they visited about five years earlier, the two decided to make their own jewelry, the first piece being for the niece.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;People liked our jewelry and we gave away whatever we had on us,&rdquo; Kapjian said on the company&#39;s website.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> They developed the idea further until they finally decided to make a business out of the endeavor. Family and friends joined the two both in spirit and financially.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> &ldquo;Yount Street Glass jewelry creations include bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and accessories such as key chains and shawl pins,&rdquo; Schena wrote in the Patch story. &ldquo;They also produce a unique line of cork bracelets appropriate for both men and women.&rdquo;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Yount Street Glass&#39; website, 40 billion glass bottles are used every year. Napa offerings, of course, are about as wine heavy as you&#39;ll find anywhere in the glass-bottle world.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;By using bottles from friends, local wineries, and anonymous recycling bins, the bottles are gently harvested,&rdquo; the site said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> From there, the bottles undergo a series of treatments.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The jewelry exhibited on the site is surprisingly multicolored &ndash; pieces of various styles and sizes come in yellows, greens, reds, blues, clears and browns.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to the Patch story, several wineries in Napa feature the duo&#39;s jewelry.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://scontent-mad1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11062728_983954341634917_58538647543405066_n.jpg?oh=f19d2dcce87ca0cf5554024644522db4&amp;oe=5617D138"><strong>Yount Street Glass Facebook Page</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6602 Chill Out! Brit Wine Experts Say Cooling Reds is Just Fine http://www.snooth.com/articles/chill-out-brit-wine-experts-say-cooling-reds-is-just-fine/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The summer sun is wielding its surly heat and those of us who suffer beneath its burly rays have learned well that a summer party isn&#39;t complete without a chilled bottle of white wine.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Red wines stay on the counter until they&#39;re ready to be quaffed, right?</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Not so fast, The Telegraph &nbsp;reporter Kate Hawkings wrote this past week in the United Kingdom-based newspaper. Feel free to toss that Cab Franc into the fridge for a spell.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;White is the go-to wine in the summer: many of us keep a bottle ready in the fridge for when the sun&#39;s over the yardarm and it&#39;s time for a cooling tincture,&rdquo; Hawkings wrote. &ldquo;Reach for the red, is my advice: because, controversial as it might seem, cold red wine makes brilliant summer drinking.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Gasp! Chilled red wines? Ice bucket requests at restaurants? Not the blasphemy you might think.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Hawkings wrote about an experience she had on a hot day at a London restaurant in which she asked for a bucket of ice along with her Spanish red.<br /><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The waiter hesitated.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;After gentle insistence, he brought the bucket and the wine was transformed,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;Floppy and a little bit sickly when warm, after ten minutes on ice the lovely raspberry-scented, cherry fruit was sharpened and brought into focus and the gentle mineral crunch came to the fore.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The reasoning behind chilling wines is somewhat similar to the reason behind decanting wines &ndash; certain flavors are unlocked/accented when the process takes place.</div><br /> <br /> Sweetness is reduced in a chilled red, fruit flavors gain vitality and the alcohol is softened. But these effects, Hawkings noted, are suitable for nimble red wines which are light and juicy.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Big reds benefit in other ways, namely in the cold temperature&#39;s ability to elevate tannins &ldquo;pulling something potentially wobbly nicely into shape.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Beware, though, for wines which are full-bodied or super oaky will have a tough time managing the cold.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Outside of taste, chilling a red means you can have some heat-quenching relief as you work through a grilled steak.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> If you can&#39;t stomach seeing your Pinot Noir languishing in the chilled recesses of your fridge, a fruit-laden pitcher of Sangria may do the trick.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Hawkings also pointed out you may enjoy a frosty glass of tinto de verano, a Spanish treasure in which red wine is mixed with lemonade or lemon tonic.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/drink-fruit-fizzy-pop-koolaid-19202/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6598 Bidding Adieu to Varietals? Blends Beg for Attention in Modern Wine World http://www.snooth.com/articles/bidding-adieu-to-varietals-blends-beg-for-attention-in-modern-wine-world/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>We feel so at home with trusty varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Malbec these days that it can be hard to imagine a wine world where blends are barnstorming for more votes from the wine drinking masses.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Yet that&#39;s exactly where we are at these days, wine expert Bill Ward said in an article this past week in Minnesota&#39;s Star Tribune. The M word has something to do with it (read: Millennials) but there are other factors which play a part in the fact that today&#39;s wine drinkers aren&#39;t content with their &ldquo;parents&#39; Buick,&rdquo; Ward said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;Twenty years ago, consumers were almost laser-focused on varietals (wines with the dominant or only grape variety on the label), consistently asking for a chardonnay or merlot,&rdquo; Ward wrote.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The reasoning behind the move toward blends is not so much an insatiable thirst for busting the status quo square in the mouth, but mainly because of desires to find great wines at good prices.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> One wine expert told Ward consumers are also tired of the highly marketed regions and wine styles and want to find something new and lively that isn&#39;t necessarily marketed to the nines.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Ironically, Ward pointed to Spain &ndash; country of several highly publicized and marketed regions &ndash; as the impetus behind the blend movement, quoting an expert who said the country&#39;s bevy of cheap and tasty wines opened people up to the idea that good wines were to be had outside of the heavyweight regions.</div><br /> <br /> Wine expert Brian Mallie brought up an additional reason as to why blends are burgeoning. He told ward that Millennials love their blends, whereas it was nearly impossible to sell multi-grape wines to their parents.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;There&#39;s a whole generation growing up without trying (the French standbys),&rdquo; Mallie said in the story. &ldquo;Back in the day when buying wine was such a crapshoot, you could rely on (these regions) for quality. Now the overall consistency, the quality is good from all over.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Before you become uncorked about this break of tradition, remember that one generation is still holding out for varietals: Generation X.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The MTV kids like to keep things simple &ndash; single-grape quaffers are just fine for them. One wine expert told Ward consumers between 30 and 50 are &ldquo;more directed&rdquo; and they&#39;ve narrowed down their favorites to a specific set of winners.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/wine-bottle-drink-alcohol-beverage-823619/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6597 It’s Time to Get Serious About Rosé http://www.snooth.com/articles/summer-rose-wine/?viewall=1 Jeff Kralik <p><div><br /> This is the time of the year that you see a slew of ros&eacute; wine reviews, as the summer is known as pink wine season. This is underscored by the fact that most wineries release their ros&eacute;s in the spring no doubt in an effort to latch on to the popular sentiment. For years, I refused to buy into to the &ldquo;summer means ros&eacute;&rdquo; mindset as I firmly believe that ros&eacute;s should be consumed all year, not just strictly paired with charcoal-cooked burgers, sundresses, and dining al fresco. Even though dry ros&eacute; keeps rising in popularity, relatively few people see it as a serious wine and try and keep it pigeon-holed into its summer-only status. For me, ros&eacute; is more than a refreshing heat-beater&mdash;just as I don&rsquo;t stop enjoying white wine when the thermometer starts to plummet, I keep plenty of the pink stuff around in the cooler months, too.</div><br /> <br /> While far too much emphasis has been placed on the effects of White Zinfandel on the public perception of ros&eacute; (some claim that the popularity of White Zin has led many to believe that all pink wines are sweet and cheap), many serious wine drinkers still refuse to pay much more than $10 for a bottle of ros&eacute;. The fact is, however, that many wineries are now approaching ros&eacute; with the same level of seriousness and import that they show with all their wines.<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There are two main ways to make a ros&eacute;, and although similar, they result in a rather key difference.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The first is the saign&eacute;e method, which is a bit of a happy accident. As the name suggests, the process originated in France where makers of red wine would bleed off (saign&eacute;e means &ldquo;bled&rdquo; in French) some of the juice of a newly pressed red wine. Since a red wine gets its color and much of its character from the skins, this process was developed to improve the red wine since the juice that remained would have more concentrated contact with those skins, resulting in more intense flavors in the red wine.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Winemakers would discard the juice that they had bled off&mdash;either selling it as bulk wine or simply letting in run down the drain. Eventually, however, they realized that they could vinify this saign&eacute;e, bottle it, and sell it as a ros&eacute; (since the juice had taken on a slight coloration from the brief contact with the skins).</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The second way to produce a ros&eacute; is often called the maceration or pressed method (and is perhaps the more traditional approach) where the grapes are grown with the intention of making a ros&eacute;. The fruit is picked and crushed and the resulting juice remains in contact with the skins for a short period of time. Since color is derived from this contact with the skins, the longer the contact, the darker the hue. Many of the ros&eacute;s produced in the South of France use this more &ldquo;traditional&rdquo; method in which from the start the grapes are grown destined to become ros&eacute;.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The difference between the two? For the most part, dedicated ros&eacute;s tend to have sharper acidity since the fruit has been farmed to make a ros&eacute;, while saign&eacute;e ros&eacute;s tend to be a little rounder and softer since the fruit was picked at a much higher sugar level. Thus, it comes down to a question of preference: if you are looking for a racy, crisp wine, look for a dedicated ros&eacute;, and if you prefer a softer, perhaps fruitier style, reach for a saign&eacute;e.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Here are some ros&eacute;s that will go a long way to convince you that ros&eacute; wines are not just for summer and you should be drinking them year-round. First, a few saign&eacute;es:</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/miner-mendocino-rosato-of-sangiovese-2014/"><strong>2014 Miner Mendocino Rosato of Sangiovese</strong></a>: Retail $20. Saign&eacute;e of Sangiovese. The Miner shows considerable fruit--strawberry, raspberry, and just a hint of banana. On the palate, the fruit persists, and the acidity comes in. This is a solid effort. Very Good 87-89 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/ghost-hill-cellars-the-spirit-of-pinot-noir-rose-bayliss-bower-vineyard-2014/"><strong>2014 Ghost Hill Cellars the Spirit of Pinot Noir Ros&eacute; Bayliss-Bower Vineyard</strong></a>:&nbsp;Retail $20. Dark in the glass, a delicate Crimson, almost red wine dark. Watermelon and cherry on the nose and round on the palate. Still great balance and verve with body and fruit. Very Good. 88-90 Points.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/waterstone-rose-of-cabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-2013/"><strong>2013 Waterstone Ros&eacute; Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley</strong></a>: Retail $15. Fairly dark for a ros&eacute;. Great fruity nose of watermelon, strawberry, and cantaloupe. On the palate? Juicy and rich but balanced. Tart and vibrant on the finish. Very Good. 88-90 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> And a few dedicated, or pressed ros&eacute;s:</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/acquiesce-grenache-rose-lodi-mokelumne-river-2014/"><strong>2014 Acquiesce Grenache Ros&eacute; Lodi Mokelumne River</strong></a>: Retail $22. It is impossible to say which variety makes the best ros&eacute;&mdash;there are so many variables involved that making such a statement would be pure folly. Here is what I do know: many of the better ros&eacute;s that I have tried were made from Grenache. And this is one of them. Rarely have I had a ros&eacute; that combines intense fruit flavor with near impeccable balance as this wine from Sue Tipton. Strawberry, cherry, and a splash of lime, with a flinty mid-palate and a lengthy finish, this is one of the best ros&eacute;s I have had in a while. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/cornerstone-corallina-napa-valley-syrah-rose-2014/"><strong>2014 Cornerstone Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Ros&eacute;</strong></a>: Retail $25. More floral on the nose than Corallina&rsquo;s of the past with red rose petals predominate. On the palate, some red berry fruit comes through with a bubblegum note on the finish. Very Good. 88-90 Points.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/gary-farrell-rrv-rose-of-pinot-noir-2014/"><strong>2014 Gary Farrell RRV Ros&eacute; of Pinot Noir</strong></a>: Retail$28. Faint nose of strawberry and just a hint of mint. Tart grapefruit balanced with the strawberry on the palate but restrained. It is rare to see a dedicated Pinot Noir ros&eacute;, but if this is what can be done, there should be a whole lot more. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/quivira-vineyard-rose-2014/"><strong>2014 Quivira Vineyard Ros&eacute;</strong></a>: Retail $22. 62% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourv&egrave;dre, 8% Counoise. I have been to Dry Creek many times but never to Quivira. Based on this wine, it needs to be a priority. Strawberry and melon on the nose with some citrus added in on the palate. Good balance with a zingy acidity and a lingering, flinty finish. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> There is technically a third way to make a ros&eacute; wine, but it is almost strictly reserved for sparkling wines. A small amount of still red wine is blended in with the pressed white juice before the second fermentation in the bottle. And this is one of my favorites:</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/mumm-rose-2014/"><strong>Mumm Ros&eacute;</strong></a>. Retail $24. Mumm is one of the larger sparkling wine producers in the US, but also one of the most consistent. Despite being sold several times, they have retained the same winemaker, Ludovic Dervin, since 2002. A brilliant salmon with fine bubbles and faint strawberry/cherry on the nose. Great acidity and balance with a lingering finish. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The third way, blending some red wine into a white wine is rarely practiced (with the notable exception of champagne). For a while now, I have wondered why that is: blending is widespread around the wine world, there are even some red wines that have some white wine blended into them (usually to add an aromatic component). I have seen just about every variety blended with others, as long as they were the same color. How&#39;s that for discrimination? After some digging, I came away with no real good reason why reds are not blended into whites to make a ros&eacute;. Makers of ros&eacute; have fought to discourage blending in an apparent attempt to preserve the quality and image of ros&eacute;s. They claim that if red/white blending were allowed, a ton of inferior ros&eacute; would be produced with leftover plonk and this would damage the &quot;brand&quot;.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring: Happy Ros&eacute; Drinking!&nbsp;</div><br /> </p> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6599 Wine Desert No More: Chinese Converting Barren Land Into Grape-Bearing Kingdoms http://www.snooth.com/articles/wine-desert-no-more-chinese-converting-barren-land-into-grape-bearing-kingdoms/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Much has been made of China&#39;s emergence into the wine world, particularly in light of recent reports from the International Organisation for Vine and Wine in which numbers indicate the country grows more grapes (table and wine) than any other country in the world.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Part of the Chinese success, a recent story by CBS News noted, may be their insatiable desire to convert land into suitable vine growing territory. This drive has taken the country&#39;s winemakers into the Ningxia region, where the passing traveler may scoff at the idea that anything could ever grow in in a land that is quite literally a desert.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The desert in Ningxia is being transformed,&rdquo; a recent CBS story said. &ldquo;It&#39;s taking billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields there each year and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to make it China&#39;s wine country.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The rolling hills of California&#39;s wine country these are not. The vines are burying their hopeful tendrils into the parched earth of the Gobi desert.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Karen MacNeil, wine expert and author of &ldquo;The Wine Bible&rdquo;, told CBS she was stunned to find out vines are proliferating in the arid climate.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I&#39;ve been to every other wine region in the world, and I thought, wine near the Gobi Desert, impossible, right? But, boy, wine near the Gobi Desert,&rdquo; MacNeil said. &ldquo;It is a reality, and it&#39;s a big reality.&rdquo;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The vast swath of sand and sun runs along the border between Mongolia and China and covers about 500,000 square miles.</div><br /> <br /> According to CBS, about 80,000 acres of that land has been developed for vineyards &ndash; that amounts to 125 square miles, a mere 0.00025 percent of the Gobi&#39;s overall area.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> As if planting in the desert wasn&#39;t hard enough, winemakers face the prospect of a seasonal swing in temperatures which forces them to bury their vines during the winter and dig the vines back up when the chill thaws and spring brings warmer temperatures.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Whether or not the wine will be a big seller is yet to be seen. If sales are skimpy, all the hard work would go to waste.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;I think it is a risky bet, but I think the Chinese philosophy has been &#39;Build it and they will come and if you built it well, they will come.&#39; So we&#39;ll just have to see,&rdquo; MacNeil said.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The whole idea that Chinese desert wine may one day become the darling of wine world seems a bet far fetched, but MacNeil said anything&#39;s possible.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;We know Tuscany, we know Bordeaux, we know Napa,&rdquo; she wrote. &ldquo;The idea that somewhere in the Chinese desert might be the next great wine region in the world, it&#39;s astounding.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/mongolia-gobi-hot-sand-dune-dune-695266/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6596 Goon Bag Gripes: Australian Premium Producers, Beer Bosses Complain http://www.snooth.com/articles/goon-bag-gripes-australian-premium-producers-beer-bosses-complain/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>In the land of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, boxed wine goes by the name of &ldquo;goon bag&rdquo;, a slightly derogatory name for the vino and its accompanying bag found inside the walls of its cardboard vessel.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to Australian news outlet SBS, the country&#39;s premium wine producers and craft beer producers may have a legitimate beef with the boxed wine, and it has nothing to do with the perceived plonkishness of the bagged libation.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> SBS recently reported that think-tank Australia Institute revealed that goon bags are taxed at a rate of $3 per liter of the cheap stuff, while bottled beer bears the burden of a $35 tax per liter and high-brow wine is battling a hefty $55-per-liter tax.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> That Aussie wine drinkers&#39; wallets may be choking on the pricey premium tax while Aussie drinkers are choking down tax-light boxed wine is an injustice, the Australian Institute think tank said in the SBS article.</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;The Australian Institute believes the unfair tax treatment is corporate welfare at its worst, with a majority of wine producers paying almost nothing,&rdquo; the story said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Readers are left to wonder if the think tank&#39;s results are nothing more than kindling to stoke the stodgy fires of those who prefer to protect the wine world by taxing the bejesus out of cheap wine so that consumers are forced to consider paying for higher quality wines that would, in theory, have lower tax rates.&nbsp;</div><br /> <br /> Sources used in the story disagree with this theory, though, pointing out that one of the major concerns over the tax issue is that heavy drinkers happily gulp down cheap wine precisely because it&#39;s so easy on the wallet.&nbsp;<br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Boxed-wine induced, embarrassing Instagram photos aside, there are more dangerous and costly consequences at stake, Australia&#39;s Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education said.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &ldquo;It simply beggars belief that ordinary Australians continue to foot the bill for the significant healthy and social costs of alcohol, while the majority of wine producers are profiting from favourable tax arrangements,&rdquo; said the Foundation&#39;s boss, Michael Thorn, in a statement quoted by SBS.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> The Foundation has a good point: excessive drinking can cause a host of health problems. One could argue the effects of heavy drinking may reduce as the result of higher taxes much in the same way that increased cigarette taxes have reduced the smoking rate in America over the past 10 years.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> According to SBS, taxes on beer and spirits are based on alcohol content, while wine taxes are based on wholesale value.&nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> &nbsp;</div><br /> <div><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/calculator-calculation-insurance-723925/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></div><br /> </p> Mon, 13 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6595 A Bubbly Cheers for Heritage: Champagne Lands UNESCO Designation http://www.snooth.com/articles/a-bubbly-cheers-for-heritage-champagne-lands-unesco-designation/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Fiercely protective of its name and history, the Champagne region of France has been a sublime stalwart of sparkling wine production for decades.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While some may deride the region for being too snooty, respecters of wine and all things sparkling will be quick to point out Champagne&#39;s dedication to excellence is now a certified obsession.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This past week UNESCO named Champagne&#39;s vineyards, cellars and sales houses to the organization&#39;s World Heritage list.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A variety of media outlets covered the good news.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Australia&#39;s ABC pointed out that the UNESCO status ensures that &ldquo;the sites receive special protection in the future&rdquo; and that the heritage-focused group Champagne&#39;s sparkling wine industry&nbsp; is &ldquo;a very specialised artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The article went on to say the designation has the potential to bring monetary benefits as well.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The rolling hills of the northern French region, where the grapes for the sought-after bubbly are grown, already have some of the most expensive agricultural land in Europe,&rdquo; the ABC story said. &ldquo;But inclusion on UNESCO&#39;s vaunted list can bring further economic benefits, because as well as being a powerful tourist draw, world heritage sites are eligible for financial assistance towards preservation.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The region&#39;s original application to UNESCO asserted that &ldquo;this is a land unlike any other, home to a unique and enviable wine that is born of a tradition of vine-growing spanning two thousand years of human history.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> UNESCO&#39;s press release about the designation listed the vineyards, cellars and houses involved in the winemaking process.<br /> Each one of the aspects of the process represents the passion of the region&#39;s winemakers as well as the vast and storied narrative of Champagne.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The world-famous region wasn&#39;t the only French winemaking haven included on UNESCO&#39;s newest list of designations &ndash; Burgundy&#39;s Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune terroir also scored world heritage designation.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;The site is an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages,&rdquo; the UNESCO press release said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The two regions of France join Saint Emilion and Bordeaux on the country&#39;s list of UNESCO wine regions.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The two awards bring France&#39;s total UNESCO designations to 41.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> French culture minister Fleur Pellerin told American news site NBC that the pair of new designations &ldquo;brought amply deserved recognition to these two regions, which have learned how to preserve and value their cultural and natural patrimony.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/champagne-glasses-abut-spring-736773/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6594 Ditch Your Rosé: Orange Wine Is Burning Hot http://www.snooth.com/articles/best-orange-wine/?viewall=1 Sandra Crittenden <p><div><br /> Orange wine is something I feel I have read about more often than I have seen it in the past few years. It is definitely not on every wine list I encounter nor is it taking up a lot of shelf space in the places where I buy wine. When the opportunity for a taste has arisen usually as a temporary novelty on a wine bar list, I am always eager to try it; sometimes I&rsquo;ve loved it and other times I&rsquo;ve been more neutral. Whether the orange wine trend will continue to grow is still under discussion but, as a style, it seems to be here to stay. Recently, I made a point to seek out as many orange wines as I could find in my own market and collect my thoughts on the wines that are available now.</div><br /> <br /> The type of wine that I&rsquo;m talking about is not a fruit wine made from oranges or infused with orange juice in any way. It is a style of winemaking that is often described as a more natural way of making wine. The main idea is that the white grapes macerate with their skins and seeds for a certain time period in the same way that red wines do. This imparts the golden to amber color to these wines leading to the commonly used name of &ldquo;orange wine&rdquo;.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This extended maceration time naturally creates sulfides that help protect the wine from oxida-tion while imparting more texture and flavor to the wine while deepening the color. While there has not been an agreed upon &ldquo;how to&rdquo; list for the production of orange wines beyond the extended skin contact, many quality producers of orange wine seem to follow certain protocol. The wines are typically neither fined nor filtered and little to no sulfur is added during production. The wines are often created from native yeasts and aged in old wooden barrels or clay vessels called qvevri which are lined with beeswax and buried underground for temperature control.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Extended skin contact may mean days, weeks or months.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> While this may be a new trend for modern wine drinkers, the process itself is based in the ancient winemaking of the country of Georgia where it is believed there has been continuous wine production for over 8,000 years. Josko Gravner, a producer in Italy&rsquo;s Fruili region began researching and adapting his modern winemaking style to this classic approach in the &lsquo;90s and numerous other producers in his area and around the world have since followed suit.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This winemaking technique tends to produce wines in a range of colors from yellow to coppery or tawny brown, all will not appear &ldquo;orange&rdquo;. The type of grape and length of maceration and aging will also determine the depth of color. The wines are sometimes cloudy due to the lack of fining or filtration. The wines tend to have a fuller body and richer texture than is typically seen with white wine made from more conventional techniques, some have an oxidized or Sherry-like character. The wines have a more red wine-like tannic structure with nutty and honeyed aromas and flavors. All the wines that I tasted were dry and tasted best when served at cellar tempera-ture. I recommend pairing this type of wine with young, semi-soft cheese, charcuterie, vegetable dishes, mushroom risotto or simply prepared seafood.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Here are some recommended wines for you to try:<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/gravner-anfora-bianco-breg-2004/"><strong>2004 Gravner Anfora Bianco Breg</strong></a> - A Venezia Giulia IGT wine, this was produced by the iconic style maker himself, Josko Gravner from a blend of white grapes, primarily Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling Italico in a traditional Georgian terra-cotta qvevri jar. This full bodied wine was an amber color in the glass. It had good acidity and it showed primarily nutty aromas with apricot and orange zest, a bit of earth and a light honeysuckle floral note with a bit of that Sherry-like oxidized quality. It had dried tropical fruit flavors with some citrus and nut-meg and an extended mineral laced finish. Approximately $130 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/zidarich-vitovska-2011-1/"><strong>2011 Zidarich Vitovska</strong></a> - Also from the Venezia Giulia IGT, this wine was made from Vitovska grapes which are primarily found in northeastern Italy and Slovenia. Golden colored in the glass, this wine was very aromatically intense and flavorful. Full bodied, richly textured with fresh acidi-ty. It had aromas and flavors of marmalade, honey and salty nuts with ripe tangerine and peach through the long, slightly savory finish. Approximately $55 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/vitovska-edi-kante-2012/"><strong>2012 Kante Vitovska</strong></a> - Same area and grape as above, it was a golden color in the glass, this wine was also full bodied and richly textured with refreshing acidity. It had a baked pear character with baking spice, honey and a bit of smokiness in the long mineral finish. Approximately $45 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/coenobium-ruscum-2012/"><strong>2012 Coenobium Ruscum</strong></a> - This blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Verdicchio is a product of Cistercian nuns in Lazio, Italy. A slightly cloudy lemon-yellow in the glass, this wine was medium-bodied with good acidity and a creamy texture. It had more subdued aromas on opening. It evolves into floral honeysuckle over apple cider with a touch of dried herbs with a long citrus finish. Approximately $39 a bottle. (Honorable mention for the 2012 Coenobium Lazio Bianco with its interesting pumpernickel, crackers and citrus character, a bit more viscous, only $32 a bottle).<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/movia-rebula-2010/"><strong>2010 Movia Rebula</strong></a> - This wine was created by a biodynamic producer in Slovenia from Ribolla-Gialla grapes. It was a pale amber color in the glass. It was full bodied with refreshing acidity with aromas and flavors of apple tart and caramel with a bit of a citrus blossom nuance and a long, nutty finish. Approximately $35 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/cantina-giardino-gaia-campania-fiano-2010/"><strong>2010 Cantina Giardino Gaia Campania Fiano</strong></a>- This southern Italian wine was a hazy, pale yellow in the glass with a full body and good acidity. It had a yeasty, apple cider quality with a bit of honeysuckle and a long citrus and mineral finish. Approximately $30 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <a href="http://www.snooth.com/wine/matthiasson-napa-valley-white-blend-2012/"><strong>2012 Matthiasson Napa Valley Ribolla Gialla Matthiasson Vineyard</strong></a> - The Ribolla Gialla budwood originated from Josko Gravner. He shared it with Napa winemaker George Vare and, eventually, it was also grafted into Steve Matthiasson&rsquo;s home vineyard where it is organically managed. This wine was a hazy lemon-yellow in the glass. It was dry, medium+ bodied with ripe peach, apple and tangerine with hazelnuts and a touch of spice in the finish. Approximately $30 a bottle.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> <br /><br /> <em>Sandra Crittenden publishes <a href="http://www.wine-thoughts.com/">Wine Thoughts</a>, a Houston-based wine blog. She writes a recurrent printed wine feature for Galveston Monthly magazine and contributes to other publications such as Edible Hou-ston in a freelance capacity. Sandra has served as a wine judge for the Houston Livestock Show &amp; Ro-deo International Wine Competition since 2011. Sandra strives to stay current with the world of wine through industry and trade tastings. She is active with the Houston Sommelier Association and the Guild of Sommeliers. An avid traveler, Sandra is always up to visit someplace new. She lives near Houston, Texas, with her husband and her cat. She has two children who live away at college. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Houston wine and food scene and trying to perfect her headstand.</em></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6591 Trio of Female Winemakers Offer Insights Into Women in Wine Industry http://www.snooth.com/articles/trio-of-female-winemakers-offer-insights-into-women-in-wine-industry/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>The wine world is more than just a matter of physical stamina, that&#39;s for sure.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> This past week, the <em>Wine Industry Advisor</em> interviewed a trio of female wine mavens who pointed out that though men may, in some cases, have an advantage in physical stamina come harvest time, the disparity of wine knowledge and expertise between genders simply does not exist.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Of the six questions asked during the interview, two stood out for the quality of their answers and for the pointed and varied observations of the three respondents: Anna Marie dos Remedios from Idle Hour in California&#39;s Carmel Valley, Sabrine Rodems of Santa Lucia Highland&#39;s Wrath and Scratch, Olivia Teutschel of Santa Cruz&#39; Bargetto and Nicole Walsh of Santa Cruz&#39; Bonny Doon and Ser.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> When asked, &ldquo;Is there something characteristic about wines made by women,&rdquo; dos Remedios said she believes female winemakers excel in aromatics.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;I think women winemakers allow wines to ferment and age with less manipulation, resulting in wines of more restraint and more honest aromatics,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;When I say honest, I mean specific to the place and variety, not vanilla or toasty oak, or creamy butter; some of the flavors of manipulation.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Rodems offered a different point of view.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;I don&#39;t think there is one characteristic,&rdquo; Rodems said. &ldquo;I just think women are more intuitive when it comes to flavor and texture of wine. We know when we like it and what we like about it.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> For Teutschel, the female touch is a matter of detail.<br /> &ldquo;I would have to say women winemakers tend to pay extra attention to detail,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I believe winemaking is all about details.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> A composite of the four responses shows us that wines made by women &ndash; according to the women who are making them &ndash; have a certain level of restraint, delicateness and aroma we might just be missing out on because of the large percentage of male winemakers in today&#39;s wine world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> After the question about wines made by women, the quartet of winemakers were asked to give the name of the female winemaker they most admire.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Each woman named a different person, revealing the depth of complexity of the winemaking world&#39;s female contingent &ndash; a one-person show it is not.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Rodems said she most admired Lagier-Meredith&#39;s Carole Meridith.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;I think Carole is &hellip; very no-nonsense &hellip; and I am like that too, so she gives me confidence to continue telling it like it is,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I am very non-marketing.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Teutschel chose Santa Cruz star Kathryn Kennedy, dos Remedios said Cathy Corison and Walsh chose Burgundy&#39;s Lalou Bize-Leroy.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="http://bargetto.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Our-Winemaker-olivia.jpg"><strong>Bargetto</strong></a></p> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6593 Georgia on My Mind: Former Soviet State Makes Appearance on Mashable http://www.snooth.com/articles/georgia-on-my-mind-former-soviet-state-makes-appearance-on-mashable/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>You&#39;ve probably heard of Georgian wine at some point over the past year.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It makes plenty of sense &ndash; with the Old World and the New World titans now relatively well known among wine pros and vino amateurs, our collective curiosity has pushed our glasses to the tables of wine producing countries from all parts of the world.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Georgia tends to be at the top of that list of new darlings, partly because the country is relatively unknown to American drinkers save for its southern namesake, and partly because Georgia&#39;s is home to a UNESCO-recognized wine production method that often dazzles the uninitiated: qveri.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Food and wine reporter Susan Shain highlighted the country in a recent story for online news site Mashable.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Her story lauded the country&#39;s emerging yet ancient wine scene, praising its vino from the moment she stepped off the plane in the capital city of Tbilisi.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;When you arrive at the airport in Tbilisi, the capital of the Republic of Georgia, a passport control agent hands you a bottle of wine to welcome you,&rdquo; Shain wrote. &ldquo;I&#39;ve traveled to&nbsp; many countries, and have never once received a gift upon arrival &ndash; especially none so delicious or storied as Georgian wine. I took it as a sign I would enjoy traveling in Georgia.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The unassuming country is home to about 4 million people and is located on the invisible border between Europe and Asia.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> It&#39;s neighbors are Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan. The country is about the size of West Virginia, an amazing factoid considering how many grape varieties to country has.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Georgia is home to an astonishing number of indigenous grapes, with more than 500,&rdquo; Shain wrote. &ldquo;To put that into perspective, there are only 2,000 grape varieties in the whole world.&rdquo;<br /> While you may have heard countries lay claim to being the birthplace of wine, Shain pointed out that winemaking has been going on in Georgia for about 8,000 years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Much of Georgia&#39;s recent fame revolves around qveri, the UNESCO-recognized beeswax-lined clay pot winemakers use to ferment wine, a delightfully rustic and history-honored method that is a severe departure from the gleaming tanks and expensive barrels which line the cellars and production facilities prominent in most modern wineries.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> According to Shain, this novel and yet markedly historic method of winemaking at the country&#39;s top producer calls for white wines to ferment in the qveri for six months, then in the bottle for two years.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Red wine heads to the qveri for a mere 20 days, then to the barrel for a year and the bottle for three.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Should you decide to venture out to Georgia, the Kakheti region is a can&#39;t miss.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;This area, which produces three-quarters of Georgia&#39;s wine,&rdquo; Shain wrote, &ldquo;is the heart of the country&#39;s growing wine tourism industry.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/10462511_793635414001317_205116544772431613_n.jpg?oh=bd78e933837f04d521c95d0b9d6d1736&amp;oe=561AC530"><strong>Schuchmann Wines Facebook Page</strong></a></p> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6590 In Defense of Wine Snobbery: The Method Behind the Madness http://www.snooth.com/articles/in-defense-of-wine-snobbery-the-method-behind-the-madness/?viewall=1 James Duren <p>Swirling glasses? Taking a deep whiff? Swishing wine-in-mouth?<br /><br /> <br /><br /> All common habits of wine aficionados, and though perceived as snooty or snobby by some, reporter Dave McIntyre wrote in The Washington Post&nbsp; this past month, the techniques are necessary to the enjoyment and wonder of wine drinking.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;Wine lovers develop certain habits that in polite company might seem strange. Those customs and rituals are part of wine appreciation,&rdquo; McIntyre wrote. &ldquo;They are also easy to ridicule, and to the uninitiated they become the basis of wine snobbery. Yet they (almost always) serve a role in enhancing our enjoyment of the wine.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> McIntyre said the typical wine fanatic goes through a set ritual every time they encounter a new wine &ndash; or any wine, for that matter: tilt the glass to inspect the color, swirl the wine to see the &ldquo;legs&rdquo; and smell the aromas, gargle the wine to get more flavor.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;By tilting the glass against a white background, we can assess the wine&rsquo;s color and glean a clue to its age and condition, &rdquo; McIntyre wrote as he discussed the tilt phase of a quaff. &ldquo;The color of the wine around the rim changes with age, and if the wine (white or red) seems murky, it might be over the hill or have been stored improperly and exposed to heat.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> According to McIntyre, fingerprints on the bowl of the glass is a big no-no, as it can interfere with assessing a wine&rsquo;s color.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;True wine geeks will hold the glass by its foot, with or without the pinky extended,&rdquo; he wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The swirl phase of wine lover&rsquo;s method is important for two reasons, he said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;First, it completes our visual appreciation as we note how the wine cascades down the side of the glass,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;The swirl&rsquo;s second purpose is to release the wine&rsquo;s aromas into the bowl of the glass so we can perform the next step.&rdquo;<br /> The next phase of the process is the smelling of the wine&rsquo;s aromas, but before McIntyre reached that point, he noted that swirling is important because it allows the wine drinker to see how the wine falls down the sides of the glass. The rivulets which are left behind after a good swirl&nbsp; &ndash; known as &ldquo;legs&rdquo; &ndash; are a good indication of the wine&rsquo;s body.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;A wine that has &lsquo;nice legs&rsquo; will have a good body and will taste richer, perhaps with more alcohol, than one that leaves little to behold after a good swirl,&rdquo; he wrote.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Once finished, the swirl will have unlocked the olfactory personality of the wine, which allows the wine drinker to &ldquo;stick our nose in the glass and inhale deeply,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The final step is the gargle, in which wine goes the way of mouthwash.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> &ldquo;By aerating the wine and swishing it noisily around our gums, we theoretically release more of the wine&rsquo;s flavors,&rdquo; he wrote. &ldquo;We certainly annoy anyone around us.&rdquo;<br /><br /> <br /><br /> Photo Credit: <a href="http://pixabay.com/en/wine-wine-glass-enjoy-red-wine-red-440372/"><strong>Pixabay</strong></a></p> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0400 article6583