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Wine Appearance, Aka What’s That I See?

by Jennifer Evans

The 2nd installment of the introduction to wine tasting series is here and we are talking all about wine appearance. Some people define appearance as just the intensity of the wine, but we’re including everything you can see when you look at a glass of wine- color, intensity, and viscosity. To accurately evaluate the appearance of wine, it’s important to be in a well-lit space without harsh lights shining directly at you and to have a white background (a solid white piece of paper will work). Ready? Let’s go. Why does it matter? Now, you might be asking yourself what’s the point of worrying about appearance? Everyone knows that the smell and taste are important, but who cares what the wine looks like? It may not be too important if you’re casually wine tasting with frien...

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Introduction To Wine Tasting

by Jennifer Evans

One of the most common things I hear when I talk to people about wine is that they want to drink it but they don’t know how. You know what I say? You drink wine the same way you drink anything else- put it in a glass and take a sip. That really is true to an extent, but what these people are really saying is that they don’t know how to do a wine tasting to deepen their understanding and appreciation of wine. The good news is that anyone can learn to do a “proper” wine tasting and it really will help you appreciate wine better and learn more about why you like certain wines, as well as guide you in choosing new ones. Glasses The first thing to consider is your glassware. Don’t feel like you have to go out and get special wine glasses. If you don’t have any wine glasses at ...

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The In-between Wines Of Spring

by Jennifer Evans

Happy spring! I love this time of year because it’s all about rebirth, freshness, and growth. Everything seems new and full of potential. The downside of this time of year is that everything is still pretty in-between. It’s not totally warm or cold; it’s somewhere in-between. Flowers are starting to bloom, but the garden isn’t completely blanketed in color. Food is also stuck in the in-between- soups are too rich, but salads are too light. The same thing goes for the wines many of us drink at this time of year. It’s a little too warm for Syrah and Malbec, but it’s not quite hot enough for Riesling and Pinot Grigio. Fortunately, there are two great categories of wine perfect for this time of year: full-bodied whites and light-bodied reds. Full-Bodied White Wine Full-bodie...

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Wine, Wine Everywhere!

by Lisa Graziano Csw,cse

And, so many drops to drink! There are a total of 14 different wine regions in Portugal. 12 on the mainland, and two more on the islands, Madeira and the Azores. My current pipe dream is to visit each one and to write a book about them. I am planning my next trip to the Minho now. It is the northernmost wine region in Portugal. I might as well start at the top. The Minho comprises the better part of northern Portugal. It starts at the Spanish border and goes south until the Douro region. Alvarinho is one of the predominant grapes in the area. It is known as Albarino in Spain. Same grape, different country, and spelling. Vinho Verde is the best-known type of wine in this area. Meaning green wine, green, in this case, refers to young wine. The most common grapes in Vinho Verd...

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Pro Tips: Hosting Your Own Zoom Tasting

by Lee Romano Sequeira

Even though we’re enjoying wine more than ever, I know many of us are missing the camaraderie of in-person tastings with friends and family. You probably know we have plenty of virtual tastings for you to check out, but how about hosting your own ZOOM tasting? Of course I’d love for you to attend some of the events we have listed on the site, which help support the people who post with us (many are small businesses), but I also wanted to give you some tips to host your own virtual tasting with your favorite people. First, make your guest list. 3 to 10 guests make for a good ZOOM crowd...just keep in mind the more you drink, the more rowdy it'll get (and the more fun you'll all have!) Then, select your theme. Will it be red, white, bubbly, etc.? For example, California Cabs ...

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Everything You Want To Know About Port

by Mary Ann Purtell

Port is a luscious, sweet, powerfully fortified wine. The base for Port is made like any other wine. Grapes are pressed and fermented with yeast, converting the wine’s natural sugars into alcohol. However, before all the sugar has been converted to alcohol, a distilled grape spirit, usually brandy, is added to the wine base to stop fermentation. This process is known as fortification. The resulting wine will have an alcohol content ranging from 18-20%. True port is made in Portugal’s Douro Valley, almost always from a blend of indigenous Portuguese grapes. The five leading grapes include Touriga Nacional (intense color, flavor, and aroma); Touriga Franca (adds floral aromas); Tinta Roriz (body, flavor, and aroma and in Spain it’s known as Tempranillo); Tinta Barroca (adds alcohol...

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Heart Of Darkness: Pairing Wine With Chocolate

by Natalie Maclean

We love chocolate not just for its taste, but also for its sensual texture. It melts close to body temperature, so sliding a piece into your mouth and feeling it seep out to coat your tongue can (almost) be orgasmic. But what about pairing different types of chocolate with wine?  Many of us don’t even try to combine wine and chocolate, feeling that the rich sweetness of chocolate is too much for any wine. But I usually buck conventional wisdom (and I like to layer my vices), so I’m determined to find some good pairings, especially for Valentine's Day.  In matching wine with any dessert the overarching principle is that the wine must be the sweeter of the two—otherwise it’ll taste bitter or dull. That’s why chocolate, with its concentrated and creamy flavors, usually goe...

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In Search Of A Teinturier Wine

by Linda Foxworth, Csw, Wset 3

Teinturier grapes are grapes that produce red juice. Most grapes have white flesh and white juice. But the red flesh and juice of the Teinturier grapes is what makes them stand out. Used to add red color to wines, Teinturier translates to 'dyer,' which is exactly their purpose, to dye or color the wine. Because of this purpose, they are found mostly in blends. Of the few that exist the most well-known Teinturier grape is Alicanté Bouschet. Developed in the lab in 1866 by Henri Bouschet, it is a cross between Petit Bouschet and Grenache. Petit Bouschet is also a hybrid developed by Henri's father, Louis Bouschet in 1828. It is a cross between Teinturier du Cher and Aramon. Both grapes are native to France. Here's where it gets complicated. In Tuscany and Sicily, Granache, kno...

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There Is More To Argentina Than Malbec

by Linda Foxworth, Csw, Wset 3

When one thinks of Argentine wine, the most common thought to come up is Malbec. It fills our Argentine sections of US wine shops, the favorite at the barbeque, so juicy and spicy. It also happens to make up close to 40% of red grape plantings in Argentina. But when Malbec first arrived in Argentina from France in the middle of the 19th century, she came with her Bordeaux sisters; Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. While neither of these grapes comes close to matching the percentage of planting that Malbec enjoys, (Cabernet Sauvignon is the closest at just over 12% of total red grapes compared to Malbec's 40%), they do have a place and each can be expressed beautifully when grown in the various Argentine climates. Cabernet Sauvignon is planted at high altitudes in the continental clim...

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Lip Smacking Wines From Australia To Try This 2020

by Sophie Mellor

For all the sommeliers and wine buyers working on their wine sourcing lists this year, here are the top 7 wines from Australia to try in 2020. Apart from its natural wonders & wide open spaces - its beaches, deserts, "the bush", and "the Outback,” Australia is also famous for its Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and more. Here are 7 Lip Smacking Wines From Australia To Try This 2020. 2017 The Dead Arm This 2017 The Dead Arm Shiraz Magnum d'Arenberg is totally brooding & alluring. It contains plum, blackberry, liquorice, and spice entwined with a raft of dark, earthy notes. You might think where did this 2017 Shiraz Magnum get its name from. Dead Arm. So, Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the wo...

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