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For the Love of Wine


Selecting Your Wine


Ultimately the best wine is one that you truly enjoy drinking. Often we will seek out the same label and try to buy several bottles of a really good wine.

I like Zinfandel, she likes Cabernet Sauvignon, and so we have to trade off sometimes.


It's very possible the shape of the bottle and label might attract you to a certain wine and that's acceptable, however, you never know until you taste the first sip.


Storing Your Wine


A wine cellar is the ideal place to store wine. If you do not have one, I suggest that you keep it in the basement or anywhere cool. Wine chillers and wine coolers are often over rated; it depends on your climate too. If you find a bottle that you really like, you might want to pick up a few to add to the wine rack. Keeping your wine on a wine rack, at the correct tilted angle will help the wine age and keep the cork moist.


Uncorking the Bottle


Remove the foil seal with a foil cutter, or the small knife on your wine key. Position the corkscrew (wine key) in the center of the cork and turn it firmly to anchor it into the cork. I like the 2 step style waiters wine openers. There are many choices; the best opener is one that you are comfortable using. Twist the corkscrew repeatedly until it is almost through the cork. Do not go all the way through the cork as this might created small bits of cork in the wine. Remove the cork with uniform force, trying not to twist the cork left or right. It takes practice to master easy cork removal.


Sparkling Wines


Remove the foil and wire carefully by hand, in the other hand you need a cloth or towel, cover the cork and aim it in a safe upright direction. Hold the cork with the towel and turn the bottle with the other hand until the cork pops. Keep the cloth nearby incase the bottle overflows. There are special champagne openers that will make this easier.


Wine Glasses


Selecting the correct wine glasses is important. The wine glass is not only a drinking tool but it allows you to enjoy its color, bouquet and taste while moving around the room.  You might also discover the wine's complexity, fruit notes, balance and harmony. Your wine glasses should be crystal clear. The stems should not be too long or too short, it's all about balance. The top of the wine glass should be slightly narrower around than the bottom of the glass. This helps the bouquet gather near the top of the glass. Avoid colors and over decorated glasses.


Wine Flavors


There are hundreds of compounds in wine that present flavors that can be tasted and smelled. Older and more mature wines often have many more flavors that younger and simpler wines. No matter what the age of the wine, taste is best when there is perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, fruitiness, tannin and alcohol. These are a few of the common words used to describe wine flavors:

1. Butter or Buttery often used to describe Chardonnay.

2. Black Currant and Blackberry are used to describe Zinfandel and Cabernets.

3. Cedar often used to describe Cabernet Sauvignon.

4. Citrus often used to describe young white wines, Moscato, Riesling and Pinot Griggio.

5. Chocolate used to describe Mature Red Wines.

6. Fruity refers to the general full fruit flavors.

7. Grassy or straw like taste refers to Sauvignon Blancs.

8. Peach and Pear flavors are used to describe certain Chardonnays, Rieslings, Muscats and mature whites.

9. Vanilla is often used to describe the vanilla flavors. Wine Makers might have dropped in a few vanilla beans for added vanilla flavor.


Paring Wines and Foods


Correctly pairing wine with food is more about dominant textures and flavors of the dish than any single ingredient. Bitter, tangy and tart foods like salad dressings, spicy appetizers and very salty foods often pair nicely with a crisp wine or you can contrast with a sweet wine.  Wines with lots of fruit taste like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinto Griggio, Rieslings all pair well with these foods. Hot and Spicy foods like BBQ and Szechuan pair better with a lighter fruity wine, like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Rose and Beaujolais. Full bodied Meals and Hearty foods like Beef Stew, Streak, Chicken, and Lamb pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and blended wines.  Examples; Chicken Caesar Salad and Ahi Tuna both go great with Chardonnay. Beef Tenderloin, carrots and potato, serve a Cabernet. Pasta and Rice dishes, it depends on the sauce.  Dessert and Sweets especially with real vanilla, pair best with sweet fruity wines, we like Riesling and Muscat, Sparkling Wines or Champagne.


Classical Pairings Chart


Appetizers & Salads; Chicken - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah

Beef - Cabernet, Red Blends, Zinfandel

Seafood - Riesling and Muscat, Sparkling Wines or Champagne

Vegetarian - Mix it up


Cheeses; Goat Cheese - Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc,

Brie - Chardonnay, Fruity Red Blends, White Zinfandel

Riper Soft Cheeses - contrast with Red Wines like Bordeaux and Cabernet

Pecorino & Parmegianno - Late Harvest Riesling

Gouda and Cheddar - Chardonnay, Fruity Red Blends, White Zinfandel


Meats; Chicken - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah

Beef - Cabernet, Red Blends, Zinfandel

Seafood - Riesling and Muscat, Sparkling Wines or Champagne

Vegetarian - Mix it up


Pasta and Grains; Chicken - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah

Beef - Cabernet, Red Blends, Zinfandel

Seafood - Riesling and Muscat, Sparkling Wines or Champagne

Vegetarian - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, crisp and sweet Whites


Dessert and Sweets:

 These pair best with sweet fruity wines, we like Riesling and Muscat, Sparkling Wines or Champagne.


More Details :


Cabernet Sauvignon - Considered the king of red wine grapes. This is one of the most widely planted varieties all over the world. Wines made from this grape need time to mature; they can develop great complexity with the right steps, barrels and aging. Flavors and descriptions often include blackberry, oaks, medium to full body with long lasting flavor.


Merlot - Often called The Other Red Grape. This variety is often blended with other reds, most commonly Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot has flavors of berries, currants, figs and truffles. Lower in tannins and acidity with richness and smooth finish makes it one of the favorites. Medium full bodied, often sweeter and higher in alcohol than many CabernThis wine ages well.


Zinfandel - Originated in Southern Italy, widely planted in California Wine Regions. Often blended, like in White Zinfandel and fruity sweet blush wines. Tastes of berries and pepper are common. Medium to full bodied with smooth finish. These wine ages well, peaks 5 - 7 years.


Petite Sirah - A very small grape that produces unique flavors of plum, berries, pepper, peach, currant, oak, leather, chocolate and spice. A full bodied wine with acidity and tannins after aging in oak barrels. This wine ages well


Pinot Noir - This is one of the more popular grapes used to make Champagne and sparkling wines. Tastes include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, plum, figs and chocolate. Flavors change with maturity.


Pinot Grigio - This white wine has a slight grayish color, often sweet or dry depending on climate and soil. Italian style is crisp, light and dry, while French style is sweeter. Flavors include lemon, pear, and apple, minerals, musky and spicy. Light to medium bodied with silky finish.


Chardonnay - One of the favorites for making Champagne and sparkling wines. The most popular white grape in the world. When the grapes are barely ripe, they taste like green apples, when riper pears or lemons and as they ripen this changes to peach, melon, pineapple, banana, or nutty, buttery butterscotch flavors. Medium to full bodied wine, often with  fruity or dry buttery taste.


Sauvignon Blanc - A very distinct aromatic grape that produces unique white wine. Also called Fume Blanc when put in rich oak barrels. This is a very popular wine in France. Floral and melon like flavors, lemon, apricot, apple and sometimes oaky taste. This wine should be used young.


Riesling - One of the favorites for making white wines, however it's opposite the Chardonnay. The classic German grape produces tastes like peach, apricots and oak. This wine ages well. A medium to full bodied wine, often with a fruity or dry buttery taste. A complex wine with great aging potential.


Chefs Note: We have opened thousands of bottles in Hotels, Restaurants and in the field while catering or having a picnic, nothing is worse than having a bottle get corked or having your opener break. We import high quality wine openers from Italy. I have several older than 15 years that keep on pulling corks out easily. We hear from customers all the time "These openers are toughest they have found". We do engraving and stamp logos with company names (restaurants, hotels, wineries, wedding favors ect..) onto these for large quantities. Please contact us! Cheers !

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