Author: martabgood

New Year’s Eve all over Europe

 TAGS:You can find a lot of New Year’s traditions all over Europe. Most of them have to do with good luck to the different ways leave behind the negative things to start the new year off right.

There are many common traditions as well. Fire, for example, is a recurring element in many countries. There are lots of European countries where you can hear firecrackers and enjoy fireworks all night long that day, for example in Denmark, where are heard late into the night and throughout the city like a storm of colours.

But fire is particularly important in places like Hungary, where sculptures are burned that night or in some other Central Europe places where small figures are lit to celebrate the last night of the year. The meaning is wanting to get rid of old things to come good in the new year. In some areas of Scotland is usual to hear left barrels rolling on the streets to scare away evil spirits. However, in Austria incense is burned inside the houses, just a little more intimate.

But usually, the New Year’s Eve party in Europe is a party to socialize, to share with friends and to enjoy. That’s why the most widespread tradition is to share hugs and kisses upon entering the new year. In the UK, people hug and sing an old hymn called “Auld Lang Syne”. In France, it is said that you should kiss under the mistletoe and in Turkey you spread hugs and handshakes.

In the major European capitals is common to have the chance to celebrate that night in a street party until dawn. But the most massive party takes place every 31st of December in Berlin and gathers thousands of people from everywhere together, reaching the million people sometimes. The party does not detract in Budapest either, where many streets are closed to traffic in the area of Pest. same happens with celebrations in central Paris or at Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

Of course, many European traditions for the new year are accompanied by food and have to come together with certain dishes. In Spain, for example you should eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at twelve in the night, if you want to attract good luck. In Italy, lentils are a symbol of abundance and they are of course in the menu for that night. In Holland you can taste the “oliebollen” which are sweet and delicious.

Wines and spirits are an important part of the holidays. Sparkling wines as Champagne, cava or sekt are the big winners but we cannot forget wines as traditional for that night as the English “mulled wine“.

 TAGS:Billecart Salmon Brut RéserveBillecart Salmon Brut Réserve

Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve

 

 

 TAGS:Pastis 51 1L

Pastis 51 1L

Pastis 51 1L

 

 

Weirdest wine gifts

 TAGS:Christmas is the best chance to give to our loved ones those nice gifts they look forward and they deserve. The festive atmosphere and all the parties and meetings with friends contribute to create the perfect moments for these exchanges. When we want to give something to a wine lover we have many options some of which are so interesting that I had to mention here.

Objects made from old barrels are one of the coolest. You can find beautiful planters to decorate your garden or driveway and even benches to rest. You can also find furniture made from barrels another option for a different deco touch.

 TAGS:Although the most weird object which I have found made from the wood of an old wine barrel are sunglasses. Yes, believe it or not, there is a U.S. company dedicated to commercialize these original glasses with cassava obviously, not from anywhere but from a famous winery. And, the truth is that they are not bad. The price is fair, 120$, especially if you consider that the products coming from these barrels are limited. That is why they are not very cheap.

Wine lovers also tend to be lovers of the process that creates it, so for them I have found a perfect Christmas present, but not suitable for all pockets: the WinePod. Using your WinePod you can create your own wine at home.

 TAGS:Its capacity is not more than 75 liters and it comes together with a program to make the experience more complete and enjoyable. This program will, for example, help you choose which producers can you use grapes from. You just have to connect your WinePod to a computer at home and, among other things, you will be able to control the fermentation process of grapes.

The program guides you through the entire process, even regarding acidity and moisture control. In a few months you can have your own wine made entirely by yourself. Moreover, you can also buy several extras to complete your experience with WinePod. Some of those include a kit with 48 bottles so you can start bottling everything you need.

This new machine opens up new possibilities around wine world for you. Imagine the experience of opening a wine made by yourself with your family or just to give to someone that special bottle you’ve taken a long time to develop and you feel proud of.

 TAGS:Pack 6 Bottles Misiones de Rengo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010Pack 6 Bottles Misiones de Rengo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010

Pack 6 Bottles Misiones de Rengo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2010

 

 

 TAGS:6 bottles Marqués de Riscal Reserva 20066 bottles Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2006

6 bottles Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2006

Alcohol taxes are helping fake distillates sales grow

 TAGS:The world is full of smart people. Yes, I said the world, not just our own country. And, for once, we do not have exclusivity on scams, fraud and theft in its multiple ways… Anyway, I will not go out there, but the fact is that alcohol taxes are helping fake spirits sales grow.

This is about money. Ingredients have a price, development costs also some money and so are the costs of distribution, advertising, etc.. When you have to afford all those fixed costs to buy a good whisky or gin you cannot sell your whisky brand to some pennies because then it is better you directly close the business. We no longer speak of the image, the prestige or anything like that, which would also be included. This is a separate issue.

Pirate distillate companies are not worried about ingredients, they do not care at all about their image and in many cases do not respond to their own product, as they simply fit a dealer and there it ends their mission, with little more money in their pocket. Alcoholic beverages are a good target for taxes and they do not stop rising at any country. So many people are slowing down their average consumption or they simply start to consider new options, leaving aside their trusted brands, those drinks they knew well and which have indeed provide them with such good times, literally.

Choosing  the cheapest is dangerous. This summer I bought an sun umbrella for three Euros and as I got to the beach and it got a little wind I had to throw it away in the closest container. I want to make a point: I was not on the beach in Tarifa, or in Costa da Morte, neither in river Ebro beach, as Zaragoza is quite known for its Northern wind called “cierzo”. I was in Mar Menor on one of those hot days where the air is almost symbolic. So sad was the existence of that sun umbrella by my side.

After the unfortunate incident thought why had not bought the nine Euros and a half one. I swore. Then a cold sweat ran down my forehead (and I thanked him a bit as it was too hot and it was not a drop of wind, really, sea breeze lifetime). I just happened to remember my decision to taste this vodka Perrastrrroika instead of buying the usual Absolut. Bloody hell. All for saving six Euros.

The sight of that potential sulfur liquid falling on the ice, of my hangover the day after the intake, of my face in the mirror… These things can be remedied. I am still on time. Quality has a price and the trust cannot be bought with money. As they say in my village: experiments with soda …

 TAGS:Pomada Xoriguer 1LPomada Xoriguer 1L

Pomada Xoriguer 1L

 

 

 TAGS:Ricard 1.5LRicard 1.5L

Ricard 1.5L

 

 

 What should we do with a fake wine? We watched these idea on youtube…

 

Wine blind tastings: what for?

 TAGS:I’ve been online for a while and I ‘m realizing how many articles out there explain why blind tastings are cool. I do not know how much prose on a subject that is so clear (LOL, could not help sticking a little joke). Well, I certainly do not know what do you think about it but I find it difficult to decide whether I prefer it in the dark or with the eyes wide open (well, let’s return to the subject of wine).

Wine blind tastings are the same as…

The blind tastings are so poetic, sensory and useful as:

  • Studying in a library with earplugs: yes there you concentrate, and not listening to people talk, the TV of the neighbors, etc.. The study goes further and optimize the time spent, and the results.
  • Go to one of this modern restaurants where they propose you taste your menu in complete darkness: that if you forget the price, of course, have other added benefits many, many of which are related with enjoying the experience in good company so together you make the evening memorable and sensational (do not know what’s wrong today with the obvious jokes).
  • Listen to this piece of classical music that you like at full volume in the solitude of your nap with the blind down: this sensory journey makes you feel like if you have Mozart beside you and you start to understand people like Louis XVI always followed by a chamber orchestra. At the same time music gladly brings you a welfare state of torpor which leads you to the best of dreams.

Moreover, although this intimate connection with tannins that reach in blind tastings cannot be repeated in an average wine tasting, the one of both in which you can see the glass and the wine is the one I like best.

Just because I enjoy discovering the reflexes that shows me the precious liquid while I twist the glass, just because I like the atmosphere, I enjoy watching the expectation of those who will taste, the pride of who will pour and the wine while it slides into the glass.

It may also be because sometimes blind events are a little dangerous …  Several unforgettable experiences come to mind like harmful blind dates, and I think that could be fatal to confuse a wine by another: a white wine or red wine, a young wine with a reserva, my glass to yours (upsssss). And besides, I find it quite impractical because in the absence of light how can you read the name of the wine that you like to come to the internet to buy …

 TAGS:Campo Viejo Crianza 2009Campo Viejo Crianza 2009

Campo Viejo Crianza 2009

 

 

 TAGS:M de Minuty Rosé 2012M de Minuty Rosé 2012

M de Minuty Rosé 2012

Alcohol consumption increases the chances of developing breast cancer in women

 TAGS:The latest medical news based on very recent research results are clear: high alcohol consumption increases the chances of developing breast cancer in women. The causal relationship is direct and thus the tests which were carried out on heterogeneous samples of women of various age groups prove it.

Until recently, the consumption of a maximum of seven to fourteen units of alcohol per week for women was recommended. This amount would still keep healthy in the case of men although it multiplies by three. However, the recommendations today are much more restrictive and the healthy amounts get reduced to less than seven units for women per week and a maximum of fourteen for men.

The best reasons to drink a bit less

I think it is important to look at these tips and do not abuse alcohol. This will help to prevent breast cancer but also has many other advantages that I list below:

  • Enjoy better health in general: because as we cannot drink as much wine will have to enjoy its benefits by eating it as grapes. We have no choice but the positive side of it is that eating fruit is very healthy and has many advantages, as you can imagine.
  • Lose some extra weight: as you know, alcohol add some kilos on us (it is said that a glass of wine is the equivalent to three pieces of pastries … ).
  • Increase our savings: because we will stop spending all our money on mojitos, gin, wine and others.
  • Start enjoying a lot better quality wines than we did before: in our past line of everyday consumer we could not afford certain brands but now, as we will drink much less, we can give us a treat more often.

We still have to find out some things like: is an alcoholic unit the same as a glass? How much can you fill? Is it half full or half empty? Should we pour a little more? And when we get all these answers, then we can afford to make some exceptions for birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates.

On holidays and weekends, as practicing voluntary abstinence will be more complicated  than any other time, we will have to use that blessed moment when we enjoyed sipping a shot of port wine, a gin & tonic or a glass of sherry to search the internet (what better source of wisdom and knowledge) to buy wine, the most expensive ones, the most exclusive ones, the most chic ones, those that Parker drinks in his spare time, etc. in order to make our wish list and give us that whim that we will dose in maximum seven units a week. That means that once we open a bottle it could even last two weeks…

Come on, we can do it! Think of the benefits and be aware that it is better quality than quantity, on every field. It is our time to taste all these wines and spirits that had always flown our mind traveling a tad above our pocket. It’s time to catch them and open them. Cheers!

 TAGS:KillepitschKillepitsch

Killepitsch

 

 

 TAGS:Azpilicueta Reserva 2007Azpilicueta Reserva 2007

Azpilicueta Reserva 2007

 

 

 

Early harvest wines

 TAGS:Less alcohol, less sweetness, less sugar, less intensity. Early harvest wines are watched with a magnifying glass by ones and eagerly sought by others, who prefer them. Yes there is a big difference between them and other wines, especially for growers, whose neurons are left trying to decide when is the appropriate time to begin harvesting.

If you harvest too early tannins can be harmed, and thus the entire wine production, while if you run the risk of leaving the grapes on the vine … anything can happen, but the worst would certainly be a hail or heavy rains destroying the production.

Keep in mind that wine world is not an exact science and, therefore, each year, the time to start harvest changes. It depends on many things. And above all, it depends on the moment of maturation of the grape variety and how climate has treated us throughout the year.

Experts say that due to the climate change, it is easy to note that every time we harvest earlier. It may be true, but in this case, it will affect equally to all productions more or less, so we could not then talk of early vintage wines.
On the other hand, there are those who make it a business, aimed at a niche market. Lindeman’s is an example of this type of strategy. White, rosé, sparkling wine and, yes, also red wine, with only 9° alcohol. You can find them all the Early Harvest label.

These wines have fewer calories due to their lower alcohol content and they have not lost quality in their taste. Specifically, the red is a pretty breaded Shiraz. Regarding the rest of the range, it is striking how both Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are achieved. And yes, you can notice they have less alcohol content but, contrary to what at least happens to me, for example with beer, here you don’t find them missing. You know what you are drinking and the result is very good. Would you care for one? Today we suggest in their perfect drinking moment:

 TAGS:Dinastia Vivanco Reserva 2005Dinastia Vivanco Reserva 2005

Dinastia Vivanco Reserva 2005

 

 

 TAGS:Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2012Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Tinto de verano: the perfect solution

 TAGS:While in all stores and malls the last sales coexists with the first arrivals of jackets, coats, turtleneck sweaters and corduroy pants, as always, life on the other side informs us of the opposite. There is nobody who can buckled a button in this heat without sweating and it makes us feel even less desire to go to work.

Sure, during the eight hours that our exhausting workday takes we have to settle for water or coffee. We should not be dramatic, as also exist some work places with vending machines or refrigerator and air conditioning … but it does not really help for our thirst and in our fight against this heat.

I’ve been thinking what could be the solution, and, of course, I suddenly fall asleep and I had to postpone the conclusions a bit more than it would have been desirable, but finally I’ve realized what we lack.

Notice that these home remedies against the heat wave cannot be used during working hours. And I also have to say that I have not invented it, sadly. Well, to the point, the best way to withstand temperatures above twenty degrees is the tinto de verano, as its name indicates (the summer red wine).

Red wine and soda with ice. The simplest is always the best, such as bread, which tastes good just as it comes. In this case the variations are permitted, although then it can no longer be called tinto de verano, but it will for sure fulfill the same function. For example, we can make the mixture with a little pink wine that we have left or with white wine and some other type of soda.

I personally, more than wine with soda, I prefer it with lemonade (among other things because I hate the gas), but the cooling effect is the same. The amount depends on the user, on whatever is in the fridge, on the time of day and I would even say, that it also depends on the day of the week.

We suggest two ingredients for the best tinto de verano:

 TAGS:Castillo de Chiva Tinto 2012Castillo de Chiva Tinto 2012

Castillo de Chiva Tinto 2012, an affordable, tasty wine

 

 

 TAGS:Lemonade la CaseraLemonade la Casera

Lemonade la Casera, the traditional spanish lemonade

Summer cocktail ideas

 TAGS:In a post dedicated to the 3 most refreshing summer cocktails, we could not forget the kings of the summer night:  mojito, margarita (add a bit of tamarind and you will notice the improvement), daiquiri and caipirinha. But, as we already know them very well (and when I say well I mean plenty, I mean, because everyone here we have tasted them time after time and again in their different variations and flavours, we have even come to prepare them at home and we have also dared to dance after X amount ingested), I thought that it could be a good idea to expand our ethylic culture so I will propose three different ones.

  • The first one requires some preparation but is certainly terrific: you will need a bottle of rum, white or dark, half kilo of black currants, and in the case of white rum, 500g of cane sugar and if you chose the dark rum then 200ml of acacia honey. Mix it all and let it stand (… for 6 months at least, so if you want to taste it rather you come to my house or you will have to postpone it until the next summer). When it is ready this rum is perfect for mixing with tonic or soda and lemon juice. Add lots of ice to it and let me know (I recommend you taste it alone because you will also love it this way).
  • Another perfect cocktail to fight the high temperatures has among its ingredients one of my favorite fruits, watermelon. The basis of this cocktail is vodka and the fun comes from the colorful part: watermelon, sugar and lemon juice. Although, I think it can also be very delicious with gin, to escape the typical gin & tonic, which is also very cool (and tastes great) but perhaps it is a little more old style.
  • And finally, a recipe for summer cocktail that can take hundreds of variations, perfect for improvising, in other words. Known as champagne punch, it is made with champagne or cava, but here comes the fun, as you can also add cointreau, white wine, brandy, bourbon, rum … and sugar, lemon, lime, pineapple, cinnamon, strawberry, peach, grenadine, pineapple and even pear.

Like all good summer cocktails, in addition to help us refreshing they must make us enjoy the evening and get inspired. So although we are in our home’s living room, we imagine that we are on a beach in Acapulco, for instance. As you can imagine, the presentation is very important. Use every resource that allows you to decorate them bring your imagination in and find all those glasses that you chose one time in a vintage shop to enjoy these cocktail gems that I have shared with you.

Today we recommend:

 TAGS:Brandy Soberano 1LBrandy Soberano 1L

Brandy Soberano 1L

 

 

 TAGS:Rum Legendario Elixir DulceRum Legendario Elixir Dulce

Rum Legendario Elixir Dulce

German white wine

 TAGS:The German white wine is what they do best in this country after beer and cars. What happens is that, vagaries of the market, or circumstances of life, at the end when speaking of German white wine almost everybody thinks of Riesling, as if they were equivalent terms. And no, there is much more to choose from.

For example, what do you say German white wine made from Gewürztraminer grapes? I can imagine that you usually do not ask because you almost have to be a philologist to pronounce its name (and, by the way, you also have to be very careful when writing it if you want to avoid mistakes!). But these wines are soft and have a unique flavor. It happens that this grape gives also very good results in our country, as it is shown in Somontano (mmmhhh… how good was that Inés de Monclús).

Pintot Blanc and Pinot Gris, known locally as Weisser Burgunder and Grauer Burgunder, are two of the grapes not usually associated at first with the Central European country, but that give us fine wines, as all of you who enjoy them with different origins know.

We have already gone through four different grape varieties and this has just begun. Vert Silvaner and Kerner are two of the less famous. However, given the German gastronomy they find a good use for wines elaborated from both of them in high-level pairings which would surprise more than one.

Precisely Silvaner and Riesling, together with Müller Thurgau, are the grapes from which Peter Morio obtained in 1933 a new grape variety. He called it Bacchus. Today, this grape variety is not exclusive to the Germans, as it is also cultivated in the UK.

Also, as I mentioned recently in another post, this grape is extremely durable and it can be included in the group of the super grape wine which will provide us wine whatever happens. Bacchus is also highly productive and as I still have not tasted it I cannot talk for myself of it but if we trust what it is said about it out there, it’s all good.

They say it is much like the Sauvignon Blanc, and as i love it I look forward to taste this Bacchus and tell you about it in detail.

 TAGS:Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trocken 2012Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trocken 2012

Bassermann-Jordan Riesling Trocken 2012

 

 

 TAGS:Matthias Gaul Weißweincuvée Pas de Deux Trocken 2011Matthias Gaul Weißweincuvée Pas de Deux Trocken 2011

Matthias Gaul Weißweincuvée Pas de Deux Trocken 2011

Vermouth ingredients

Vermouth is almost the most popular drink of the summer after the famous sangría. It is also true that those who like vermouth do not mind the season and they must have it with rain or wind, under the warmest sun or freezing. The ingredients of vermouth are one of those curiosities that many ask for the cocktail hour.

It is normal to have so many doubts. There are those who are more clueless than others, which only know that it comes served with a green olive on a stick, that’s all they can recognize at first glance. Well, it’s something.

Another feature of the vermouth is its performance when it’s served properly. The combination of ingredients that vermouth you chose and the shiny sinking green olive cannot be more chic. But “when am I going to talk about the ingredients?” You are probably thinking. You come here to read so you might as well read a little more …

Well, without further ado, vermouth ingredients are:

  • water (you cannot miss it in any liquid),
  • wine (the best fluid that may contain an alcoholic beverage),
  • sugar (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaasúcarrrrr)
  • …and something more.

Precisely those other things are the ones that define it, the herbs. Normally the ones used for it are wormwood or fennel, although in many cases it is incorporated some variety of anise. Small variations in ingredients and their proportions lead to big changes that open the door to new worlds of flavor. It may also happen that instead of sugar and they use concentrated grape juice, or that to your vermouth recipe caramel derivatives with coloring function are added.

Beyond the issue of the ingredients of vermouth, what matters at the time of order, serve it, enjoy it, share it is to learn to taste and lose the fear to combine it.

For example, what can be more appealing right now than a martini? If you also think so, you only need ice, gin, an olive and of course, dry vermouth. Seek the glass inverted triangle shape, pick a good hammock or chair or whatever you see fit and enjoy the day!

And for those who still do not know what to choose I propose 2 brands of vermouth that everybody likes:

 TAGS:Fernet BrancaFernet Branca

Fernet Branca, the best seller in Argentina

 

 

 TAGS:Campari 1LCampari 1L

Campari 1L, glam from Italy