Tag: sweet wine

How are the wines of Croatia?

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In recent years Croatia has experienced a tourist boom, which has made its wines reaching unprecedented levels of international recognition. With a long history of wine production, comparable to that of the most traditional Mediterranean countries, Croatian wines were well known at different times, but Ottoman invasions, phylloxera, world wars, communism and conflicts in the former Yugoslavia caused it to fall into oblivion.

For decades, Croatian wine production was simply divided into “coastal” and “continental”, but a few years ago a group of producers, sommeliers and experts created a new system that emphasized four regions, divided into 12 subregions with 66 Designations of origin. The country has 64 local grape varieties, in addition to an important presence of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay.

Dalmatia

It is the most southerly area, with a sunny and warm climate ideal for the cultivation of white wine, rich and fruity wines that are made with Posip, Debit and Marastina grapes. Red wines include varieties such as the Babic and Plavac Mali, with very good denominations of origin such as the Peljesac peninsula and the subregions of Dingac and Postup.

Istria and Kvarner

Located in the northwest of the country, it is known as “the other Tuscany”, and the region includes the islands of the Kvarner Gulf. It is known for its refreshing white wines, ideal for fish and seafood and made with Malvasia Istriana and Zlahtina. The reds are produced basically with Teran grapes and some international varieties.

Highlands

Is situated in the center of the country, on the border with Slovenia and Hungary, this region produces Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay, as well as some reds made with Pinot Noir grapes and excellent sweet wine and ice wine.

Slavonia and Danube

Last, the region of Slavonia and Danube is known for its dry white grape wine Grasevina, known elsewhere as Welschriesling or Riesling Italico. Other whites are also produced, made from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, and Blaufränkish reds among other international varieties.

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Korlat Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

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Kozlovic Teran

What is a sweet red wine ?

The natural sweet wine is a wine with high sugar content, and comes from the same process as fortified wine. It may be red, rosé or white. Some people find it easier to drink sweet red wines than traditional wines, stronger and more complex.

Some well-known sweet reds that you can find on the market are fruit wines made from blueberries and strawberries. You can also find sparkling Lambrusco wines from northern Italy, Port wine, of Portuguese origin, and the sweet reds with Monastrell, from Jumilla, Alicante and Malaga, for example.

The vintage drafting process is delayed, so that the grapes are even more mature than usual. When the grape juice is fermented and sugar has turned into alcohol, alcohol is added (5-10%), in order to stop the process of the yeast, preventing a part of the natural sugars from becoming alcohol.

The quality sweet wines are quality liqueur and as such they are regulated by the rules of designations of origin too. To be considered as such a sweet red wine must have more than 250 grams of natural sugars per liter, and its alcohol content is usually from 12% by volume. The sum of rectified alcohol from other distilled wine products will reach between 15% and 22%.

Garnacha wines are one of the sweetest, with low tannins and quite fruity, but with a light body, and that?s why we like it so much. Do we recommend any? Of course! Here you go:

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Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce

 

 

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Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva

Sweet wine to start drinking

 TAGS:Muscat has never gone through such a good moment. From being regarded to very old ladies, from being almost exclusively used on those aged female meetings in between knitting and gossiping on neighbors, daughters in law and TV characters. It has scaled to fame as now it is placed in the top trend of cool drinks that a teenager can take. Oops, let’s clear that, you cannot drink when you are a teenager… Then let´s say above twenty or whatever.

Of course, the concept has also varied a bit. That old glass muscat bottle that lasted weeks or months almost as part of the decoration of the home is not the same as the current bottle of Asti Spumante. Now it shows quite a look: with its colours and its label, pure design. And it has also become ephemeral, because you know that once you open it, that´s it… it will not last until the next.

This set of attributes positions the sweet wine as gateway to wine consumption. If a few decades ago people began to drinking wine through mixtures: with Cola, with lemonade, or with several juice and spirits (named calimocho, sangria, zurracapote … everything is already invented ) today youngsters prefer to remove bitterness to the wine without having to think much and improving in the whole presentation thing.

Hey, of course it is not the same to share a liter of any of the mixtures proposed in previous lines in a plastic glass than inviting your darling to a sweet sparkling wine with its cool bottle and two glasses. Come on. What a knock on effect. There is no possible comparison.

And there it begins. I’m talking about the wine. So Muscat is followed by a Lambrusco or other sparkling rosé or cava, the natural progression would continue with a glass of white wine and there we are on the red wine doors.

This progression is similar to that of beverages. You start with a martini with lemon or Ponche Caballero and coke, there can be nothing sweeter. You continue with whiskey, vodka or gin accompanied by their sodas. And finally you start tasting it without anything else apart from water at most . Luckily, we will always have mojitos and daiquiris to remember those first toast without having to taste their original combinations. because, after achieving a trained palate and a certain drinks understanding, they would know probably taste like hell.

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Sumarroca Temps de Flors 2012

 

 

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Perfum de Vi Blanc 2011

What is the difference between sweet and fortified wines?

 TAGS:Confronted to the vast choice of wine available on the market we often have to take difficult decisions when it comes to choose one. Don?t forget the original flavours of the sweet and fortified wines! These are two options to consider when you are facing the wide (and wild?) world of wines.

The most important difference between a regular wine and a sweet wine is its residual sugar content. Sweet wines are those that have a high percentage of alcohol and are sweet thanks to a long aging. The grapes are crushed and put to fermentation. The yeast then converts the sugar into alcohol. The idea is to stop the fermentation process before it?s complete and enjoy the sweet taste that the natural residual sugar gives to the wine.  Different techniques are used, from the choice of a very sweet grape variety, to freezing the water present in wine, passing by the elimination of the yeast.

Most sweet white wines are made with Moscatel or Macabeo, while most red ones are made with Grenache.

The fortified wine’s average alcohol content is around 15 and 23 degrees. It is usually made from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. It is fortified by adding alcohol to the base. This alcohol added is named ?Natural grape spirit?. It is distinguished from liquors because the spirit is not made by distillation but simply added to it. While most fortified wines are made in the sweet style, the fortified wines can also be dry.

The sweet wine complexity can be revealed thanks to the contrast with food that has a completely different taste. Also, it can then be reaffirmed with similar sweet food.

The ideal mix in order to enjoy the fortified wine is the Roquefort cheese, blue cheese, nuts, cream-based desserts and chocolate.  Want to try some? Today we recommend 2:

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Ximenez-Spinola Pedro Ximenez, a sweet wine

 

 

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Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, french taste

Sherry wine: trend on the UK again

 TAGS:The retro is trendy and it is quite interesting to see that all those things that were in years ago, are suddenly back into fashion even in a stronger way than originally. I’m not talking about music or neither clothes, I mean the sherry wine which is gaining prominence in the UK, at any party and after work that rules.

In spite of that the famous song and world hit Macarena which since the Barcelona Olympics 92 is biding his time for a global return in 2.0 (or 3.0, as to baptize many era we live) will still have to wait for its return time, the fact is that Spain is on everyone’s lips, if not for one thing, for the other.

And I’m not talking about the crisis, which also makes us the gossip of many of our continental neighbors, not for good precisely, but the Spanish football team, the tapas, the Costa del Sol (a classic which never dies) and the sherry wine, the last in the list, which gives so much joy to people from Gibraltar up all over Andalusia.

The thing is that when you are away from Spain and start to remember your vacation, the first thing that comes to your mind are those lunches, those dinners, the vermouth time, the snacks in the middle of the afternoon: Spanish omelette, paella, Iberian ham (Guijuelo, Jabugo or Extremadura: all excellent). It is true that a vast majority of us can be won by a good meal.

And there’s that little wine from Jerez (or Sherry), that goes with everything. And it is not because it is more versatile than others, if not that, although many have not yet noticed, there are different types of wine within the PDO Jerez.

Let’s see, who can say no to a plate of prawns from Huelva accompanied by a fine wine from Jerez? Or, who is reluctant to take some cakes while taking a few sips of sweet wine from the same land?

Perhaps the result with the fish and chips is not the same, but the variety is the spice, so we have to experience the British way, and try to make a trade and plan for an afternoon watching Premier League with a beer from the UK to help digest potatoes with mojo picon, a Galician empanada, a Rioja spicy sausage tapa, etc…

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Tío Pepe

 

 

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Canasta Cream Canastilla 1L

Tokaj and Tokaji: Puttonyos!

 TAGS:The Tokaji is one of those wines which every blog friend of the liquor of Bacchus is required to write about at least once.

Tokaji is the typical wine from Tokaj-Hegyalja, an area that lies between Hungary and Slovakia. Although in Tokaj, as in many other places, all kinds of wines are produced, the most famous are the called aszú.

What are the Tokaj aszú wines? First things first. There is a fungus, Botrytis Cinerea, which affects the vineyard rotting it, the so called ?noble rot?. The grapes dry up and lose water, so the result is a rotten grape filled with sugar or aszú grape.

The botrytizated grapes or aszú grapes were traditionally collected into containers called Puttonyos, with a capacity of about 25 kg grape approximately. Once collected, several puttonyos -3 to 6 – were threw to a 136 liters tank where the normal wine of the year was stored before its fermentation, in order to take the sweetness of the grape. The more puttonyos of aszú jumped into the must, the sweeter the resulting wine was.

At present, the Puttonyo no longer corresponds to the amount of Botrytis grape added, but rather to the sugar concentration of the resulting wine. It has been estimated that 1 puttonyo is equal to, more or less, 25 g per liter of wine. Thus, a tokaj wine of 5 puttonyos would have 125 g of sugar per liter of alcohol.

There is another interesting type of Tokaji, called Eszcencia, which some mistakenly associated with a 7-puttonyos aszú. Actually, the 7-puttonyos aszú does not exist, and Eszcencia is not a wine to which is added a portion of rotten grapes, but is a wine made entirely with the must of that grape.

The texture of Esczencia is similar to syrup or even honey. Imagine the amount of grapes that is necessary to make an eszcencia, so there really are not cellars engaged in the elaboration of this wine in an organized manner.

What they do is collect the must of the grape that naturally flows through the grating at the bottom of the vats where the grapes are placed while collected. It is usually not enough to make Eszcencia so it is added to the Tokaj aszú deposits, but sometimes Eszcencia is created, called also tear from Tokaj.

In Spain the Tokaji Oremus is very famous, with Tokaji Oremus 6 Puttonyos as a flagship, owned by Bodega Vega Sicilia, who took advantage of the post-communist privatization process in the area to get a cellar in the area and produces wines of Tokaj respecting the most traditional processes.

Another Tokaji that you can easily find is Disznókó, also great quality. There is a Disznókó 4 Puttonyos 2004 which is pretty good.

Actually the most important thing for Tokaji is to be Hungarian, because Hungarian law is more severe on the quality of wine. Since Tokaj is a bordering area between Hungary and Slovakia, is also accepted the production of Slovakian Tokaj, but there the law is more permissive, so the quality is not equally guaranteed. Enjoy.