Tag: white wine

Liebfraumilch, a German white wine

 TAGS:In his long wait for maturity, besieged by the threat of frost and intense cold, the German wine makers carve their vineyards on steep hills or mountain feet in the main regions of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Baden. They patiently await the Mosel and Rhine rivers, among others, along with the Gulf Stream, to temper up the air; and provide, at best, the humidity required by the grapes to develop a fungus called Botrytis Noble, which consumes the water in the vines while concentrating its sugar and acidity.

Some say that thanks to global warming, Germany is becoming warmer, and consequently produces more and better wine. Light, low in alcohol graduation and slightly sweet, these labels increase their popularity among consumers.

According to statistics from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine -OIV-, in 2008 Germany was the fifth largest wine consumer, with 20.7 million hectoliters of wine per year, with an increasing trend. The first four places on this list were held by France, USA and Italy. In the same year, the country has the ninth place among the top 12 producers of wine.

Despite its renowned reputation among experts, in international markets Germany was always associated with the elaboration of white wines lacking personality, cheap and sweet, taking the latter feature as a pejorative aspect, called Liebfraumilch.

 TAGS:The Liebfraumilch, meaning ?beloved woman’s milk? or ?milk of the Virgin Mary? is a wine that has at least about 18 g of sugar per liter, its quality is QbA and generally the grapes used are not identified. Which does appear on the label is one of the four regions where it is produced, namely Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe, being the first two the main ones. The classification QbA (QmpQualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete) is indicating it as a table wine with sugar added to the must.

This label, presented in a typical blue flute bottle, created in large volumes, without special care on the vineyard or in wine making, was for years the country’s export flag. However, the Germans have been de-stigmatized not only by their largest importer, the UK, but also by the Americans and Scandinavians, who now believe that there are made the best white wines in the world.

Buy wine for tapas

 TAGS:Buy wine for tapas should be at this point our favorite subject, but if it is not, we are still on time to become the Cum Laude of wine choices for starters, that kind of expert who becomes essential at any meeting, whenever there is good food involved. We will choose the best Spanish wines to go with tapas.

The first thing to do is getting straight down to the business. Let?s get inspired with two examples: one sunny day in the Calle Laurel in Logrono or an afternoon at La Latina area in Madrid. Streets full of bars, bars full of people and tapas, glasses of red wine, white wine, rosé and also some beers.

The important thing in tapas and the basic to enjoy an original ?tapeo? are the moment, the conversation and the combination of flavours. Clearly, a Spanish omelet could taste better accompanied by a Gran Reserva or a known Crianza, but it is also true that the wine itself is not fundamental, but an accessory, only one element.

The wine we choose for tapas has to be good, it has to taste good and has to be consistent with the tapas that we will have, but it does not need to be expensive. I recommend doing a small selection of inexpensive wines with ten or fifteen affordable ones, in which we will have to include different grape varieties, different backgrounds and multiple red and white wines to choose from. Just in case, we can also include some rosés.

This will be our basic list to choose which wines will go with the tapas. It should often be updated and improved. To do this all the wines on the list must have been tasted before, it is best not to risk. In this way we will also know how to be right in our choice depending on the menu and guests.

It’s easy to find good wines from Rioja for less than 10 euros: El Coto, Ramón Bilbao, Cune, Luis Cañas, Vina Albina, Viña Herminia Excelsus, Beronia or Azpilicueta. Many wines are around 6 euros what means that success is guaranteed in return for very little investment.
La Planta, Protos, Prado Rey or any of Pago de los Capellanes are red wines from Ribera del Duero that may be on our table from 6 euros to just over 8.

We cannot ignore in our list wine regions as Penedes, Extremadura, Toro, Jumilla, etc … So, in our selection of inexpensive wines we have to include wonders like Habla del Silencio 2010, Erumir Crianza 2006, Finca Constancia 2009, Martúe 2008, Prima 2009 or Gotim Bru 2008. In addition to their low price these are some extraordinary wines.

As for buying white wines, I can sum up my choices in Albariño and Verdejo, with some contributions to the list of Txacolís, wines from Catalunya and wine of Cadiz, a land of which I have great memories: Protos Verdejo, José Pariente Verdejo, Blanc Pescador Premium, Txomin Etxainz Txacoli, Txacoli Eizaguirre, Martin Códax, Barbadillo Castillo de San Diego and Oda Blanc.

Finally one of the pink wines I usually have, if given the chance to take them: Marqués de Riscal Rosado, Peñascal Rosado Aguja and Enate. I am waiting for your contributions to my list!

 TAGS:Blanc PescadorBlanc Pescador

Blanc Pescador, the jewel from Catalonian Coast to share with fish tapas.

 

 

 TAGS:Palacio de MonsaludPalacio de Monsalud

Palacio de Monsalud, a red wine to pair with meats.

Varieties of white grape

Today we present some types of white grapes which produce wines with shades ranging from pale yellow to deep gold. We invite you to buy wine from any of the appellations below at Uvinum.

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Albariño

Albariño is a grape variety from Galicia that produces greenish-yellow wines with well marked floral and fruit aromas. At the time of being newly made it is slightly acidic, but over time will acquire hints of ripe apple and honey caramel. Experts describe Albariño with aromas similar to fern, white flowers and fresh hay, and taste similar to ripe peach… Don’t you want to try it?

Chardonnay

Usually vinified to be consumed in the year, the Chardonnay is easy to grow and the most prized white variety, because it withstands all kind of climates and is ideal to be fermented or aged in oak barrels. Tasters often associate this grape with aromas of fresh butter, hazelnut and bread, then giving way to tropical fruits, melon, banana and pineapple.

Without the oak, it acquires good acidity, as well as citrus aromas of grapefruit and green apples, and even sweet fruits such as apricot can be recognized. When fermented and aged in oak, Chardonnay wine offers less acidity and more body, with notes of vanilla, honey, caramel and milk.

Gewürztraminer

With almond pink grapes and taking intoaccount that ?Gewürz? means spice in German, this is a variety that just refer to these aromas and flavors. Gewürztraminer is characterized by the strong presence of fruit and floral notes, similar to those of the Argentinian Torrontes and muscat grapes. In mouth it is related to ripe grapefruit and even mango.

Sauvignon Blanc

With a strong presence of notes reminiscent of green apple and guava, as well as asparagus and peas, in the Sauvignon Blanc is very often found also the aroma of freshly cut grass.

Torrontés

Torrontés is the flagship white grape for the wines produced in Argentina. It can be distinguished by its intense floral aromas, reminiscent of Muscat grape, and also by a touch of roses. Evokes aromas of tropical fruits such as pineapple and banana, but in turn provides notes similar to geranium or fennel.

The color of wine

At the beginning of a wine tasting, the first thing to consider is the color of it, its appearance, the visual features. In order to appreciate its color in the best way, it should be done in natural light since artificial light can be quite misleading. It is true that for many the candlelight can be convenient, on a white background, to recognize a tonality, but in the case of red and white wines, sunlight is what allows a better way to find subtleties in its tonality.

The changes in the color of wine are due to several variables, such as the vine from which it comes, the form of wine elaboration, the time which the skins remain in the must, the fact of having been placed in wooden casks or not, its age and the manner in the wine was preserved.

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The color range is usually much more varied in red wines than in whites. In those, the color ranges from deep purple to brown tones, maroon or violet, to a large range of middle tones: crimson, vermilion, ruby, brick red, russet, etc. Whenever we talk of these tonalities, we must made clear that there is always room for discussing about. There is not a color palette that can be considered a pattern and which allows to accurately describe the color of a wine, with some exceptions such as ruby and russet.

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give its red color to wine, these are found in the skins of red grapes and are extracted by alcohol. Depending on the time that the skins are in contact with the must, will be obtained a more or less intense color. When the wine is young, red can get closer to orange and over time it becomes increasingly close to brown or russet.

In regard to to white wines, the tonalities are less and really seem that white wines today are increasingly clear, pale, even with some degree of transparency that had once been considered aqueous. Those wines that could be considered golden, are no longer seen anywhere, luckily, since they are considered to be of poor quality because of deficiencies in their elaboration, since this tonality is due to an excess of oxygen. Another feature that no longer is usually seen in white wines is the turbidity that the existing filtering processes have been removed. We must clarify that there are particular white wines such as sherry or manzanilla, which can have golden tonalities not due to a bad process of elaboration.

The elaboration of wine

 TAGS:In the first place let’s clarify that is difficult to express how to elaborate wine in a few words, we just try to convey to the reader what we can summarize after visiting wineries, especially in times of harvest and what the experts explain about.

If we simplify, we can say that what is needed for the grape juice to transform into wine is a process that should be the most natural way possible: fermentation. This is a chemical phenomenon whereby the grape sugar turns into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and it is produced by the intervention of the yeasts found in greater proportion in the skins. When the grape skins are broken, yeast start to work on sugar resulting in fermentation.

Then the grapes are brought from the vineyard holding together the bunches, then settled to the wine press, a cellar space for that function, next they will pass through the destemming process, there emerge the grains to be pressed and the juice extracted. This juice, consisting of pulp, skins and seeds is called must, and this will be put to ferment in tanks or barrels. Normally yeast would act to transform all the sugar into alcohol, or at least until it reaches a level of 15% alcohol in wine, but often happens that some grapes are too sweet and the process must be stopped manually.

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Currently the process by which wines are elaborated is accompanied by the use of technologies never even imagined for such process, elements that are now extremely needed to ensure quality. For example, it is known that white wines require that fermentation occurs at low temperatures, thereby cooling equipment will be necessary to slow down the fermentation process, achieving control of the process and preventing the oxidation, an absolutely damaging agent in the process of creating wine. By contrast, red wines do not require temperatures as low, but the oxygenation should be also avoided in its elaboration process.

Those wines which mature in oak casks, whether white or red, face a very soft oxygenation process because the element is ?strained? in small proportions, but stops if it is bottled and corked. Its stay in bottle is necessary and essential to make the wine settle, achieving an optimal point of maturity.

The ideal temperature to drink wine

 TAGS:The temperature of wine is a long-standing and much controversial topic. As is often popularly said, white wine is drunk colder than red wine but, what is the right temperature to enjoy wine at its best? We will try to elucidate this and other questions below.

Usually the wines are stored in basements or cold spots in the house, places that could reach 11 degrees Celsius, considering that normal room temperature ranges from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius. These environmental details are even more complicated, since everything depends on where you are and what season it is. The range of different climates opens in a myriad of options that make it impossible to get an exact temperature. However, it is always advisable to use wine thermometers to check the temperature exactly.

The temperature in red wines

Red wines should be drunk in what is commonly known as room temperature, i.e. between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. This temperature will help keep the flavor, aroma and body of wine.

However:

  • If the wine in question is young, the ideal temperature will be lower, between 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, so we can savor its freshness, and eventually a floral or fruity flavor.
  • If it’s an aged wine, the temperature should be between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius, so we can appreciate its bouquet as best.
  • If the wine is of great vintages, it can be drunk up to 20 degrees Celsius. This will depend greatly on the type of origin of wine.

The temperature in white wines

White wines definitely are best enjoyed cold, more than red wines. But as in the case of red wines, there are some specific varieties of white wines. If the white wine we are about to drink is a young white wine, enjoy it ideally below 10 degrees Celsius, up to 7 or 8 degrees is ideal, so we can highlight its aromas, without actually stripping its acidity or alcohol flavor.

If the white wine is semi-dry, we could drink it up to 6 degrees Celsius, so we can highlight its soft, sweet and fruity taste. The fine white wines are enjoyed well at 10 degrees Celsius, for example the Manzanilla wines.

Rosé wines deserve a special mention. These should be drunk preferably below 8 degrees Celsius, never below 6 degrees. In regard to the Cava wines is recommended to drink them between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius.

The Viognier grape

 TAGS:The Viognier grape is a type of white grape of unknown origin, but is presumed to have French origin by its use in these lands. Perhaps its most important characteristic is its difficult cultivation, a fact which makes it more valuable and protagonist only of great wines, especially the Condrieu French wine from the Rhone Valley.

History of Viognier grape

As we said the Viognier grape is of unknown origin; perhaps the starting point of its history is the Rhone Valley, but it is also said it came from Dalmatia (now Croatia) and was brought to French territory by the Romans, specifically the Emperor Probus (281 AD), who is also credited by bringing the Syrah grape.

Nowadays Viognier grape -after having been close to extinction in 1965- has become one of the most precious grapes of the Rhone Valley. We can also find it today in Spain, United States -especially in California-, Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Viognier wines

The wines made from Viognier are very fine and select. Their floral and fruity aromas are one of their main features. We emphasize that the elaboration process of this wine is more complicated than a traditional wine, even is often consumed relatively young by fear that with aging comes some problem. Most Viognier wines usually have a maximum of 3 years of aging, although we must remark that we also find wines from this grape with more years of aging, but rarely exceeding 10 years, since after this time, they often lose their characteristic aromas and gain an unflattering acidity.

“Viognier strains are harvested in late October or early November.”

Its unique flavor and aroma make it a highly sought wine by experts. Its value per bottle is usually above other wines of similar elaboration and style. That’s why the Viognier grape is one of the most desirable.

“Currently the U.S. is the largest producer of Viognier wine, since the mild climate of California Valley is favorable for its difficult cultivation.”

Viognier wine pairing

Its unique flavor makes it a sophisticated wine, but also when pairing is often combined with sophisticated cuisines such as Thai and Peruvian, both high in spicy flavor which pairs beautifully with.

Surprise yourself with the best Viognier wines! Here we recommend two that you can not miss:

 TAGS:Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011

One of the first Viognier from Spain, is a key reference for understanding its development in Spain.

Buy Bàrbara Forés Blanc 2011 7,50?

 

 

 TAGS:Vallegarcia Viognier 2010Vallegarcia Viognier 2010

The fashionable Viognier. Presented as VT Castilla, is warmer and tasty on the palate, and slightly less aromatic. Reference for the future of Castilla whites.

 TAGS:Buy Vallegarcia Viognier 2010 14,16?


White grapes’ aromas

Classic questions in those who approach to the world of wine tasting are on the aromas. How does this wine smell? What should you smell? The smell of one thing or another, is it good or bad?
White Wine GlassIf you’ve ever seen in movies the classic sketch in which an expert is able to reveal the vintage, type of grape, the origin, the make and even if the keeper of the wine cellar had cached a cold in October, you cannot help feeling frustrated, when then you go and smell a wine and you?re not able to identify any does things. However, it is normal at first not to know how does the wine you taste exactly smells. 

In my case, the transition has been far more natural than that. I tasted a wine, and if I liked it I would look at the label and tried to remember the name. Later, what type of grape was? In varietal wines, went gradually finding matches between a Chardonnay, for example, and a different grape. So I learned the aromas given off by each grape.
I could not name the aromas, but I knew the difference between a Macabeo and Riesling.
I always recommend start on tasting white wine, because the range of aromas are much different between each other (floral, fruit, herbs, honey ,…) than red wines, which can also include aromas of barrel aging .

Finally, in a tasting course they gave me the proper names for the impressions perceived. And so I began to be considered as an assessor, but I like to think I’m just a wine lover.
“Do grapes smell different? Yes, as you know a cherry tomato is different form a pear tomato. But if you make a gazpacho mixing these two varieties, it would be difficult to distinguish them. So If you’re interested in learning how to taste wines start with varietals in order to recognize each grape individually.

The smell of one thing or another, is it good or bad? Depends on whether you like the scent or not. There are very faithful to the generic flavor of the grape wines, because the grape winery that wants to take his best, but some wineries (or winemakers) make completely different wines, in which you can hardly recognize the grapes, because they want to emphasize that their vineyards are unique and different, or are able to obtain new flavors in this variety. Everything is ok if you like the result.
What should a white wine smell like? Who knows. Throughout history a standard of aromas have been established, which are the aromas that are usually present in each type of grape. But it is not the same a Gewürztraminer grown in La Mancha than in Austria.Even with a particular wine, as the vineyard ages or external factors change (global warming, new pressing and lift, winemakers contributions), the resulting wine might have change its aromas.
Finally, we must consider that it will not smell the same when wine grapes are collected green, from those collected mellow. It is Logical, right?

Albariño GrapesThe standard of white grapes are more or less, the following:

? Chardonnay: Green apple, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, melon, banana, …
? Riesling: Green apple, citrus, quince, smoked, spicy, petroleum, …
? Gewürztraminer: rose, gardenia, lychee, mango, peach, …
? Macabeo / Viura: green fruit, apple, white flowers, wine, …
Muscat: There are as many varieties of Muscat as aromas. Also, when it comes to wine varietal it overripe grapes are often used: candied fruits, honey, dried rose petals, orange blossom, peaches in syrup, …
Sauvignon Blanc: ripe fruit, smoke, asparagus, green pepper, passion fruit, …
Albariño: golden apple, honey, apricot, floral, …
Airen: banana, pineapple, hay, barley, lavender, …
Malmsey: white fruit, lemon, peach, plum, …
Palomino: Lima, bitter almonds, aniseed, salt, balsamic, …
Verdejo: White fruit, green grass, mango, melon, fennel, …
Can a wine made from these grapes smell like something else? Yes, of course. Additionally, the name of the aroma must be named after whatever that aroma reminds you. In some tasting notes can be read: aromas “dew of a morning in October,” “recently changed sheets”, “red apple cut in two”,? bakery working full time “,… seem absurd, but if you read carefully that would bring up to your mind some aroma.
How do we know if a wine that smells like apple is a Chardonnay, Riesling, Macabeo, Albariño or any other grape? Well, the aromas are not exclusive. The same wine has several flavors at once, so try to identify other aromas in the glass to help you to decide. More than a recommendation it is an obligation for those who like wine: try, try, try and try …