Tag: wine

Wine in literature

El vino y la literaturaNo doubt wine is the favorite of all drinks for the world literature, its best exponents of Occident and Orient have never ignored it for better or for worse.

The Bible and Wine

The first mentions of the poetically called “tears of the vine” can be found in the most printed book and perhaps read of the history of mankind, the Bible. Perhaps the most famous of the appearances of wine in the sacred text, is the miraculous conversion of water into wine by Jesus of a wedding in Cana at Galilee. The wine makes countless appearances in the Bible, including Old and New Testament, so one could say that this drink is the most named after water.

“Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.”(Paragraph John 2:6-11 the Bible)

Shakespeare and wine

Not all poets, dramaturges and writers have treated wine with finesse and deep devotion. The most famous is the “immortal bard” by William Shakespeare, who named the wine with not very kind words and blamed it for degrade human traits. Although his aversion to wine is not entirely proven, we can recall some of his work where he speaks about the enmity of Shakespeare and wine.

“Why do you associate with that trunk of bodily fluids, that sifting bin of beastliness, that swollen sack of disease, that huge jug of wine” … (Paragraph of Henry IV, William Shakespeare)

More wine in literature

All of us who read Cervantes, know about the love for wine of the Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote and his faithful Sancho Panza. We also remember the nights of gathering drowned in wine by Athos, Porthos and Aramis, the Three Musketeers of Alexander Dumas. We may never end, to quote the time that wine was remembered with love, devotion or mischievous admiration in world literature.

Nowadays, although literature is not going through a happy time due to the flood of technology and globalization, wine drinking is still king for all poets and writers, who see in this elixir of the vines as the best partner in a glass .

“ Day-colored wine, night-colored wine, wine with purple feet or wine with topaz blood,
wine, starry child of earth, wine, smooth as a golden sword, soft as lascivious velvet,… “(Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Wine ).

Learning to smell a wine

Wine tastingOne of the senses present in Tasting notesEssential odors: this kind of smell is classified as chemical, floral, fruit and vegetables in general; herbs and spices should also be included.
Chemical odors, like acetic acid (vinegar), ethyl acetate (nail polish and nail polish remover), diacetyl (aroma of margarine, very similar to butter), sulfur dioxide (from gases produced in combustion resembling rotten eggs), ethyl alcohol or ethanol.
Floral scents: rose, violet, jasmine, geranium, citrus blossoms, pretty easy to identify between each other.
The fruit scents: green and red apple, peach, pear, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberry, banana, grape, plum, and cherry, either fresh or baked.
The plant smells: garlic, onion, red and green peppers, asparagus, green and black olives, mushrooms, eucalyptus, freshly cut and dry.
Finally, the smells of herbs and spices: cinnamon, clove, pepper or mint.

Choosing a good wine

Tasting WineWhat is important to choose a wine is to know that more expensive is not always better and the price of each bottle refers to the winemaking process and is not an indicator of quality. The most relevant factors in the cost of a bottle are:
• the better or worse care of the grapes in the vineyard
• whether it has been aged in the bottle or not.
• How long the wine was stored in the warehouse.
• The price of inputs used, labels, corks, technology, bottle, etc…

Ultimately, a young wine is different, not worse, than a reserve wine.

 

As for the aroma and taste of wine concerns, there are no recipes, and sensory experience of wine tasting is very subjective. However, we can say that white wine should have a strong acidity that waters down your mouth at least 3 times after taking the first sip, as well as the fruity and fresh print on the palate. In the case of red wineshigh acidity is not sought, unless the wine comes from Italy, whose wines are recognized just by having this attribute. These bottles also should have a completely drying astringency mouth, this may indicate, if reserve or guard, that is not yet ready for drinking, because this feature is softened by years of bottle aging. In either case, wines should not be moldy or musty smelling, even less if they were created to be consumed young.
If we are facing a great wine, we find that the glass reflects at least one aspect of each stage of processing, an herbaceous note of the vineyard, a fruit of the grape aroma, a floral from fermentation, and the aroma characteristic of vanilla and wood snuff. However, beyond the recipes, your goal should always be to excite those who test it, so I cannot resist returning to it in the future.
Another doubt is the temperature that each wine should be served, and although it is a matter of taste, the experts recommend cooling white light wines as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio at 10 ° C, while denser whites aged in wood such as Chardonnay or Viognier, should be 12 º C. Sparkling and sweet wines are consumed both at a temperature between 6 º C and 8 º C. Lighter and younger reds are served about 12 º C. Finally, dense reds reserve or guard should be opened when they are between 17 º C and 18 º C, although it is common to hear that they should be taken at room temperature.

How to taste wine without being a wine taster

Wine EnthusiastAll those who enjoy wine and feel a weakness for exquisite flavors are unconsciously wine testers, the senses used to try the wine are: sight, smell and taste, and these senses are not exclusive of a taster or a sommelier. Although, to be an expert wine taster takes many years of experience and knowledge that comes only with education, but to have a basic knowledge of wine tasting can be reached with interest and experience in wine consumption.

As I said earlier, the basics of wine tasting is a good use of the 3 senses (sight, smell and taste). Starting there, we can achieve a successful wine tasting.

Always hold the glass by the stem and put it to eye level, so we can see the color, brightness and cleanliness of the wine. By moving the glass you can see “the tears” or “legs” liquid drops of the accumulated liquid will flow back down into the wine, forming arcs or arches and leaving streaks, often considered a indicator of alcoholic strength.

 

The smell also plays a key role in the tasting, the nose slightly entering in to the cup so we can perceive the aromas called primary, secondary and tertiary respectively, slightly shaking the cup to extend these aromas.

And perhaps the most fundamental point of tasting wine is the wine tasting, a sip, moving the wine throughout our mouth without letting any air in. The flavor and body is one of the most important feelings at trying wines.
Describing wine tasting may sound so easy, but without proper instructions it would be useless and following these steps before appointed and experience is very important, time can be our ally so when you drink wine consider these details try them with wines of similar characteristics, it helps to have points of comparison between one wine and another.

It also helps to get information on the subject by various ways, as well as knowing the basic characteristics of wine testing; this will give us a starting point for wine tasting. To do so as an amateur and for self-satisfaction can be a good start at the fascinating world of wine. Would you join in?

Tasting notes

Tasting teacherOkay, I’ve tried a wine and I want to do a more or less academic speech… How should I do that?
Well, we “Uviners”, like all kind of opinions, especially those who tell favorite wine pairing,  if you decided to buy wine through Uvinum and found it  cheap, or if your bf / gf liked it more than you, because we want you to tell us your story… but if you ever find yourself in the position of having to write something more formal, here are some advices:
First of all, hand the  glass of wine you want to write on, tasting notes are written better at the moment. So, go ahead! Buy wine!
Yes, we realize that to write a tasting note you must have previous notions of how a wine should be tasted, If not, this article will not teach you to do it: just to order your feelings on paper.
Start separating by senses: sight, hearing, smell and taste, touch (to remember the order, think about your organs from top to bottom: Eyes, ears, nose and mouth (in the mouth you will notice the taste and the touch at the same time).

  • View: Discuss whether the wine is transparent, opaque or turbid. How does the wine tear look? You see it very thick, like sludge, or oil, like vinegar? Talk about the color (main color, edge, or secondary color). If it’s sparkling, how persistent and large the bobble is….
  • Hearing: This is only for sparkling wine. Think of the bubble sound, like a peta-zeta, a coca-cola or is so thin that can’t even hear it, although you are seeing it.
  • Smell: You can talk about your first impressions, without shaking the glass. What aromas can you appreciate after, and even how smells several hours after opening the bottle, if aromas have gone? New ones have appeared? Remember after you receive the retro nasal aromas; Do they change something, are they is intensified.
  • Taste-touch: You can start by touching, because it may be the simplest: was the wine warm? “The thick champagne bubbles bother?  “Dense? Write it all! Now, share with us, discover us the tastes, starting with primary flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. What you notice first? How you get to the final taste? Was it (balanced? Take a moment to think of astringency. Has your left side tongue felt like sandpaper, or something softer? Finally, stop for a moment to remember that wine, while analyzing its post palate. Are you going next? Does it stay long? Do you remember any special scent or flavor?

By now you should have enough notes to write your tasting note, more or less correctly.
Basting is the sentences will also do to correct and revise your notes. You’ll see that   as reviewing, clarifications or revisions will occur. It’s normal, because once we have a global idea of the wine seems that everything becomes more meaningful. If you do not want to correct, or want to keep both versions, you can divide your impressions, saying something like: “At first, at first impression …” and then something like “continues to change, later, later I felt…”
Also think that a wine that always offers you the same feeling is something remarkable. You can say that the wine “is emphasized in perceptions”, or talk about the “persistence of aromas.”
Anyway, after that you will already have your note ready to send to any Wine Academy. Just do not forget to share it in Uvinum…

Twitter’s Fledgling Wine launches

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In an exciting convergence of technology, CSR, and wine, yesterday Twitter launched it’s first wine, called Fledgling Wine. The 2009 vintage includes a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sourced from “top-flight California vineyards”, crushed at San Francisco’s DIY custom crush facility Crushpad, and on sale on $25 a bottle, but probably the most interesting thing about the wine is where your money goes. $5 from every bottle will be used to promote literacy in Uttarakhand, India through the non-profit Room to Read organization. It’s part of Twitter’s declared larger effort to increase access to information and use open communication to bring about positive change, and as the company points out, ” if you can’t read you can’t Tweet!” In true Twitter style the winemaking process has been shared with users along the way, allowing them to participate in the process. 

Supporting educational efforts simply by enjoying your wine seems like an attractive idea to me…find out more about Fledgling Wine or buy a bottle here

When drinking your wine is not enough

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If it is too hot this summer to comfortably enjoy your Cab, you can try it in sorbet form now thanks to Wine Cellars sorbet. Although I’ve seen other wine flavored ice creams and sorbets before, this was the first time I’d come across the company designed soley on this idea. The result is a range from riesling, to pinot noir, to rosé or port…all made with actual wine, though they are non-alcoholic. In my mind this opens up all kinds of interesting possibilities, like a frozen version of brunch- Heston Blumenthal style bacon and egg ice cream paired with mimosa sorbet, for example, or gazpacho sorbet and sangria sorbet for a Spanish themed lunch…

If you don’t have access to these sorbets, you can try your hand at making one with only water, sugar, and your choice of wine. Let me know how they turn out! 

Consumers stay home and drink wine

Good news for the wine industry: a recent survey shows wine has become consumers’ first choice in the US, UK, and Australia when they stay at home, which itself remains a strong trend as people seem reluctant to return to their pre-Crisis levels of spending on eating and drinking out.

The bad news for upper tier wineries is that the wines chosen remain on the lower end of the price scale in the US, Australia, and other countries like Italy and Austria. Only the UK is feeling optimistic- 30% are willing to pay more then $10 per bottle versus the $7 bottles selling in the other countries.

Red wine

What does this mean? In the short term wineries selling wines over $10 are going to continue to struggle for a while and wine flash sales and deals will continue- more of the same we’ve been seeing in the past year. But long term it means drinking habits are shifting from beer and spirits towards wine, which is considered better for your health, adds an additional level of pleasure to food, and has strong associations with sharing good times with family and friends. Even the Crisis has had one major upside, as in their search for values consumers have become more open to experimenting with new regions and varietals. This means once confidence is restored the industry may have its best moment yet- a wide wine drinking population, now open minded and with increased power to move up the price scale and searching for great finds at all levels. And with internet shopping for wine now more widely available, consumers will be able to take advantage of more choices than ever.

Wine and Tourism

SomontanoAfter reading a review by Manuel Colmenero Larriba of Lluis Tolosa’s new book España no es California, in which he discusses the issue of attracting tourists to Spanish wine regions, I thought of all the news I have been recieving recently about Napa– new restaurants with celebrity chefs, new state of the art wineries, luxe resort openings, and had mixed feelings on the topic. Spanish tourism is underdeveloped in most of its wine regions, even in Rioja this spring my parents had problems finding wineries with tours in English on the days they were there, and generally lacking information on where to go and what to do. Undoubtedly there are business opportunities being missed that would benefit the wineries, the regions, and the country’s reputation as well as the tourists themselves. However, after reading the descriptions of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s new Napa restaurant, which is called, so there is no confusion, Morimoto Napa, and will eventually sit alongside two other celebrity restaurants, one by Tyler Florence, and Stephen Barber, I couldn’t help but think- Vegas

Not that there is anything wrong per se with Las Vegas, but it called to mind the boom there a few years back with all the over the top restaurants where the celebrity chefs only flew in periodically and the housing bubble that accompanied it, and the pattern worries me. More so because so much of Napa Valley‘s charm is in the land and the already existing icons. There is no shortage of amazing food to be found, from The French Laundry to Terra to more low key favorites like Gott’s, and much of the charm is driving through the stunning scenery, albeit probably quite slowly due to the traffic, and knowing despite corporate buyouts of many wineries, a large amount are still held in family hands, and the Valley is still lovely because those families fight to keep it a place they want to live. 

Napa ValleyI love Napa, and I could be wrong to worry about the direction in which it’s headed, after all it has still retained its allure despite being a serious tourist attraction since the 1980’s. But as Spanish wine regions like Somontano decide which measures to take to build tourism, I think they should seriously consider their end goals, and make sure the road they choose is sustainable. It’s good to offer tourists a range of good dining and accomodation options, and ways to learn about the region and the wines, but ideally the end result should preserve and enhance the original treasure- the vineyards and wineries. It’s a tricky line to walk. 

BYOB comes to London

https://www.uvinum.co.uk/blog/assets/uploads/sites/3/2010/07/733582-270759.jpgHaving usually been allowed to bring a special bottle of wine if I so chose to a nice restaurant as long as I was willing to pay a corkage fee, it was not until recently that it occurred to me that this could be considered a privilege and not a right. It was not actually until my first day at Uvinum that I learned that this was not a common practice in Spain, and since then I have noticed the online wine world has been commenting on a new BYOB (bottle in this case, not beer) club in London. Started by Christopher and Khadine Johnson-Rose, the idea is to pay an annual fee in exchange for permission to bring a bottle from your own collection to the restaurants on the list, most fine dining, and some of them among the big names in London’s restaurant scene such as Tom Aikens and The Ledbury, both which have Michelin stars. Restaurants can still place restrictions, such as limiting it to lunch or certain days of the week, however, or charge small additional fees. 

It’s a tricky one for restaurants as they make a substantial margin on wine sold in house, though they tend to cite service as the reason behind the big markups. It is true that a nice restaurant with a sommelier needs to pay that salary, but it is not the same rationale that can be claimed for food. There is no transformation with the product in question as there is with food in the kitchen; the server or sommelier, other than helping a guest select a wine, just needs to open and pour the bottle. This is still very important, but it is likely something that can be covered in a corkage charge. 

I have to admit I am biased coming from a place where this is not unusual, particularly in my hometown of San Francisco. Yet we also normally have a few unofficial rules:

  • Bring a special bottle (not a cheap one).
  • Never bring something that is on the restaurant’s wine list.
  • It is always nice to also buy a glass to start with from the restaurant, or another bottle depending on the size of the group. 

Despite the fact that bringing a bottle is frequently permitted in the US, the majority of customers chose not to. After all, selecting a wine is often one of the best parts of eating out. So I don’t think restaurants in other countries have much to fear. It simply allows their guests additional options. And for some diners, there can certainly be financial incentives to bring a bottle- they can often drink a nicer bottle than if they had to order one. Which means for the restaurant, they have more money to spend on food, or justify a dinner out. In this economy, I think that’s a win-win for both sides.