Friday, 31. December 2010
Just in time for celebrating the New Year with Champagne or sparkling wine.
Have you ever wondered as you poured a flute of the sparkling Champagne if you were pouring it correctly? Were you wishing there might be more bubbles or that they might last a little longer? Some studies have been done that show the positive relationship between bubbles and the taste/aroma.
Infrequently we have heard that a slight etching on the bottom of the flute will increase the number of bubbles, however I have never met anyone who has said they tried it. Besides do you really want to possibly break or mutilate fine stemware?
Others proclaim that opening the bottle of Champagne properly is the key way to preserving the bubbles in this liquid gold.
In a recent press release the American Chemical Society (ACS) reports a study that was done involving the pouring of Champagne. The study looked at Champagne poured directly into the glass and poured with the glass tipped allowing the wine to dribble down the side of the glass. The results of the study show that pouring Champagne down the side of the glass will preserve more bubbles. To read more about the study, visit the American Chemical Society website.
A glass of the bubbly to everyone for 2011!
Thursday, 30. December 2010
Why not begin the New Year with a new dessert recipe? Check this pear dessert out!
Roasted California Bartlett Pears with Cinnamon and Wine
6 fresh California Bartlett pears, cut in quarters and cored
1/4 c honey
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/4 c dry red wine
1 t ground cinnamon
Glazed Almonds, for garnish (recipe follows)
Ingredients for Glazed Almonds
1 egg white
1 pkg (6 oz) sliced almonds
1/3 c granulated sugar
- Place pears in 9- by 13- by 2-inch glass baking dish.
- Mix honey, brown sugar, wine and cinnamon together in small bowl.
- Spoon over pears and toss gently until coated.
- Bake at 400° F for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender.
- Spoon into individual dessert bowls. Sprinkle Glazed Almonds on top.
Directions for Glazed Almonds
- In small bowl, beat 1 egg white until foamy.
- Stir in 1 package (6 ounces) sliced almonds until well coated; remove almonds and drain.
- Toss with 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
- Spread in single layer and well separated on lightly oiled baking sheet.
- Bake at 300° F, turning frequently with spatula, until golden brown and caramelized, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Provided by California Pears
Wednesday, 29. December 2010
Do You Need to Prepare an Appetizer for celebrating the New Year?
Small appetizers are a wonderful addition to celebrating New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day dinner. Appetizers are usually petite-size and provide an excellent wine friendly experience and can be as formal or as informal as you want. Appetizers are perfect for almost any celebration and provide excellent conversation starters.
Currently the Wine Trail Traveler website recipe section offers 14 different appetizer recipes. The recipes use wine as an ingredient. These recipes include stuffed mushrooms, fondue and cocktail meatball recipes. To get you started below is one of the recipes for stuffed mushrooms. Enjoy!
Stuffed Mushroom Caps
16 large mushrooms, cleaned
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter melted
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 c bread crumbs
1/4 c chicken broth
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
1. Remove mushroom stems and set aside.
2. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in 9″ x 12″ baking dish and top with mushroom caps. Chop the mushroom stems.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add mushroom stems, garlic and onion. Saute over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add wine and chicken broth. Fold in breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and parsley. Remove from heat. Mound the mixture into each of the mushroom caps.
5. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees, broiling for about 1 minute at the end to crisp the tops. Serve warm.
Provided by Chumeia Vineyards, Paso Robles, California.
Tuesday, 28. December 2010
Do you have plans for celebrating New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day? Why not check with your neighborhood winery to discover if they have special activities to celebrate the New Year? Of course, some wineries plan to be closed for New Year’s Eve and Day, so be sure to check in advance before driving to a winery tasting room.
Some examples of what you might find at wineries to celebrate the New Year include:
New Year’s Eve
Messina Hof Winery & Resort in Bryan, Texas
Watch the Ball Drop at Messina Hof. The evening will include specialty drinks, menu items, music and a Champagne toast. For more information or to reserve a table, call 979-778-9463 ext. 244.
Lorimar Winery and Vineyards in Temecula, California
Friday, December 31st, 8:30pm – 12:30pm
New Year’s Eve Party
This celebration will include wine tasting, appetizers, live music with Kenny Marquez, party hats and horns. RSVP to Shannon@lorimarwinery.com
Thornton Winery in Temecula, California
New Year’s Eve Gala “Casino Night”
New Year’s Day
Time: 12: 30pm
DelFosse Winery, Virginia
Event: New Year Day 2011 Brunch
Serpent Ridge Vineyard, MD
Celebrate New Year’s Weekend by visiting Serpent Ridge Vineyard
Barrel Oak Winery, Virginia
Event: FarmDoubt Rocks BOW!
Enjoy the beginning of the New Year!
Monday, 27. December 2010
The Wineries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference’s early bird discount ends before the start of 2011.
Changed from its previous location outside of Philadelphia, the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show and Conference will take place in the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Virginia. This conference is one of the largest wine-related conferences in the United States. It includes numerous speakers, a large trade show and the opportunity for people to network. The conference and trade show are scheduled for between March 29 and April 1.
Anyone planning to attend the 2011 conference in Richmond, Virginia can take advantage of a 20% discount by registering for the conference by December 31, 2010.
For more details, visit the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference website.
Monday, 27. December 2010
Since we missed a traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, we decided to go with turkey for Christmas. Our Thanksgiving Day was spent in the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand. We had fish and chips and a bottle of Delegat’s Sauvignon Blanc. For Christmas we had a fresh turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy ad cranberries.
We choose a 2007 Thornton Gewürztraminer from Temecula Valley, California for our Christmas wine. Previously we had been drinking several bottles of the wine I bottled in August. Our guests really liked it. However I thought a white would be nice for the Christmas meal.
The Gewürztraminer had a floral and fruity aroma. It was slightly sweet on the taste but dried on the aftertaste. Since our stuffing was on the salty side the wine matched well giving it a hint of sweetness and fruit. It also matches well with the turkey and potatoes and gravy. This was a good selection for our Christmas meal. With the slight sweetness and hint of spices the Gewürztraminer is festive and brings out the holiday of that day.
Thornton winery offers visitors a unique winery experience. Taste several different sparkling wines as well as whites and reds. Plan to have a meal with wines in their Café Champagne restaurant. Spend time walking around the beautiful landscaped grounds. Read about Thornton Winery on the Wine Trail Traveler site.
Thursday, 23. December 2010
Recently we had family from Virginia over for dinner. Both couples enjoy visiting wineries in Virginia. After sharing photos of our New Zealand wine trip, I was asked why people might want to visit Virginia wineries. My first response was that Virginia is beautiful and historic, many in the state have figured out what wine grapes do well in the region and are making some great wine with those varieties.
Four interstate highways form a box-like structure in the state. Along these interstates there are exits to many of the Virginia’s wineries. Whether it is along I-64 in the south, I -66 I in the north, I-95 in the east or I-81 in the west a wine enthusiast traveler will find beautiful countryside after exiting the interstate. Low stone fences mark properties and flashback to an historic era. Not only is the Virginia countryside easy on the eye, its history beckons to be discovered. Several of the state’s wineries are preserving the past. Plant a cornfield and one may see high rises on the property tomorrow. Plant a vineyard and expect the land to remain agricultural for decades.
When a wine region is in its infancy there is a tendency to plant wine grapes of what people like to drink or what the owner likes to drink. Virginia has seen that and is now poised with the knowledge of what can grow well in its varied regions. One varietal grape that is notable throughout the country is Virginia Viognier. The grape does well in the state perhaps the best in the country. Petit Manseng and Tannat, although much smaller plantings than Viognier, are raising eyebrows. These two varietal grapes are also doing well in the state. However it is uncertain that they will have the notoriety of Viognier.
If you enjoy traveling to wine regions, consider visiting wineries in Virginia. You can travel along the box of interstates or venture further away.
Thursday, 23. December 2010
If you need a last minute gift for Christmas and wine isn’t an option, check out Brookstone. Yesterday as I was doing last minute shopping, I decided to walk through the local Brookstone to look for some ideas.
This particular Brookstone store had numerous items available for wine lovers. The selection included Automatic Electric Wine Openers, Vinturi Wine Aerators for Red Wines and more Automatic Wine Preservers.
Anyone not in a hurry to purchase a gift, then check out the Brookstone online site and discover three pages of wine related items including a 48-Bottle Dual-Temperature Wine Cellar.
Wednesday, 22. December 2010
Earlier this year Maryland enacted SB858 Maryland Winery Modernization Act of 2010. This required the Office of the Comptroller to study and report on the status of direct wine shipping in the 37 states that make it available for consumers.
The report was released yesterday several days early. According to Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association, in a press release, “The report finds no evidence of increased underage access, no problems collecting taxes and no increase in alcohol abuse in any of the jurisdictions that allow direct shipping.”
The report is available as a PDF at http://www.marylandtaxes.com/DWS_Complete.pdf.
This is great news for Maryland wine consumers. It seems evident that there are no valid reasons for the Maryland state legislature to withhold passing direct wine shipping legislation for Maryland consumers.
Everyone needs to keep sending emails and letters to their Maryland state legislators to keep this issue on the front burner. Maryland consumers should be able to benefit from direct wine shipping in 2011 just as consumers in 37 states plus the District of Columbia already do.
Tuesday, 21. December 2010
My daughter and her boyfriend invited us to join them in a one-day visit to Washington, D.C. We visited the National Christmas tree and a special exhibit at the Smithsonian. Afterwards we took the subway to a delightful restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery. It’s located in the Capitol Hill area. They serve delicious fresh handmade burgers, fries and milkshakes. While very crowded at 1pm, it was worth the wait.
After leaving Good Stuff Eatery we were on the way to a subway stop and discovered a wonderful small store that has puzzles for adults and kids. The Labyrinth Games & Puzzles store offers a large selection of quality wood puzzles as well as some of the more traditional puzzles including those by Ravensburger. A very unique wood puzzle was displayed in a showcase. This puzzles attaches to the top of a wine bottle. To open the wine bottle, the puzzle must be solved. While it may be too late to purchase a wine bottle puzzle like this for the holidays, it is an item to consider as a gift throughout the year.