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Celebrity Wineries

Celebrities who start their own vineyards and bottle signature wines are part of a growing trend in the world of wines. These celebrity wineries have been quite successful, sometimes because of the quality of the wines themselves and always because of the demand for products that bear the name of a well-loved star. Niebaum-Coppola Winery In 1975, film director, producer and screenwriter Francis Coppola was looking to buy a summer home where he might make a little wine. He came upon the Inglenook Winery in California, founded by Gustave Niebaum. Coppola was taken with the beauty of the estate and felt a connection to Niebaum because of their shared immigrant background, love of wine and success in their respective fields. Coppola decided to rebuild the estate and founded the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery. Prices of wine from the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery range from around $7 to $13. Wine selections include: Blancaneaux Cabernet Franc Cask Cabernet Merlot RC Reserve Syrah. For a $25 guest fee, you can visit the estate. Your fee includes a wine tasting, a legacy historical tour and a chance to see the historic Chateau, Estate Wine Library and Centennial Museum. Jerry Garcia Sonoma Winery Musician Jerry Garcia may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten. He can be remembered not only for the music he made with the Grateful Dead but also for his fine wine. The Jerry Garcia Sonoma Winery was created to celebrate not only his music but also his artistic creations and his love of wine. All bottles of J. Garcia wines have labels that feature his unique and colorful artwork. Prices range from $12.95 to $16.95 per bottle. You can buy many types of J. Garcia wines, including: Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay Merlot Zinfandel. Greg Norman Wineries After traveling the world during his golfing career, Greg Norman decided to join forces with renowned winemakers from Beringer Blass and start the Greg Norman Estates Wineries in Australia and California. Prices range from $9 to $13 per bottle. Types of wine available include: red wines sparkling wines white wines. Ernie Els” Stellenbosch Winery Golfing and wine may well be perfect together. Another golfer, Ernie Els, along with longtime friend Jean Engelbrecht, established Engelbrecht Els Vineyards in 1999 and opened the cellar on Helderberg Mountain in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2004. Prices of wine from Engelbrecht Els Vineyards range from $28 per bottle to approximately $700 per case. Wines available include: Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Merlot signature blends created by Ernie Els. Fleming Jenkins Vineyards and Winery Olympic ice skater Peggy Fleming knows her way around grapes as well as she knows her tricks on ice. Along with husband Greg Jenkins, she planted a small vineyard in California in 1999 and decided to start a winery. The winery offers a variety of wines, including: Cabernet Chardonnay Rose Syrah. Prices range from $20 to $50 per bottle. Because Peggy Fleming is a breast cancer survivor, a very special wine named Victories Rose was created at this winery […]

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Wine Advice

People are sometimes put off by the mystique that surrounds viticulture (the culture of winemaking), but you don”t have to be a wine master to enjoy wine tasting. Nor do you need to be a wine expert to age wine in storage. All you need is a little wine advice. Wine Etiquette and Pouring Much mystique seems to shroud wine serving and pouring. Perhaps you”ve seen the most impressive method of wine serving, where the bottle neck is heated with special tongs and sliced off with a saber. Such spectacle is all very theatrical and impressive, but completely unnecessary. The only real rule to wine etiquette is to serve the wine correctly. There are really only two considerations to keep in mind: temperature and timing. Temperature and Wine Serving Different wines taste best at different temperatures. No wine master would dream of serving Champagne at the same temperature as a Riesling. Those of us who aren”t wine experts might not be as demanding, but can still get maximum pleasure out of our wine by following this temperature table: Wine Fahrenheit Celsius Asti Spumanti 41 degrees 5 degrees Beaujolais / Rose 54 degrees 12 degrees Champagne 45 degrees 7 degrees Chardonnay 48 degrees 9 degrees Chianti / Zinfandel 59 degrees 15 degrees Ice wines 43 degrees 6 degrees Pinot Noir 61 degrees 16 degrees Red Burgundy / Cabernet 63 degrees 17 degrees Riesling 47 degrees 8 degrees Sauternes 52 degrees 11 degrees Shiraz / most reds 64 degrees 18 degrees Tawny / NV Port / Madeira 57 degrees 14 degrees Vintage Port 66 degrees 19 degrees Unless you”re a wine master, don”t worry if you”re a degree or two off for your wine. Get the temperature as close as you reasonably can and your wine will taste at its best. Opening the Bottle Timing is as important as temperature when wine serving. Generally speaking, a red wine should be opened an hour before drinking, to let it ”breathe” (let it come into contact with oxygen and develop its bouquet). In contrast, white wine is best served immediately after opening. Pouring the Wine The glass you use is important when wine serving. A red wine glass has a wide bowl that allows you to fully experience the complexity of the wine. White wine glasses are narrower; augmenting the taste of the wine while limited the amount of oxidization that occurs at the wine”s surface. Wine Tasting Etiquette A wine tasting party sounds intimidating, but again, you don”t need to be a wine expert to enjoy one. You”ll be greeted by the host, usually a wine master who”ll provide you with glasses and explain what wines are available for tasting. A wine tasting has a set order: white wine is served first, followed by reds, and finally dessert wines. Sip the wine and consult the accompanying tasting notes to see what aromas and flavors you should be taken. It”s quite acceptable not to drink all the wine in your glass: In fact, most […]

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Wine Tasting Etiquette

Whether at a private wine tasting or at a vineyard, the rules of etiquette for wine drinking and tasting are the same. The following are some tips that will make you seem like a pro at your next wine tasting . . . host or guest. For the Host Serving Order At a dinner party women and older guests should be served first, then men, then the host. Body Count Invite only the number of tasters that can fit comfortably in your home (or other venue). A crowd around the tasting table can be intimidating and guests should not feel rushed when pouring a glass of wine. Water For those guests that get thirsty have bottled water on hand; also good for those that want to rinse their mouths between wines. A pitcher of water for rinsing glasses between tastings is recommended . . . and remember to have something into which your guest can discard their rinse water. Food and Wine Unsalted water crackers or unflavoured French bread should be provided for palate cleansing during the tasting. If you want to provide something more substantial, the rules of etiquette for wine drinking say that nothing stronger than a lightly salted mozzarella is appropriate. Save the stronger foods for after the wine tasting. For the Guest Handling a Wine Glass The proper way to hold any style of wine glass is by the stem. This keeps fingerprints off the bowl and keeps your hand from heating the wine. Perfume and Cologne Avoid wearing scent to a wine tasting affair. This includes perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, and scented hair spray or gel. Lighting Up Smoking at or just before a wine tasting will affect the taste of your wines. The smoke and odor of cigarettes or cigars not only interferes with the enjoyment of the taste and smell of the wines, it can be irritating to other guests, both smokers and non-smokers. Mints and Gum Bubble gum, chewing gum and breath mints will alter the taste of wine. Be sure to rinse your mouth well with water before beginning a tasting. Comments If you have negative comments about a wine, keep them to yourself, particularly when at a vineyard tasting room.

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Wine Tasting

Why swish? While it was originally thought that certain regions on the tongue detected specific flavours, we now know this is not true. The front and back of the tongue contain the taste buds and rather than specializing in a particular taste sensation, all taste buds are capable of detecting sweet, sour, bitter and salty flavours, although there may be some slight differences in sensitivity. So that you get the most out of your taste buds, when tasting wine, swish the wine around your mouth, which will allow all of your taste buds (and your sense of smell) to participate in the detection of the finer flavours of the wine. To develop your senses in the methods explained below you will need to practice. It is advised that you join a wine club of some kind so you can not only be exposed to a wide variety of wines but also save yourself money in the process while you practice. Smell and Taste Have you ever tried desperately to detect flavour from a food or beverage when you had a terrible cold? You probably tasted very little, if anything at all. Research indicates that 70 to 75% of what we taste is actually due to our sense of smell. Specialized “aroma” nerves in the nose are necessary to identify tastes more subtle than sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Smell and taste go hand-in-hand when wine tasting . . . without your sense of smell you would be unable to detect the delicate flavours of chocolate, herbs or smoke in your wine. Wine Tasting Techniques Wine tasting is not just like art, it is an art. While wine tasting can be subjective in nature, wine connoisseurs follow some general “guidelines” when judging a wine. It”s very easy to learn the techniques of wine tasting, and if you already enjoy wine, learning the nuances will simultaneously increase the pleasure you derive from tasting. The Three Steps in Wine Tasting are: Look, Smell and Taste Look You can tell much about a wine simply by studying its appearance. The wine should be poured into a clear glass and held in front of a white background (a tablecloth or piece of paper will serve nicely) so that you can examine the colour. The colour of wine varies tremendously, even within the same type of wine. For example, white wines are not actually white; they range from green to yellow to brown. More colour in a white wine usually indicates more flavour and age, although a brown wine may have gone bad. Where as time improves many red wines, it ruins most white wines. Red wines are not just red; they range from a pale red to a deep brown red, usually becoming lighter in colour as they age. Rim colour: You can guess the age of a red wine by observing its “rim.” Tilt the glass slightly and look at the edge of the wine. A purple tint may indicate youth while orange to […]

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Tasting Wine While people have been enjoying the experience of tasting wine since ancient times, this practice became more formalized during the 14th century. Professional wine tasters use a very strict wine tasting vocabulary in their description of wines. Recreational wine tasting events are much more informal and involve attention to a wine”s: appearance finish (aftertaste) fragrance in the glass mouthfeel (sensation in the mouth). How to Taste Wine Whether professional or recreational, wine tasting is a multi-sensory experience. Although not formally considered part of wine tasting, even hearing is involved in the process, beginning with the distinctive sounds of the bottle being open and the wine being poured into its glass. The other senses are involved in a more direct way. Here are some tips for involving your senses to the fullest when tasting wine: Sight: Using a clear glass, and holding it up to a white background will help you to enjoy a wine”s true color. Tilt the wine in the glass slightly and take a good look. Depending on the type of wine in your glass, you may see deep reddish brown, bright ruby red or warm gold. Color can give you a clue about a wine”s age. White wines usually gain color as they age while older red wines lose color. Smell: If you use a glass with a rim that bends inwards, it will help you to enjoy the complex scent of a wine. Swirling the wine around in the glass coats its sides and allows you to experience the full fragrance. Scents actually vary from the top to the bottom of the glass. Lighter floral and fruity scents rise to the top while deeper, richer aromas can be found toward the bottom. Taste: To fully experience the taste of a wine, swirl a little bit of it in your mouth to cover all your taste buds. Take a moment to enjoy the flavor before either swallowing or spitting out the wine. In addition to the initial taste, you will find there is also an aftertaste to the wine, usually referred to as the finish. Touch: When the wine is in your mouth, it provides a tactile experience, often referred to as “mouthfeel,” in addition to the taste. Some wines feel refreshing on the tongue while others might feel velvety, flat or even prickly. The prickliness comes from tannins which are used in red wine to keep it fresh. The younger the red wine, the higher the tannin content and more prickly the feel. Wine Tasting Venues If you are interested in wine tasting, there are many available venues for you to try. Wine tasting events are often offered at: wineries wine bars wine schools. You might even decide to host a wine tasting party. For a great event that your friends will remember, be sure to include: appetizers to enjoy before the tasting bread to cleanse the palate between wines clear wine glasses dump buckets to deposit unused wine before next pouring four to […]

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