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Showing posts from November, 2014

LOIRE VALLEY WINES - HISTORY OF WINE MAKING

Vines already existed when Romans invaded the Loire Valley. The legend says that Saint Martin was the first to make wine in the Loire region. It was in 380. The wine production then grew fast. In both river banks, wine makers made white wine. On the hills, they went for red wine. Such as in Burgundy, most of the vineyards belong to monasteries and monks had developed the wine production in the whole region.

LOIRE WINES - GEOGRAPHY

The Valley of the Loire, in the Centre West of France, is often considered as the most beautiful French wine region.
The region is wide and follow the river, starting in the Auvergne and Massif Central and finishing in the Atlantic coast around Nantes city.
The Loire River is wide and deep. The landscape is quiet and undulated.
It is probably more accurate to say that the Loire Valley is made of several different regions, which have one thing in common: the river.


Loire Region Information:
Location:
From the Massif Central mountains to the Atlantic coast and Nantes cities. The Loire wine region follows the Loire river in its valley and the rivers flowing into (Cher, Loir, Layon, etc)
Weather:Atlantic weather in the West (mild winter and summer)
Continental in the East (cold winter, warm summer)
Main Cities:Nantes , Tours, Bourges
Places of Interest:Châteaux de la Loire (Chambord, Azay le Rideau, Amboise, etc)
Loire Valley wine road (the most beautiful in France !)
Angers (heritage ci…

LOIRE VALLEY WINES

The Loire Valley is famous for its white wines. None of them use Chardonnay as a main grape variety. Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon are widely used. About 75% of the production is made of white wine. Although Loire is a land of white wine, some red wines are very interesting. They are fruity and pleasant. The Loire Valley is probably the most beautiful wine region in France and in the world.

The most basic information on the wines of Loire are:
Location:
From the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast around Nantes. The Loire wine region follows the Loire river in its valley

Loire region information

Size of the vineyards:30,000 hectares
Grapes in Loire:Chenin Blanc Sauvignon
Production:400 million bottles
Loire wine making

Type of Wine:Dry white wine
Sweet white wine
Semi-dry white wine
Sparkling white wine
Fruity red wine
Rosé wine




STORAGE OF WINES: STORING AFTER OPENING

Storage after opening: This is storage for bottles of table wine that have been opened but not completely consumed. There are many methods for prolonging the life of opened table wines but even the best can only slow the degradation of the wine. These methods are for still table wines. Sparkling wines and fortified dessert wines have different characteristics and requirements. 
Gas Systems: Sparging the bottle with a gas (nitrogen or argon) can be very effective but it is expensive and I've never known anyone who actually used a gas system over a long period of time. They just seem to ultimately be more trouble than they are worth. If you do elect to try such a system, stay away from carbon dioxide since it will mix into solution with the wine. 
Vacu-vin: An item came on the market a few years ago called a Vacu-vin. This consists of rubber bottle stoppers that hold a weak vacuum created by a hand pump that comes with the system. While some people swear by them, there is a consistent…

STORAGE OF WINES - II

For any wine lover, storing wine well is very important. There are a few simple principles that need to be understood in order to select proper wine storage conditions. We can logically break down the process into just 3 categories: storing wine for the short haul, storing wine for long term aging and storing (or saving) wines that have already been opened.
Short Term Storage:  This is wine you will consume within 6 months. These may be bottles that are just home from the store and destined to be consumed shortly or bottles that have been pulled from longer storage to be accessible for spur of the moment consumption. 
The closer you can duplicate the conditions required for long term storage, the better. However, in many situations, keeping the wines in a box in an interior closet is a satisfactory solution. 
Keep the bottles stored so that: •the cork stays moist  •the wines are at the lowest stable temperature possible  •the location is free of vibration  •the location is not a stor…

AGEING & STORING WINE

Whether or not to bottle age your wine after you have purchased it is a very personal and somewhat complex decision. While most white wines are designed to be enjoyed within two to three years after their vintage date, many robust red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon such as William Hill Winery's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Aura, will continue to evolve and improve with additional aging in proper storage conditions.  Under the proper storage conditions, the components of red wines will interact and evolve. During bottle aging, the wine's varietal aromas and flavors, as well as tannins and pigment, interact with oak compounds imparted during fermentation and barrel aging. Tannins and pigment compounds will link together to form longer, smoother polymer chains, softening the tannic impression of the wine. This integration can help to develop increasingly complex flavors and aromas, and deepen the wine's color from purplish to a deep, brick red. However, the primary…

STORAGE OF WINES - Q&A

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Should I be storing the wine I drink everyday in a special way or place? Simply keep your bottles of wine in a cool place away from direct sunlight until you’re ready to drink them. If you are going to store them for more than a few weeks, it is best to store them on their side rather than upright. This will keep the cork moist and therefore airtight. There is no need to store white wines or Champagne/sparkling wines in the refrigerator if you are not planning on drinking them soon. Simply chill them before serving. 
Where should I store wine I don't plan to drink immediately?  There are two types of wine you may not plan to drink immediately--wines you have purchased that are ready to drink, and wines designed to be aged. Most wines on the market today are designed to be ready to drink as soon as you purchase them. Therefore, the long-term storage conditions recommended for wines designed to be aged are not necessary. 
Keep these ready-to-drink wines away …

STORAGE OF WINE - I

Most of the enjoyment that comes from drinking wine involves its aroma. Taste only has four aspects - sweet, sour, salty, acid. The nose does the rest. Vapors are created as wine warms up, so the wine needs to be a few degrees below its ideal drinking temperature for this to work. Room Temperature is rarely 'wine drinking temperature' - if you're in the Indian Ocean on a yacht, you hardly want 100° Chardonnay! How about Houston in July? Warmth makes white wines taste dull. Few homes are regulated to match wine-drinking temperatures.  So throw out the old "refrigerate all whites, drink all reds at current room temperature" adage. Here is a chart to indicate in general best temperatures for drinking wine at. Remember, though, that you also want to keep in mind the temperature of the room relative to this 'idea temperature'. If your room is 60°F and you are serving a fine Burgundy, perhaps chill the Burgundy to 58°F to allow it a little warming up in the gl…

Storage of Wine - Serving temperatures of Wine

Temp FTemp CNotes100°39°Warm Bath68°20°-66°19°Vintage Port64°18°Bordeaux, Shiraz63°17°Red Burgundy, Cabernet61°16°Rioja, Pinot Noir59°15°Chianti, Zinfandel57°14°Tawny/NV Port, Madeira55°13°Ideal storage for all wines54°12°Beaujolais, rose52°11°Viognier, Sauternes50°10°-48°9°Chardonnay47°8°Riesling45°7°Champagne43°6°Ice Wines41°5°Asti Spumanti39°4°-37°3°-35°2°Fridge Temperature33°1°-32°0°water freezes0°-18°Freezer Temperature

STORAGE OF WINE

What's the big deal about storing a wine at a certain temperature? Simply put, wine is a perishable good. Storing a fine wine at 100° will cause it to lose its flavor, while storing it at 0° will cause as much damage.

The trick with wine is to store it at a stable, ideal temperature, and then to serve it at a temperature which best shows off its personal characteristics. If you serve a wine too cool, the flavors will all be hidden. It's like eating a frozen pizza while it's still frozen. If you serve a wine too hot, all you can taste is the alcohol.

WINE TERMINOLOGY

Winemakers and wine writers use a variety of descriptions to communicate the aromas, flavors and characteristics of wines. Many of the terms seem familiar and natural, yet others are less clear. Use this glossary of common wine terminology to help you better understand and describe the wines you enjoy.
AcidityThe presence of natural fruit acids that lend a tart, crisp taste to wine AromaSmells in wine that originate from the grape AstringentBitter; gives a drying sensation in the mouth BalancedAll components of the wine are in harmony Barrel FermentedWhite wine that is fermented in an oak barrel instead of a stainless steel tank BodyThe weight and tactile impression of the wine on the palate that ranges from light to heavy/full BouquetSmells from winemaking, aging and bottle age ButteryRich, creamy flavor associated with barrel fermentation CharacterDescribes distinct attributes of a wine ChewyWine that has a very deep, textured and mouth-filling sensation CleanWine without disagreeable aromas …

BURGUNDY WINES

Agnès et Marcel Durand Red Wine
strong rubyred color, fruity, light menthol smell, fine tannins, full body
  Agnès et Marcel Durand  Beaujolais-Villages

 Aimée-Claude Bonnetain Red Wine
blue red color, scent of red fruit and spices, well structured, balanced, fruity, long, typical, ...
  Aimée-Claude Bonnetain  Côte de Brouilly

 Alain Chatoux Vieilles vignes Red Wine
clar, dark orange red color, notable scent of red fruit with alcoholic notes, aromas of currant j...
  Alain Chatoux  

 Alain Michaud Red Wine
delicious, deep orange-red color with bright red reflexes, smells of faded roases, spices, coffee...
  Alain Michaud  Brouilly

 André Depardon La Madone Red Wine
dark red color, intense raspberry scent, full, fine, balanced, long flavor, rounded
  André Depardon  Fleurie

 André Méziat Red Wine
clear, intense red color, strong scent of vineyard peaches and cherries, full-bodied, rich, soft,...
  André et Monique Méziat  Chiroubles

 Belvedere des pierres dorées White Wine…

BURGUNDY WINES - COTE DE BEAUNE

The Côte de Beaune is the more southerly part of the Côte d'Or. The northernmost tip abuts onto the Côte de Nuits, and the region extends south to the Côte Chalonnaise. The geology is more variable than that of the Côte de Nuits. The region sits on a combination of Callovian, Argovian and Rauracian limestones, with much intervening marlstone. Obviously, the climate is the same as for the Côte de Nuits - continental, with a wide annual temperature difference. Spring rains and frost, and Autumn rains, which may interfere with the harvest, can also be a problem here. The vineyards face south-east on the slope between the plain to the south-east, and the hills to the north-west, the easterly aspect aiding exposure to the sun.  Pernand-Vergelesses can be a source of some good value Burgundy, but no great wines. Nearby, however, we start to see some of the more serious wines of the Côte de Beaune at Aloxe-Corton. The wines of this village, as well as a number of other villages nearby, …

BURGUNDY WINES - COTE DE NUIT

The Côte d'Or is divided into two main viticultural regions, the Côte de Nuits being the more northerly of the two. The northernmost tip lies just south of Dijon, and the region extends down to the Côte de Beaune, onto which it abuts. Named after the town of Nuits-St-Georges, it is most widely reknowned for it's red wines, although there are a few worthy white wines made here also. Geologically, the region sits on a combination of Bajocian, Bathonian, Callovian and Argovian limestones, with some Liassic marlstone. The climate is continental, with a wide annual temperature difference. Spring rains and frost can be a problem, as can Autumn rain, which may interfere with the harvest. This is true for the whole Côte d'Or. The vineyards lie on the slope between the plain to the east, and the hills to the west. Soils on the plain, to the east of the N74 (not illustrated), are too fertile for quality wine, and on the hills it is too sparse. The easterly aspect also aids exposure…

BURGUNDY WINES - BEAUJOLAIS

The Beaujolais is a French AOC wine, almost all Beaujolais wines are reds of the Gamay grape but like most AOC wines are not labelled varietally. Whites from the region, which make up only 1% of its production, are made with Chardonnay grapes. Beaujolais tends to be a very light bodied red wine, with relatively high amounts of acidity which makes it less a casual sipping wine and one more suited to food. Most Beaujolais should be drunk within the first three years of its life. Only the best examples of the ten "crus" listed below - and produced by the best vintners - improve with age for up to ten years. Wines labeled simply "Beaujolais" account for 50% of the production. Beaujolais Villages makes up 25% of the region's production, and comes from better vineyard sites in and around the ten "crus" in the north part of Beaujolais. Wine from these individual crus, which make up the balance, can be more full-bodied, darker in color, and significantly lon…

BURGUNDY WINES - COTE D'OR

The département is part of the current région of Bourgogne. It is surrounded by the départements of Yonne, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Jura, Aube, and Haute-Marne. A chain of hills called the Plateau de Langres runs from north-east to south-west through the département to the north of Dijon and continues south-westwards as the Côte d'Or escarpment, after which the département is named. It is the south-east facing slope of the escarpment which is the site of the celebrated Burgundy vineyards. To the west of the Plateau de Langres, towards Champagne, lies the densely wooded district of Châtillonais. To the south-east of the plateau and escarpment, the département lies in the broad, flat-bottomed valley of the middle course of the Saône. Rivers include: * The Saône  * The Seine rises in he southern end of the Plateau de Langres.  * The Ouche rises on the dip slope of the escarpment and flows to the Saône via Dijon.  * The Armançon rises on the dip slope of the escarpment and flows north…

BURGUNDY WINES - THE GEOGRAPHY

Highest point: Haut-Folin (901m) in the Morvan. The Canal of Burgundy joins the Rivers Yonne and Saône, allowing barges to navigate from the north to south of France. Construction began in 1765 and was completed in 1832. At the summit there is a tunnel 3.333 kilometers long in a straight line. The canal is 242 kilometers long, with a total 209 locks and crosses two counties of Burgundy, the Yonne and Cote d'Or. The canal is now mostly used for riverboat tourism; Dijon, the most important city along the canal, has a harbor for leisure boats.

BURGUNDY WINES - THE WINE

Chardonnay vineyards in the south of the Côte de Beaune surrounding the town of Meursault.  Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is the name given to certain wines made in the Burgundy region of France. Red Burgundy wines are usually made with the Pinot Noir grape, and white Burgundy wines are usually made with Chardonnay grapes, as dictated by the AOC. Geographically, the wine region starts just south of Dijon and runs southward to just short of the city of Lyon. The area of Chablis stands on its own to the west of Dijon, about as close to Paris as it is to the heart of Burgundy. The main wine regions in Burgundy proper (those that are entitled to the AOC Bourgogne designation) are the Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune - which collectively are known as the Côte d'Or - and further south the Côte Chalonnaise. Also viticulturally part of Burgundy are Beaujolais, Chablis, and Mâcon, and they show some similarity. However, a wine from one of these regions would rarely be referred to as a "…

BURGUNDY WINES - THE HISTORY

The Burgundians were one of the Germanic peoples who filled the power vacuum left by the collapse of the western half of the Roman empire. In 411, they crossed the Rhine and established a kingdom at Worms. Amidst repeated clashes between the Romans and Huns, the Burgundian kingdom eventually occupied what is today the borderlands between Switzerland, France, and Italy. In 534, the Franks defeated Godomar, the last Burgundian king, and absorbed the territory into their growing empire. Its modern existence is rooted in the dissolution of the Frankish empire. When the dynastic dust had settled in 880s, there were three Burgundies: the kingdom of Upper Burgundy around Lake Geneva, the kingdom of Lower Burgundy in Provence, and the duchy of Burgundy in France. The two kingdoms of Burgundy were reunited in 937 and absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II in 1032, while the duchy of Burgundy was annexed by the French throne in 1004. During the Middle Ages, Burgundy was the seat o…

TOBACCO - CONSUMPTION

•Beedi are thin, often flavored, south Asian cigarettes made of tobacco wrapped in a tendu leaf, and secured with colored thread at one end.  •Chewing tobacco is one of the oldest ways of consuming tobacco leaves. It is consumed orally, in two forms: through sweetened strands, or in a shredded form. When consuming the long sweetened strands the tobacco is lightly chewed and compacted into a ball. When consuming the shredded tobacco, small amounts are placed at the bottom lip, between the gum and the teeth, where it is gently compacted, thus it can oftentimes be called dipping tobacco. Both methods stimulate the salve glands, which led to the development of the spittoon.  •Cigars are tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the smoker's mouth.  •Cigarettes are a product consumed through the inhalation of smoke and manufactured out of cured and finely cut tobacco leaves and reconstituted tobacco, often combined with o…

TOBACCO - CURING

Curing and subsequent aging allows for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids in tobacco leaf. This produces certain compounds in the tobacco leaves very similar and give a sweet hay, tea, rose oil, or fruity aromatic flavor that contribute to the "smoothness" of the smoke. Starch is converted to sugar which glycates protein and is oxidized into advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), a caramelization process that also adds flavor. Inhalation of these AGEs in tobacco smoke contributes to atherosclerosis and cancer. Levels of AGE's is dependent on the curing method used. Tobacco can be cured through several methods which include but are not limited to: •Air cured tobacco is hung in well-ventilated barns and allowed to dry over a period of four to eight weeks. Air-cured tobacco is low in sugar, which gives the tobacco smoke a light, sweet flavor, and high in nicotine. Cigar and burley tobaccos are air cured.  •Fire cured tobacco is hung in large barns where fire…

TOBACCO - CULTIVATION

Tobacco is cultivated similar to other agricultural products. Seeds were at first quickly scattered onto the soil. However, young plants came under increasing attack from flea beetles (Epitrix cucumeris or Epitrix pubescens), which caused destruction of half the tobacco crops in United States in 1876. By 1890 successful experiments were conducted that placed the plant in a frame covered by thin fabric. Today, tobacco is sown in cold frames or hotbeds, as their germination is activated by light. In the United States, tobacco is often fertilized with the mineral apatite, which partially starves the plant of nitrogen to produce a more desired flavor. Apatite, however, contains radium, lead 210, and polonium 210—which are known radioactive carcinogens. After the plants have reached relative maturity, they are transplanted into the fields, in which a relatively large hole is created in the tilled earth with a tobacco peg. Various mechanical tobacco planters where invented in the nineteent…

TOBACCO - TYPES

There are many species of tobacco, which are encompassed by the genus of herbs Nicotiana. It is part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) indigenous to North and South America, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific. Many plants contain nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin that is particularly harmful to insects. However, tobaccos contain a higher concentration of nicotine than most other plants. Unlike many other Solanaceae they do not contain tropane alkaloids, which are often poisonous to humans and other animals. Despite containing enough nicotine and other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores, a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species and therefore some tobacco plants (chiefly Tree Tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive weeds in some places.
There are a numbe…

TOBACCO - ORIGIN

The Spanish word "tabaco" is thought to have its origin in Arawakan language, particularly, in the Taino language of the Caribbean. In Taino, it was said to refer either to a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolome de Las Casas, 1552), or to the tabago, a kind of Y-shaped pipe for sniffing tobacco smoke (according to Oviedo; with the leaves themselves being referred to as Cohiba). However, similar words in Spanish and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs, originating from the Arabic tabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs

TOBACCO - AN INTRODUCTION

Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of smoking, chewing, snuffing, dipping tobacco, or snus. Tobacco has long been in use as an entheogen in the Americas. However, upon the arrival of Europeans in North America, it quickly became popularized as a trade item and as a recreational drug. This popularization led to the development of the southern economy of the United States until it gave way to cotton. Following the American Civil War, a change in demand and a change in labor force allowed for the development of the cigarette. This new product quickly led to the growth of tobacco companies until the scientific controversy of the mid-1900s. There are many species of tobacco, which are all encompassed by the plant genus Nicotiana. The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) wa…

Made in "Sparkling" India

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Moet-Hennessy has launched a new line of sparkling wine grown and produced in India in a bid to create a new “consumption culture” among young, affluent and sophisticated Indians. 
The French wines and spirits house is launching an aggressive marketing campaign for ‘Chandon Nashik’ in a country where wine consumption is still low and the potential for growth very high, said Mark Bedingham of Moet-Hennessy Asia Pacific, in an interview with Harpers.co.uk.
Produced in the Nashik region of western India, the home-grown bubbly benefits from the drier, more moderate temperatures of the area which is located inland and at a higher altitude, he told the publication. The Chandon Brut is a mix of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and is described as having a fresh aroma and “subtle complexity.” The Rosé, made from Shiraz, is ripe with red fruit aromas and a full flavoured palate.
The luxury brand’s marketing strategy, meanwhile, is to catch both the demographic and the wine market while…

Food & Wine Pairing Guidelines

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Pairing guidelines

Food and wine are intrinsically linked so choose a wine that complements the meal and brings out the best in the food’s flavors. The guidelines below will steer you in the right direction.

Pair wines and foods of the same flavors
Similar food and wine flavors complement each other. Sole with lemon sauce and Sauvignon Blanc both have citrus flavors.

Pair wines and foods with the same weight/texture
Similarly weighted food and wine complement each other. Food and wine can be light, medium or heavy-bodied. Lobster and Chardonnay are both medium-weight and rich so they complement each other.

Pair wines and foods with the same sweetness level
Wine should be equal to or higher in sugar than the dish. Roasted pork with apple glaze pairs beautifully with Riesling.

Salt
Crisp wines balance salty flavors. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc balances salty olives and feta cheese.

Sauces
Pair the wine to the sauce served.
-Light citrus sauces pair with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
-Heav…

CHAMPAGNE COUPE MOULDED FROM KATE MOSS’S BREAST LAUNCHED

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English supermodel Kate Moss’s left breast has been immortalised in a Champagne coupe designed by painter Lucian Freud’s daughter.
Taking Marie Antoinette as her inspiration, whose left breast was said to have served as the model for the first Champagne coupe in the late-18th century, British artist Jane McAdam Freud crafted the coupe from a mould of Moss’s left breast.
The glass has an elongated, slender stem, while the outside of the bowl features an intricate Art Deco-inspired pattern and the base bears the model’s signature.
“I was excited to participate in this project – what an honour to be alongside Marie Antoinette, she was a very intriguing and mischievous character,” Moss said.
“Champagne is always associated with celebration and happy occasions and I had fun creating this beautiful coupe,” she added.
McAdam Freud was commissioned by 34 Restaurant in London’s Mayfair to create the coupe in honour of Moss’s 40th birthday and to mark her 25-year milestone in the fashion busin…

Smartphones are the hotel room keys of the future

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US-headquartered hotel chain Starwood just launched its new program, dubbed SPG Keyless, to allow guests across 10 Aloft, Element and W brand hotels in its portfolio, to skip the reception desk and gain access to their pre-booked hotel rooms using their smartphones. New locks at these hotels communicate with guests’ phones via Bluetooth to allow for quick locking and unlocking with a simple tap on the lock pad attached to each door.
Travelers who book a room via official Starwood channels online or via phone can use the SPG app for Android and iOS to receive their room number and unlock their rooms upon arrival. The app also allows you to access gyms and elevators at participating hotels — making for one less key for guests to worry about, reduced check-in time and increased convenience when using hotel amenities.  Currently, only one phone is activated per room, so guests sharing a room will have to get a traditional key for access when the assigned device or its owner aren’t close …