Posts Filed Under learning wine
One of the more endearingly maddening things about European wine classifications is that they try to lump location, in aspects that are increasingly specific, and “quality,” in ways that are often nebulous.
Over at MyNameIsBarbera.com, I take this dichotomy head-on, in my dime-store-philosphical way (not yet trademarked, but it might as well be at this point). Obviously, the focus of that piece is on the “quality pyramid” as it pertains specifically to Barbera in Asti and the Monferrato area, but the idea that the pyramid is more reflective of stylistic personality rather than core quality (in the I’m-good-therefore-you-are-bad sense) is, I think, something that plagues many of the most well-established wine regions not just in Northern Italy, but in all of Italy; and, arguably, all of Western Europe.
Pour a glass, have a read, and then we can argue in buzzed pseudo-philosophy about it all!
THE PUZZLE OF THE (BARBERA QUALITY) PYRAMID
I’ve done a lot of fun work with the folks at Fix.com, and they have a couple of sister websites to which they asked me to contribute. My latest for them is available over at their PartSelect.com blog: a primer on how to properly chill and open sparkling wine.
Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this (I’m looking at you Kralik!), but I’ve frankly been aghast at how often I have seen professionals in the wine business f*ck this up. So this isn’t advice just for noobs; I know a lot of people in the biz who need a refresher on this, stat.
Seriously, there’s no excuse for messing up the chilling part, and yet I see this happen at least once at almost every single public wine tasting event that I’ve attend. Part of me wants to grab people by the collar, shake the boots off of them, and scream at them to JUST ADD SOME F*CKING WATER!!!
But, I don’t do that, because I am a man of peace (and because I don’t want to be incarcerated).
In this article, we also get into glassware tips for serving and drinking those bubbles once you do get them nice and cold (which won’t take long if you do it properly) and opened up. The infographic summary is embedded below after the jump. Enjoy (and pleeeeease pass along to someone you know who probably ought to know better)…
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On Valentine’s Day last week, Fix.com published, appropriately, what amounts to my little Valentine to what might be the red-headed-step-child of dessert wines right now, Ice Wine.
Hell, even the once-totally-ignored sweet Sherries are cooler now than Ice Wine (see what I did there?).
Personally, I have a sweet tooth, which probably explains my borderline-obsession with the dessert section of the fine wine store shelves. Ice wine is the kind of thing over which wine geeks have wet dreams: it’s unique, intense, and usually only available in tiny quantities because it’s such a pain in the friggin’ ass to produce well. Actually, I think that you might need to be at least a little bit insane – like, not-quite-normal, a-little-touched-in-the-head, sure-I’ll-play-ice-hockey-goalie or sure-I’ll-be-a-rock-drummer insane – to actually want to harvest grapes for ice wine.
The short-shrift given to Ice Wine, even in some of the most storied wine books, kind of fills me with an unhealthy rage (it’s okay, I’m over it). The closest thing that I’ve found to my feelings regarding the stuff – particularly the Canadian stuff – in written equivalent comes from Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible (which I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting here):
“…the greatest Canadian icewines posses an almost otherworldly contrapuntal tension between acidity and sweetness, making drinking them an ethereal sensation. That’s saying it in an intellectual way. But here’s the kin-in-you version: You’ll want to lick the bowl.”
It’s exactly right; she’s exactly right.
It’s not often that you get a combination of such intense, pure fruit expression, sugar, and raging acid. Those only come by way of the world’s best dessert wine experiences, in which I would unabashedly the best offerings of icewines from the nation of Terrence and Phillip, and the eiswines of Germany and Austria. The northern U.S. territories making Ice/Iced Wines probably aren’t quiiiiiite there yet, but they are catching up quickly, and are absolutely quick studies. And don’t laugh too much at the dessert wines made from artificially frozen grapes, folks, because I’ve had a spate of them lately that would make you rethink writing off some of those beauties.
The infographic summary of the article is available below after the jump, but there’s quite a bit of text for you to scan quickly on your phone while pretending to be reading it, covering the difference between Ice Wine and Iced Wine in the USA, Eiswein in Germany versus that of Austria, and testifying my love of the glorious Icewines of the Great White North.
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Ah, the holidays; time for family, friends, and overindulgence!
The latter, almost certainly, is the cause of your red wine headache, by the way.
In any case, that evil cranial pain some of you experience after drinking red wine almost certainly is not the result of a sulfites allergy. Seriously… statistically, the most likely reason that you have a headache is because you’re HUNGOVER.
I go into the specifics of this – and many other likely causes (and non-causes) of legitimate red wine headaches, in my latest article for Fix.com. If you suffer from the dreaded RWH (or know someone who does), hopefully this article can help you understand, mitigate, or even avoid getting a RWH.
And as we’re heading up to the close of 2016, and the subsequent imbibing that often comes with new year’s celebrations, I’m guessing that some of you might find this one handy (along with my previous tips on how to mitigate your hangover).
The way-cool infographic version of the article (complete with chemical formulations!) is included below after the jump.
Cheers – and watch your intake!
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