Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chardonnay The Universal Wine

Chardonnay – The Universal Wine

Almost everyone on the planet has heard of Chardonnay, in fact it is so popular that some people even name their children after it.

Chardonnay is commonly ordered as a type of wine from bars and restaurants but it is in fact the name of the most popular and possibly the most versatile grape in the world.

Almost all white Burgundy from Bourgogne Blanc to Chablis is made from 100% chardonnay grapes. The Chardonnay grape is also the mainstay in many types of champagne and is now even being used in Spain to make Cava.

The Chardonnay grape is so popular because it is easy to grow – that is probably why it is championed by so many grape producers. It can also be crafted into many different types of wines. Perhaps it is also so popular because it has little indigenous character of its own and instead displays the characteristics of the soil and climate where it is grown. Chardonnay has a propensity for acid and glycerine which is responsible for giving it a velvety texture – this is what is important in this type of grape. It is this texture which makes it so versatile when it comes to producing wine. It can be crafted into fresh lemony unoaked wine or aged in barrels to produce wine for a much richer palate. It is often seen as a cheap wine that is not worth trying but remember these grapes are used in top quality Chablis and Champagne, so don’t dismiss this grape and wine out of hand.

Chardonnay now comes in a host of different styles – gone are the days when all the bottles were heavily oaked, there is a chardonnay suitable for every palate and pocket and because of the versatility of the grape from almost every wine producing country in the world.

So which are the types of Chardonnay to look out for? What do they taste like? Here are a couple of generalisations to get you on your way. Of course the best way to find out which one is your favourite is to get your glass out and start tasting your way around a few of the bottles!

France produces a ream of different Chardonnays. For pure unoaked Chardonnay look for a Chablis labelled unoaked. This is great with fish as it is delicate and unobtrusive. For a clean flavoured wine with a subtle fruit aroma look to the Meursault and Montrachet regions

California produces wines that work well with grilled seasoned foods. The Napa valley produces great oaky fruity wines which are ideal for outdoor eating and drinking. For an even fruitier riper flavour try something from the Santa Barbara region, these highly flavoured wines will even taste great with grilled meats.

For a Chardonnay that is intensely flavoured and almost best drunk without food head to Australia and try something from the Hunter Valley. This tropically flavoured wine is great chilled and shared with a friend.

There are so many different types of Chardonnay from so many different countries that you are bound to find something to suit your palate. So what are you waiting for?

Fiona Muller has been writing for over 20 years. She is a qualified journalist and has worked in food and drink writing for the last few years. For more information
Visit - http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/browsearticles~Filter~Grape:genericgrape,3~results_per_page.aspx

Chardonnay – The Universal Wine / Author: maloy@indusnet.co.in

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How To Choose A Good Wine For Dinner

How To Choose A Good Wine For Dinner

There are 3 rules for choosing the correct dinner wine, these time honoured rules have been handed down through many generations of wine lovers and if adhered to, your dining experience will be second to none.

Rule 1: Drink what ever wine is you like the best. Now this sounds quite obvious, doesn't it? You could be shocked at how many wine drinkers get caught up in the notion that only select wines can be drunk with a select meal, this just isn't so! We all have our own wine preferences and when it comes to such wines we all know the wine we like to dine with.

Of course, if you do your research you will find various opinions and most of them will say the same thing, which certain wine goes with certain foods, but at the end of the day the choice of what wine to drink is really up to you, no matter what any review or guide says.

Rule 2: White wine with white meat or fish and red wine with red meat? Not always! For those who have some knowledge of wines will know that white wine goes with white meat and fish and red wine goes with red meat. But being stringent with the rules takes out all the joy of choosing a good wine you truly enjoy.

The pivotal point here is to have faith in your own sense's and what you consider as a good choice. Wine ought to do one of two things when you have a meal; complement or contrast. Not all fish dishes are cooked in the same manor, with this being the case then why should you only adhere to the white wines?

A good thing to do is consider the dish you are thinking about ordering or cooking, the way it is cooked, the various spices and seasonings added, then when you have considered the following choose a wine that will complement those elements or contrasts and you should end up with far more intense flavours and tastes.

Rule 3: Always read a wine label. Wines from different parts of the worlds are all different, again this sounds obvious, even the popular wines from merlots to Shiraz's and Cabernet's to zinfandels are all different in the way they are produced. A European merlot will be different from the merlot wines found in the states and Australia. A prudent move would be to really think about what you are going to order or what you have decided to cook and how it will be cooked.
In cooking there are many herbs and other things added to the dish, so the decision over what wine to have should follow this train of thought to make sure the wine will blend in well with these various flavours, if this is followed correctly then the meal should be such a memorable experience.

Apart from trying to find out where the wine was produced, it is also smart move to check out some local wineries and vineyards. On the wine label, the more abundant the information the better the wine will be. This will of course lead to one of the most deciding factors when choosing a wine, the price. The finer the wine the more expensive the wine is likely to be.


Wine - Wine of all categories from white wine to red wine to fortified.

Wine - White wine from many regions white wines like chardonnay and pinot grigio.

Author: mario oreilly

Wine Is An Century Old Art A Modern Day Science and A World-wide Business

Wine Is An Century Old Art, A Modern Day Science and A World-wide Business

Wine producing has been practiced in one form or another for thousands of years with pottery jars discovered in Persia (present day Iran) dating back to 5,500 BC showing evidence of grapes use in winemaking. In addition, jars from Jiahu in China dated to between 6000 and 7000 BC have also been discovered containing wine from wild grapes.

But whether we are talking about ancient or modern wine production, many of the same conditions apply and not dissimilar techniques are used because the chemistry of the humble grape is an eternal quality.

With some exceptions the grapes used for producing wine grow only only between latitudes 30-50 degrees North and 30-45 degrees South of the equator. Unlike most other crops, grapes do not need an especially fertile soil and it is interesting to note that a thinner soil usually results in a small crop but also usually produces higher quality grapes.

Ironically, soils that are rich in nitrogen and other nutrients (conditions that are usually highly beneficial for most plants) can produce grapes that are unsuitable for winemaking. Such grapes are often very good for eating, but lack the desirable amounts of minerals, acids and sugars for winemaking.

Undoubtedly, the finest wines come from soils which would be considered poor quality for other agricultural purposes. For example, the stellar wines from Bordeaux are made from grapes grown in gravelly soil, on a base of chalk or clay. The crop here is small, but the quality of the grapes is high. In this instance the pebbly earth permits good drainage, which is essential as grapevines need adequate but not excessive water, but the conditions force the roots to penetrate deep into the earth where they absorb a variety of complex minerals.

Vineyards are also most often found along river valleys, with slopes providing abundant sunshine. Vines in these cases are frequently of the European species vitis vinifera, from which various well known wines are made, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Viticulture, the term used for the practice of grape growing for winemaking, is one of the most complicated agricultural undertakings today. A master vintner (today, sometimes known as an oenologist), must be an expert in a wide range of subjects including fermentation, soil chemistry, climatology and various other ancient arts and modern sciences.

In addition to categorization by variety, wines are also classified by vinification methods (sparkling, still, fortified, rosé, blush), by region (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace etc.), by vintage as well as by several other methods.

As soon as the grower, chemist and manufacturer have done their job, the businessman then takes over and wine today is certainly very big business. Wine sales in the United States alone run to something like 600 million gallons, representing in excess of $20 billion in consumer spending. Perhaps not surprisingly France is the world leader when it comes to exports with 22% of world export volume, with Italy coming in a close second.

At the end of the day however, no matter how big a business wine making is today, it is still very much a balance of art, science and business and winemaking is certainly not a venture to be entered into by the faint hearted.

Visit GreatWineTastings.com for the perfect wine for that wine gift basket and to find a stunning accompanying wine country gift basket

Author: Donald Saunders

Home Winemakers Are No Longer The Amateurs They Once Were

Home Winemakers Are No Longer The Amateurs They Once Were

In the days of Ancient Rome the word
\\\'amateur\\\' meant \\\'lover\\\' and referred to a person who did something from a love of doing it, instead of for any monetary gain. These individuals were regarded as the finest of experts because they honed their craft motivated by mere joy for their work.

Although wine professionals continue to imbue their work with both skill and passion, amateurs, assisted by knowledge passed down over the centuries and modern technology, can often now produce similar results.

The chemistry of the fermentation process was poorly understood until the start of the last century but, even so, the basic process of fermentation has been used for over 5,000 years. Left to its own devices a wine grape will ripen happily until the skin ruptures and the juice naturally ferments by itself. Nowadays, however, this process is guided by a combination of both art and science.

Grapes are put into a press where they are turned into must which is a mixture of skin, pulp and juice. Natural yeast (which is found on the skin near the stem) and additional yeast reacts with the sugars in the juice and produces alcohol (ethanol), carbon dioxide and heat. This process will continue until either the sugars are depleted or the yeast is killed off by the reaction.

Because of the work of Pasteur and other scientists we are now able to control the process to produce precisely the result we want. For people who are not lucky enough to have a vineyard handy, wine juice concentrates can now be purchased relatively cheaply.

Simply add sugar, yeasts, acids and nutrients (to feed the yeast) to a container such as a carboy or other jug and let the mixture sit for a few days at around 75 degrees fahrenheit (24 degrees centigrade). Specific recipes are often provided with the concentrated wine juice which give specific amounts and fermentation details.

After a few days, siphon the liquid off the pulp and let it ferment at about 65 degrees fahrenheit (18 degrees centigrade) for a few weeks until gas production (bubbling) stops. Then, siphon the wine from the sediments (lees) and store the bottles on their sides at 55 degrees fahrenheit (13 degrees centigrade) for six months in the case of white wine and up to twelve months for red wine before tasting.

Of course, it sounds easier than it is but it is certainly not beyond the dedicated ability of the amateur. Today, the process is closely monitored and often adjusted daily and, thanks to cheap refractometers to measure sugar concentrations, thermometers, hydrometers, temperature controlled cabinets and various other items the job is much easier than it used to be.

Naturally things can and do go wrong as nature takes its course. Fermentation may not start, it may start and then stop for no apparent reason, the resulting wine may be too sweet or cloudy or filled with sediments. The wine may have excess pectin, too many bacteria, taste sulphurous or flat or even moldy. Crystals may form if the temperature is too low or secondary fermentation may result from keeping the wine too hot.

Nevertheless, due in no small measure to the Internet, today there are several websites which are devoted to assisting the amateur winemaker to produce wines which can rival those made by the wine masters. The only thing that it needs is a bit of practice.

Visit GreatWineTastings.com for the perfect wine for that wine gift basket and to find a stunning accompanying wine country gift basket

Author: Donald Saunders

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beer Making

Beer Making

Beer has been around since long before official record began. Around the globe beer is brewed in many forms, but at the end of the day the end result is always the same, so when you next in the bar having a beer reading the paper just think of how that beer you are enjoying is actually made.

So How Is Beer Made?
To put it in simple terms beer is a fermented combination of water, barley, yeast and hops. The different types of beer that are sold in pubs and bars are 80% determined by the strain of yeast used during fermentation, the other main percentage is determined by the water that is used.
So let's take a beer apart and examine the different properties that make up a "pint".

The chief ingredient in beer is of course water, in the old days the purity of the water is what mainly affected the outcome when brewing beer. Beer production in this time was specific to a particular this would have been mainly due to water quality. This is no longer the case with the purification technology that we have available today.

Malt Barley
Malt barley is essential to beer brewing as the barley contains the highest amount of fermentable sugar. A lot of breweries today have moved to wards powdered or instant barley malt as it ferments far faster and therefore the beer brews quicker. The barley malt powder also contains extra minerals that help the yeast to grow.

Yeast is crucial to beer production and without it there would be no beer. Yeast is a single celled organism which consumes all the sugar from the barley during fermentation. After the yeast has consumed all the sugar it then expels two familiar chemicals you know as carbon dioxide and alcohol.
There are several different variations of yeast used to make beer, but the 2 most common yeast strains used are lager and ale. Now if beer was brewed using only water, yeast and barley it would be almost too sweet to stomach, this is where hops come in to the mix.

Hops are the flowers that grow on a climbing vine plant; these vines can be found in various different regions through out the world. Hops are used to make beer because of the bitterness of the flower, adding bitterness to beer helps to balance out the sweetness as well as acting as a natural preservative. When more hops are added to the beer mix it then has a very bitter taste, this brew is a favorite in England and has been given the appropriate name "bitter".
For those of you who want to start brewing your own beer at home, there are plenty of resources available in the form of home brewing kits. Home brewing kits are great but as with everything reading the instructions are essential. This is required if the beer is achieve top quality. The only point I should stress to you is when home brewing, USE FRESH WATER!

Many have often sought information on how to make beer and the basic home brewing equipment can be bought for as little as $100
In order to start making your own beer the following items are needed:
A Brew Pot Primary Fermenter Airlock and Stopper Bottling Bucket Bottles Bottle Brush Bottle Capper Thermometer

To make beer is quite easy even from your home kitchen. A list of the equipment and their uses is as shown below.

Brew Pot
A brew pot is usually made from stainless steel; some of the newer brew pots are made from enamel coated metal and can hold up to 15 litres. For brew pots you need to steer clear of aluminum or chipped enamel coated as these 2 pots will make the beer taste strange, the brew pot is used to cook the beer ingredients and therefore start the fermentation process.

The Primary Fermenter
The primary fermenter is where all the action starts; this is where that amazing stuff that makes you so charming all begins. The primary fermenter has to hold at least 26 litres and must have an air tight seal; the airlock and rubber stopper. Make sure when you are buying one it is made of food-grade plastic, this will ensure nothing gets in or escapes.

Airlock and Stopper
The airlock is a handy gadget that allows for C02 to escape this is a must or it would blow up; at the same time it doesn't let in any fresh air. The airlock fits into a rubber stopper and this stopper then fits into the top of your primary fermenter. The stoppers are numbered according to size, so make sure you use the correct stopper for the correct hole

Plastic Hose
This hose must be over 5 feet in length and made from food grade plastic, there must also be no holes or clogs and must be kept clean at all times, this hose is used to shift the beer from one system to another.

Bottling Bucket
This is a large food grade plastic bucket with a tap for drawing water at the bottom, this bucket needs to equal in size to your primary fermenter so your beer can be transferred over for bottling.

After the fermentation stage, you then siphon the beer in bottles for the secondary fermentation and storage. The best types of bottles to use are solid glass with smooth tops that use bottle caps and not the twist-off caps. You can use plastic bottles with screw on lids but with these bottles the beer does not ferment as well and does not look anywhere near as good as the glass bottles. A quick point to remember, when making beer use dark bottles (brown or green) this is essential as bright light damages the beer.

Bottle Brush
This is a thin, curvy brush which is used to clean bottles; because of the shape of the brush it does a superb job at cleaning the bottles. The bottle brush is specially designed for cleaning the bottles before and after brewing and it is a must for keeping up your bottle kit.

Bottle Capper
If you buy glass bottles for the fermented beer, you will need some sort of bottle capper and of course bottle caps, you can buy them from any brewing supplies store. The best type of bottle opener is one that is fixable to the fridge of counter top and can easily handled and operated.

This is a thermometer which can be attached to the side of your fermenter; it is just a thin strip of plastic which is self adhesive these temperature strips can be found in any store or shop.

Household Items
In addition to the above specialized equipment, you will need the following household items:

Small bowl Saucepan
Rubber Spatula
Oven Mitts/Pot Handlers:
Big Mixing Spoon
So there you have the ingredients and the method to make your own beer, all you need now is to get yourself a beer making kit and you're on the way to beer heaven.

Bar Stool - We have information on the best bar stool for each and every bar style Bar Supply - Bar supplies & bar equipment online. Your entire bar supply needs, for any bar, night club, theme bar, home or party
Author: mario oreilly

I Love French Wine and Food A Midi Syrah

I Love French Wine and Food - A Midi Syrah

If you are craving for fine French wine and food, you should really consider the Languedoc-Roussillon region of south central France. You may even find a bargain, and I am sure that you'll enjoy yourself on our fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local red Syrah.

Among the eleven wine-growing regions of France, Languedoc-Roussillon ranks fourth in total vineyard acreage. This area, which includes the Midi, (the home of the wine reviewed below) was traditionally known for producing ton after ton of mediocre table wine called vin ordinaire. But times change and in spite of global warming Languedoc-Roussillon has started to produce fine wine. Many give visiting Australian winemakers a lot of credit for this marked improvement.

Languedoc-Roussillon is home to about three dozen grape varieties ranging from the widely known such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah to the quite obscure such as Aspiran Noir, Aspiran Gris, and Lladoner Pelot. If I ever get my hands on one of those rare grape varieties, I promise to review the wine. But until then I won't hold my breath.

The wine reviewed below comes from the Carcassonne area. But a previous article (I Love French Wine and Food - A Midi Viognier) already reviewed this beautiful old city. So I thought why not examine the relatively nearby city of Toulouse, which strictly speaking is not part of Languedoc-Roussillon but is the capital of the neighboring Midi-Pyrenees region. Will that stop you from visiting it?

Toulouse, France's fifth largest city and the fastest growing metropolis in Europe, was once the capital of the Languedoc province of France before the French Revolution abolished provinces. It is the capital of the French aerospace industry. The University of Toulouse is the second largest University in France. In many ways this lovely city seems more Spanish than French.

They call Toulouse a pink city because of its redbrick buildings. Among the many sights to see are the Capitole/Hotel de Ville (Capitol/Town Hall) , decorated with many beautiful paintings. The nearly eight-hundred-year old Eglise des Jacobins (Jacobin Church) displays many art masterpieces. It is the site of several music concerts in the summer. The city boasts several beautiful mansions called Hotels.

The Musee des Augustins (Augustinian Museum) was once a convent. Make sure to see its collection of Romanesque sculpture and religious paintings. The Mus�e du Vieux Toulouse (Museum of Old Toulouse) lives up to its name. Fanciers of archaeology won't be disappointed with Musee St-Raymond (Saint-Raymond's Museum). It should be no surprise to find a multitude of historic churches. Toulouse's best-known landmark is St-Sernin, the largest Romanesque church in the world. The list goes on and on. You may get an idea of the time scale in the older areas of town when you realize that the Pont Neuf (New Bridge) was built in 1632.

Before reviewing the Languedoc-Roussillon wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring beautiful Toulouse. Start with Garbure (Cabbage Soup with Poultry). For your second course savor Cassoulet Toulousain (Bean and Pork Stew). And as dessert indulge yourself with Violette de Toulouse (Violet Flower Crystallized in Sugar).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Domaine de Salices Syrah 2004 12.5% about $13.50

Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. Grown on the vineyards around the gorgeous medieval town of Carcassonne, this Syrah is rich, ripe and very fruity. Aged for 11 months in oak barrels, the wine shows superb balance between the oak and fruit. Enjoy this delicious quaffer with grilled steaks, hamburgers, pasta with meat sauce or gourmet sausages.

My first meal consisted of slow cooked meat balls in a tomato sauce with potatoes. The wine was spicy, powerful, and mouth filling. It was tannic, but in a pleasant sense.

The next meal was whole wheat pasta with spicy meat sauce. The Syrah was both powerful and round. I tasted pepper and black fruit.

The final meal involved store bought cold barbecued spare ribs with potato salad and roasted red pepper in garlic and oil. (I can't help it; that's the kind of food I savor, even more so with wines like this one.) The meat's congealed fat and thick tomato sauce made it very tasty. The wine cut the fat very well. It was very round and full, brimming with black cherries. The roasted red pepper brought out a tobacco taste in the wine.

My first cheese pairing was with a French Camembert. This cheese really seemed to dilute the Syrah. While it was still good, it wasn't as good as when it stood alone. The next cheese was a nutty tasting Swiss Gruyere. It seemed to flatten the wine, reducing its flavor peaks. The final cheese was a soft German Edam. The final combination was the best of them all. The wine was almost as good with the buttery Edam as it was on its own. Final verdict. I like this wine and expect to buy it again. But I won't bother much with cheese pairing.

Author: Levi Reiss

Over the years Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, and yet he prefers fine Italian, German, or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and good company. He loves teaching a variety of computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website is www.theworldwidewine.com and his Italian travel website is www.travelitalytravel.com .

Health benefits of Champagne

Health benefits of Champagne

Champagne a festive wine was actually the first wine which was made 2,000 years ago, was named after a small town in France. Wines from the champagne region were known from the middle-ages. During those periods wines were either red or white. The first commercial sparkling wine was produced in the Limoux area of Languedoc in the year 1535. Sparkling wines usually come from areas where grapes don't have enough sun to ripe according to other wine standards.

We have all heard about the medical benefits of red and white wine. But recent findings have revealed that champagne has got medical benefits too. When raising a glass of Champagne and toasting ‘Cheers’, the attitude is generally a way of praising one’s health and well being in a figurative way. According to the JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY published in April 2007 revealed that moderate consumption of Champagne as a source behind brain protection. This sparkling wine according to the recent joint study of University of Reading and University of Cagliari may help protect the brain against injuries incurred during a stroke and other ailments, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. So now when we raise a glass of Champagne and shout ‘Cheers’, we can really mean it.

The reason for the Champagne’s ability to cope with the brain according to the researchers lies in the high presence of polyphenols packed within every bottle. Red wine was declared as the healthiest types of wines to drink, because of the highest concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols are known antioxidants, which are believed to help avoid cell death due to oxidative stress. Previous research found Champagne to contain high amounts of other types of phenolic compounds, such as tyrosol and caffeic acid.

Scientists carried out tests in order to find out if the polyphenols found in Champagne are similarly beneficial to those in red wines. Measurable levels of polyphenols were extracted from Chardonnay and Pinot noir/ Pinot Meunier and several samples of cortical neuron were prepared cells from mice. After separating mice cells into two groups "one that would be let alone and one that would be penetrated with Champagne extracts"the scientists simulated a stroke on the cells and saw the reaction.

The scientists monitored how the brain cells reacted to the presence of the peroxynitrite, which is a reactive compound found in the brain during inflammatory conditions. It was found that the pretreatment with Champagne wine extracts resulted in significant protection against neurotoxicity.

The scientists trust that the Champagne extracts protected neuron cells in numerous ways, noting that in the sample with the highest concentration of sparkling wine, brain-cell function was completely restored over time. They also believed that caffeic acid and tyrosol may help to normalize the cells’ response to injury with their anti-inflammatory attributes.

The compounds also act as cellular-level mops, essentially cleaning up and removing hazardous chemicals from the body. The researchers also wrote that there was evidence that dietary polyphenols can cross the "blood-brain barrier,"which would suggest that the above molecular behavior has the potential to act in the same way, within the human central nervous system, if consumed.

It is too early to tell if consuming Champagne will have benefits for a long time, because the amount of polyphenols in Champagne varies greatly from "variety, vintage and a wide range of environmental factors" .But scientists are hoping to be able to shed more light on the potential beneficial effects of Champagne on human health and life span, with a specific interest on its influence over aging.

But, as more and more research is performed, Champagne has a chance to turn over a new leaf in medical science in the future. This life preserve task may be one, Champagne takes on a new, but it’s one we hope goes to its and our heads, for the sustainability of humanity.

With the associates of the health community raising its rank, Champagne is our new champion. So, as it puts a cork in brain injury, we intend you have a toast to the Dom Perignons, the Veuve Clicquots, and the Louis Roederers of the world. Fill your glass with the sparkling wine and ease your mind, "Cheers".

Devi is a SEO copywriter for http://winecountrytourshuttle.com/. She has written various articles like Sonoma Valley Tours, Sonoma Wine Country Tours, Wine Country Tours and more. For more information visit our site http://winecountrytourshuttle.com/. Contact her through mail at dev.nisha@gmail.com.

Author: devi nisha