Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wine IQ

Do you know your wine IQ? How much should a glass be filled? Which wines should be served cold? What kind of grape is champagne made from? If you've got 5 minutes, you can take a 10 question wine IQ test here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cooking with Cheap Wine?

We all know the rule... never cook with something that you didn't want to drink... right? I've always believed that (even though I have been known to occasionally toss a bit of rather harsh red wine into a pasta sauce).

Well, an entertainingly written article in the New York Times debunks that theory. The writer actually bought both the crappiest and the best wines she could find and then prepared the same dishes with them. And as it turns out, you really DON'T need to use good wine in cooking. Or at least that's what she says (I'm still a bit skeptical). Read the article here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Low Brow Humor

I really shouldn't stoop to this level... and I promise to get back to my serious reviews of wine very soon... but I couldn't resist adding this. It came as one of those emails that gets forwarded around. I guess the scariest thing about this is that it's probably true... Read on.

It has been scientifically proven that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria found in feces.

In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of Pooh. However, we do not run that risk when drinking wine (or rum, whiskey, beer or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.


WATER = Pooh


Ergo: It is better to drink wine and talk stupid than to drink water and be full of crap.

How to Get a Cork Out of a Wine Bottle

For your viewing pleasure...

Ok, here's a good trick to impress your guests (especially after you've CONSUMED the bottle of wine that you'll need to do the trick). I wouldn't have believed this was actually possible except for the fact that my dad (ever the brave soul) demonstrated it - not once, but TWICE in a row. I saw it with my own eyes, and it DOES work. Pretty amazing.

Thank you to Dad for this info.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Another winner from Coppola - 2005 Diamond Label Chardonnay

I really really hope that Francis Coppola doesn't become the Earnest and Julio Gallo of the 21st century. And I'm not trying to be particularly derrogatory to Gallo -- their wines have improved considerably over the last decade. What I mean is that I hope that the popularity and frequency of consumption of the Coppola wines (as well as their affordability) won't make them seem commonplace. Because they are anything but commonplace.

As you may recall, I've written about the excellent Diamond Label Claret several times. (It's one of my favorite reds, and by far my favorite moderately priced red). But until now I hadn't tried the Chardonnay. To celebrate the renovation of my kitchen, I broke out a bottle of the 2005 Diamond Label Chardonnay to share with my parents (you remember them, they started out as Manishewitz drinkers, but they've been making a lot of progress.)

I served it well chilled, which suited this wine. I was at first surprised by the color. A very dark yellow-gold... much darker than most chards I'd had. The aroma was floral and citrus. The taste was very smooth, with hints of apple, vanilla, and pear, and an essence of wildflowers. Think a sunny, flower-covered field on a clear Spring day -- that's the feel of this wine.

We had it with various small plates of appetizers: marinated artichokes, garlic hummus, pita toasts, chickpea salad, horseradish chedder, olives, and roasted red pepper and artichoke tapanade. Possibly the flavors of the appetizers were a little too bold for a chardonnay. Next time I think I'll enjoy it with crackers and fruit or something less zingy. It would pair well with grilled chicken and salads. I can see this being a fine spring/summer staple. Highly recommended.

On another note... I stumbled across a fellow blogger's post about Coppola wines that was just hilarious. Take a look.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kosher Wine - Revisited

As you probably know (if you've been reading this blog for any extended period of time), I grew up on Manishewitz wine. Being Jewish, that's the wine that we drank at holidays and on Friday nights, and that's what I thought wine was. Years later when I discovered "real" wine, I sneered at Kosher wines, thinking that even if they were not all like Manishewitz (ie: thick, sweet and syrupy) that they wouldn't compare to "regular" wine... and besides, why does wine have to be Kosher anyway?

I still haven't answered the "why does wine have to be Kosher" question, but I do accept that for a lot of people having Kosher wine is important. Some of these people ALSO think that the taste should be important as well. This posting is for them.
Reform Judiasm Online, published by the Union for Reform Judiasm, has come out with the RJ Insider's Guide to Kosher Wine. The guide consists of four articles:

The Guide provides a comprehensive look at today's Kosher wines, which clearly are NOT the Manishewitz of my youth. With Passover approaching, this guide may come in handy.

Thank you to Mindy Mintz for bringing the Guide to my attention!