What A Lovely Figure!

 

whatalovelyfigure

Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are they shaped differently for a reason or is it just random artistry? As is often the case in wine, tradition is the major player for the different bottle shapes. I touched on this subject a few years ago in my blog with a graphic but let’s look at it with a bit more detail.  There are four main types:

Bordeaux bottles have high shoulders with straight sides for wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The high shoulders were created to help trap sediment due to prominent tannins in most of these wines.  These bottles are made of thick glass with a high punt (the punt is the indentation on the bottom of the bottle).

Burgundy bottles are tall and wide with sloping shoulders for wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Pinot Gris. Much like Bordeaux bottles, these are made of thick glass. Purportedly, Burgundy bottles were the first to be created and the sloping shoulders made for easy stacking as well as achievability for glass blowers.

Champagne bottles are wide with low shoulders for wines like Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. These bottles were created out of necessity due to the pressure inside the bottles (roughly 70-90 psi). They are made of thick glass, have a high punt and low shoulders to contain the immense pressure inside the bottles. By the way, the thick corks and cages securing them are no mistake either.

German/Alsatian bottles are narrow and tall with gentle sloping shoulders for wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer.   The slender shape and lighter weight of these bottles were made for convenient stowing on ships during their voyage along trade routes in the early years.

This may just be extra wine knowledge fodder in your head but it may make it easier to spot the type of wine you’re looking for in the wine shop.  As I mentioned a few years ago when I first wrote about the subject, that could mean scoring that last bottle of prize vintage Bordeaux.

Barbera – Joining The Popular Crowd

I’ve been noticing an appealing trend on wine shelves lately – more and more Barbera. This lovely wine is easy to drink and easy to pair with food. Because it is so “quaffable,” Barbera is also a safe bet when selecting wine to take to a dinner party.

My admiration for Barbera began in 2007 when I moved to Italy for 3 years and became a big fan of the wine and food of Bella Italia. More recently, I visited friends who are grape growers in California and rekindled my fondness of Barbera as I tasted various styles throughout Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Barbera’s origins come from the Piedmont region in Italy and is the most widely planted grape of that region. Barbera, a high acid, low tannin grape was generally reduced to use as a “filler.” It wasn’t until the 1980’s, when Barbera was treated to barrel aging, that its virtues emerged, and it became a stand-alone wine. By barrel aging, tannins increase and the wine becomes fuller bodied. Barbera varies greatly but usually showcases red fruit (cherry, currant, raspberry) and can have nuances of chocolate, licorice, fig, dried herbs and tar.

The three Italian DOC’s (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) of Barbera are Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba and Barbera del Monferrato. The Barbera from Asti and Alba are probably the best known versions. Barbera is also widely grown in California, specifically booming in the Sierra Foothills region.

Keep a watchful eye on Barbera; it may soon be the “it girl” in the popular crowd.

Barbera to Try ~

Cooper Vineyards Barbera, Amador, County $29

Sobon Estate Barbera, Amador County, $15

Renato Ratti Barbera d’Asti, $18

Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba, $20

Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato, $22

Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne, $26

Understanding Wine Vintage

labelswithvintage

You know wine vintage is a year but exactly what year is it referring to? The year the wine grapes were picked? The year the wine was bottled? The year the wine was put on the retail shelves?

Big reveal: the vintage of a wine refers to the year the grapes for the wine were harvested. For example, grapes harvested this year, 2016, will have a vintage of 2016 even though the wine may require 3 years of aging and you will not see it on the retail shelves until 2019. The vintage date is not required by law to be on the label; however, most wineries include it either on the front or back of the label. Still wines almost always come from a single vintage.

Fortified and sparkling wines, like Champagne, usually tend to be non-vintage meaning the grapes are blended from more than one vintage to keep the wine a consistent “house style.” There are exceptions to this however, on the rare occasion when there is an extraordinary year, and the wine is bottled as a single vintage. This happens maybe three to five times a decade.

Besides knowing the meaning of vintage, why is it important to pay attention to wine vintage? The answer lies in the weather. The weather plays an important role from one vintage to another. What the weather condition is during the year will greatly affect the outcome of a wine – how much rain, cloud coverage, sunlight, fog, etc.   Poor weather conditions are not ideal for a vintage but a good winemaker can take those grapes and turn them into great wine. Excellent weather is a winemaker’s dream and can produce outstanding wine vintages (you will notice this in the price). By paying attention to very good vintages, you can reap the benefit by enjoying very good wine.

The Dish On Decanting

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWhat does it mean to decant wine? Simply put, it means to transfer wine from the bottle to another container to make it taste better. Not all wine needs decanted, in fact, most doesn’t but the reasons for decanting are worth considering.

Inexpensive wine can have an off smell due to sulphur dioxide when you first open the bottle. Decanting will take away the smell.

Expensive wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, or Syrah may need tamed. Decanting the wine and letting it rest in the decanter for an hour or more will smooth tannins and round out the wine.

Young wine can benefit from decanting by exposing it to air and coaxing out aromas. Quickly splash the wine into the decanter to move it around. You will immediately notice the wine opening up. Letting it rest in the decanter for an hour or more will release even more aromas and flavors.

Aged wine can benefit from decanting due to the sediment inevitably found in the bottle. Decanting allows the sediment to be separated from the wine. Set the bottle upright for several hours to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom. Completely remove the foil capsule to make sure you can see through the neck of the bottle. Carefully remove the cork. With the decanter in one hand and the bottle in the other, slowly pour the wine from the bottle into the decanter. It is important not to splash the wine while pouring so you do not loose the delicate aromas and flavors that have developed with the age of the wine. Once you start to see the sediment in the neck of the bottle, stop pouring. Those delicate aromas and flavors tend to dissipate quickly with older vintages so enjoy your aged beauty immediately after decanting.

There’s Always Instagram!



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Well Hello!  Not sure how you landed here but welcome!  Although deepredcellar.com is not currently an active website, I invite you to browse past posts (dig deep, there’s some good stuff) and most definitely check out my instagram account @deepredcellar – I’m on there pretty much everyday.

Maybe, hopefully, this website will be back with an updated look (I know, it needs some TLC) and great content someday soon. Thank you for stopping by!

 

Jesus & Wine

pouring red wine in glasses

In case you’ve ever doubted your (responsible) wine consumption…

The two beverages Jesus drank were water…….. and wine, red wine specifically.

A small amount of red wine was customarily consumed after dinner to kill bacteria, parasites, etc.

Doesn’t that just make your passion for the red stuff all that more compelling!

Oh My Goodness! It’s National Drink Wine Day!

 

Today is Drink Wine Day!  Pop the cork and enjoy a refreshing glass of Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot, Shiraz, or Zinfandel in honor of the occasion!  People have been producing wine since at least 6000 B.C.  There are dozens of ancient legends about humans who accidentally consumed fermented grapes and became intoxicated, which is probably how wine was first conceived.  Eventually, people began experimenting with the fermentation process.  The methods for making wine spread from the region of Mesopotamia to Egypt, Greece, Rome, France, Spain, and eventually the New World.  Today, over 20 million acres of the earth’s surface are dedicated to growing grapes for wine.
source:  http://www.punchbowl.com/holidays/drink-wine-day

Which Type Are You?

Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are the different shapes random happenstance or are they part of a great plan?  Believe it or not, the shapes of wine bottles are actually well calculated to match the styles of specific wines.  If you love burgundy wine, then your bottle type has sloping shoulders and a tall appearance or if you love bordeaux, then your bottle type has straight sides and high shoulders.

This little bit of trivia can give you ease in spotting your preferred bottle…which can come in handy the next time you and your fellow wine shopper are both going for that last bottle of bordeaux!

 

graphic from: http://www.lewineoil.com/