Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How to Pair Cigars and Alcohol

Cigar and Alcohol - Photo: Pixabay
The cigar has long been viewed as a luxury of the rich and powerful.  Images of well-to-do men puffing on a stogie and swirling a glass of good brandy have been well documented and memorialized in films and TV.  If you are just becoming interested in cigars and would like to relax with a stogie and drink after a long day's work, here are a few tips to get you started.  

Traditionally, the cigar has been paired with a strong drink.  Popular spirits include rum, brandy, or whiskey.  Some argue that a good cigar should always be paired with a strong drink that has a hint of sweetness.  Indeed, cigar smokers have long enjoyed these popular pairings.  For years, the idea of pairing cigars with beer has gone overlooked.  But why overlook good old beer?  Recently, the trend has been to pair cigars with various varieties of beer.  It seems that as cigars have entered the mainstream, it has been democratized and popularized.  What better way to enjoy a puff of this newly popularized treat than to pair it with beer?  

 Pairing a good cigar with a good beer is not an easy feat, but when accomplished, it is well worth the effort.  Much of the pairing has to do with your experience level.  If you are a novice, you will probably need help in pairing your specific cigar with an appropriate beer.  If you have a more experienced palate, and you know what you like, you can probably make connections between certain types of cigars and beers.  

Because cigars are so strong and flavorful, one of the challenges in pairing is to find a beer that complements the intensity of most cigars.  Most cigars will pair nicely with a good barley wine or a single malt scotch.  If your cigar can be described as woody, spicy, with hints of cedar, try pairing it with a barley wine.  The fruity hint of bare wine should complement nicely with the spicy flavor of your cigar.  The combination of a spicy cigar with a slightly fruity beer can create an overall creaminess that enhances the flavors of each significantly.

If you have no clue as to what flavor combinations might work, experiment.  First, find a cigar that you enjoy.  Try to identify the characteristics that you enjoy it.  Then, find a beer whose flavors you think might 'match' or complement the cigar.  Many incredible discoveries have been made in much this same way.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

WINEMAKING Secrets From Napa & Sonoma, California

Sonoma and Napa Counties are known for its fine wines.

The golden sun and the abundant soil yield luscious, flavorful grapes. These are then carefully fermented and blended with closely guarded secrets that have been passed on from generation to generation, and perfected—like wine itself—through time.

English: Oak wine barrels at the Robert Mondav...
Oak wine barrels at the Robert Mondavi vineyard, Oakville, Califorian USA (Napa Valley) 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visitors to Sonoma and nearby Napa County can arrange wine tours where they can visit different vineyards and learn at least some of the techniques and technology that goes into each bottle. Each label has its own secret, and its own philosophy.

For example, wines can use different kinds of grapes, and vineyards can hold as many as 20 different kinds, each baptized with very poetic names: Petite Syrah, Grenache, Bouschet.

Winemakers study the flavor, acidity, color, fruit intensity, and tannin structure of each grape—which all contribute to a blend’s appearance, complexity and taste. The winemaker’s skill is seen in the delicate orchestra of flavors, as unique to the winery and to the harvest year as a fingerprint.

Some wineries will maintain “genetic libraries” of grapes, which contain different cross-breeding of varieties that allow the experts to experiment with the flavors. This also allows them to employ a technique called micro-vinification. Essentially, the property is divided into vineyard blocks, each planted with a different kind of grape to yield a greater diversity of flavors, aromas, colors and textures.

Soil, fertilization, irrigation and time of planting and harvest can also yield different flavors from a single variety of grape. For example, some vineyards believe that it’s better to minimize irrigation, since it dilutes the intensity of the fruit. This is called “dry farming.” This must be balanced, of course, with the plant’s need for moisture—hence the need to choose an area where the roots can mine the water efficiently.

The flavor can also change according to when the grapes are picked, and the wine experts carefully study the optimum time of harvest. For example, the Zinfandel grape is an early ripener, and must be fermented two weeks before the other grapes that go into what wine aficionados call “Mixed Blacks.”

The grapes must be hand-picked and then put through a special pressing process that preserves the skins and phenolic bitterness. Then, experts must gauge the length of the fermentation process based on the grape’s ripeness and inherent amount of sugar. These are then put into barrels. Many wineries boast of using only the finest containers, such as 100% French oak, which carry the wines for several months before they are bottled by hand.

The bottling itself must be done with great precision and gentleness, and the challenge is to minimize the amount of sulfites and other foreign matter. Some of the wineries use century old techniques, with delicate tools that tap gravity.

These are just some of the secrets of Sonoma and Napa wines. However, to truly understand the science and art of winemaking, it’s best to arrange a tour of the different vineyards. Many of the tours include a “palate class” where experts will point out what flavors to watch out for in each glass, and how to pair a wine with different kinds of food.

Are you ready to travel to the famous Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa, California?

Click Here to make your travel easy and stress-free!
Some of the best wines on the face of this Earth awaits you.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Beginning WINE Tasting

Wine really does deserve some serious attention if you ask me, it’s a lot more than just a drink. It is for this reason that I find it very strange that there is no defined tasting procedure which has a universal acceptance. It is common that the majority of wine tasters follow their own set out plan when tasting and this will vary from person to person. Most of these steps, whilst having their place in the vineyards would be frowned upon at the dining table, they involve a set of steps which to the layperson would appear quite ridiculous. The difference can be akin to that of a persons preference to a particular style or genre of music. 

A demonstration of smelling the aromas and bou...
A demonstration of smelling the aromas and bouquet of wine in the glass as part of wine tasting 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world of critical wine tasting is a comparison between a real standard and the wine in question, drinking wine with a meal is greatly different to this and the wine is undoubtedly intended as an accompaniment to the meal and as a “refreshment”. Although there is no doubting the eccentric activities of a wine taster at a dinner party are perhaps not required it is worth admiring and appreciating the great talent and concentration that goes into the true appreciation of wine. From an outsiders view, these strange and sometimes occult like tastings may seem a little over complicated but with a true desire and ability to focus ones attention it is quickly possible to begin to understand and appreciate wine in a more full sense. For the basics of wine tasting we are undoubtedly in debt to the likes of Clarke and Goulden.

Where possible it is advised that you should rinse your mouth clean before tasting a wine, but obviously in a dinner party setting this is not always possible nor desired. I would however, recommend that the beginner use this method, it clears the palette and allows the wine taster to become more familiar with the basic characteristics of the wine being tasted (if in doubt, borrow from the experts!). A more experienced taster will more quickly be able to get the basic qualities of a wine and will often omit this step. Many consider that rinsing with water in this way detracts from the wine and affects palette because the water alters the sensitivity of the tongue and therefore adds a further complication in the whole process. During a long session of tasting it is quite possible that the mouth can become fatigued and therefore this instance lends itself to a revitalization with water.

Wines are best tasted in tulip shaped glasses, with the exception being sparkling wines which require a fluted glass (the elongated type you often see unused in display cabinets!). These style of glasses enhance the sparkling wines natural effervescence. If you don’t have the correct glasses (or enough if you’re having friends round) you can always loan them from a friend. It is important when comparing wines that each glass is filled to the same level (about a third full is the normal) this allows the taster to hold the glass at a steep angle to allow for a nice observation of the colour and clarity but also allows for a nice vigorous swirl of the wine which in turn releases the aromatics in the wine. At dinner party’s it’s also a useful tool when showing off, but beware there is always someone at the party who knows more about wine than you, so credit your fellow guests with some intelligence!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Little RED WINE Could Take You A Long Way!

Longevity interests a lot of people who aren't ready to give up their lives, just yet, and who look to healthy alternatives to culturally defined eating patterns and "health care."

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...
Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass,
(Photo credit: 
The benefits of drinking wine have been touted for a while and are thought, by some, to be the reason why the French can get away with eating a high fat diet while enjoying a low rate of coronary disease.

A few years ago, a study by French research team also found that men who regularly drank at least two glasses of wine daily were 50 percent less likely than non-drinkers to suffer a second heart attack.

Previous studies with yeast, a small species of worm, and fruit flies have shown that resveratrol -- a polyphenol antioxidant found in grapes, especially red grapes, and particularly pinot noir grapes which are grown in northern latitudes and used in wines coming from New York, Washington, and Oregon -- is a life-extending compound.

In a new study from Italy, resveratrol has been used to increase the life span of a short-lived breed of tropical fish by more than 50%. Not only did fish given resveratrol in their food live longer than the control group, they stayed livelier as they aged and displayed better memory in stimulus/response tests. And the neurons in their brains didn't decay as quickly when they died and were dissected.

Resveratrol, an organic compound contained in the skins of grapes that protects them from disease, is extracted from grapes by the wine making process. The wine becomes a preservative for the resveratrol and prevents its oxidation.

That's why drinking grape juice or eating raisins doesn't have the same effect; the resveratrol has neither been extracted nor preserved. It's also been shown that resveratrol in food supplements oxidizes upon exposure to air and loses its effectiveness.

Red wine may truly be a "wondrous drug!"

Other studies have shown that wine, especially red wine, can help prevent colds, increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, lower the risk of Alzheimer's, reduce the size and number of fat cells in the body, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and has anti-inflammatory properties to boot.

Drug companies are trying to copy Red wine may truly be a "wondrous drug!", but might not be able to preserve it's health-preserving benefits. Besides, resveratrol is freely available in red wine and not patentable as such.

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Ideal Way To Taste Lots Of WINES

There is no better way to get to know a variety of wine than going to a wine tasting. It is a unique opportunity to taste wines, have an expert guide you through the tasting, give them points according to your own tastes, and then, by the end of the evening, have a great idea of the type of wine that is your favourite. 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are at a wine tasting, you taste the wine with a group of people, sometimes familiar people, sometimes strangers, making it a great opportunity to get ideas from others. Other people will have tried different bottles of wine to you previously and will be happy to share their views on which wine goes with which type of food and how to keep wine at its best once the bottle has been opened.

Wine tastings happen regularly across the country and beyond. They are usually held in interesting locations in city centres, such as art galleries, museums, or other heritage buildings. They often have producers of wine in attendance as well as experts, to guide you through the evening and offer advice if needed.

In addition to wine on offer, canapés or hors d’oevres are often served as well, making for a great night out, discovering new tastes and hopefully finding a new wine to fall in love with.

Not only are wine tastings a great way to get to know a new wine, it is also a fantastic way to meet fellow wine lovers and who knows, by the end evening, you could have made a new friend or two.

Most wine tastings only last for a couple of hours – any longer and you would have forgotten the first wine that you have tried. It is a good idea to make sure you don’t drink too much too quickly, as you will be mixing different types of wine, and you don’t want to end up buying something you didn’t really like, or having a splitting headache in the morning.

Wine tastings are held all over the country, from Bristol to Durham, at Lancaster to Salisbury.

There is bound to be one close to you. In addition to wine tastings, some companies hold wine dinners, where you get to taste wine in conjunction with indulging in a great meal.

Wine tastings come in a couple of different formats. There is a more formal, intimate set-up, which could feature fine wines and more information on a smaller number of wines. There is also the less formal setting where you walk around tasting a larger variety of wines, but this lacks the intimacy and the expertise of the more formal gathering.

If you are interested in wine tastings, why not check out an independent online retailer where you will find more information on this service.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The History Of WINE Is The History Of Man’s Thirst

For all the talk what “wine snobbery” does wine expertise come do to? In the end wine is nothing more than simply fermented fruit juice. And “rotten” or “fermented “fruit juice at that. The earliest evidence suggesting wine production comes from archaeological sites in Iran and Russian Georgia, dating from 6000 to 5000 B.C. (Before Christ).  Wine has long been used as a safe storage form of precious water for human consumption, and for its use in religious and important cultural mores. Almost every culture and societal group on earth each somehow learnt to make simple alcoholic beverages.

This is no mere accident. Humans early on learnt the psychological effects that alcohol provides . Along the way they learnt to like affect and desired and even craved these effects of alcohol. Wine is even generally considered as a sexual anaphrodisiac among many cultures.

Today many important wine regions in Europe are proud of their wine histories which they date back all way to the early Roman era.

Wine itself in the end can be sourced from any fruit juice – although most commonly known as the fermented liquid of crushed grapes. Wine of course can be derived from grapes, plums, peaches, pears and in the end most fruit juices.

What about the different colors found in different varieties of wines. The color of the wine is the result of the length of time the skins remain with the juice doing the fermentation process. Basically wine comes in three colors- red ( reddish purple to light brown), whites ( whitish pale yellow to amber) and the mid range blush: which is of peach to light pink coloration.

Should wine be sweet or not sweet that is “dry”? Most wines are naturally dry. “Sweetness occurs when the fermentation is interrupted before all of the sugar can be converted to alcohol during the fermentation process. The producer of the wine can also add unfermented grape juice or a sweetener such as liquid sugar to the wine during its manufacturing process.

Most wines do not have extra alcohol added to them. That is they are in their “natural “or “virgin state”. These wines are referred to as not being fortified. That is they contain only the alcohol that was provided for in the fermentation process itself. However there are some wines – for example “Sherry”and “Port” are two wine family products that have their alcohol content enhanced and increased. This can be done in effect artificially and not by the normal standard fermentation process through the addition of straight alcohol to the wine. A kinder gentler means to adding alcohol to wine is to add distilled wine that is brandy to the wine.

Lastly wines can be bubbly themselves or have no effervescence. In the first category are “Sparkling” which have effervescence .These wines are bottled in thick heavy –set bottles with wire bound corks to keep the pressure in , whereas “Still” wines are wines bottled without Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and therefore have no bubbliness or effervesce. Still wines can be found bottled in ordinary bottles with ordinary corks.

In the end though it is safe to remember that wine is nothing more several different types of fruit juices , of different colors that is presented to you in different types of glasses , from different types of storage and transport containers which is presented to you to quench your thirst.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Collecting wine can be a very fun and exciting hobby - especially when you try to find the wine.  If you are looking to collect wine, you may end up spending a bit more money than you thought.  Wine collecting is a great hobby, although it can be very expensive.  If you are just starting out, the tips below may come in very handy to help you get started.

Cases of Bordaux-wine
Cases of Bordaux-wine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first thing to do, is find a place to store your wine.  You can store your wine at home, although you’ll need to have a location with the proper amount of space and cooling temperature (between 50 and 65 degrees F).  You’ll also need to determine what brands and types of wine you are planning to collect.  There are several options to choose from, including red and white wine.  You’ll also need to find some places with good quality and refinery to buy your wine from.

You can always participate in tastings and trade shows as well.  Here, you can meet other people who are into wine collecting, and get to know local traders.  You should also strive to learn as much as you can about wine.  You can learn a lot about wine on the Internet, or by reading magazines and newsletters dedicated to wine.  By doing so, you can also learn more about storage, buying wine, and even cooling your wine.

To better prepare your wine for storage, you can try tasting different varieties.  This way, you can identify which wines you need to age more.  You’ll learn more about wine this way as well, such as how to distinguish tastes.  You may also want to learn how to identify the flavor quality as well.  As you may already know, there is a difference among rare vintage wines and wines that are instantly processed.

If you are just beginning to collect wine, you should avoid purchasing in bulk until you know for sure what types of wine you wish to collect.  When you visit a wine trader, you should let him know that you are a collector.  This way, he can inform you whether or not the wines you are collecting are available in his inventory. If you hope to collect wines from other areas, he may be able to give you contact information for finding the wines you are interested in.

Keep in mind that wine collecting isn’t all about fun - it’s also a great way to eventually start your own business.  You can attend wine shows and tasting events to learn more about the different brands, and also find wines that will bring in higher profits.  Once you have collected some rare bottles of wine - you can start selling and watch your profits soar.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

All You Need To Know About SPIRIT WINES

Moderate wine consumption produces a better balance of these two. Additionally, wine has an anti coagulation effect which makes the blood less likely to clot. 

The health benefits of drinking alcohol can't be underrated. Mainly because of the evidence that it can greatly prove your health. 

العربية: مجموعة مشروبات كحولية. Català: Divers...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, not all alcoholic beverages can provide healthful gains. Between wines and spirits, wines provide more healthful benefits compared to spirits. 

Generally, spirits refer to purified or extracted alcohol. The process of distilling alcohol is usually done by heating a “fermented liquid.” The liquid is made to disperse in the air making it change from a liquid state to a gas or vapor, and then squeezed back into its liquified form. Learn the art of Wine Tasting. 

Spirits are generally made from any natural material that can be “fermented” to produce alcohol. You could surmise that wine with a little percentage of alcohol can be transformed into spirits by increasing its alcohol content and decreasing its liquid substance. 


Since spirits are distilled forms of any organic substance including wines with the abundance of alcohol content, these particular types of beverages are measured and assessed depending on their alcohol content. Most countries that manufacture spirits use a particular means of measurement. The common way is to use the “Gay-Lussac system” or measuring the spirits according to “alcohol by volume” or ABV. 

For example, a particular spirit that is classified as 60% ABV means that it has 60% alcohol. In the United States, spirits or any alcoholic beverage are classified in accordance to their alcohol content by using “proof of scale.” The “proof” of an alcoholic beverage, particularly spirits, has their ABVs doubled. For instance, if a spirit has a 30% ABV, it is classified as 60% proof. 


Spirits are, basically, classified according to the kind of fermenting material that is used in the process of fermentation and distillation. 

To know more about the classification of spirits, here is a list that can help you out: 

1. Brandy 

This is a type of spirit that is made from “fermented” grape sap. The alcohol contents of brandy are generated from a meticulous distillation process of grape juices, mostly from wines. 

2. Gin, Vodka, etc. 

These spirits are generated from distilled beers that are naturally made from grains. 

3. “Fortified wines” 

These are special kinds of spirits made from a combination of “fermented wine” and extracted spirits, which are, more often than not brandy. 

These are just a few of the many classifications of spirits. They may differ from the kinds of materials that they have originated from but they are all extracted and distilled to produce alcohol. That is why they are known as spirits. 

Chemical and food experts have known for years that wine contains rich deposits of vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars that are often beneficial to good health. Wine is also rich in potassium and low in sodium. Red wines have more of these elements due to the juices longer contact with the grape skins. Red wines are also rich in Vitamin B which comes from the grape skins as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hungary For WINE

Despite what many may think, the area known as Hungary holds more wine tradition than any other country in Europe.  Most of this very tradition is just now surfacing in the light, with people finally starting to catch wind about everything Hungarian wine has to offer. Even though many wine drinkers aren’t familiar with Hungary - there are many who are.

Hungary is home to over 20 wine regions, fully of forests, vineyards, and orchards.  With several different varieties of grapes to offer, the vineyards found in Hungary have flourished since the great Roman Times.  The weather in Hungary is seasonal to say the least, with cold winters and extremely hot summers.  This weather allows the soil in the country to be diverse, which allows wine makers to create a variety of quality wines.

Several bottles of Hungarian wine including To...
Several bottles of Hungarian wine including Tokaji and Bulls Blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Despite the communist control in the past, there are several different wines found in Hungary.  Although the vineyards here produce a lot of excellent wines, Tokay Aszu is by far the favorite here and the wine that locals always love raising their glass to.  Tokay Aszu is a popular wine with meals or dessert, in Hungary and also happens to be one of the most popular dessert wines in the entire world.

Tokay Aszu was discovered in the mid 17th century in Hungary, quickly becoming a favorite for many European aristocrats.  Even though it was great to the taste, many believed that certain types of the wine had mystical healing powers.  Although this was strictly a rumor, it actually helped the wine become more popular than ever.  Over the years, Tokay Aszu was one indeed the most popular wine in Hungary, spreading to other areas of the world as well.

Egri Bikaver, also referred to as Bulls Blood is another popular wine found in Hungary.  This is another popular wine for locals, and can be found throughout the world as well.  Getting it’s name from it’s color, Bulls Blood is truly a feast for anyone who likes wine.  The wine is dark red in color, yet sweet to the taste.  The wine was first developed back in the 16th century, and remains popular even to this day.

If you ever visit Hungary, there are many places you can visit to get some great wine.  You should also make a point to visit Tokay, located in the northeast.  You can take a train from Budapest and arrive here in a few hours.  There are several different wine flavors and varieties here, sure to please just about anyone.  The wineries found throughout the Tokay area are normally open for tours and tasters from May to the end of October.  If you visit during these months, you can tour the underground cellars, sample the superb wine, and learn more than you ever thought possible about the manufacturing of Hungarian wines.

All in the all, the wine found in Hungary is great to have in your collection or just have around the house for special occasions.  You can get it by the bottle, the glass, or by the case.  All types of Hungarian wine has been perfected over the years, making it something that you really can’t go wrong with.  If you like to drink wine, as most of us do, you really can’t go wrong with any type of Hungarian wine.  Hungarian wine gives wine lovers plenty to study, plenty to order, and plenty to drink.  The wine is very tasty and refreshing - and it helps to keep the nation of Hungary thirsty for more.