I first discovered the Moleskin Wine Journal while perusing my local Barnes & Nobles, however, I didn’t buy it then because of two reasons. First, this was the week before Christmas and the lines were crazy long. Second, it was $20 and I was SURE that I could find a better deal on Amazon. It’s a good thing I waited. Not only did I skip the insane Christmas line but I also was able to score an amazing deal on this Moleskine Journal on Amazon ($13).
Don’t get me wrong, my knowledge of vino is no were near that of a sommelier or wine steward. I’m your occasional wine drinker. And that’s why I thought that this was perfect gift for me. I’ve always wanted to improve my knowledge of wine, develop a better nose and be able to know what types of wines should be paired with certain types of foods.
So I declare 2011 the year of the wine. If 2010 was about exploring different types of loose leaf tea and brewing methods then 2011 will be about exploring the world of wine. This should be a fun year and one that I plan to share with you (my notes that is).
Buy the Moleskine Passions Wine Journal from Amazon for $13.
The USB Zinfandel from Peltier Station might be the perfect wine for your next geeky get together. This desert wine has hints of “chocolate balanced with ruby cherry and spice.” Sounds yummy to me!
So does this wine require a USB port? Nah! In fact, the back label of this interesting wine tackles this topic head on:
“The back label reads: “United States Bureau for trade signed an im____ant agreement with the European Union to protect ____ugal’s geographical indication of this type of wine. Our Unidentified Secret Brand is therefore no mystery wine …Be the Ultimate Savvy Buyer by including our USB ____ in your ____folio of wines. PS…Peltier Station Winery mission accomplished.”
I like geeky cool stuff and the Merlot-Bot falls right into that category. The bot itself kind of looks like an elongated Johnny 5 from Short Circuit (If you have no idea who I am referring to then I must be showing my age).
“Prepare yourself for a robot invasion of the cutest kind with this helpful household sculpture handmade by Utah artist Fred Conlon from recycled steel – factory discards and reclaimed parts from junk yards, construction sites and pawn shops.”
Buy the Merlot-Bot from Uncommon Goods for $90.
The Baggy Winecoat by designer Jakob Wagner is just what you need if you would like to put elegance and style into your Bag-in-Box wines. Simply take the bag our of your box wine and place it into the stylish Baggy Winecoat. Skip the six-pack of beer and redefine the tailgate party by bringing this elegant and handy accessory!
“Baggy Winecoat gives the popular Bag in Box wines a casual but stylish look! Simply take the wine bag out of the box, place it in the Baggy Wine Coat and close the flexible top. A rubber bottom makes sure the Baggy Winecoat do not tip over; neither on the dinner table, nor on the picnic. If you want to carry your wine with you, just grab the handle and go!”
By the Baggy Winecoat by Jakob Wagner from the Scandinavian Design Center for $58.19.
Wine is a complicated drink, we know this and that is why at Call Me Thirsty we have the Wine 101 Series! Our aim is rid the confusion that comes with wine so that we can enjoy this wonderful drink without being totally confused by it. In this Wine 101 post I hope to demystify a few things about wine bottles. To do this I’ve created a little graphic for you all to enjoy, that includes six of the major bottles shapes that wine comes packaged in. Intertwined in the graphic you’ll find some fun facts about the bottles.
Click on the graphic and take a closer look at it!
German wine bottles tend to be narrow and tall. You’ll also find that Rhine, Mosel, and Alsace wines are packaged in these narrow and tall bottles that have little or no punt (see below for a description of what a punt is). If you’re picking up a Riesling, chances are that it is packed in this bottle type. This type of bottle is also known as having a Hock shape.
Champagne bottles must have thick walls to withstand the pressure of the carbon dioxide bubbles inside of it. These bottles are typically described as having sloping shoulders. Champagne bottles typically have a very pronounced punt.
Red and White Burgundy bottles tend to have a tall shape with sloping shoulders. You’ll find Pinot Noir and Chardonay packaged in this bottle type. This bottle has a small punt and thicks walls to help contain the pressure of these wines.
Sherry, Port and Bordeaux bottles feature straight sides and high shoulders. Red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec feature this bottle shape, as do white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. These bottles have a very pronounced punt. The Bordeaux type bottles has also been called a Claret and Souterne.
Chianti bottles are reserved for the red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. These bottles feature a squat bottle that is usually enclosed in a straw basket.
The graphic above shows some of the most popular wine bottle sizes. A standard bottle of wine contains 750 mL (or 0.75 cL).
On The Ladder:
Quarter ( aka Piccolo) = 0.188 Liter (smallest)
Half = 0.375 Liter
Full = 0.75 Liter
Magnum = 1.5 Liter
On The Floor:
Jeroboam = 3 Liter
Methuselah = 6 Liter
Salmanazar = 9 Liter
Balthazar = 12 Liter (largest)
There even more bottle sizes but the above are the most common and the most important for you to know.
Wine Bottle Colors
Dark Green: These bottle are said to be able to protect the wine from sunlight. You’ll usually find red wine packed in dark green bottles.
Light Green: Dry white wines are often kept in light green bottles.
Brown: Wine produced in Mosel (regions in France, Luxembourg, and Germany) and Alsace (Alsace region in France) often come packaged in brown bottles.
Clear: These bottles have generally been reserved for sweet whites but have also come to be used for whites in general.
Sometimes wineries use non-traditional colors to individualize their wine. An often used non-traditional color is blue.
What’s a Punt?
A punt is the little dimple or “kick-up” that you’ll find at the bottom of the wine bottle. Historically, the punt originated from the free blowing technique used to make the wine bottles. The punt also aids in preventing the bottle from tipping over when it is standing up and consolidates the collection of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
For many of you, wine might be a favorite drink. It might taste good, it might make you look sophisticated, it might be good for your heart, but … do you really know what you are ingesting? The simple answer is grapes. Sure, but there’s a lot more to it. In this first part of the Wine 101 series, I take a look at the components of wine.
Surprisingly, wine is mostly water. Yes, water. But not tap water, instead, it’s water that comes naturally from the grapes used in the wine making process. For many people long ago, alcoholic beverages were a way of safely consuming non-contaminated and safe to drink water. Luckily today we can buy bottled water making wine no longer a necessity but more so something to be enjoyed.
You might use grapes to make wine but the key in this wine component is to find noble grapes that evoke aromas of fruits other than grapes. The wine making process helps to break down the organic acids and alcohol which forms compounds that imitate the aroma of other fruits.
Wine typically consists of 10-15 percent ethyl alcohol. For you chemists, thats C2H5OH.
No all sugars become fermented in the wine making process. Some sugars remain and these are known as residual sugars. The more residual sugars that remain the more than sweetness becomes apparent.
Tannin is considered a sort of natural preservative and is the key component in allowing wines to improve with age. Tannin is extracted mainly from grape skins.
You wouldn’t want to drink watery wine now would you? Glycerin gives wine a bit of drinkable thickness if you will. The glycerin is a by-product of the fermentation process.
The oak here is in reference to oak barrel used in the fermenting process. The type of oak used has an effect on the final wine product. Taste can change depending on barrel aging, using new or old oak and even using oak from different parts of the globe. Oak adds character to the wine.
Carbon dioxide is yet another by-productof the fermentation process. Although allowed to escape during the wine making process, some CO2 remains in the end product which adds a bit of a fizz to the wine.
I hope you enjoyed this first part of the Wine 101 series! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below. And if you know someone that loves wine but isn’t really sure what it’s made of then be sure to pass on a link to this article!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user 2create.
The thing that often scares people away from wine is the snob factor. 8-Bit Vintners takes definitely takes the snobbery away from drinking wine with their inaugural red, Player 1. The term 8-Bit is of course a throwback term referencing games from the early days. NES anyone? A bottle of Player 1 is reasonably priced at $18 and 8-Bit Vintners is offering free shipping on orders of 6 bottles or more.
“The inaugural vintage of Player 1 displays the quality and diversity of fruit that is being produced in Eastern Washington. Player 1 is blended from various vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope, and Walla Walla Valley. 2007 was a moderately warm growing season with long, dry, sunny days that allowed for extended hang time during harvest. This wine shows an accessible and approachable style that is both fun to drink now and has the acidity and tannins to hold up for 5 years plus.”
Appellation: Walla Walla Valley, Wahluke Slope, and Columbia Valley
Blend: 50% Syrah, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenere, 5% Malbec
Harvest Date: August and September 2007
Bottling Date: July 2009
Cooperage: French, American, and Hungarian for 18 to 22 months
Buy Player 1 from 8-Bit Vintners for $18.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user 8-Bit Vinters.
This post is about a week late (sorry, but this blog wasn’t up last week!) but I thought it was definitely worth the mention anyway. This red Boss Monster Zinfandel was featured last week over at Wine.Woot for a limited time. We’ll have to wait for another woot opportunity to grab this one.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Composition: 89% Zinfandel; 11% Petite Sirah
Aging: 11 months in a blend of new French oak and seasoned American Oak
Total Acidity: .600g/100ml
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