Boxed wine has never had a good reputation, synonymous with poor quality. Too bad…the concept itself is great. The reduced packaging, production and transport costs are cheaper; the plastic bladder in tetra-packs prevents oxygenation and the pressure to finish a whole bottle; they’re environmentally friendly (renewable, recyclable and biodegradable) and they eliminate the possibility of “corked” wine. Although they’re not great for wine that needs aging, most boxed wine is meant for immediate consumption. Originating in Australia, the packaging is now all around the world. Some decent ones are out there. For best results look for those that have a vintage date, grape variety and/or specific appellation on the package.
Monday, August 15, 2016
The term “crisp” when it comes to wine has a very specific meaning. It usually refers to dry, young, whites with good, pronounced acidity. Acidity is the sour component experienced on the sides of the tongue like biting into a Granny Smith apple and all that tingling sensation you get. These wines make great aperitifs as they get the gastronomic juices flowing and give you an appetite. They’re fabulous in the warm weather because they refresh. They’re also great with oily, fried and salty foods as the acid cuts through the coating these foods leave in your mouth and cleanse the palate. Crisp wines generally do not age well, but are meant for early consumption.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Scientists are now trying to put resveratrol, the ingredient in red wine that’s supposed to be beneficial in protecting us from such maladies as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease, into pill format. Although present in red wine, it’s in such small amounts, one would theoretically have to drink mega amounts to benefit and suffer the damage of excessive alcohol in turn. The liver breaks down purified resveratrol very quickly, so researchers in Australia have been experimenting blending it with wine’s other components that appear to make it more effective. If successful this would be a great accomplishment. I wonder if the pill will come in different varietals!
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Until recently, there has been lots of wine in the world for drinking. In fact, there has been a surplus. Unfortunately, over the last number of years supplies have dwindled because of climate change and more frequent, severe weather. Now we basically drink what we produce. It is estimated that European production, led by France, one of the largest global producers, will probably decrease by approximately 8% from last year. Large producers in the Southern Hemisphere like Argentina (down 30% from 2015) and Chile (down 25% from 2015) are feeling the effects of El Niño. South Africa is down 7% from last year. It’s simply becoming more challenging to grow wine. Why it’s enough to drive one to drink!
Monday, July 25, 2016
There’s certainly enough scientific evidence out there that claims sipping some wine in moderate amounts is good for you. However, there’s an interesting bit of research that says that drinking some before hitting the sack can help you lose weight. While I don’t understand the chemistry behind this logic, it seems implausible. Wine contains alcohol that has calories and packing on added calories before bedtime without any exercise to work it off does not make sense. Some of the research was also carried out on mice and I don’t believe those results translate to humans that readily. As great as this concept would be, in my mind there simply isn’t enough human evidence from research that backs up this line of thinking.
Monday, July 18, 2016
If you love Burgundy, you’re in for some hard times and higher prices. Burgundy production has never been large and has been dwindling continuously over time. However, for the last 6 years or so bad weather has devastated vineyards in the famed wine region, especially in the Côte de Beaune, reducing crops to scary low levels. Rain, floods and hail have done their damage causing consumer prices to sore even for low-end wines. As a producer, it’s bad enough if you own your own vineyards, but if you have to buy grapes from a grower, it’s insane. There’s so little fruit, that they can virtually ask whatever price they want, so the finished wines are much pricier. Consumers will have to lower their expectations and shop very carefully.
Monday, July 11, 2016
“Natural Wine” is one of the hottest buzz concepts in the wine world today. Very simply, it is wine produced without chemicals and minimal technological intervention in the grape growing and winemaking. Although most is made organically and biodynamically, it differs in its winemaking and cellar practice. Nothing is added or removed during winemaking. Criteria include dry farming resulting in low yields; hand-harvested grapes only; no added sugars, foreign yeasts or bacteria; no acid adjustments; no additives for colour, mouth feel or minerality; minimal or no oak contact; minimal or no fining or filtration; no manipulation techniques to enhance flavour whatsoever, and minimal or no added sulfites.