Happy New Year!

Thanks for checkin’ in on my wine blog.

Today I passed the 20,oo0 hits mark.

Published in: on December 31, 2011 at 3:43 PM  Leave a Comment  

Roemer wine glasses…


…Are still considered a traditional toasting glass and most popular in Germany.

A collection of  wine making recipes  that were given to me, could have been originally from Germany (Austria) and been served in these glasses, although the recipes came from West Virginia, from the Starkey Family and my good friend Christian Adams.

Christian states ” The age is really unknown. I do know it was passed down from my great grandma to my grandpa/ grandma”.

I’m sure lovers of old style wines and winemaking will get a kick out of these. I know I did!




Published in: on December 26, 2011 at 8:36 PM  Leave a Comment  

Wine Country Sourdough

I have a red wine that is still working out in garage,

and I had a brilliant idea about starting a sourdough starter with some red wine lees.

After researching sourdough and rethinking everything I knew already- I went out and thieved from the bottom of the fermentor, as much lees as I could with out getting wine- this is like reverse racking…

The recipe calls for equal amounts in weight, liquid to whole wheat flour.

I did get out the scale and weigh it- it worked out to 1 cup liquid and just a tad under 2 cups flour.

I mixed together and got almost a dough ball, slightly sticky.

This is dryer than I am used to- however today’s research this is better for the creatures to multiply in.

I am now awaiting the bubbly action (signs) of life, and will feed it daily to help it grow.

research says to toss away half of starter and add twice the amount, I will be splitting it in half and have two starters.

I took the lees from an active fermenting wine and added it to equal weight of Organic whole wheat flour.

Day one-  Dec 12, 2011- equal parts flour and liquid

feeding it, after it has started to bubble- will be 1 cup liquid to- 2 cups flour.

feeding after it doubles it will need to be fed twice as much each time-

discarding half of the starter  will give it a chance to grow.

after a week I will switch to a natural white flour.

Published in: on December 12, 2011 at 8:22 PM  Comments (2)  

New Discovery…

…  Grog II

Not only is this wine great chilled, but warmed through, is a very nice winter night cap.


Published in: on December 6, 2011 at 9:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

75 bottles of wine, bottled tonight!

‎ 25 bottles of 2009- Napa~Carneros Pinot/Merlot-

25 bottles of 2009 Sangria,

25 bottles of Remembrance vineyards Syrah 2010.

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 8:39 PM  Leave a Comment  

Wine goes with everything.

Nontraditional Wine Pairings

by: Joelle Zarcone 

I know what you’re thinking – everything? No way – only cheese, dark chocolate and a nice filet mignon.

Not quite, my friends!

Personally, I think wine is just as much the every man’s drink as a frothy mug of beer. Sure that may deflate a belief some revere – the notion that wine is meant for the more superior of society, or reserved for our classiest of moments amongst friends; but that’s not how life works. Sometimes you just want a chilled glass of Pinot after a long day at the office and you can’t seem to scrounge up enough energy to both pour a glass of wine and prepare a “worthy” meal. It happens and there’s no reason to shove the bottle back into the depths of your refrigerator simply because it’s a frozen mac and cheese type of evening.

In other words, there’s no need to sacrifice your nightly glass of wine simply because you don’t feel like having a fancy enough meal to justify sips of a luxurious Cabernet.There don’t need to be any more rules established! Wine is meant to be enjoyed, so this weekend I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a list of some nontraditional wine pairings. You know, like what goes best with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

For the pairings, I selected a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot for the reds, and a Riesling and Chardonnay for the whites. All tasted relatively standard for their respective varietals, and served as the basis for each of the pairings. I then gathered a few friends for an impromptu wine pairing party, and we surrounded ourselves with some foods not generally served alongside such wines, or at least not at any wine pairing I’ve ever attended – including in Napa.

The idea was to taste test a number of typical foods that are commonly found in households around the country. No muss-and-fuss type items like lamb chops or lasagna; just some simple foods that are easily accessible. Chances are you have the ingredients for most of these easy meals in your kitchen cupboards right now, all ready to pair with a delicious glass of your favorite wine.For our first round, we attempted to pair French fries, an order that we had taken home from a local restaurant. The verdict was – surprise, surprise – Merlot. Perhaps because of the starch base of the fried potatoes, the slight heaviness was actually rounded out by the Merlot, which effortlessly upheld the fries’ crispy taste.

Next we gave some store-bought chocolate chip cookies a go. The cookies were buttery and soft, with big chunks of milk chocolate throughout. Although I’ve always heard to pair chocolate with a red wine, the cookies were actually best with the dry, crisp Chardonnay.

We then decided to sample a healthier snack often found in people kitchens these days, as well as one that’s readily available at most cocktail parties: vegetables and hummus. Although a carrot is literally the last thing I’ve ever thought of chasing my wine with on most nights, we found that the well-balanced Cabernet paired wonderfully. In fact, I couldn’t stop munching on carrots with my glass of Cab, even after our pairing experiment had ended.

Ironically, the Cab also went best with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Whole wheat sandwich bread filled with raspberry jelly and crunchy peanut butter, to be exact. The woodiness of the Cabernet seemed to soften the rich fats of the peanut butter and helped balance out the sweetness of the jelly. One participant at our wine pairing party ended up polishing off the entire sandwich because she adored how the flavors blended with the Cab.

The sweet Riesling was the winner of our last two tastings, a slice of birthday cake and some popcorn. The birthday cake was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and the Riesling’s fantastic sugar-acid balance ended up complementing the vanilla undertones of the cake’s base, as well as the higher sugar content of the frosting. If I was more of a real sommelier I could probably tell you why this occurred, but all I truly do know is that it tasted delicious together. As for the popcorn, I blame it on the age-old relationship between sweet and salty. The popcorn (salted, no butter) thrived off of the Riesling’s honeysuckle undertones and was a solid match.

And there you have it! After our untraditional wine experiment was over, I was stuffed, but extremely impressed with what we had learned. I also felt slightly like a wine-loving mad scientist, which is not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Looks like there’s another reason for a second slice of birthday cake…

Published in: on November 27, 2011 at 8:03 AM  Leave a Comment  

Rubber tire smell / wine…

Park your car in the sun on a warm Spring day, and, after it’s been there for a while – assuming you’re not worried that your neighbors will think you’ve lost your mind – get down on your hands and knees and take a good, long sniff at one of the tires.

Got that smell? That earthy, dark scent of rubber (okay, it’s synthetic, but never mind that) with an overlay of sulfur? It’s an intriguing aroma, not entirely unpleasant. But it’s not something I would really care to find in my wine.

In fact, however, it happens from time to time, most recently just the other night when a persistent, dominating rubbery aroma pretty much spoiled my enjoyment of a relatively affordable Spanish red wine that I had been anticipating. In contrast with the sort-of-reminds-me nature of many offbeat wine descriptors like “petrol” and “barnyard” that evoke, rather than precisely resembling the real thing, this was a true black-rubber aroma as clear and true as you’d get from sticking your nose into an old black-rubber boot.

What’s going on here?

In their useful if somewhat dated “Wines, Their Sensory Evaluation” (1976), University of California at Davis Profs. Maynard A. Amerine and Edward B. Roessler attributed this “rubbery” aroma to low-acid grapes and nicknamed it “The Fresno odor” because of its association with California Central Valley wines of the era.

More accurately, “rubber tire” is a wine fault associated with sulfur and sulfur compounds (not to be confused with sulfites used as a natural preservative). It’s often blamed on “reduction” – the opposite of oxidation – in which sulfury components with unpleasant smells that can range from rubber to cooked cabbage to swamp gas turn up in wine that’s been stored in the absence of oxygen.

It’s not a pleasant character, but the good news is that it’s usually reversible by vigorous aeration, overnight “breathing” or even an old wine-maker’s trick that sounds like an urban legend, but really is not: Drop a clean copper-clad penny (or a Euro cent) into a glass of the affected wine, swirl it a few times, and, if you’re lucky, the reductive aromas will quickly go away. Or stir the wine with a shiny silver spoon. As I’ve reported in past discussions of this topic, it’s not magic, just chemistry: The metal in the coin or spoon reacts with the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that’s causing the problem in the wine, quickly converting the smelly compound into insoluble, odorless (and harmless) copper or silver sulfide.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all wine faults could be neutralized as easily as that?

 I found one of my wines with this problem… the Mandarin orange and chocolate wine was overpowering.
I racked it, tested TA. and then back sweetened it, also added campden and sorbate.
I dropped several washed and cleaned pennies into the racked wine-
it seems to have cleared it up.
Published in: on November 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM  Comments (2)  

“Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!”… Beaujolais Nouveau!!!

10 Fascinating Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau

 Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.

2. The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France’s third largest city, Lyon.


3. All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is mandatory.

4. Gamay (Gamay noir Jus Blanc) is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais. While certain California wineries may label their wine “Gamay Beaujolais” this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is quite different in taste and growing habits.

5. Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from grapes grown in the 10 crus (great growths) of Beaujolais-only from grapes coming from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.

6. Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, also called whole berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.

7. Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young-in average vintages it should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.

8. Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit-the wine is more refreshing and its forward fruit more apparent than if you serve it at room temperature.

9. Approximately 1/3 of the entire crop of the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.

10. The region of Beaujolais is known for its fabulous food. The famed Paul Bocuse Restaurant is just minutes from the heart of Beaujolais, as is Georges Blanc’s eponymous culinary temple. These great restaurants have plenty of Beaujolais on their wine lists. This quintessential food wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Tuesday night’s meat loaf.

Published in: on November 17, 2011 at 4:21 PM  Leave a Comment  

Bottling Time.

These last few days I spent bottling a few wines.

from left to right;

  • Kahlua
  • Pina~colada
  • Rice wine
  • Sandia chile mead
  • Chile Lime wine
  • Rasta Red

Published in: on November 16, 2011 at 6:46 PM  Leave a Comment  

3 New wines started!

Today I took the pressings (seeds and skins) from our Field blend red wine and started three new batches of wine.

1. Is a Second Run, meaning I am using the pumace from the original batch, and added more sugar and water, more yeast nutrients and some acid blend. This will be used for topping up the carboys after racking, a slightly lighter wine than the first batch- but will be a good match in flavor.

2. I used the red wine Pumace (seeds and skins) and added cranberries and cranberry juice, along with water and sugar, yeast food and acid for balance. Cranberry Meritage-2011

3. I used the red wine pumace and added several pounds of fresh roasted New Mexico chilies, water, sugar, yeast food and acid for balance.  Phoenix Red II

Published in: on November 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM  Leave a Comment