Put your wine in the microwave

So I read this article about putting pinot noir grapes in the microwave before being crushed and made into wine. The basic idea is that the grapes were fermented for a shorter time and had more colour and tannin. I don’t have access to enough grapes or the equipment to see what would happen myself, but I do have wine. And a microwave. I put the wine in the microwave for 60 seconds, and found that it took a very long time to come back down to proper cellar temperature of 62F. Once it did, the effects were noticeable. And it was not just myself, I poured side by side samples (same wine, one nuked, the other not) for a few other sommeliers and even a chef. One word that was repeated with each taster was metallic. The nuked wine simply lacked any life. It was dull and bitter on the finish and lack aroma too. Here is article that might explain why this happens. It also may make you want to throw your microwave out. If you are having a few people over one night, I suggest you try the side by side nuke test yourself. If you do, I would […]

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Champagne wishes and a flight to Reims

met the police the first night I was in France. Well I saw them, in the lobby of the hotel I was staying at. Arresting three men. I arrived in Reims, to tour the vineyards of Champagne and was tired from a long day of travel. Not only was I carrying my backpack, but also two bags under my eyes, as I searched the town for a place to sleep. The sun was going down, I was in a strange town where I knew no one, and no one knew where I was. And what’s more, I hardly knew the language. Armed with what I could remember of my high school French, I managed to find a room in the main district of town. I went upstairs to check out the room, and upon my return to the lobby, I was greeted with two police officers apprehending the three men in the lobby. Between yelling at the men and the police, the clerk managed to check me in. Only after seeing the hesitation on my face did he throw in a free breakfast. Welcome to France I thought; try the Champagne. And that was what I had come to do. […]

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The grapes of Beaune

“Are you leaving today?” M. Rousseau would ask me every morning. To which I would always answer, “maybe tomorrow.” M. Rousseau owned a little hotel that I was staying at just outside of the old city in Beaune. Beaune is a tiny town in the heart of the Cote d’Or where Burgundy’s most famous vineyards are located. Burgundy’s best wines are hidden, beneath the cobblestone streets of Beaune, aging in damp, dusty cellars, some of which date back to the 1800s. Burgundy’s wines come in two colours, red and white, and are made from the pinot noir grape and the chardonnay grape respectively. Technically in the Rhone department, Beaujolais is also considered a Burgundy, but it is made from the gamay noir grape. The first evidence of pinot noir grape was recorded in the 1370s, though it’s thought to have been widely used before that. The chardonnay of white Burgundy did not appear until after the Middle Ages. As for gamay noir, the first duke of Burgundy, Phillip the Bold, was very much interested in wine. Also of interest was the health of the people of Burgundy. So much so that he took it upon himself to outlaw the seemingly […]

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A Taste of Tenuta Sette Ponti

Tenuta Sette Ponti is a Tuscan based winery that produces wines from different areas in Italy. The winery is headquartered in Chianti, with their oldest vines dating back to 1935, planted by Duke Amadeo d’Aosto vice-king of Ethiopia, in remembrance of a victory. The property has passed through numerous members of Italian royalty until the late 1950s, when architect Alberto Moretti bought it from Princesses Margherita and Maria Cristina di Savoia d’Aosta. In 1996, Antonio Fioravante Moretti, Alberto’s son, took over, and promptly brought top Italian winemaker, Carlo Ferrini, on board. Ferrini also works for other prestigious Tuscan estates such as Fattoria di Petrolo, Talenti and Brancaia. Export Manager Stefano Maggini walked a group of trade through some of Tenuta Sette Ponti’s wines last week. First on the tour were the Feudo Maccari wines from Sicily. The average age of the vines of this vineyard in the south east corner of Sicily are between 10-50 years. It is here that Nero d’Avola is at home and the two wines tasted showed the different quality levels that this grape can achieve. The Feudo Maccari Nero d’Avola ($20) was bright and fresh and if served slightly chilled would be the perfect partner to any charcuterie plate. The Saia ($35) […]

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Grower Champagne

Many people who seek out farmers’ markets are looking for an alternative to the mass produced ingredients they find in grocery shops. So it would come as no surprise to learn that the same trend is happening in the wine world. Small, handcrafted producers are making honest and true wines that express the places they are made. Champagne is a region largely divided into two. The people that grow the grapes, and the people that make the wine. The growers sell their grapes to co-operatives or negocients for processing, blending, packaging and sale. The big champagne houses that we’re all on a first name basis with make an even larger amount of champagne – enough to satisfy tastes around the world. But there is alternative. Some of the farmers that grow the grapes also make their own wines. Most wine lovers call them Grower Champagnes, or “farmer fizz”. They are people that tend to the vine all summer. They know the best time to harvest and are able to express their vineyard through the grapes that they grow. Champagne is made from a combination of three different grapes; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Chardonnay brings acidity and elegance to the blend. An […]

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Writings about my passion for wine, and the people, places, and stories connected to it.