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Understanding acidity in wine

It took me drinking Barbera to understand what acidity brings to wine. I recently tried the 2006 San Silvestro Barbera del Piemonte and the 2006 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera and fell in love with the Barbera.
I think because the acidity is so snappy, fresh and forward in this varietal I'm now able to discern and identify wines where the acidity adds to the juiciness and structure. There are a few Priorats, for instance, that I have and now I can understand what it is that helps pull the structure together.
I interested in your input and comments regarding my theory.
UselessCampers blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Nov 07, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

soap or no soap to wash wine glasses

I switched to plastic sippy cups. And I can just throw them in the wash when I do my clothes.

Oct 29, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Interesting new data on US wine consumption

Where did you get an idea of competition out of these comments? I find this kind of information interesting (I'm not in the business) and apparently others do too. Any data is at least worth considering.
I guess I don't understand why you'd enter the thread to make a kind of negative post...?

Oct 28, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Wine and Italian Food pairings...

You could pair a nice Barbera with any of them, or of course a Chianti with the red sauce based foods.
UselessCamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 26, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Interesting new data on US wine consumption

An article in Wine Spectator quoting The U.S. Wine Market report, notes that U.S. wine consumption continued to grow for the 15th year in a row.

* In 2008 that's 306 million cases/ 18 billion glasses totaling over $25 billion!
* The United States now drinks more wine than Italy and in 5 years may be the number one wine consuming nation.
* On a per-capita basis in 2007 US consumed 85 servings annually.

I also noticed another wine related story in the WSJ that made sense after seeing this data, about a wine blogging convention in Sonoma. The number of wine blogs has increased from less than 50 four years ago to over 500 today.
Hey nobody called me! Anyone want to sponsor me to go?
UselessCamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 24, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

sommelier or wine steward

oh no difference zin, I was just curious as I've heard the terms used and wasn't 100% sure of how they were being meant (generally) at restaurants. I also was wondering if the terms were used slightly differently by patrons and interpreted in a different way.

Oct 20, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

sommelier or wine steward

haha- very good. but which works in the more expensive restaurant?
Does a wine captain rank over the others?

Oct 20, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

sommelier or wine steward

What are the differences? What do the terms mean to you?
UselessCampers blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 20, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Buying wine online- sites with free shipping?

I'm always looking for deals on wines especially ones I've not tried before, from places I've never tried.
For out of the ordinary I've found garagiste.com. For general deals with a wide range of types & locations I buy regularly from Wine Library and their free daily shipping wine and also from Wine 'til Sold Out. WTSO usually has free shipping with a minimum buy.
So the question is where do you find deals online, preferably with free shipping?

Oct 14, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Cognac and the classic cocktail- The Sidecar

Nice site and great post. I'm sure I'll explore your website in more detail.

Oct 14, 2008
uselesscamper in Spirits

Cognac and the classic cocktail- The Sidecar

Thanks for the great suggestions.
I will try the 3-2-1 combination and I have to research Pegu Club Cocktail and muddle, never heard of them.

Oct 14, 2008
uselesscamper in Spirits

Carlo, vino and furniture- Hilarious

I was on the Gallo website (its a hugh site a real juggernaut) looking at the E&J line of brandy and cognac.
Anyway, looking around the different Gallo product lines I saw good old Carlo Rossi wines. You remember cheap (err...inexpensive) Carlo Rossi jugs of wine from high school and college days?

Well I bet you never realized the artistic functionality of those jugs- take a look;
Carlos Rossi Wines- Jug Simple- http://www.carlorossi.com/index.htm#f...
Think of it as Jug Shui for the home.
BTW- I use the brandy to make Separators; 1 shot of brandy, 2 shots of Kalua and milk to suit. Tasty coffee flavored drinks and after a few you separate the men from the boys.
UselessCamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Cognac and the classic cocktail- The Sidecar

Thanks davis, interesting article.

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Spirits

Cognac and the classic cocktail- The Sidecar

My exploration of wine led me to branch off to Cognac. My current favorite is Courvoisier V.S.O.P. The aromas seem refined & complex, the alcohol isn't overwhelming; the flavors are again complex, nutty and buttery, but smooth and round.
So this experimentation led us to the discovery of the classic and unrated cocktail- The Sidecar. It's a simple cocktail just 3 ingredients, Cognac (or high end Brandy), orange liqueur (such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier), and lemon juice.
My ingredient recommendations- Cognac V.S.O.P, Patron Citronge (Cointreau is preferred but very expensive) and fresh squeezed lemon juice (and only fresh squeezed, I'm usually lucky enough to get them off my tree).
The Recipe-
1 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Patron Citronge or Cointreau
1 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake well and strain into a cocktail glass (optionally sugar the rim).
To me a Sidecar in these proportions, made with these ingredients, produces a complex drink that balances the Cognac flavors (nutty, almond, butter, smoke, vanilla) against the orange/sweet/sour/citrus of the Citron & lemon. The one ingredient that varies in the drink is the lemon, so allow for some adjustment based on the flavor profile of the lemons available to you at purchase.
I'm interested in hearing about other recipes for the Sidecar or other drinks made with Cognac.
UselessCampers blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Spirits

Santa Ynez wine tasting- Koehler Vineyards

On this trip we stopped at Firestone, Fess Parker's, Koehler and Alisal Cellars (a wine bar/shop in Solvang with some nice wine tasting flights. They also have beer and sake flights).
This was our first visit to Koehler and it was the star of the trip. Everyone in our party was wonderfully surprised and excited by all the tasting selections.
My favorites-

* 2005 Magia Nera- A 33% Cabernet & 67% Sangiovese blend. Coffee, tar, clove and cedar on the nose deliciously give way to a luxuriant palate of red raspberry and clove. Balanced acidity and soft tannins. 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition won Gold Best of Class.
* 2005 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah- A blend of three clones grown here on the estate, this Syrah is ripe and focused, generous with its blackberry and white pepper aromas and flavors, which echo nicely on the firm finish. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate scored this wine 93 pts. (The Wine Advocate “… the structure and muscle of a great Hermitage from France’s Rhône Valley.”) now I liked this wine but I don't get this rating, I think I need to buy a bottle decant it and give it a real try at home.
* 2005 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County- Beautiful strawberry and bing cherry notes on the nose yield to more developed earthiness, leather, vanilla and raspberry on the palate. It has soft tannins supported by bright acidity. 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine “With a lightly silky texture and dry finish, it’s quite an elegant sipper.”
* 2005 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills- This was my top pick of the day. Pinot for the connoisseur. Cherry, strawberry,cinnamon stick with a bit of barnyard and earthy notes on the nose introduce a palate of red fruits, nutmeg and pipe tobacco. Surprisingly laid back for a SRH, more reminiscent of a French style pinot.

I believe these wines are some of the first releases under new Koehler winemaker Chris Stanton. Stanton has outstanding credentials including his much heralded successes during his time as winemaker at Mayo Family Winery.

We brought home some of the Santa Barbara County and SRH Pinots, I wish I'd grabbed the Syrah too.
The winery cats are very cool and did I mention the Emu's?

FYI-
Firestone Winery was recently purchased by the Foley Wine Group, owner of Foley Vineyards and Lincourt. Back in 1997 the Firestone family sold Foley the J. Carey winery and vineyards (that facility became the Foley winery).
The Firestone family retained Firestone Walker Brewing and Curtis Winery.
UselessCamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Chilling red/white.. afterwards?

I don't drink white wine but I do the much as you do with reds, in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes depending on the temperature out. I don't usually store opened wine in the fridge though. I have a pantry cabinet that is usually a few degrees cooler than room temp and store it there. Given the number of people and traffic at my place its rare for a wine to last more than two days, either being drunk or used in cooking.
UselessCamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Wine or Beer to go with Mole Poblano?

Hi, I'd like to suggest Negra Modelo. It's brewed in Mexico but is actually a Vienna style lager originally made my Austrian immigrants to Mexico. Anyways, wonderful beer- like Newcastle Brown but imho with more character (nutty, spicy with some dark chocolate mole, trace of caramel). My go to beverage with Mexican food.

uselesscamper's blog- http://the-wine-rack.blogspot.com

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine

Why is 750ml the standard wine bottle size?

Just wondering why 3/4 liter became the norm rather than a nice round 1.0 liter?

Oct 13, 2008
uselesscamper in Wine