In the Winemaking World it's Veraison Time!


The grape growing cycle is currently at the point where berries (the actual term for individual grapes) begin to turn color. This marks the point at which the grape vines move from berry growth to berry ripening.

The term for this stage is called Veraison (vuh-rey-zhun). And this means that there is now approximately 45 days until the beginning of harvest.

While veraison is most obvious on red wine grapes, white grapes also go through veraison. While their color change isn't as dramatic as the reds, they do change from green to a more yellow or golden green. 

Veraison marks the point where the grapes stop growing in size. But, it's also when the sugar content of the grapes changes significantly. And, the acid begins to decline.

So, winemakers are now very closely watching and testing the grapes to find the point where the sugar content and acidity are just right for the particular wine they are trying to produce.

It's an exciting time in the vineyard and harvest is just around the corner! Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2016 Oremus Mandolás Furmint ($25)

Tokaj (toe-kay) is Hungary's most famous and respected wine region, mostly due to its super sweet, botrytized Tokaji dessert wines.

But, a new set of wines has emerged from the Tokaj region that are dry. This offering from Oremus is 100% Furmint (“foor-meent”) and is a dry white wine.

The Mandolás name is derived from the way in which these vines are grown.

This wine is aged in oak under a new barrel toasting method. This process only adds subtle hints of oak that preserve the minerality and acidity of this wine.

The acidity is what's most striking about this wine.  While this Furmint shows very light tropical fruit notes in mid-palate, the acidity shines through brightly on the finish and just keeps on going.  A very refreshing wine that will complement cheese plates and lighter meals.

If you haven't experienced a dry Tokaj wine, look for this Oremus Mandolás Furmint. It's really nice!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications

Some Wine and Cheese Pairings That Work

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Wine and cheese pairs so well. As we learned last time, the proteins and fats in cheese help to tame the tannin in red wines and creamy soft white cheeses tend to balance the bold acidity that can be found in white wines.

But, not all cheeses work with all wines. While I certainly encourage you to enjoy your favorite cheeses with your wine, here are few general guidelines that might help enhance your enjoyment.

With medium to full-bodied red wines (e.g., Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel) you're going to want cheeses that will stand up to their bigger flavors. Some cheeses that work include aged Cheddar, smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Manchego and Edam.

With a lighter red wines (e.g., Pinot Noir, Gamy, Rosé) consider Gruyère, Fontina, Provolone and even Swiss.

And, with white wines and sparkling wines, try Jarlsberg, Mozzarella, Chèvre (goat cheese), Feta, Ricotta, Asiago, Brie and Camembert.

Some cheeses that often show up on platters are those in the Blue Cheese family (Cambozola, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Stilton). While these cheeses do have bold flavors, they actually work best with dessert wines such as Port.

So, if nothing else, just put bigger, bolder cheeses with bigger bolder red wines, and use the lighter and creamier cheeses with white wines. But, most of all, enjoy the countless pairing opportunities. Cheers!


Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2015 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico ($19.99)

Aglianico (Ahl-YAH-nee-koh) is a native grape to southern Italy. This one, from Feudi di San Gregorio, is from the Campania Irpinia region of Italy, near Mount Vesuvious.

After being hand-harvested, these grapes were de-stemmed and pressed. Maceration and fermentation occur in stainless steel tanks for 10 days at 79 degrees F. Finally, it spends an additional 8 months of aging in stainless steel to preserve the fresh fruit flavors, then a minimum of 6 months in the bottle prior to release.

The first thing you notice with this wine is its brilliant ruby-red color. Then, the light fruit notes of the aroma draw you in.  The flavors match the aromas with medium-light hints of red cherry and even a bit of strawberry.  This grape is known for its firm tannins that are evident mid-pallet but do not overwhelm the light finish.

This is a really nice wine that leans on the light to medium-bodied side of things. With just a slight chill (cellar temperature) its acidity leads to a very refreshing finish. Keep your eyes out for this nice value from Feudi di San Gregorio. It's a good one!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications