Look at Your Wine Before You Drink it

Looking at Wine Glass_3.jpg

Last time we asked "Why do people look so closely at their glass of wine?" and learned that flaws, such as sediment and dis-colorization can be seen in a wine glass.

But, the color of a wine can also tell you about how it will taste and its age.

With white wines, pale yellow-green color generally indicates a light bodied wine that will have bright, crisp fruit flavors and higher acidity (e.g., Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc). A deep golden colored wine will tend to be full bodied, bolder in flavor and lower in acidity (e.g., Chardonnay).

With red wine, you'll find that those that tend toward pink to light red will be light bodied and bright in flavor (e.g., Beaujolais and Pinot Noir). They may even be a little tart. As the color of a red wine gets darker towards maroon and purple, it will become more full-bodied with bolder and richer flavors (e.g., Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon).

Color can also tell you something about a wine's age.  You know that fruit eventually turns brown with age. This is also true of wines. Older white wines become dull in color and can take on orange and brown tones. This is usually an indication of a wine that is well beyond its peak and will likely have nutty flavors due to oxidation.  With red wines, they too take on brownish tones, especially around the rim of the glass. But, with red wines, this doesn't necessarily indicate that they are beyond their peak. Most older red wines (10 years +) will look this way.

So, next time you are poured a glass of wine, stop and take a moment to look at it and see if you can figure out how it will taste even before your first sip. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

Vilarnau Cava_2.jpg

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava ($16)

Vilarnau is a small artisanal handcrafted Cava house located just outside Barcelona Spain.

This Cava is made from Trepat, a red-wine grape variety indigenous to northeastern Spain, and Pinot Noir. It is a dry Cava with delicate flavors. It is classified as a "Reserva" because it was aged for 15 months.

The bottle art honors the winery's Catalon roots with avant-garde imagery of Antoni Gaudi.

Vilarnau is one of several family-owned wineries of Gonzáles Byass. Established in 1835, their wineries span across most of the important wine producing regions of Spain.

This Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava is a perfect bubbly for the holidays and beyond. I'm thinking about this one again for Valentine's Day!

Give it a try. It's a really nice Cava and, as with all Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week features, a great value.

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

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications

Ever Wonder Why People Look So Closely at Their Glass of Wine?


You see it a lot. As soon as the wine is poured in the glass, the first thing someone will do is raise the glass and look at the wine. But why do this you may ask?

In a past blog we examined the "Five S's of Wine Tasting" that include See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Swallow.  So, let's focus on "See." You'll find that a lot can be learned from just looking at the wine in the glass.

One thing that can quickly be detected by looking at your wine are flaws.  One flaw is oxidation. It can be noted by dis-colorization of the wine and is easily spotted if you know what you're look for. Wines take on brown hues with age. Whites can become golden to almost orange. Reds will show these brown hues around the edges of the glass. Usually, a white wine that is showing brown hues is too old. But, with a red wine, it may simply be a visual demonstration that the wine has become a bit oxidized with age. This is not necessarily a flaw but it could be a warning sign before you continue through the Five S's.

Another thing you might see in your glass is sediment. If you see small particles in the wine or sticking to the side of the glass, it indicates that the wine is either unfiltered or has developed some sediment in the bottle during the aging process.  Sediment itself is not a flaw but it's typically an unpleasant sensation in your mouth when you get a bunch of it. This can easily be fixed at home by filtering the bottle before drinking or, if you've ordered the wine at a restaurant, you can request another bottle or to have the bottle filtered.

You can also learn a bit about the wine's body by looking at it. But, we'll save that for next time. Until then, cheers!

Tips on Giving Wine as a Gift


It's that time of the year! Lots of gift giving. A common dilemma is associated with choosing a bottle of wine to give as a gift. I'll admit, it's a tough one. You don't want to get it wrong. And, most wines don't come with a gift receipt.

The first and probably most important factor in giving wine as a gift is knowing your recipient. Is the person a casual acquaintance, a long-time friend, a family member, your boss or a wine connoisseur? That makes a huge difference.

With a casual acquaintance, it's easiest.  It's especially easy if this acquaintance is a party animal. They are probably just going to drink the wine without giving it a thought.  You won't go wrong by going into most any store or wine shop and picking up an inexpensive popular wine; red or white. Those typically sell for around $10 and are located midway up the shelves at the store.

But with the long-time friend, close family member or a boss, you need to choose a nicer wine. The worst thing you can do is to underestimate their taste in wine. Unfortunately, it’s easy to offend someone by giving them a very basic or inexpensive wine. It's really not that hard to impress these people.  Just keep your eyes toward the upper shelves and you are sure to find something that will work. And, by saying 'keep your eyes toward the upper shelves" you'll find that that's where the stores typically keep the nicer wines.  The cheap stuff is down around your ankles. Nicer bottle of wines can easily be found in the $20 - $40 range. Oh sure, you can spend a heck of a lot more, but this range is usually a good bet. I'd recommend going with a red wine. They just come across as being safer gifts.

Finally, there's the fine wine connoisseur. You really need to know their wine preferences to buy them wine. Otherwise, my advice is to buy them something other than wine. They're just hard to please.

In any case, if you are really stressing over the purchase of a bottle of wine, ask someone in the store.  And, if you can't find a knowledgeable salesperson, ask someone else who's shopping in the wine section for a recommendation. Really. You'd be surprised by the amount of people who know a thing or two about wine who are shopping on the wine aisle.

Here's to wishing you a happy, stress-free wine giving experience during the holidays! Cheers!







Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week


2015 Erath Pinot Noir ($13)

This Pinot Noir is from Oregon, a state that has gotten and continues to get a lot of attention for Pinot Noir.

While the Willamette Valley has gotten the most attention for their Pinot Noir, this one is a blend of different vineyard sites in Oregon.

Erath's goal with this wine is "to make the best Pinot Noir in the world for under $20."

As Pinot's should, this one has nice flavors of raspberry and cherry. It finishes with a bit of tannin from its aging in French oak.

The best Pinot Noir in the world for under $20?  I'll leave that up to you to decide. But it certainly qualifies for meeting the criteria to be featured in  Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week. It's a very affordable Pinot Noir that you should be able to find everywhere that wines are sold.