Writing Blog

November 26, 2009

Wine of Kings and King of Wines

Filed under: Food & Drink — Rafael Minuesa @ 5:54 AM
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Barolo is an Italian wine that claims the title of “Wine of Kings and King of Wines” produced in the Cuneo province within the region of Piemonte in Italy.
Barolo is made exclusively from the native Nebbiolo grape, that is said to possess the aromas of cherry, truffles, tar and roses. It is then left to age in huge Slovenian casks for quite a long time. Classic Barolo must age a minimum of three years (at least two in barrel), If subjected to aging of at least five years, the wine can then be labeled a Riserva.

As big, powerful wines, Barolo needs to be matched with foods of similar weight. If paired with light dishes, such as steamed vegetables, the wines will overwhelm the dish and seem excessively tannic and powerful. Therefore Barolo wines should be paired with heavy pastas, red meat, hard cheeses and the such. When paired with these kind of dishes that are high in proteins and fats the tannins will bind to the proteins and come across as softer. Without those proteins in the pairing food the tannins will react with the proteins on the tongue and sides of the mouth accentuating the bitterness and having a drying effect on the palate.

Barolos used to be very tannic (having the plant poly-phenols that cause the dry and puckery feeling in the mouth after consuming unripened fruit or red wine, and they took more than 10 years to soften up. That was at least the wine created by the Frenchman Louis Oudart in the 19th century. Oudart had been hired by the Marchesa of Barolo, who wanted to add some class to her locally produced red wine.
Oudart was so successful in his task that other Piedmontese producers copied the method and a new style of Barolo was created, which is the one that classicists are still making today.
Nonetheless, another style of fermenting has recently arisen, one by which “modernists” cut fermentation times to a maximum of ten days and put the wine in new French small oak barrels. All this controversy has lead to the “Barolo wars”, with “classicists” saying that the resulting wine isn’t even recognizable as Barolo and tastes more of new oak than of wine.

The more prestigious houses however, still reject oak barrels and insist on the traditional method for their wines. These wines are reserved for connoisseurs who make Barolo Italy’s most collected wine, sought after by aficionados in Italy, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, United States and all over the world.

Needless to say that with such an impressive and novelistic background, Barolo is the perfect gift for Christmas. But be aware that the price tag may come as a bit excessive and you should reserve Barolo wine gifts to those who really appreciates big, structured wine.
Still, there are some that are not too expensive. Mauro Veglio for example makes a basic Barolo that sells for around $30. It drinks well when young although 10 years of aging brings out the best in it.
If you want a classic label vineyard you’ll be parting with close to $50. Connoisseurs will recommend that you store them away in a cool cellar for at least 5 even 10 years. Almost any of the vintages from the past 12 years are very good, although you should avoid the 2002’s.

November 9, 2009

A Taste of Wine

Filed under: Food & Drink,LifeStyle — Rafael Minuesa @ 3:24 AM
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This is one of a series of articles I posted for Guy.com.
You can view the original version at:
* http://page2rss.com/e413f76fc1612f157f19293c3672a30e/4659653_4662538/a-taste-of-wine

Wine Women and Song

Martin Luther, the German theologian, Augustinian monk, and ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions, whose hymns inspired the development of singing in churches and whose marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, once wrote that:

”Who loves not woman, wine, and song remains a fool his whole life long.”

Throughout history he hasn’t been alone praising that glorious combination. Cultures like the Bengali/Hindi/Sanskrit sung “Sur, Sura, Sundari” (music, wine and woman), Danish would chant “Vin, kvinder og sang” (wine, women and song), the Germans call it “Wein, Weib und Gesang” (wine, woman and singing), the Italians will gladly exchange the music for a cigarette “Bacco, tabacco e Venere”, whereas in Catholic Spain, the popular saying will warn you of “Naipes, Mujeres y Vino, Mal Camino” (Playing cards, Women and Wine, bad ways).

But no matter how you rephrase it, the common denominators are always wine and women. Also, for some reason most likely related to aesthetics and/or fitness concerns, wine seems to be more of a ladies’ drink as opposed to beer for men.

Whatever the reason, wine is about the only alcoholic drink that is acceptable for any woman to drink in public, Because wine has class, whether it deserves it or not, and it will provide you as a man, with the perfect excuse to make her feel a little more happy and open toward your advances.

Women love flowers and gifts any time, and some candlelight, wine and roses will always go a long way. Wine is also a perfect theme of conversation on a dinner date. You’ll win quite a few valuable points just by asking her what kind of wine she likes, There’s really nothing more romantic than starting up a dinner by asking a woman what she wants and what she’s into. Unless she is a real connoisseur, she will let herself be guided by your “experienced” taste. Prepare in advance by rehearsing the scene with the sommelier, spice it all up with a “recollection” of your travels to wineries in France or Italy and to her eyes you’ll be transformed into an adventurous and experienced worldly man who really knows his way into the sweetest taboos, wink, wink …

There are a few basic information facts that you should be armed with to gain the confidence you need to choose a great wine that will impress her, such as wine being generally categorized into Red, White and Rose.

Glass of Red Wine
Glass of White Wine

Three glasses of the three wine colors (from left to right), Red, White and Rosé.

Generally speaking, White wine is served chilled goes well with all kinds of seafood, chicken, turkey, and light meats.

Red wines go well with red meats such as beef, lamb, veal, sausages and pasta and are generally served at room temperature, although for those that are already highly aromatic, like Chinon and Beaujolais, many people prefer them chilled.

And Rosé is generally reserved for desserts and sweets.

However, these rules are far from absolute and it entirely depends on individual preferences.

Another art you should try to master is that of wine tasting. Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wine. The sweetness of wine is determined by the amount of residual sugar in the wine after fermentation, relative to the acidity present in the wine. Dry wine, for example, has only a small amount of residual sugar. Inexperienced wine drinkers often tend to mistake the taste of ripe fruit for sweetness when, in fact, the wine in question is very dry.

Port Wine

Individual flavors may also be detected, due to the complex mix of organic molecules such as esters and terpenes that grape juice and wine can contain. Tasters often can distinguish between flavors characteristic of a specific grape (e.g., Chianti and sour cherry) and flavors that result from other factors in wine making, either intentional or not. The most typical intentional flavor elements in wine are those that are imparted by aging in oak casks; chocolate, vanilla, or coffee almost always come from the oak and not the grape itself.

Wine Barrels

Wine, madam, is God’s next best gift to man.

Ambrose Bierce,

The Devil’s Dictionary.

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