Archive for August, 2010
Monday, August 30th, 2010
It time for Pinot! This month’s Pinot Noir Series features an exceptional wine from DuNah Vineyard & Winery, the 2006 Sangiacomo Vineyard, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The wine itself was awarded 93 points by the Pinot Report, and with only 336 cases produced, it’s sure to sell through quickly.
As we’re steadily approaching apple season, we thought we’d give you a great, season appropriate recipe to pair with this fabulous wine. Fire up your barbecue yet again, and add this easy-to-make recipe to your Labor Day menu!
Grilled Pork Chops with Onions and Apples
2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 bone-in center cut pork chops (1 inch thick)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 medium tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
2 Tbs. brown sugar
In a small bowl, combine the pepper, salt and garlic powder. Rub over pork chops. Grill chops, covered, over medium heat for 7-9 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F and juices run clear.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute onions and apples in butter until tender. Add brown sugar; cook until thickened and bubbly.
Serve with the pork chops.
*Option: To present, after cooking, slice a small pocket into the side of the pork chops, and stuff a small amount of apple mixture into each chop, with extras spilling out the side. Drizzle some of the sauce from the apple mixture over the pork cops.
Thursday, August 26th, 2010
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to scout out different wineries while in New Zealand. My main focus was in Hawke’s Bay, a coastal region in the North Island particularly known for its Bordeaux blends and Chardonnays. While sampling at the various wineries, we found much more than full bouquets and fabulous wines! We picked up a very interesting fact about the use for sheep in a vineyard, and thought I’d share!
We took this trip back in late January, the height of New Zealand’s summer. The air was warm but not overly humid, and the grapes were showing but not overly ripe. As we drove through the beautiful countryside, marvelling at all the fantastic vines, one thing in particular caught my eye. Vineyard after vineyard was full of meandering sheep, cruising through the rows and nibbling on the vines. I couldn’t believe it! Surely someone left a gate open and unintentionally let the sheep into the vineyard? Were they eating this year’s crop??
We asked one of the vintners at the next winery about this discovery. His reply was so matter of fact, yet endearing, that I fell in love a little bit more with New Zealand. In mid to late summer, the grapes reach a critical point when the disastrous Botrytis could potentially wipe out an entire crop. Botrytis is the effect when moisture, worsened and locked in by leaf cover, creates a devastating fungus on the fruit and is also known as “bunch rot”.
There are a variety of preventative measures for handling this fungus, including the use of pesticides and spraying early in the season. A well managed canopy to prevent the moisture cover will help as well. Often, vintners will employ a crew to circulate the vines and hand pull the leaves off the precious fruit. However, growers in this region (and perhaps others) have discovered a window of approximately three weeks in the year when grapes are too bitter for sheep’s tastes but succulent leaves are tasty and attractive, thus providing an excellent formula for the use of sheep to do this job!
Vintners must keep a watchful eye over the sheep that they don’t over-pluck the leaves and that they work evenly throughout the vineyard, but the final outcome is more than economical, providing quite a few benefits to the vintners. The sheep work and eat for free, and even fertilize the fields, ahem, “naturally”. In a country where sheep outnumber humans 13 to one, I say good on you, New Zealand, for your forward thinking and economical solutions!
We are featuring New Zealand wines in this quarter’s International Series. All three of our selections come from Clearview Winery, located in Hawke’s Bay. The winery itself is a mere 70 yards from the ocean…arguably one of the closest vineyards to a large body of water anywhere! We are lucky enough to feature three medal winning wines from Clearview: 2008 Reserve Chardonnay, 2008 ‘Des Trois’ Pinot Noir, and 2007 Old Olive Block Red Blend. These wines are absolutely superb and we’re very happy to be able to offer them to you!
Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Sandra Robison provided this week’s winning caption. She’s received a special promotion code for a 10% discount in our wine store. Thanks, Sandra, for your witty contribution!
Like our Facebook page to join in the fun!
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
Caption by Christopher Olivo
Congratulations to Christopher Olivo for winning our WineToon Caption Challenge this week. He’ll receive 10% off in our wine store for providing such a fun and witty comment. Want to join us? Visit our Facebook Page to get in on the action!
Friday, August 6th, 2010
Congratulations to Patti Berry who has won a Houdini Lever Corkscrew just by joining us on Facebook!
You could be the next winner! That’s right, we’re giving away one more Houdini Lever Corkscrew to a lucky fan…
“Like” our Facebook page by August 15th to be entered. If you’re already a fan, you’re already in the drawing!
We’re having lots of fun on Facebook, and think you will too! This summer is a great time to find us, because we’re giving out loads of fun freebies such as Vinturi Aerators, corkscrews, coasters, and more!
In addition to receiving FREE ACCESSORIES,you’ll be one of the first to know about any special sales or upcoming promotions. You’ll also find links to interesting articles, trivia information and fun facts on our Facebook page. There is even a place for you to post comments or thoughts about current selections, and view what others think as well. Essentially, our goal is to help open your door to all things wine!
Staying connected with us on Facebook is also a great way to communicate. Spark up discussions with fellow members to get their take on a particular wine, tell us what you think about the wines you’re receiving, or let us know about an awesome wine and food pairing you’ve found — we’d love to hear from you! Follow this link to find us: www.Facebook.com/WineClubs .
Looking forward to having fun with you! Cheers!
Thursday, August 5th, 2010
The Wine Wizard is at it again! Think you know your stuff when it comes to wine? This month we’re focusing on your barrel know-how… How much do you know about those lovely vats that are such an integral part of the wine making process? Check out these fun facts about oak barrels, then be sure to spread the word and impress your friends with how much you know!
1. When were oak barrels first used for the storage and aging of wine?
2. How much wine evaporates from an oak barrel in one year?
3. What specifications must oak trees meet in order to produce wine barrels?
1. The use of oak has been prevalent in wine-making for at least two millenia, first coming into widespread use during the Roman Empire. In time, winemakers discovered that beyond just storage convenience that wine kept oak in barrels took on properties that improved the wine by making it softer and in some cases better tasting. Robert Mondavi is credited with expanding the knowledge of winemakers in the United States about he different types of oak and barrel styles through his experimentation in the 1960′s and 1970′s.
2. The porous nature of an oak barrel allows some levels of evaporation and the oxygenation to occur in wine, but typically not at levels that would cause spoilage. In a year, the typical 59-gallon barrel can lose anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5 gallons of wine through evaporation. This is actually a good thing, allowing the wine to further concentrate its flavor and aroma compounds.
3. The oak trees used for constructing barrels are usually between 80 and 120 years old prior to harvesting, with the ideal conditions being a cool climate in a dense forest region that gives the trees opportunity to mature slowly and develop a tighter grain. Typically, one tree can provide enough wood for only two 59 gallon oak barrels. The trees are harvested in the winter months when there is less sap in the trunk.
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Caption by Jenny Greenslade
Con gratulations to this week’s WineToon winner, Jenny Greenslade, for her witty caption! She’ll receive a promotion code good for 10% off her purchase in our Wine Store for the win! Thanks for keeping life funny, Jenny!
Want to join in? Visit our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/WineClubs, and see what all the fuss is about!