Wine Cellar Innovations Blog

CategoryWine 101 Archives - WCI Blog

Hot Wine is NOT Cool

March 16th, 2016

Hot wine is not cool!It’s finally time to drink that Chardonnay you’ve kept on top of your fridge for the past 3 years. It was a gift from your best friend when you moved into your home.16

You pull the cork, ready to pair up the buttery, oaky goodness that Napa Chard is known for with your mussels and broth…and you get a whiff of old shoes. The color has changed from golden straw to more of a brown. What happened? You stored it on its side like you were taught!

Here’s what happened: the top of a fridge is arguably the worst place to keep wine (outside of next to your furnace). The heat from the fridge radiates up, and the higher up in your kitchen wine is stored, the more heat from EVERYTHING you do in there surrounds it. STOP IT NOW!

While everyone that loves wine can’t build a properly constructed, refrigerated cellar or purchase a dedicated wine fridge, there are a couple of very simple, inexpensive ways for you to care for your wine.

Keep your wines cool and flavorful!

Step 1: Keep it somewhere with a stable temperature. Even a closet or basement wine storage area that stays within 5 degrees of the same temp year round will work. The perfect temperature is 55 degrees….however, a bottle stored at 68 year round should still be OK provided it’s not being subjected to large swings in temp over the course of a year.

Step 2: (Remember from above?) Store it on its side so the cork stays wet. Screw caps are fine to store upright.

Step 3: Get your corkscrew and enjoy your properly-stored wine!

We Make It Happen With Holiday Wine And Cheese Pairings

December 23rd, 2015

Prep up with delicious wine and cheese pairings!This is our last We Make It Happen episode for 2015, wine folks! And you bet we’re going to make your holidays happen in a more enjoyable way with our holiday wine and cheese pairings. Only one more day to go before that big Christmas dinner, so start plating up and let us handle your appetizers. Here are some, shall we say, “clever” tips on how to pair up your wines and cheeses to suit and soothe your guests’ palates this season:

If you’re serving big, bold reds…

Then the best cheeses to go with them would definitely be from the semi-hard variety, like Swiss and Provolone. But farmhouse cheddars such as Dry Monterey Jack, Manchego and gouda would be awesome matches as well. So if you’re planning on popping open some Pinot Noirs, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignons, semi-hard cheeses on the appetizer tray are a must.

If you’re serving sweet wines…

If you’re going for Port or Sherry or other similar-tasting wines this season, you’d do well to counteract those sweet flavors by serving some salty or strong cheeses with the bottles. Pungent cheeses like Alsatian Munster, French Epoisses or Italian Taleggio will be a welcome break from all that sweetness. But you can also go for blue cheese such as Colston Basset Stilton or something really strong like Roquefort. Blue cheeses are actually like velvet on the tongue, creating the right balance between salty and sweet in your guests’ palate.

If you’re serving unoaked or lightly oaked wines…

So if you’re opting for simple, lighter tasting labels such as pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, riesling and chardonnay or other lightly flavored reds, we recommend you go with lighter cheeses as well. It won’t be a smart idea to serve strong, flavorful cheeses that would overpower your wines and leave them out of the conversation. So selections such as goat cheese, feta, Monterey Jack, Colby, young cheddar and Jarlsberg will definitely create a harmonious balance. Note that if you serve these cheeses with bolder wines, the latter will also literally drown out the cheese flavors which is not exactly the effect you’d want to achieve with your guests.

Now for those of you who are planning to pop open just one variety of wine to go with an assortment of cheeses, we suggest a bottle of Riesling or an unoaked or very lightly oaked Chardonnay, if you’re doing whites. But if you’re going for red wine, then a light- to medium-bodied Pinot Noir will do the trick on the dinner table. Happy Holidays, everyone! ^_^

 

 

 

Our Top Holiday Wine Picks

December 21st, 2015

What’s the holidays (or any season for that matter!) without a good glass of wine? Thing is, there are just so many labels and vintages to choose from it can get pretty confusing even for the true-blue connoisseur. It’s especially the case if you have quite a varied guest list – think, varied palates as well. But it’s no rocket science, believe us! There are lots of bottles out there that can readily cover most of the bases. All you need to do is to get better acquainted with them. Once you find your favorites, you can purchase some wine racks to keep them safe. That being said, check out our top holiday wine picks and find out which of these will bring that extra holiday cheer to your dinner tables:

Cheers to the holidays!Chardonnay

More than just a few surveys have shown that Chardonnay is in fact, the number-one take-home wine. It accounts for over one-fifth of purchases in wine stores which is pretty impressive. If you think about it, it’s doesn’t really come as a surprise because this grocery store standby is easy to find and delivers impressive quality for under 10 bucks. Our personal pick is Bogle Chard which sports a slightly creamy texture, walking the fine line between toasty oak and spice flavors. It also packs in lively green apple and melon fruit flavors, making it a sure crowd pleaser.

Pinot Gris

Our choice is this lovely California Pinot Gris, hailing from the same grape variety as its Italian counterpart. However, it has bigger body, greater juiciness, and richer flavor which are all perfect for the cold, winter season. It boasts of bold aromas of poached pear, tropical fruit, flowers and spice. Overall, it still sports a crisp and refreshing taste, but those extra layers of flavor make it one of the best winter whites to enjoy.

Proseco

Definitely an alternative to Champagne, especially if the budget doesn’t permit the latter this season. Let’s face it, more than half of the population is always broke right before Christmas with all the insane holiday shopping to complete. But who says you can’t enjoy a good glass of the bubbly despite a swollen budget? This Italian bubbly is super versatile around the holidays. We recommend serving it well-chilled in a flute or toss in a sugar cube and dash of bitters for an effervescent “Champagne” cocktail. While the refreshing lemon, grapefruit, and melon flavors aren’t quite Champagne, you still get the “fizz” at a price your wallet will love and your guests will enjoy as well.

Cabernet Sauvignon

If there will be more guests of the male persuasion on your dinner table, then the Cab might be the bottle you’ll be wanting to pop open. This serious and manly red wine is indeed the king of flavors. We recommend well-loved labels like the Beringer Knight’s Valley Reserve. It packs in plenty of powerful blackberry flavor and a long smooth finish. This “manly” red will go down well even with wine novices.

Moscato

If your table will be a conglomeration of taste buds, you’ll need something that’s equally popular with the college kids, the sweet-toothed ladies, and men wanting to pump the o’l charisma around. With its distinctive floral, citrus, and honey aromas, and a sweet but balanced flavor, Moscato is your wine. This baby is all about the simple pleasures of enjoying a good glass of wine in good company. It’s wonderfully low in alcohol but with a hint of refreshing fizz. It will give the young ones the right amount of buzz while keeping the adults at a contented pace. Plus, it goes down extremely well with fruity and spiced desserts like apple or pumpkin pie.

We Make It Happen With Easy Holiday Sangria

December 16th, 2015

So who doesn’t love a nice, cool sangria? For some, this fun and fruity concoction might be a summer fling but we like to think otherwise. Sangria can get us into the right festive mood for the holidays, especially since it’s really easy to whip up. You can even play around with the ingredients to your taste buds’ liking. In our case, we love this easy holiday sangria recipe that doesn’t just taste amazing, but packed with health benefits, too. Try it out this Christmas and let us know what you think!

Ingredients

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For your fruits:

  1. 2 pears, chopped into reasonable-sized chunks
  2. 1 cup satsuma orange sections or 1 pomegranate, unseeded
  3. 1 red apple, chopped (we suggest Fuji, but if you want it sweeter then try Gala apples)
  4. 1 green apple, chopped
  5. 1 cup of cranberries

The rest:

  1. 1/2 cup apple brandy or apple vodka (but if you want to play up the satsuma orange flavor instead, use 1/3 cup orange flavor liqueur instead)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  3. 2 cups ginger ale
  4. 1 1/2 bottles of red wine (we recommend Cabernet)
  5. 1 small chunk of ginger, about an inch or so thick and thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Wash all your fresh fruits properly before chopping or slicing. Soak the apples in the apple vodka or brandy (or the satsuma orange sections or pomegranate in orange flavor liqueur) for up to a few hours to soak up the flavor.

2. Put the apples, pears, satsuma orange sections (or pomegranate), and cranberries in a pitcher or bowl. Add your red wine and stir to combine. Then add the ginger, ginger ale and cinnamon. Stir thoroughly to let all the flavors blend with each other. You can also add a small teaspoon of sugar if you want it to taste really sweet.

3. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 2 to 3 hours.