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Wine Cellar Inspirations: Planning Your Holiday Wine Parties

November 1st, 2017

Planning your holiday parties

Hosting a slew of holiday wine parties this year? Why not? It’s the most wonderful time of the year as they say. So what better way to celebrate the season than with awesome wine and food pairings. It will give you a fantastic opportunity to experiment with a variety of wine and food ideas. Here are a couple of ideas that will help your planning process go smoothly:

Choose a theme for your party!

We know it’s the holidays, but who says you can’t have a specific theme for your wine tasting party? Having a theme will make things much easier because you will be able to focus your plans around it. For example, if you want it to be a “throwback” type of party, you can plan your wine and food menu accordingly. Pick labels that will let you and your guests reminisce shared warmth of nostalgia. Pair the wine with taste treats that remind you of fond childhood memories. A theme can let you go a long way, so choose wisely!

Personalize your party decor and/or souvenirs!

You may think it will entail a lot of expense to dress up your place for a holiday wine party, but that’s not the case. Personalizing your decor will actually save you a lot of $$$. Now that you have a theme, you can work your decor around that as well. But the first thing you need to do is recycle! Open those boxes of old holiday decors tucked away in your basement or garage. Pull out old wine bottles, boxes or crates. These will make great containers for accessories such as flowers, candles, and what-not. For your souvenirs, customize them to give your guests a really memorable holiday experience. One of our recommendations would be to purchase drinking glasses (not necessarily wineglasses) and paint them with cool wine quotes. Or you could bake some goodies, throw them in mini gift-baskets with mini wine bottle samples.

Personalize your party!

Don’t forget the ice-breakers!

You don’t really need to play games during wine tasting parties. However, it’s a very good idea to plan an ice-breaker in advance. It’s especially useful if you’re having more people over and not everyone is well-acquainted with each other. An initial blind tasting is one of the most popular ice-breakers, but modify the rules to make it for fun rather than formal. If you want to do a spin-the-bottle type of game, modify the usual truth or dare. You can make it simply just a dare and have your guests try out mystery wines or food and guess them.

Do you have some great holiday wine party planning ideas to share? We’d love to hear them, too! ^_^

 

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Various Glassware You Should Have

August 23rd, 2017

Whether you throw a lot of wine tasting parties or not, it’s always nice to be prepared. And by this we mean having the right kind of glassware when the occasion calls for it. We’re talking about various glassware and not just for your fine wines. The type of glassware actually enhances your guests’ drinking experience even more. Plus, it boosts your confidence as a host when your guests leave your home with great memories and stories to share about their tasting experience. Here are our recommended glassware you should stock your cellar with:

Choose the right glassware

Red Wine Glasses

Reds will always be a constant in wine tasting parties. To ensure that your guests will enjoy the best taste of your reds, make sure you serve them in proper red wine glasses. These usually sport smaller bowls with a capacity of around nine ounces. However, the trend nowadays is also leaning towards larger bowls. These can accommodate around twelve to fourteen ounces. Your red wine glass should ideally be filled to half capacity to trap the wine bouquet. For full-bodied reds, we recommend that they should be served at around 59 degrees. In contrast, lesser-bodied red wines are best served at a slightly lower temperature.

 

White Wine Glasses

Obviously, when you have glassware for reds, should also have some for your whites. In terms of size, white wine glasses are generally smaller compared to wine glasses. They usually come at just under twelve ounces on the average. But as with the reds, larger bowls are also becoming more popular with the whites. For your full-bodied white wines, serve them at 58 degrees and the lesser-bodied ones at 48 degrees.

Champagne flutes, not "glasses"

Champagne Glasses

Champagne is definitely a popular drink, on par with wine. It’s especially a familiar sight in high class social gatherings. If we are going to be quite technical about it, the glassware should be referred to as “flutes.” Champagne is best served chilled at approximately 48 degrees and enjoyed immediately after pouring to savor its best flavors. This is why champagne flutes are designed to maximize the bubbly by reducing the surface area . Apart from the flute, there is also what is known as a champagne coupe. But it seems this is utilized more for cocktails and daquiris.

Martini Glasses

Martinis are also a well-loved drink at parties. It’s actually one of the most widely known cocktails. There are several types of martinis such as dry, dirty, and perfect martini. It is best served in a cocktail glass, “shaken, not stirred,” as James Bond would put it. A classic, traditional cocktail glass is an inverted cone bowl. This can come in a variety of sizes, usually around three to six ounces.

Wine And Cheese Pairings For Spring’s Last Hurrah

June 13th, 2016

We’re down to our last few weeks for the month of June! Spring season is nearly coming to a close and soon, the summer loving months will be setting in. It’s time for a last Spring hurrah with some sumptuous wine and cheese pairings to properly bid adieu to this lovely time of the year. Here are some of our favorite duos:

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Your bold Reds with bold Cheeses

So first up would be our favorite Reds and what dairy delights would go well with them. In general, wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel match up well with equally intense cheeses. It’s recommended to pair them up with a cheese that’s firm and a bit salty – and preferably one containing “tyrosine crystals.”  Serve your rich Reds with bite-sized pieces of these cheeses, and some plain bread slices, rolls, or crackers on the side. Also, Cabernet Sauvignon will go very well with your aged cheddars and peppery cheeses.

Your classic Whites with various Cheeses

A little more flexible than the Reds, White wines can be paired with a much wider selection of cheeses. The resson for this is because whites actually do not contain “tannin” which makes it easier to match them up with a more varied array of cheeses. From experience, one of the very few cheeses that doesn’t go exceptionally well with Whites is blue cheese. Blue cheese has a very strong flavor and has a tendency to overwhelm the much milder Whites. Here are just some of our preferred classic pairings: Proseco x Asiago, Chardonnay x Cream Cheese, and Sauvignon Blanc x Goat Cheese.

Your Dessert Wines with elegant Cheeses

That’s right – cheeses can sport an elegant flavor like wine. And when paired with the right dessert wine, you get the best of both worlds. In formal parties, cheese courses are still served. But in present times, more and more informal gatherings involve hors d oeuvres synonymous with cheese.Of course, when there’s cheese, there SHOULD be wine and in this case, a dessert wine! Vintage port ranks high in our list of favorites because it goes well with just about any type of cheese – even blue cheese. But light reds are very much welcome as well, such as a lovely Pinot Noir with softer cheeses like brie or camembert.

Do you have a favorite wine and cheese pairing for Spring? Share them with us today!

“Terrior” And The Hand That Feeds It

March 2nd, 2016

shutterstock_1950688editGetting into wine is easy….go buy a bottle and drink it. Find what you like, buy again, rinse and repeat.
However, there is so much more to enjoying, learning and studying wine than only getting your new favorite bottle (or box) time after time.

If you’ve recently taken the leap into learning more about different grapes, regions, and winemaking processes, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen the word “terrior.” Pronounced *terhe-WAH,* the laymen’s meaning of the word is that the grapes taste like where they are from in the world, country, region, even down to vineyard locations.

That’s a very easy and basic explanation but it’s true: A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a big grapefruity bomb, while the exact same grape from California or South Africa can show more floral and grassy notes and flavors. Ever had a good Burgundy (Pinot Noir) from France? Put it side by side with a California Pinot and you’ll be surprised at the differences. Even comparing something as close in region as, say, a Russian River Pinot from Sonoma up against one from Santa Barbara down the cost, shows amazing differences that you can actually taste and track from vintner to vintner.

shutterstock_124991384editTalking terrior can also be the main crux in the differences when discussing “Old World” vs. “New World” wines and production methods. You can taste more rustic, earthy understones on a Syrah or GSM blend from the Southern Rhone region in France vs. the more fruit-forward versions produced here in the USA.

Believe it or not, part of the final test to become a sommelier is to blindly taste wines and be able to identify WHERE that wine game from and the exact grape. Being able to identify terrior in this manner takes years of practice and knowledge and goes to show you just how important it is.

Next time you’re buying wine, grab a Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon and grab one from South America or South Africa. You’ll be amazed at the differences…and it’s all based on terrior. Be sure to keep your wine stored carefully and you can continue to enjoy them for years.