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Wine Cellar Inspirations: Wine And Cheese Pairings For Spring

April 26th, 2017

Spring is definitely the season for entertaining. It’s also the season for appreciating flavors, from wine to food and other beverages. Naturally, when we talk of wine flavors, we will also definitely cross paths with wine and cheese pairings. After all, what’s a wine party without  some good old wine and cheese? For this season, we’ve whipped up a couple of  delish recommendations you’d want to try out for your next get together.

Wine and cheese pairings

Now before we go on to the actual pairings, it’s quite important to keep in mind a few pointers. First off, always remember this classic wine pairing rule that states: “When a wine is matched with a cheese that has a similar flavor profile, the flavors will cancel each other out on the taster’s palate and enhance the more subtle flavors in both the wine and the cheese that would otherwise go unnoticed.”

Here is an example: a crisp, acidic white wine paired with an acidic cheese. When the taster has both in her mouth – instead of being overwhelmed by a strong sour taste, the acidity will disappear because the flavors cancelled each other out.  What will be noticeable would be the subtle notes of fruit or floral from the wine and a creamy sweetness and other flavors associated with the cheese. These flavors won’t be easily noticeable had the cheese and the wine have been sampled separately.

Now on to the pairings! Here are a few that will tickle your guests’ tastebuds and really bring those bursts of flavors:

  • Shiraz and Asiago Cheese
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Havarti Cheese
  • White Zinfandel and Truffle Cheese
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Manchego Cheese
  • Bordeaux and Colby Jack Cheese

Spring wines and cheeses

The pairings may seem a bit traditional for some, so if you’re up for something different, we also recommend Chardonnay with Naked Goat Cheese. We recommend an unoaked style chardonnay like a Naked Chardonnay. Since both will have more or less the same acidity, the flavors will actually cancel each other out. Note that Naked Chardonnay focuses on the crisp acidity of the chardonnay grape with flavors of lemony citrus and tart green apple. Naked goat cheese, on the other hand, has a tangy finish. Eaten together, what will be enhanced are the flavors of pear and honey from the wine and the creamy and nutty flavors from the cheese.

Do you have your own favorite wine and cheese pairing for Spring? Share them with us as well! ^_^

WCI Inspirations: Wine Tasting Party Ice-Breakers!

February 15th, 2017

Valentine’s Day may be over but the month of love is still going strong – especially the wine tasting! Wine tasting parties, whether formal or informal, happen all year long. Some of us have hosted a couple of them before and some of us are already old hands. But for sure, there will also be some of us who are total newbies to hosting these wine tasting parties. Last time, we shared with you some cool tips on how to prep for your wine tasting party. Today, we’re going to be sharing with you guys some novel ice-breakers to get your party started on the right foot:

Blind tasting with a twist!

Blind tasting with a twist!

Blind tasting games at wine parties is pretty common. So why don’t we do things a little bit differently this time? Instead of just the usual blind tasting with different wines, why not do a wine + cheese or wine + other appetizer blind tasting. This is a fresh and fun way to get rid of the awkward atmosphere. Inform your guests beforehand to bring just small samples of cheese or other appetizers and to write down the name and small description on a piece of paper. For the blind tasting game, chalk up double points for the one who can guess both the wine and cheese pairing. It’s like Jeopardy Daily Double – but with wine!

Cards Against Humanity – Wino Style!

Cards Against Humanity Wino-Style

Most of us probably know this game even if we’ve never played it before. The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card. But get this – you can actually customize your own cards to incorporate wine into the picture. It only takes about an hour to build your own deck online for just ten bucks. Formulate wine-inspired questions and churn out those white cards with all the crazy wine quotes you can find. If this doesn’t break the ice at your wine party, we don’t know what will!

The “Wine Genius” Game!

Wine Genius!

This is a guessing game that is just loads of fun and very informative, too. Prepare cards with self-adhesive labels. Write down the names of different wine varietals, famous “wine countries,” wine-themed movies, and just about anything wine-related. Ask your guests to pair off at random by picking numbers from a hat. Each pair will play the guessing game like this: one of them will wear a hat with a card stuck on it. He or she will try to guess what’s written on the card. The other person will try to help by guiding his or her partner to the right answer by just answering “yes,” “no,” or “maybe.” to the partner’s questions. While the one wearing the hat can ask any question to help him get the right answer, the partner can only respond “yes,” “no,” or “maybe.” The pair who can guess the answer in the shortest amount of time wins!

WCI Inspirations: Tips For Hosting Your Wine Tasting Parties

February 1st, 2017

2017 has barely started but we’re pretty sure that the wine tasting parties are already in full swing. Have you held your first one yet? Whether you have or you’re about to, today’s WCI Inspirations will certainly throw some useful tips your way. Check out some of these fun ways to plan your wine tasting parties and make your get-togethers, whether formal or not, a lot more memorable:

Set the theme for your party…

Silver-SS-Cellar

It’s only natural that the first step in planning a wine tasting party is determining the kind of event you want to host. If it’s your very first time, go the simple route and host a “stand-alone tasting.” This is one that will allow your guests to focus exclusively on what they are drinking and not fill up on or get too distracted by food. In other words, you can focus more on the wine supplies and a bit less on the food. That should cut a significant amount of preparation time. On the other hand, you can also choose to combine a tasting with a dinner, cocktail party, or other gathering. For first-timers, we suggest serving a light dinner followed by the wine tasting.

Prep your party space…

taste-rm-1

This would largely depend on the amount of people you have invited. But it would be safe to say that you should hold it at the largest room  in your home to allow space for your guests to mingle. The dining room is ideal, but if the living room is larger, that can work as well. If you decide to hold it outdoors like the patio or garden, you have to really ascertain the weather conditions on the day of your tasting party. Or, as a precaution, set up necessary protection from the elements such as a dome tent or cabana. If you have a nice, covered patio, then do take advantage of that. Plan your decor ahead to time so you can customize them without spending a ton of $$$. Wrapping some personalized mementos for your guests is a gesture that will really set the mood for your party. Small wine-themed gifts such as wine charms, stationery, and bottle tags are some smart options.

Do not forget the “essentials”…

If it’s your first time to host a wine tasting party, there are a few “essentials” that you should have ready:

  • A water pitcher and glasses filled with ice water to help cleanse the guests’ palate after each tasting
  • A large bucket or bowl in your tasting area for guests to dump extra wine after each tasting round
  • Ice bucket if white or sparkling wine selections are on your tasting menu

taste-rm

And lastly – prepare an ice-breaker before the actual tasting party starts! We’ll be sharing some wine tasting party ice-breakers with you guys on the next blog or so, so stay tuned. ^_^

 

Wine Cellar Inspirations: Our Favorite Christmas Wines

December 21st, 2016

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa’s coming in just a few days with tons of presents for those who have been “nice” this year. And for the true-blue winos out there, we’re pretty sure what you guys asked from the big guy in the red suit. What else but wine, wine, wine! As far as Christmas wine go, we’re also certain that you guys have your own list on what you’d want to pop open on your tables this year. We drew one up as well so check out our Christmas wine recommendations and see if your favorites made the cut:

Christmas wines

Let’s start with the Reds…

Christmas won’t be Christmas without a splash of red here and there. It’s one of the traditional colors of the season, after all. Of course, we’d also want reds on our dinner table, especially when we’re serving turkey, roasted pork, spiced ham, and/or meatloaf. At the cheaper end of the budget would be a Squinzano. It’s not the most popular red, but it’s getting there. The wine is made from ninety per cent Negroamaro and ten per cent Sangiovese. It has a spicy oak taste, slightly sweet-sour, and tastes of both fresh and dried fruit at once. But we also love a good bottle of Carmenere-Merlot which would be dynamite with pork belly and roasted veggies. Then again, there’s good, old Malbec which can really bring out the richness of the flavors on your Christmas table.

And move on to the Whites…

Naturally, the Whites also have to have a place on the Christmas dinner set-up. For those of you who prefer your whites over the reds, we recommend the ever reliable Sauvignon Blanc to accentuate the fruity taste of your dishes. However, you can also go with the Chablis, specifically a light and refreshing chablis like the Simonnet-Febvre that is reminiscent of gentle lemons with a hint of smooth limestone. Then again, if you want to opt for something to go with the salmon or other fish or poultry dish on your table, a bottle of Chardonnay will wrap things up fairly nicely.

And throw in some Sparkling ones as well!

Sparkling wine is a MUST for the Christmas table, especially with the ladies around. For some reason, sparkling wine is immensely popular with the female persuasion. A bottle of Pignoletto, specifically grown in Umbria and Emilia Romagna, is in order. This sparkling wine is frothily fine-bubbled, very light and slightly sweet. Nonetheless, there might be more than just a few of you who wouldn’t want to pass up the Proseco. A bottle of especially crisp and whistle-clean Proseco like the Conte Priuli will make a smash hit at your dinner table.