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Tag Archives: Wine Wednesdays
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about natural wines, but what does that really mean? There are many aspects and definitions to what makes a wine “natural” but what they all have in common is that they strive to be as close to nature and chemical-free as possible, both in agricultural and wine making practices. That means no pesticides or fungicides used in the vineyard. And usually it means that the land is tilled by hand, not with machinery. The resulting grapes are not necessarily certified organic, but they are farmed in using organic and sustainable methods.
Natural winemakers also use different methods than traditional winemakers when making the actual wines — they use natural yeasts for fermentation, rather than yeasts that have been cultivated. They also don’t use any technology to shape the wine into any predetermined taste, preferring to let the wine evolve into what nature intended each vintage. And some winemakers don’t filter the wine either, so the cloudiness can take some getting used to. Being natural doesn’t necessarily make a wine better — but it certainly makes them interesting. — but there are some beautiful ones out there —Have you tried any natural wines?
Do you still have holiday shopping to do? We still have some lovely sale items from our Factory Sale at our Watsonville Store. Come shop now through Sunday, December 22nd while supplies last! (Remember, our Factory sale items are final sale only — no returns or exchanges.)
And another great idea for for a hostess or holiday gift — some local Santa Cruz wines from award winning local vineyards. You can find a selection from our Watsonville studio tasting bar. Taste while you shop. There are wines to suit every palate and wallet. 4 tastings for $6, 8 tastings for $12.
Here is our current lineup of wines that you can taste and purchase:
Malvasia del Fiore – $16
A lovely fresh and perfumed wine, excellent for cocktail time and desserts, an Annieglass favorite
Joullian Chardonnay – $22
100% estate fruit in Carmel Valley. Crisp apple and hazelnut flavors
Joullian Cabernet – $28
Lovely structure and echoes of top Bordeaux
Scott Family Chardonnay – $19
Balanced, smooth and utterly drinkable
Scott Family Pinot Noir – $24
Silky and aromatic, raspberries and cola flavors
Heron Pinot Noir – $18
Elegant structure with classic forest floor and cola flavors and aromas
Selby Old Vine Zinfandel – $21
Defined flavors of dark raspberry, clove and chocolate. Dessert, anyone?
Graham Beck Brut – $16
A delectable and classic sparkling wine that mimics French Champagne, fine bubbles and clean style
Holiday Tours and Pours hours
Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22
Tours at 11:30 and 2:00
Wine tasting: 12:00 to 4:30
Please note, our Watsonville store will be closed over the holidays, from Friday, December 27th through the New Year. We reopen Friday, January 3rd
Wine is a big part of a holiday meal, which is one reason I love to design wine coasters and coolers. For Thanksgiving I like to serve both a red and a white wine to suit everyone’s preferences. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both perfect for Thanksgiving because they are food-friendly and can pair pretty well with all the various food and spices that make up the meal. I also like to highlight some really wonderful local vineyards.
- Hunter Hill Pinot Noir. This Santa Cruz, CA winery makes acclaimed Pinot Noirs with lots of deep berry fruit notes
- Alfaro Pinot Noir Also from Santa Cruz, this ruby red wine is always a hit.
- Testarosa Chardonnay These wines hailing from Central Coast California are rich, layered and a little bit exotic.
- Storrs Chardonnay This wine, made from fruit from the Santa Cruz mountains, is amazingly balanced and structured
- Talbott Vineyards Chardonnay This Monterey winemaker makes full-bodied and lushly classic Chardonnays.
With all of the celebrations happening this time of year — graduations, engagements, weddings — there are bound to be lots of reasons to open up some sparkling wine or Champagne. Here are some tips to get the most from your bottles:
Flute Vs. Coupe Vs. Tulip: The different glass shapes are largely a matter of personal preference: The long stem of the flute insures that you can drink the wine without warming it up through the heat from your hand. And the long bowl is designed to preserve the bubbles by reducing the surface area at the top. The tulip also has a long stem and narrow bowl, but boasts a tapered rim which helps emphasize the aromas. The coupe is the classic Champagne glass, designed in the 1600s. But even winery owners and winemakers use regular wine glasses sometimes for their sparkling wines. Use what works best for your table and overall design.
How to open bubbly like a pro: The goal is to gently ease the cork out. Popping the cork may be dramatic, but it also comes with a loss of wine, and nobody wants that!
• Remove the foil from around the cage.
• Tilt the bottle away from yourself — and anyone else — at a 45 degree angle.
• Place your thumb on top on top of the cork and twist the wire tab that encases the cork — it should take six twists to release the cage. Once you have started this, do not take your thumb off of the top of the cork — the pressure in the bottle can cause the cork to prematurely pop and fast. The pressure behind the cork is more than that of most car tires, at about 90 pounds per square inch. The cork can shoot out as fast as 50 miles per hour, and cause bruising or worse if it hits someone.
• Keep your hand on the neck and your thumb on the top of the cork. Use your other hand to twist the bottle from the bottom.
• Once you hear a little sigh, you can gently slide the cork out.
What temperature should your bubbly be? The ideal temperature is 42 degrees, but really, the temperature you like it best at is fine. To chill, one hour in the fridge is good. Or 20 minutes in a bucket of ice and water — adding a ¼ cup of salt to the water speeds up the chilling. And pour your glasses less than ½ full, and replenish often to keep bubbly at optimum temperature.
How much sparkling wine do you need?
• For a toast: one bottle for five to six glasses
• For a two-hour cocktail party or reception: one bottle for every three guests
• Paired with a meal: one bottle for every two people
We are very lucky to have winemaker, Denis Hoey, of Odonata Wines pairing with Wendy Brodie’s great food for our Platemaker’s Dinner tomorrow night. His small family winery is based on the west side of Santa Cruz. Denis produces great wines in limited amounts blending old-world winemaking techniques to create wines that are soft, supple, yet offer subtle complexity. His inspiration is the traditional French style of winemaking.
In his own words: “My desire is to create wines that are soft, supple, and with subtle complexity. Inspired from the traditional French style, these wines are designed to be food friendly. They are balanced in fruit, acidity, alcohol, and wood, with flavors and aromas that are cohesive with a lengthy finish. Odonata wines are made to be accessible now, but will also age beautifully. They will always be hand made in small batches to exemplify the unique qualities of the varietal and vineyard.”
These wines are designed to be food friendly. Odonata means “of the dragonfly family” and their Odonata River Skimmer is a truly unforgettable wine. And this will be an unforgettable night! There are just a few seats left. Get your tickets now