Archive for January, 2011


Superbowl and Wine?

Contrary to popular belief, my first love in life is not wine!  Believe it or not, I am a huge sports fan. Anything competitive in nature, I’m in. As long as I have a person to root for, I will be enthralled. Give me a women’s horse shoes national championship game on TV and I promise you I would be able to watch it and be completely entertained. Anyway, just a fun fact about me which leads to my next point (this is going somewhere I promise).

The Pro Bowl is done and that leaves us with the biggest TV event of the year: The Superbowl! Not only am I amped because it is football, but yes the Pittsburgh Steelers are in it.

HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO! ok ok I got that out.

Now, as we all know, the typical beverage of choice for any sporting event is beer. Beer is good. Beer is great. I love beer. But, what about dressing up the event and taking it to the next class level and  bust out some good old vino during the big game? Thanks to 1WineDude and his post it is possible! He swears that a good Argentine red wine is the perfect thing to have during a game because it is good enough to enjoy during the game, but not so amazingly awesome that you will be distracted from the game by it’s fabulous-ness. So, I think I will be trying one of these for the game.

Also, thanks to  Wine-4-Beginners it claims that certain Pinot Grigio brands can be reminicient of beer! It says this is considered a good beginner wine because if you are used to beer, it could be a good one to ease into. It also suggests Santa Margherita or boxed Bandit Pinot Grigio. Could be another good option.

So, you have your wine to try for the game? Great! But what about food now? In the wine world, everybody likes to pair foods to go well with their wine. But, you are just a beginner like me right? So how do we do this? Well, according to Blake Gray and The Gray Market Report there is an App for that! For $2.99  you can find out what foods go perfectly with that bottle you are buying. So, if you really want to, get that wine and prepare some awesome appetizers and food for that Superbowl party you are planning.

But, maybe you want to buy some beer and cheetos just in case…

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Virgin Wine Tasting

Ahhh…I knew it would come eventually. My first official wine tasting experience. Of course I have tasted the wine, but tasting it in an establishment is something that was new to me. It wasn’t glamorous, in fact it was quite unexpected!

While visiting my boyfriend Brian and his family in New Jersey, I explained to all of them my new and exciting blog: My journey of how I plan to become a world renowned wine connoisseur by staying on my cheap college budget (dreaming too much? Perhaps…). They found it interesting. So interesting in fact that Brian’s dad suggested that we go to a beer and wine tasting that was going on at their local Wegmans store the following day. I did not know what to expect, but I was eager to go and broaden my little knowledge of wine. Fabulous!

First, I walked through the unique and extravagant  supermarket area of the Wegmans and I took in all of the high ceilings, cafe, big screen TVs and breads. I will admit that I got entirely too excited over a supermarket, but I digress…

We then wandered into the wine and beer section of the store and we headed to the wine tasting. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Instead of bottles and bottles out and swarms of people trying the wine there was a little table with a woman standing behind it with two bottles of wine. We approached her, showed our IDs, and were introduced to the two bottles of wine. Both were French Remoissenet: one a Chardonnay and the other Pinot Noir.

SCORE! Two wines that I had never tried before. Wonderful! The first thing I noticed was that the Chardonnay (a dry white wine) was placed in a bucket of ice and the Pinot Noir (a sweeter red wine) was left out at room temperature. So, I asked the reason for this. After looking at me as if I must have been born yesterday and unworthy of breathing on her wine bottles, she explained to me that white wine is chilled and red wine should never be refrigerated due to taking away from the flavor of the wine.

I found this very interesting and was very excited to learn some common information about wine. She then went on to inform me that at least that was how it used to be. In recent times it is becoming more common to place the bottle of red wine in the fridge roughly 20 minutes before consuming to obtain a slight coolness. Even more fun facts! Yay!

She then recommended that we try the Remoissenet Royals Club Chardonnay first and allow it to settle on the palette for a little bit before swallowing. I did and found it quite enjoyable. She claimed that this particular kind of Chardonnay which is enhanced with vanilla and stone-fruits does not have as much of an “oaky” taste that most Chardonnays have. Brian’s dad agreed that he enjoyed it and that it wasn’t as oaky as the many Chardonnays that he had before. Very nice!

Moving on to the Remoissenet Bourgogne Pinot Noir. I was not as fond of this wine as much as the Chardonnay. It is enhanced with berry, spice and…LEATHER????? Interesting but strange. I did not feel as though I was gnawing on a boot or anything, but I just wonder who decided that adding cowhide to a drink would make it taste good. It felt like a stronger flavor in the pinot but to be completely honest, the room temperature thing threw me off a little bit. I like my beverages cold, not warm. When I want a drink I like it to be cool and refreshing. So, a part of me wants to definitely try Pinot Noir again and have a glass at room temp, a glass at 20 minutes chilled and a final glass at completely chilled.

Well, it wasn’t a winery but I sure enjoyed my first official wine tasting experience! I learned new things and I definitely want to do it again!

Riesling – Round Two

I have now learned two things

  • Always do research before going to the store to buy wine
  • Just trying two bottles of a wine does not make you an expert

So here we go. I bought a bottle of 2009 Cupcake Vineyard Riesling (from Mosel, Germany). Cupcake is a wine brand that I have been looking at in the stores for a long time and finally decided that I am just going to go ahead and get it. There are two kinds of Cupcake Riesling. One is the German kind mentioned earlier, which I really wanted to try from my research. The other kind is the Columbia Valley (Washington, US) version. Since I had already tried a Washington Riesling and was not very impressed with it, I knew I was going to go for the prettier blue bottle and better reputation in the German Cupcake.

It was the perfect choice! It was definitely a dry wine, and not as sweet as a Moscato but with the honeydew and lemon flavors added to it, it was an enjoyable drink. I greatly enjoyed this German wine and with the appealing price tag under $10, I know I will be sure to try more Cupcake varietals and more Rieslings from Germany!

A toast to not giving up, doing research and trying a variety of new things!

Riesling

Well, I may have made my first mistake this week with my wine choice. I stopped off at the store on a whim, before I was able to do good research beforehand. I went to the wine aisle and blindly went to an area that I thought could be interesting (my goal is to get to all of them anyway, right?). I decided Riesling would be my choice of wine this week.

I was in a rush and thought I would just pick two from two different regions. One from Italy and one from Washington State. What I should have done, was do my research and found out that those two locations are not necessarily known for their Riesling wines. Germany and France are apparently where all of the best Riesling is made. Fail on my part. So, the wine that I got was not wonderful, but here is my critique.

The interesting thing about Riesling is that it is a white wine and not classified as sweet or dry because depending how the wine is made it can either be dry, semi-sweet or sweet. This is really strange to me and what makes it really hard is that some bottles do not specify what they classify their liquid gold as. My question is, how can someone say that they like Riesling if it can be so versatile?

Movendo (Riunite) Riesling: This is an Italian brand of the Riesling that I got. The plus side is that this is not expensive wine. Some areas can get it for 6.99 for a regular bottle (and it is a pretty bottle!). However, although it did not specify on the bottle, was very dry. I found myself making a face after drinking it. I do not know if it was my inexperience with dry wines or not, but this caused me to not notice any other kind of flavor that may have been present. This brand describes it’s use of green apple and lime but I could not get this taste. I know my mom buys other, regular Riunite wines, but I know I will no longer buy this Movendo again.

Barnard and Griffin 2009: This $10 wine made in Washington State definitely had a much stronger flavor to me than the Movendo. I think I am still deciding how much I liked that flavor. It had more of a tangerine and apple flavor to it and had a funny aftertaste to me. Again, I am disappointed.

The thing that I find most interesting is how different these two wines tasted. However, I am not ruling out Riesling yet! I have decided that since these two brands were so different and I did not try it from it’s ideal region, I am going to give it another chance! There will be a round II of Riesling for me!

Moscato

This is the first wine that I have ever tried and extremely enjoyed! I never heard of Moscato before last year when a friend of mine bought a bottle of it from Olive Garden and I had been intrigued since then. So, I went to the store and bought the restaurant’s brand, Itallian Castello del Poggio Moscato (also known as Muskat) wine. This cost me about $12.50 for a regular size bottle of the wine.

It is a mild, sweet, white wine that has a delicious, fruity flavor with accents of apricot and honey. It is light on the tongue and has a nice aftertaste. I suggest that it be served chilled (between five and ten degrees) and enjoyed fully. It is recommended to be paired with desserts, mild cheeses, fruits and on it’s own. I extremely enjoyed my first taste.

I also tried a California Moscato from a popular and inexpensive wine brand: Barefoot. This particular bottle wore a sticker for best of show so I figured I could not go wrong. This brand cost about $10.99 for a large bottle and has hints of lemon and orange along with the honey, peach and apricots. Another wonderful brand. It may have been slightly heavier, but not much at all. Barefoot Moscato will be a wine that I will highly suggest to anyone. I am loving the start to this experiment of mine.

Overall, based on this experiment, I would say that if you are a person who has not found a wine that you can call your own, Moscato is the way to go. It is light, sweet and fruity and a great beginner wine. I know I drank this with my mom, sister-in-law, older brother and boyfriend (neither of the two males like wine very much) and it was a huge hit all around. I feel very proud of myself for passing on this discovery.

Any suggestions for a kind of wine to try this week?

Wine 101

Sticking with the college theme, here are the basics of wine. At first glance, wine seems like an extremely involved and complex topic. But if you just get the basics, the rest will come easy. The first thing to know is that there are a couple of ways to describe a wine. There is the color:

  • Red
  • White
  • Blush (Rose’)

And the kind of grape:

  • Sweet
  • Dry

The colors of wine are determined by what kind of grapes (or varietals) are used to produce the drink. For example, a red wine appears red and that is because the grapes used to produce that wine are a deep red, purple or even bluish. So, the white wines are white or a faint yellow or green color because that is the varietal being used.

The varietal is also where the wine gets it’s name from. The kind of grape used to make the wine is how it is named. For example, Shiraz is a red grape and when you are in the store looking at kinds of red wine, you will see many brands of Shiraz.

Many drinkers of wine that I know often describe themselves as being “white wine drinkers” or “red wine drinkers.” This is something that I never really understood. With my limited wine drinking experience I feel that the better way to describe a wine preference is a “sweet wine” or “dry wine” drinker.

Dry wine is natural. There are no sugars added to it and it is fully fermented. Sweet wine has sugar added to it and is generally a thicker consistency. Here is a great site that will take you through the steps of how to really tell if a wine is sweet or dry. A red wine can be dry or sweet and the same goes for white wines. So, it appears to me that a person would prefer a wine to have the sweeter taste or the dry taste as opposed to the red or white grape.

The great thing about wine nowadays is that one does not need to spend $45 for a bottle to get a good wine. This is also great for my cheap college budget! Walking through the store there is a huge variety for under $20 and most under $10!

Now that you and I now know the basics of wines, my experimentation will begin tonight! I have a sweet white wine ready to go tonight. Expect a post soon!

A Bit About Me

I am a college student on a limited budget (in other words I am poor) with a desire to become more cultured in the world of wines. This is going to be an in depth view about the history of wines, what kinds of wines are out there and how they are ideally used. It will be my experiences going to wineries and rating inexpensive wines that anyone with any kind of budget can afford. There will even be history on wineries and vineyards to enhance people of all ages and backgrounds.

My Background with Wines

As I mentioned earlier, this interest in wines is very new. As a child, my mom would let me take a sip from her glass of wine, and like many kids, I made a face and spit it out and would think to myself “who would ever drink this?” During my family picnics, my mom and sister-in-law always had bottles of wine and I always told myself that I would never drink wine because it was “nasty.”

Now I am 21 and finding myself fascinated with the history and intense “winers” that are all over the world. Now, here I am attempting to broaden knowledge and who knows, maybe become a wine connoisseur on a college budget! Come with me on the journey.