Archive for February, 2011

Storage of Wine

So, my day off and what do I do? I COULD do homework, I COULD clean my apartment and I COULD go to gym, but I find myself sitting on the couch watching HGTV‘s  Design on a Dime. Nice! But I  feel better by convincing myself that at least it isn’t Maury. It may be a feeble attempt, but it helps me sleep at night. However, during this episode, the man made his own wine and wanted to redo the dining room to display his product. I got so excited! During this episode, I learned a couple of tips on the storage of wine.

The first thing the expert asked was if it was a dark, damp place in the house. This makes sense to me. You want a place where the sunlight cannot penetrate and if it is too dry it can also change the flavor of the wine.

You also have to be sure that the temperature does not change too much because this can damage the cork and cause it to crack and allow air to leak into the bottle. The temperature change can also cause the cork to mold and none of us want our wine to taste like a moldy grape!

The other thing that the expert in the show said was that bottles should be stored on their side. This allows the cork to be kept moist and it will not crack.

These are all things that I had never thought about before!

Thanks HGTV!

Home wine storage made easy!


Graduation and Sauvignon Blanc #2

Wow, it’s really sinking in now. Holy smokes I’m graduating soon! Yes, it was there the whole time, I have been job searching and making plans for friends and family to come to the ceremony, but today was just plain creepy.

Today, I bought my graduation cap, gown, tassel and announcements. It’s real. It is sooooo real. Eeek

Well, I can only think of one thing to make me feel better. WINE! (It’s homework for this blog only…I swear!) So, I am cracking open, well, popping open I suppose, my $8.00 bottle of Californian  Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc. I like Barefoot. It’s cheap and the Moscato is quite tasty.  So, it jumped out to me and I bought it. Sadly, it was a mistake.

I am not a fan of this Sauv Blanc. The Monkey Bay that I had last week was a shock to the system with it’s dry, fruitiness that I was not used to (but liked!). This Barefoot honestly tastes like flavored water. Crisp and refreshing, but in a high quality H2O sense, not wine.

There is supposed to be a kind of pear, melon and nectarine flavor to it. I am not getting this. Granted, a way to describe it is a little smokey on the nose and slight aftertaste, but it is so subtle and I am still finding myself sitting here unsatisfied.

I need more flavor, more burst and richness in wine. I want citrus to dance upon my taste buds happily and merrily, and Barefoot is doing no dancing. This makes me sad. I am looking at other reviews of this wine and all I am reading is about it’s clean taste, I am sorry but if I want clean I will drink free water from the tap…

Time to try a Washington wine that has been suggested to me if I can find it.

Sauvignon Blanc #1

So, it was time for my first Sauvignon Blanc.  It is a beautiful sounding name…Sauvignon Blanc…is a dry white wine produced in California, France, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Washington, and growing in popularity in South Africa and New Zealand. There are various flavors within the S.B. varietal. It can taste like grass, green pepper, asparagus, grapefruit, lime and even “catbox.”

Now, catbox is not a way I would like my wine to be described as tasting or smelling like, but some people really get into this. I remember watching someone taste wine and described it as being “earthy” and like manure. That’s just gross. But some people really look for this and savor this. Perhaps I just still have a whole lot of wine-ing to do.

But, after going into the store and digging into my pockets for as much spare change that I could, I finally had enough to buy my first New Zealand bottle of S.B. I couldn’t help it, something just sounds cool about getting a wine from New Zealand! I am a complete nerd, but I found good old Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc. (It’s a very interactive website and very cute!) For about $9 I was able to buy my first bottle of dry wine!

I was extremely nervous about trying a dry wine. But after the initial sip where I wrinkled my nose and puckered my lips, I got more used to it. It is very fruity and very light and it started to grow on me. It wasn’t so bad once I got used to the unsweetness of the wine. I am intrigued and once I work another shift in the journalism school, I should have enough money in my pockets to scrounge up enough for another bottle. Any other suggestions on cheap bottles of S.B.?

Around Town

For those of us living in a college town, where wine may not be everyone’s first drink choice, it is sometimes hard to find the best places to buy wine at a good price.  But, I have compiled where the best places are in Morgantown, WV to get your wine.

  • Slight Indulgence – This is a gourmet grocery store in Morgantown that is family owned has two locations. Not only can you buy imported wine and beer at a great price, but you can also get a delicious panini and some chocolate. Best hidden gem in Morgantown!
  • The Wine Rack – a place with a large selection of wine at a great price and a nice friendly staff that answers all questions.
  • The Wine Bungalow – international wines, gourmet chocolates and sauces and wine buckets
  • Forks of Cheat Winery – A local winery that everyone in the area should enjoy!

Houdini Wine Opener

As I have made clear, I had to learn the hard way about opening a wine bottle with a cork in it. It took a long time and a lot of practice to finally get the bottle open without completely ravaging the cork beyond belief.

I wish that I would have had these fun and special tips on How to Open a Bottle of Wine Without a Corkscrew during my picnic with my boyfriend, but oh well…I mean, some of these are quite Macgyver-ish but pretty handy!

I highly recommend purchasing a good bottle opener. One that is durable with a nice handle is perfect.

I was thrilled when my mom received the Houdini Wine Opener. This thing is cool. Houdini is basically a new version of the Rabbit. It’s a little big and really strange looking at first. But once you get the hang of it, it is so quick and easy and fun.

With 3 simple moves, you are uncorked and ready to go in about 6 seconds. The cork is still reusable and you don’t have all the twisting and turning and pulling.

It is a little more expensive than I would like. It ranges from $25 to about $40 and I know you can get them at any Kohl’s or Bed Bath & Beyond store. But put it on your birthday list, like I am, and hopefully you will have fun with it!

P.S. By all means, you should know how to open a bottle of wine with a regular corkscrew. There is nothing sexier or more impressive than a man who can uncork that bottle of wine! The Houdini is not necessarily portable and unfortunately will not always be there where you need it if you are outside your home. So try it out, get it down partially, and then use that Houdini or Rabbit!

Valentine’s Day Ideas Please

Ahhh… The Hallmark holiday of the world. Valentine’s Day.  Whether you love it or hate it, it’s Monday and most people will be out and about and punch-drunk in love this weekend.

I personally just got back from the store, buying my guy some last minute gifts and ingredients for the meal I am making tomorrow when he gets into town.  Not only did I find myself excited when I got into the wine section, but I also found myself in a slight panic mode.

Obviously, since wine seems to be my newfound obsession (I also just bought a New Zealand Sauv Blanc I can’t wait to try!) I wanted to get a (cheap) nice bottle of champagne because I know Brian does like champagne (but he cannot tell me what kind he likes for his life). I walked up and down the aisle and found myself unsure of what to get.

Does anybody have any kind of suggestion for a good, budget friendly, V-day Champagne to pop open?

Blog a day week

Honestly, this blog a day week for class was not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was actually able to write a blog post everyday this week.

I think the reason why this was possible is because there is so much information on wine. I feel like when I am researching things for one of my posts, I am led to more terminology and references to things that I don’t know about. So everyday I am inspired by something new.  

For example, I wanted to do a post on the history of the cork, but I came across a lot of information on TCA in the cork tainting wine or a wine being “corked.” So while I was able to write a post on the history of the cork, I also found out what my next post would be too.

Of course the other blogs that I am following helped out as well.

Probably the most difficult thing for me during this week was planning when I would be able to post. I work, I intern and I have class. So, finding an open hour or so to post may have been the hardest thing. I found myself waking up in the morning, thinking about my day and planning when I would be able to blog. But it did work out.

I like the idea of the one blog a day because I found out that I actually have followers. I have a person I do not know from Washington State subscribing to my blog and some of the people from blogs email me on a regular basis with advice about my blog. It is really exciting so I think having one post a day helped my blog appear a little more credible, which is cool.

Now let’s see if I can keep it going.

The Negatives of Cork

So, we have already talked about how a cork can be inconvenient, but there are other negatives to a cork.

A cork can actually taint a wine and make it taste bad. 3-7% of corks are contaminated with TCA (2,4,6-Trichloroanisole). This TCA causes problems with the wine. People are able to detect this contamination in their wine, but many are unable to smell or taste it.

If the wine has a high amount of TCA in it, the wine can taste and smell musty. The TCA cannot harm you, however I am already broke and that $10 that I just spent on that bottle equals a lot of Ramen noodles and a bottle of shampoo. I need that.

If you get a corked wine, it is recommended that it be returned while it is full or nearly full. This way they are more understanding and willing for the exchange.

A corked wine is one of four common defects in wine.

Why the Cork?

I will never forget my first college wine tasting experience. I was over at a guy friend’s apartment and he busted out a bottle of wine. I was surprised and intrigued. He never showed any kind of interest in wines before, why now? He didn’t even have a wine glass in the kitchen.

What else did he not have? A de-corker. So, his roommate was called out and I watched two grown men and a knife battling against a bottle of wine.  Certainly a night to remember.

Then there was the time when my boyfriend and I packed a picnic including a bottle of sparkling wine and went out to a grassy area to have a nice romantic time. Well, I forgot my bottle opener/de-corker at home. We ended up walking a mile to the nearest hotel to borrow one to open up the bottle. (Thanks Waterfront Hotel!) Not the most romantic thing. I was mad at myself and mad at the bottle.

So, why do wine bottles even need a cork? I have come across some bottles that have a twist off top, so obviously it is possible. But why?

The cork has been used for thousands of years to seal a bottle of wine. If you would like the entire history, check out George M. Taber’s article. He calls the sound of the bottle opening one of the few sounds in the world that brings true joy to the listener. He talks about the entire history of the cork and why it may soon be an endangered species.

It seems like the only real reason I can find is that cork is elastic and nearly impenetrable. And of course, to make drinking it very inconvenient at times. But, I think I have learned my lesson by now.

Anyone else have a good story about not being able to open a corked wine? Or have a better idea of why they are even used?

Forks of Cheat

So, as you may know I am a college student attending West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. I always remember driving into town from home and seeing signs for a local winery and I always found myself curious about it.

So, the other day I went into the Kroger which is the local grocery store here in WV. They have a nice selection of wine and they have pretty much every varietal from Forks of Cheat.

The suggestion that I went with was Forks of Cheat Pear from Candace at the Daily Athenaeum, our school’s award winning newspaper. Candace told me about Kroger having the entire collection of the winery and to try some of them. So, I picked up the Pear varietal.

I don’t really know why Pear is the one I chose, but I really wish I would have gone with something more bold like Strawberry or Pomegranate. As soon as I uncorked the bottle and smelled the wine in the glass it smelled like I just stepped into the dentist’s office. I was scared.

I took that first sip and instead of tasting like pear, it tasted like liquified toothpaste.  The more I drank it the more I started to taste a bit of pear, but it was not enjoyable at all.

The bright side is that it was inexpensive (I got it on sale for $8, but it is listed on the website at $10. I have decided that I am going to try a bolder flavor next time and hopefully not feel like I just cleaned my teeth.

I hope your right Candace!