The Best of Today’s Spanish Wines

spanish wines

Credit: Dominic Lockyer

Spanish wines do not have the same kind of profile as French wines; they are generally bolder, and more full-bodied than their French counterparts. In “Top 20 Spanish Wines to Try Before You Quit Drinking”, Erin Brooks says, “Spain is like the wild, wild west when it comes to wine. Unlike France, where individual plots of land have been set aside for centuries as the best spots for winemaking, producers in Spain are still out searching for new terroirs, new regions and new (old) indigenous grape varieties that have been pushed aside in favor of commercial winemaking…”

Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world with about 2.9 million acres of vineyards. The country has its famous reds – Tempranilo, Monastrell, and Garnacha, as well as its share of whites – Albarino, Airen, Palomino, and Macabeo. Valdepeñas, a tempranillo, was made popular by no less than Ernest Hemingway. [Read more…]

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Making Floral, Fruity & Fragrant Sangria


Photo Credit: nattywoohoo

Sangria: Party lovers either love or hate this fresh fruit wine cocktail that has both a Spanish and Portuguese origin.

The squeeze of fresh citrus makes it a delicious and inexpensive drink that budget-conscious party hosts should have no second thoughts serving.

But, if it is a poorly made one, which will give your party guests a splitting headache the next morning, then forget it.

Sangria still makes a delicious and inexpensive party cocktail, if you know how to make a good one. And why not, when it is so easy to make!

With pitchers of it stocked in the fridge, the good time rolls as soon as the guests come trooping in and as this chilled and fancy cocktail is poured into glasses. With some creative additions and garnish, you can make the cocktail mix all your own, minus the headache, which your party guests will love. [Read more…]

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How to Enjoy a Wine Tasting Session

Wine TastingIf you are attending your first wine tasting session, you will want to make the most of this experience.  There is more to wine tasting than just having a sip of as many bottles as possible, and here are some tips for approaching this occasion like a pro.

Know what you want to taste.

You will definitely not be able to taste all the bottles offered for the public during a wine tasting session, so it is best that you decide beforehand which bottles you want to taste and stick to those.

Check out the activity’s website and look for the type of wine you want to get to know better. Then, take a look at the wine list offered for the event and mark the ones that have good reviews or rating. From this, make the list of wines you want to taste, taking note of what the reviews say. Once your list is complete, you are ready to optimize your wine tasting adventure. [Read more…]

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A Bit of Blarney in Your Whiskey

whiskeyThere is a strong bond between the words “Irish” and “whisky”, and it is a bond that is rooted in the history of Ireland. The Old Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed distillery, still stands in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The word “whiskey” itself is evolved from the words uisce beatha, a Gaelic term that means water of life.

Potstill’s The History of Irish Whisky says, “Irish whiskey was one of the earliest distilled drinks in Europe, arising around the 12th century (see Distilled beverage). It is believed that Irish monks brought the technique of distilling perfumes back to Ireland from their travels to the Mediterranean countries around 1000 A.D. The Irish then modified this technique to obtain a drinkable spirit. Whiskey was first recorded in Ireland in 1405…” [Read more…]

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Zinfandel: The Red and White Wine


Credit: David McSpadden

Zinfandel grapes are planted about ten percent of California vineyards, a variety also known as Primitivo. This black-skinned grape traces its origins to those grown in Croatia and Italy, but this variety has flourished in the United States more than anywhere else in the world.

Total Wine’s Guide to Zinfandel Wines says, “Uniquely American, this exuberant red wine is capable of producing top quality red wines that can rival Cabernet Sauvignon. It offers an array of flavors including black and red fruit, spice, pepper, tar, licorice and wood.Zinfandel [ZIN-fan-dell] is produced in three distinct styles. The first is the fresh and fruity, easy-drinking style that offers charm and balance with light tannins, followed by the medium-bodied, fuller flavored Zinfandels with noticeable spiciness and ripe tannins. This is followed by the big, concentrated and powerful style with intense fruit and unbelievable richness. Zinfandel is exclusively grown in California and is the most widely planted red grape variety…” [Read more…]

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The Right Age for the Right Wine

wineMany people have the impression that the older the wine, the better it is. This is far from true; some wines are best consumed young, and most wines do not fare very well beyond five years.

Vinepair makes a definitive stand on aging wine in Aging Wine: Why People Age Wine and When you Should Too when it says: “The industry loves to talk about aging and collecting wines because drinking a really old wine has a romantic allure. An old wine gives us a way to re-experience a year that was special in our memory, maybe the year of our birth or anniversary, or drink a wine that comes from a time we may never even have lived. On top of this, when a wine that was meant to be aged is drunk, the aging of the wine helps create flavors and textures we would never have experienced had the wine not undergone aging.” [Read more…]

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Tequila – What’s with the lime, the salt, and the worm?


Credit: Christine und David Schmitt

Most people automatically look for lime and salt when they drink tequila. This popular practice is seen in bars, pubs, and even in movies.  However, a closer look at tequila will shed light on how good this drink is best enjoyed.

The Place of Lime or Lemon and Salt

The necessity of lime or lemon and salt is debunked by people who know their tequila. In Quora’s Why do drinkers take lime and salt after a shot of tequila?, Jim Gordon describes this process. “The drinker licks a dash of salt off their moistened hand, to bring saliva into the mouth.  The drinker then takes a sip or swallow of tequila.  The drinker then sucks or bites the lime, to ameliorate the raw, burning taste of the tequilas…”

He adds an uncompromising verdict about the salt-and-lime practice by saying, “The salt and the lime are aids for drinking cheap, sharp-tasting (cruda) tequila…

“Salt and lime are unnecessary or undesirable when drinking smooth, more refined tequila.  In some regions of Mexico, it is customary to follow sips of better-quality-tequila with sips of sangrita (note the similarity of the name to the Spanish cocktail sangría), a cocktail of orange juice, sweet grenadine syrup and hot chilies…”

[Read more…]

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Unique Food and Wine Experiences: The Best of Queensland

AustraliaQueensland is known for its food and wine that are made remarkable for its ingredients derived from its immediate environments – the reefs, the rainforests and the volcanoes. The region is dotted with eating places – Asian, European and Australian restaurants as well as trendy bars and cafés – as well as wineries. Sirromet Wines are notable with its esteemed restaurant.  Milton’s 130-year-old Castlemaine XXXX alehouse brewery is open for tours.

Queensland Food and Wine specialties, according to the World Travel Guide are:   [Read more…]

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To Chill or Not to Chill the Wine

wineIf you have ever wondered just how cold wine should be when you serve it at your table, here is some good news for you. In Your Guide to Chilling Wine, Wine Enthusiast has provided its readers with the ultimate cheat sheet for making sure your bottles are at exactly the right temperature.

Advice from an Expert

Wine Enthusiast extensively quotes Fred Dexheimer, one of only 140 Master Sommeliers in North America. Dexheimer is a respected wine taster, commentator, and panelist for The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, Food and Wine, Wine and Spirits, Beverage Media, Sommelier Journal, and Wine Spectator. His critiques and articles have been featured in many publications, including Time, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, Men’s Vogue, and People. [Read more…]

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Looking for the Best Fruity Red Wine

red wineFinding a good, fruity red wine can sometimes be quite a challenge because reds run the gamut of very dry to very sweet on the taste scale. As a rule, wines from warmer climates tend to be fruitier and less dry than those that come from vineyards in cold areas. Dry wine is generally considered the more sophisticated choice’ but it is an acquired taste. At the same time, even if a diner prefers fruitier wine, there is a big difference between fruity and soda pop sweet. Furthermore, even when people look for fruity wine, they want something that will work well with food.

Worth a Try for Fruity

In Red Wine Information and Basics, Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast gives a good overview of the fruity undertones one can expect from different red wines. He describes wines made from Gamay, notably Beaujolais, “The grape of Beaujolais Gamay is often made to be drunk quite young, and shows bright, tangy, fruit-driven flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and sweet cherries. When made by the method known as carbonic maceration, young Gamay has a slight effervescence and a distinct smell of bananas…” [Read more…]

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