Sherry wine is perhaps the most underappreciated wines to pair with food. While I have never tried it with my wine class students, a review of the literature claims that it is being discovered by the younger generation — the millennials — because of the wide offerings in styles and flavors.
Would "two glasses of red wine with dinner, three or four beers after, followed by two shots of vodka" every day for decades be considered moderation? Not according to the physician giving an 83-year-old patient his physical. Moderation means to have enough wine to enjoy with company of family or friends. Drinking wine to solve problems will not work any better than drinking water or milk will. Ask yourself then, why is it you drink wine?
With Memorial Day weekend being the official celebration of the arrival of summer, wineries — both locally and across the country alike — are gearing up for the busy visitation season. First thing to keep in mind when visiting a winery tasting room is to recognize the friendly attendants are not bartenders. They are there to showcase the wines featured by the winery, to educate and hopefully sell a few bottles of product. They will not fill up your wine glass like a bartender; instead, they'll give you 1 to 2 ounces of wine to taste and evaluate.
My wine aficionados got together with us to sample some wines from eight different locations around the world. The wineries were mostly new to us, and certainly some of the wines we sampled were a new experience as well. The wines came from wineries in Argentina, Chile, Italy, Napa California and Spain. We had simple finger food to go along with the tasting: A couple of different hard cheeses, tasty spreads, along with a selection of fresh veggies and fruits.
Winemakers are finding a new market for their old wine barrels: aging coffee beans. According to an article appearing in the April 2017 issue of Wine Enthusiast, barrel aging adds woody, fruity, and even boozy notes to coffee beans. Here are some examples:
Hold the next glass of wine in your hand and contemplate for a moment how this wine came about. Certainly not by wishful thinking, but by careful planning and hard work, including hand labor using basic pruning tools to get the vines in the best possible shape to produce a marketable crop. This works well with small vineyards of just a few acres, but with larger vineyards that are typical of the ones in western states, especially California, modern technology is coming into use more often.
I just ordered a pound of "Black Insomnia Coffee" — stuff that is supposed to take care of your caffeine fix with just one cup. Caffeine, like alcohol, is a drug mankind has had a long association with. Nature created them to kill creatures much smaller than us; caffeine to kill insect predators, and ethanol to kill competitive microbes.
Thomas Jefferson was perhaps one of the first to say moderate wine consumption is good for one's health, and he certainly credited it to his longevity of 83 years in a time when the average life expectancy was 36. He also attributed his long and productive life to regular exercise and a generous diet of vegetables and fruits. Nice thoughts about wine being a part of a three-legged stool for a long life, but is there any science behind it? Rest easy. There is support for Jefferson's claim.
As the vines slowly come out of dormancy and begin breaking bud, this isn't the first activity to occur since last fall's harvest. The harvested grapes have completed their fermentation, a task that has been going on during our winter months. The end product — wine — is now ready to bottle for sale.
Thomas Jefferson's 274th birthday is tomorrow — April 13. Our country's third president was also the first unofficial sommelier for our country — specifically for the first two presidents and the three who followed him. His taste for wine was stimulated while serving as ambassador to France, when he started hobnobbing with Benjamin Franklin, who introduced him to French elite circles.