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The Wine Spot . . . 

Not a page for the experts - imagined or real - but a general information page.  Tips for the traditionalist, adventurer or casual connoisseur...


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More about Wine-the Enigma and bending old rules in 

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...and one that hopefully will enlighten a few who may be worried about which wine with what,  temperature as well as cooking with wine...and a tip or two about wine spots and  wine quotes!

 

No other product invokes such sensuousness of description as wine.  Easy to drink but less so to describe as flavour and aroma are the most difficult characteristics to put into words.  For some, it is romantic - for others wine is simply an accompaniment to the meal.  Whatever it is for you, food and wine should be fun and enjoyable and perhaps a little adventurous. 

 

Here are guidelines for your convenience.  Experiment and discover what pleases YOUR epicurean palate!  

 

Wonder about pairing chocolate and wine? 

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"Wine snobbery is a peculiarly English phenomenon, since the French on the whole prefer to get on with the business of eating and drinking.  As in other European countries, wine is 'as natural and as necessary as bread', as many writers have demonstrated." - Jennifer Taylor, The Wine Quotation Book

Pass mouse over grapes for a trivia titbit about wine snobbery!

   

Which wine...which food?

 

There are two schools of thought on this subject;  the traditional and the hedonistic adventurer.  On the extremes, the one can be inflexible and intolerant and the other borders on the naive and irreverent.  The happiest medium is  snuggled between the two. 

 

Obviously it is wise to be aware of the rules and the whys before making  an individual choice.  Thus armed one is no longer naive, but an informed individual who will feel confidant ordering a light red wine or rosé with the chicken - simply because one's palate feels like it on that day.  There are lovely light reds that complement a fine chicken dinner.

 

Traditionally...

Dry and medium dry white wines go well with chicken, fish, seafood, soups, patés veal and light cheeses and in general other dishes that want a light wine that will add crispness to the overall flavour.


Dry red wines go well with red meats, liver, stews, game as well as game fowl, duck, rabbit, ham, veal, fruit. Port goes especially well with strong cheeses.


Rosés are refreshing and perfect for hors d'oeuvres, shellfish, cold ham, cold cuts, salami, salads.


Obviously there are many other dishes that your palate may prefer with a rosé.  The point to remember is to match a delicate dish or meat such as veal with a light red rather than a robust one, i.e strong stew - serve a full bodied red.

 


The Adventurer...

 

experiments and knows that being rigid takes the fun out of the subject.  Have an adventure and discover what your palate likes with the chicken or vegetable feast.  You may discover that special rosé that you prefer over the standard white with your fish.  Eating and drinking wine should be fun.  The rule should be:  be flexible.

Tips for the Adventurer in you: spicy dishes are difficult to match with a wine.  Rosés which are refreshing and light are a good starting point as well as medium whites such as most German wines.

Don't waste a good wine on eggs which effect the taste buds and how they will perceive the wine.  Mint and vinaigrette sauces, asparagus, oily fish and artichokes can give an edge on a good wine.


Sherries are perfect as an aperitif or party nibbles.  In some countries, sweet sherries are served with or after the dessert.

 

Red wine spots on the tablecloth:  First of all never serve red wine with your favourite white tablecloth.  Plan another meal.  If you do and an accident happens anyway, do not hesitate to open the top of the salt shaker and generously cover the spot.  This will help draw out the wine.  Leave overnight.  If you are a guest, don't wait for the hostess - she may not want to embarrass you or may not know this trick.  She will thank you for it.  

 

Another effective aid is to soak the affected spot in white Wine - which may neutralize the spot or a little hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).  Rinse with water.  Use the cold pre-wash cycle on your washing machine in addition to the normal cycle as hot as the fabric allows.


Red wine on clothes:  Club soda may help.  On a white cotton shirt, hydrogen peroxide sometimes works.  Follow up with club soda or water and above comments.

Temperature Guide
(for the perfectionist)


The Red Wines

tip:  Room temperature if no more than 18°C.

range: 12°C to 18° C with the young and light ones cooler, the aged mid and the fine vintage no lower than 16°C.

 

The Rosés

tip:  The warmer side of the white wine range
range:  10°C to 12°C

 

The Whites

tip:  The sweeter, the cooler
range:  6°C to 12°C with the sweet dessert wines coolest, the med-sweet, the dry and young  mid (8°C to 9°C)  and the dry aged no lower than 10°C.

 

The Sparkling Wines

tip:  Inexpensive - coolest to improve taste.
range:  6°C to 8°C

 

Champagne and Cava

tip:  Chilled, not shocked, please!
range:  8°C to 11°C

 

 

Jeréz (Sherries)

Fino: 9°C
Cream: 13°C
Oloroso (full bodied, dark) : 15°C

 

  

The everyday reality is that the average person doesn't have a wine thermometer.  Just remember that cool does not mean just above freezing and room temperature does not mean summer when it is 30° C.  Do test your refrigerator once in a while.

Serve white wines lightly chilled, rosés the same or just a little warmer and reds at a cool room temperature.

An ice bucket chills ten times faster than the refrigerator.  Fill to a third with ice, then water.  The water helps the bucket conduct the cold.

 


Cooking with Wine

The acidity in wine hinders the cooking process of some vegetables.  Onions should always be cooked before adding wine.

Always allow the alcohol to evaporate after adding wine; keep unlidded for 2 minutes...

however, add fortified wines such as port, sherry or Madeira just before serving (+ - 1 T. per serving) to retain the full bodied taste. (Cream soups, sauces...)

Wine curdles milk and cream.  Add these ingredients last and off the heat and do not allow to simmer.

A good general guideline to remember is that whatever wine you plan to serve, use that for cooking  (and if you wouldn't drink it, don't use it for cooking!).  "Cooking wine" is for those who do not know any better.  Horrible stuff!  

Unless specified otherwise, use medium to dry wines for cooking.  Being too delicate, usually rosés are not used in cooking.

 

What is gourmet vinegar?  A good wine that has turned into vinegar!  A good wine or wine vinegar is an excellent marinade for stewing meats.

Serving Tips

 

To be flexible and open about wines successfully, one must remember that a few 'nevers' and  'always'  have survived the test of time.  Its good to understand the 'whys' and keep them in mind.


Never serve a white wine after a red.  The flavour of the white will be ruined in the shadow of the red.

An important rule to remember if you are serving two kinds of a wine:  always serve the younger first and the more subtle, complex, and expensive one after.  Build upwards with the flavours and quality.

If you are serving two wines of the same kind, it is a better idea to choose them from the same area rather than serving two completely different wines.

Serve dry wines before the sweet.  Reverse the order and the sweetness will linger ruining that special dry white.

Dry champagne is subtle enough to be served before any other wine.  Not ice cold, please as this inhibits its flavour from fully releasing until it comes up a few degrees!  Chilled, not shocked.

We never think of it but it is a good idea to open the red wine two or three hours before serving and the white an hour before.  Completely remove the cork and wipe any residue.  (Personally, I have only remembered this on a few occasions - remembering usually just before or a half hour before.  Sigh.) 

Never fill a glass more than half full (some suggest a third).  This allows the drinker to appreciate the aroma that gathers in the glass.

Tie a napkin around the neck of the bottle or use a drip ring to catch drips.  (Or practice pouring properly - rotate the bottle as you lift the neck to catch the last drop!)

Final rule:  If you forget any of the rules now and again, it is never a disaster, but another experiment to remember!

 

 

 

WINE QUOTES...


If God forbade drinking, would He have made wine so good?
- CARDINAL RICHELIEU

Wine is bottled poetry.
- ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

 Wine improves with age.  The older I get, the better I like it. 

- unknown

Wine...cheereth God and man.
- JUDGES; 9:13

In the year XXX Good wine of the large irrigated terrain of the Temple of Rameses II in Per-Amon.  The chief of the wine-dressers, Tutmes.
- EGYPTIAN WINE LABEL

 

Burgundy for kings, champagne for duchesses, and claret for gentlemen.

-FRENCH PROVERB

 

Rhine wine, fine wine.

-GERMAN PROVERB

 

Ripe, good old wine imparts a richer blood

To him who daily tastes its tonic flood.

- School of Salerno

Code of Health

11th Century

 

I enjoy cooking with wine.  Occasionally, a little may find its way  into  the dish I am cooking! 

- PCW

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