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Forget everything you think you know about Kosher wines. Today’s Kosher offerings are taking the wine industry by storm, crossing over into the mass market and earning rave reviews and high rankings along the way (deservedly so, we might add).
We love wine, beer and spirits. So much, in fact, that throughout the year we sponsor some of the most incredible events around—big events like the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival and the Whiskey Festival of New Jersey and more intimate events that allow us to support the organizations and happenings in our very own backyards. But, whether big or small, we bring the spirit—and the fun—wherever we go. Check back throughout the year so you don’t miss out!
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Locals sampled dozens of small batch and limited whiskey brands at the second annual Whiskey Festival of New Jersey held at the Pig & Prince Gastro Lounge in Montclair.
February 13th, New York City. The annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE). An opportunity for side-by-side tastings of some of the best, the newest, the most unique kosher wine offerings from around the world. A place where winemakers come to share the stories of their vineyards and the passion they pour into each and every bottle. We were lucky enough to attend and spend time with many of the vineyard owners and winemakers, including Wine maker Amichai Lourie from Shiloh Winery.
Established in 2005, overlooking the astonishing view of the Benjamin strip – Shiloh Winery produces extraordinary wines from a biblical site that is the most ancient terroir in the world. The grape-growing conditions needed to produce the finest quality wines exist in the Judean Desert and most notably where Shiloh´s vineyards are located.
An oasis within a desert zone with cold nights, warm days, and an altitude of more than 2,600 feet above sea level — offering an ideal climate for wine growing. From this vineyard, founded by Dr. Mayer Chomer, wine maker Amichai Lourie has cultivated an array of world-class wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Red Blends. But, one of the most exciting selections to come from this vineyard is the Heroes Edition.Among our favorites from the wines we tasted, were the three distinct, single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon offerings from the Shomron terroir Heroes Edition 3-Gift Pack Set:
Yehoshafat - A full-bodied, concentrated and well-structured wine with firm tannins and multiple layers of complexity with rich fruit and a substantial aging potential. Aromas and flavors of black fruits and coffee prevail, along with notes of dark chocolate. The finish is long and elegant.
Why We Like It: One of the things we really like about this set, was how different each wine is from the other. This one, more than the other two, is really meant to age, so we liked the idea of opening the other two wines now and saving this one to savor in another year or two. It will just keep getting better and better.
Ariel - Full-bodied, with noticeable oak influences, secondary aromas, sweet fruit and spices. the palate is fresh and inviting, with layers of herbaceous and forest berry flavors, as well as a seemingly endless finish.
Why We Like It: Fruity and bright, we imagine this wine pairing beautifully with lots of different foods. Ultra smooth, complex, and with a truly memorable finish, this is a Cabernet for true Cabernet lovers.
Avraham - Full-bodied, fruit-forward wine, half of which was aged in new French oak barrels and half in American oak barrels. Noticeable green notes of bell pepper, mint and herbs, it issmooth and makes for pleasant drinking in its youth.
Why We Like It: Aging in both French and American oak results in a wine that’s the “best of both worlds,” exhibiting the subtle spiciness of its French oak and the creamy texture and smoothness that comes with American oak barrel aging. We liked this one. A lot.
If you weren’t able to attend the KFWE or haven’t yet tried the amazing wines from Shiloh Winery, Wine Country has one of the largest selections of kosher wine available, including the full assortment of offerings from Shiloh.
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It’s getting close to the end of the work week. You definitely don’t feel like cooking, but you definitely do feel like a glass—or two—of wine. What to do? Pizza, of course.The crust, the sauce, the toppings… the cheese! Pizza has its roots in Italy, but in some ways it’s as American as apple pie. So whether you like your pizza with extra cheese or piled high with toppings, we can all agree that pizza is best when paired with wine.Want to make sure you choose the right wine for your pizza of choice? We’ve picked OUR favorite wines for some of YOUR favorite pizza.Classic Cheese Pizza — MerlotYour favorite New York style cheese pizza. It’s about the sauce and the ooey, gooey cheese. And it’s about finding a wine that can handle that level of acidity and flavor. Our choice? Merlot. Ultra smooth and soft adding the perfect balance to the intense tomato and spice flavors or red sauce.Two of our favorites: Joel Gott Merlot, Charles Smith Merlot The Velvet Devil Sausage Pizza — ShirazMeat lovers love a good sausage pizza and with it a perfectly bold red. Our choice is Shiraz. Full bodied, with intense fruit flavors that are a great accompaniment with the spicy, fennel-driven flavors in sausage.Two of our favorites: Layer Cake Shiraz, Rosemount Estate Shiraz Diamond LabelPepperoni Pizza — Sangiovese The strong flavor of pepperoni needs an equally strong wine, with power enough to handle the cayenne pepper, anise, garlic powder and paprika that gives pepperoni its bold flavor. We like Sangiovese, the most popular Italian red grape and one that’s practically made for taming spicy foods.One of our favorites: Borgo Reale Sangiovese di Puglia Margherita Pizza —RoséThis is one pizza that craves a softer red—it must be that wonderful aromatic mix of fresh basil, chopped tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. We gravitate towards rosés, but any lightly flavored fruitier wine will work just as well. Two of our favorites: Chateau d'Esclans Rose Whispering Angel, Flam Rose White Pizza — Pinot NoirWithout traditional red sauce, you can really concentrate on cheese-loving wines. Our favorite is Pinot Noir, with its own “creamy” notes and affinity for the green herbs that are often sprinkled on top of white pizza (including tarragon).Two of our favorites: Meiomi Pinot Noir, Simi Pinot Noir
Hawaiian Pizza — LambruscoCanadian bacon and pineapple on pizza is a tad out of the ordinary, so look for slightly unusual wine choices for pairing. Our favorite is Lambrusco, a slightly frizzante red from Italy that has just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the salty flavor of the ham. One of our favorites: Cavicchioli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro RobaneraWhether it’s pick up, take out or delivery, before you bite into that pizza make sure you have a bottle of well-chosen wine ready to uncork. Buy online or visit your neighborhood Wine Country Store or Wine & Whiskey Country Store. Mangia!
You’ve waited all year for it… the biggest football game of the year. You’ve got your boxes in the office pool, you’ve got all the required game-watching foods, but do you have the perfect adult beverages to go with them? Sure, it’s a big day for drinking beer, but if you’re more of a “wine person” there’s no reason for you not to enjoy your favorite adult beverage on game day. But, the tailgate-worthy foods require some unique wine pairings to maximize the flavors of the food without ruining the taste of your favorite wine. So sit back, grab your remote and discover the wines that pair best with some of the most popular Big Game-watching foods!Having nachos? Try Prosecco!ProseccoA more affordable bubbly wine than French Champagne, Prosecco is the “frizzante” white of Italy. Perfect for celebrations and a required element for the perfect bellini, the palate-cleansing effect of the bubbles makes it a great companion to spicy foods!Why We Love It: Prosecco is the thing of celebrations…Sunday brunches, good times. Fresh, fruity, lively, plus it’s not too extravagant to serve on a random Wednesday night. One of our favorites: Menage A Trois Prosecco - This fruity prosecco pours with a fine, persistent fizz. As the effervescence settles down, notes of tart apple and citrus emerge with hints of candied fruit. Nose tickling and tongue prickling, it’s a perky bubbly with a clean finish.or… Try Grenache!GrenacheOne of the most widely-planted red grapes in the world, Grenache has a ripe berry flavor with notes of white pepper. In addition to being a popular red varietal in its native Spain (where it’s known as Garnacha), Grenache is also a key ingredient in some of the world’s most popular wines, including the Rhone blend Châteauneuf-du-Pape.Why We Love It: It’s one of the those wines that is so unique, so distinctive, even a novice wine drinker can pick it out in a taste test. One of our favorites: Joel Gott Grenache Alakai - The wine opens with ripe fruit flavors. Elegant, soft tannins on the mid-palate are followed by a long—slightly peppery—finish.
Having take out Asian food? Try Gruner Veltliner!After decades of obscurity in the United States, Grüner Veltliner, from Austria, has had a surge of popularity after being championed by top American sommeliers. One of the reasons for its popularity is its amazing pairing abilities. Medium bodied and refreshing with stone fruit flavors and a distinctive peppery kick, Grüner Veltliner pairs with everything from poached salmon to roast chicken to crisp green salad. Like Chenin Blanc, the best Grüners have enormous aging potential, but can be quite expensive.Why we love it: It’s complex and wonderfully refreshing, with a unique peppery flavor that adds to whatever food you’re eating. Goes astoundingly well with Asian cuisine, from Vietnamese to Thai to spicy Chinese. One of our favorites: Wimmer Gruner Veltliner Classic - Crisp lime flavors, white pepper and lentils, followed by a mouthful of mineral notes and gooseberry. A long lingering finish.Having Buffalo Wings? Try Pinot GrigioPinot Grigio is refreshing, light, crisp and dry, with aroma notes of lemon, green apple and blossoms. Pinot Grigio grapes are harvested early, to capture the fresh acidity of the juice and then fermented in stainless steel tanks. Pinot Grigio wines are meant to be enjoyed within one to two years after harvesting. Why we love it: Easy drinking, no pretension. Everyday wines for everyday wine drinkers. One of our favorites: Forchir Pinot Grigio Lamis 2015 - light straw-yellow wine with a light, pleasant aroma. Dry and lean, full-bodied and harmonious, with a distinct almond aftertaste.Having Beef Chilli? Try ShirazOne of the deepest, darkest, reddest wines around. So dark, in fact, that you sometimes can’t see through it when holding it up to the light in a glass. Full bodied and loaded with mouth-drying tannins, typical Shiraz features flavors of berry, pepper and tobacco,making it particularly good when paired with meat.Why we love it: Shiraz loves meat—pretty much any kind of meat, but it’s also works with a wide assortment of different foods. It’s a real food-pairing wine. Plus, due to its high tannin levels, Shiraz has one of the highest levels of health-benefiting antioxidants. So, go on and drinkto your health!One of our favorites: Thorn-Clarke Shiraz James Goddard - Ripe and rich, this is dense with flavor but transparent in texture. A Shiraz of power and elegance as it plays out its cherry, black tea and spice flavors. Approachable now, but this has miles to go as it develops. Having Pizza? Try BarberaThis dark-sknned wine grape is the third most commonly planted red wine grape in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Sometimes used in varietals, Barbera has a bright-red cherry character, with softer tannins.Why we love it: An Italian-food loving Italian wine, it’s a great choice for pizza, pasta and anything tomato-based. One of our favorites: Franco Amoroso Barbera d'Alba - This bright, fresh, energetic red is chock full of cherry and plum fruit, highlighted with floral notes and hints of spice and cocoa.Having Burgers? Try ZinfandelAs synonymous to California as Bordeaux is to France, Zinfandel is not quite the wine darling itwas in the 1980s and 1990s, but for those who love its richly exotic taste, with a range of flavorsfrom elegant mid-weights to super-ripe heavyweights, Zinfandel will always be a winecontender.Tracing its origins to Croatia, today Zinfandel is the third leading wine grape variety in California, planted in 45 of California’s 58 counties. Internationally recognized, classic Zinfandels have fruit-driven aromas and often include flavors of berries, black pepper, and spice, sometimeseven with a hint of chocolate or citrus.Why we love it: Its unique taste, deep dark color and sometimes off-the-charts alcohol content — Zinfandels pack a real punch both in flavor profile and food-pairing prowess.One of our favorites: Ancient Peaks Zinfandel - The rich, chewy texture of this Zinfandel is a perfect match for comfort foods such as wood-fired pizza, burgers and classic lasagna.
Hard to believe, but almost one hundred of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries have either closed or been destroyed in the last century. That’s nearly half of the distilleries that have ever existed in Scotland…gone — due to over production, prohibition, bad economies and even world wars. Many of these unique brands were lost to the world…never to return…until The Lost Distillery Company was founded. An independent boutique Scotch Whisky company, The Lost Distillery Company is dedicated to creating present day expressions of legendary whiskies.According to The Lost Distillery Company: “There is no magic formula to what we do. We don’t have a warehouse full of old forgotten whisky, we don’t have a secret recipe or DNA analysis and we don’t have plans to reopen any of these lost distilleries. The answer to what we do lies in the history books.
The process begins with our Archiving Team led by Professor Michael Moss from The University of Glasgow. Focussing on the 10 key components that influenc the original character of these long lost whiskies, the Archiving Team play a pivot role in evidencing how that spirit might have tasted when it was last distilled. While we could argue that there are a number of elements of the production process that are pivotal to the final taste of the whisky, we focus on what we consider to be ten most important. Depending on the availability of information from our research, we are able to make certain assumptions as to what the profile of these whiskies might have been.The 10 Key Components:
ERA – The date of the last distillation is critically important. As with most manufacturing businesses, fashions and processes change. Mechanisation brought increased consistency to the process, while expansion of the railways sponsored the construction of much bigger distilleries. LOCALITY – Neighbouring distilleries may have used similar sources of water, barley and yeast. They may have shared expertise that still survives today in working distilleries. WATER – A core ingredient used to make the spirit and also to dilute the product to bottling strength. Was the water soft or hard? What was the mineral content? BARLEY – The most important aspect of the barley is the phenolic content. Where was the barley grown? Was it local? Which strains of barley were used? How consistent was the yield? YEAST – Why is some sourdough bread better than others? Why do some bakers retain a starter dough for decades? Yeast matters in the process and ultimately has an impact on the final product. PEAT – Was the malted barley peated or unpeated? How much peat was used and was it sourced locally? How did this translate to the phenol content of the finished product? MASH TUN – What material was it constructed from? Was it open or closed, and how was the temperature controlled? Volatile temperatures would inhibit yeast activity. WASH BACK – These would have been made almost exclusively from Douglas Fir; chosen for its straight grain and lack of knots. While some distilleries still use these, most have converted to stainless steel versions that impart no character to the product. STILL – The shape and size of the still deeply influence the overall character of the spirit. For example, a smaller dumpy still will typically allow more contact between the copper and the spirit meaning that it produces a heavier, more viscous spirit. WOOD – After production, what type of wood was used to store or transport the whisky to its destination? Did this have an impact on the final flavour? What did the barrel have in it before it was used for whisky? This would have had a significant effect on the whisky’s taste. The third part of our process is arguably the most interesting and challenging. We call this ‘The Debate’. Our Archivists and Whisky Makers, along with a panel of select ‘noses’, attempt to bring to life the evidence before them. They create a blend of single malts from different distilleries and with different flavour profiles, tweaking the composition to sit easily with both the evidence of the archivist and the interpretation of the whisky makers. This process takes considerable time and experience but only when everyone is comfortable with the result does the whisky receive The Lost Distillery Company seal of approval – when we are happy that we have created a present day interpretation of that long lost whisky legend.”Intrigued? We’ll be sampling an assortment of these finely crafted whiskies from The Lost Distillery Company at the Sisterhood of Congregation Ahavath Torah’s Evening of Wine & Whiskey on Saturday, January 7th, including:Lossit Classic Selection Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - $39/bottleWhy We Love It:A marriage of aged single malts. Consistently good, with rich flavors of peat, almonds, pear and pepper. Stratheden Classic Selection Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - $55/bottleWhy We Love It:Well balanced, with great body. The perfect entry-level whisky bursting with malty flavors of orange peel, chocolate and peat.Gerston Classic Selection Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - $55/bottleWhy We Love It:In a word, brilliant. Can hold its own against any single malt scotch, with flavor profiles that include ripe fruit, toffee, malt and spice.Auchnagle Classic Selection Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - $55/bottleWhy We Love It:A light dram for sunny afternoons, exhibiting solid craftsmanship and rich floral flavors, honeyed dried fruits and pepper. Stratheden Vintage Blended Malt Whisky - $210/bottleWhy We Love It:Surprisingly sweet and peppery, with a hint of salt and a warming, medium-length finish and lingering heat. Similar in style to the Archivists Selection edition, but with far more complexity. A true whisky lover’s whisky.Gerston Vintage Blended Malt Whisky - $210/bottleWhy We Love It:An unusual, antique taste, which holds up well with a drop of water, although the smoky element is reduced. Smooth texture, with a sweet taste and a surprising amount of smoke in the finish.Auchnagle Vintage Blended Malt Whisky - $210/bottleWhy We Love It:Pleasantly sweet and spicy, particularly straight from the bottle, with traces of apple and vanilla, and a warming medium-length finish, plus an old fashioned “hemp rope” scent that adds a unique vintage charm.Taste them all, and literally hundreds of other wines and spirits at the Evening of Wine & Whiskey on Saturday, January 7th. Get your tickets today at http://www.ahavathtorah.org/sisterhoodevents.Hope to see you there!
Forget everything you think you know about Kosher wines. Today’s Kosher offerings are taking the wine industry by storm, crossing over into the mass market and earning rave reviews and high rankings along the way (deservedly so, we might add).For those who haven’t tasted the assortment of incredible reds, whites and roses—that just happen to also be Kosher—read on and get ready to open up a whole new market of wines.First, what actually makes a wine kosher? • No artificial coloring, preservatives or additives • Stringent filtration process where no foreign substances are used • Only certified Kosher products used in the wine making process • Equipment and machinery used exclusively for the production of Kosher products and sterilized prior to Kosher production • Only Sabbath observant Jews may handle the grapes and wineThat quality and attention to detail will be evident with your very first sip. Like, blown away evident. Really. The flavor profiles. The complexity. The mouth feel. The bouquet. The color. Everything about these wines will pleasantly surprise both novice and serious wine enthusiasts.A few of our favorites:Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc: Made to drink NOW. Surprisingly good for the price — Not too sweet, with fruity notess of gooseberry, white peach and nectarine. Keep a bottle — or two — on hand for a reliable everyday white. $7Tabor Adama II Sufa Storm: A flavorful blend of Cabernet and Petite Syrah. Full bodied, balanced and wonderfully fruit forward. Aging in French Oak barrels adds the perfect spice and bold notes of vanilla and blackberry. $20Herzog Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet: We ADORE cabernets from Alexander Valley and this one does not disappoint. Lush berry, cherry, and licorice aromas and flavors, and layers of mocha and vanilla from oak barrel aging. $31Teperberg Legacy Cabernet Franc: In a word: fascinating. A tempting red granite hue and characteristic Cabernet France aroma, this is a wine made for pairing with food. An aromatic between of cherry, candied raspberry, and toasted wood. $57Curious? Wine Country’s Bergenfield store (89 New Bridge Road) offers the area’s largest assortment of Kosher wines from around the world, from entry level to premium. Come in for a taste. Leave with a bottle.And, if you want to really get a flavor for what the kosher wine and spirit market is all about, join us at the Ahavath Torah Sisterhood Kosher Wine & Whiskey Festival on January 7th. Get your tickets today, before they’re all gone!
We believe that wine is meant to be enjoyed, no matter your level of wine expertise. So, if you like a $10 bottle of Merlot, that makes you no less of a wine lover than someone who enjoys an $85 bottle of Pinot Noir. It’s all about finding what you love and enjoying every last drop.
But, by learning a few key wine terms, you can understand wine like an expert, building a stronger appreciation for the art of wine making (and drinking), helping you choose wines that better suit your taste (and of course really impress your friends). So read on, you wine lover, and we'll have you sounding like a sommelier.
Acidity: Used to describe tartness of wine. Most often used in describing white wines.
Aeration: Exposing wine to oxygen allows it to mix with the air and "breathe" which helps to open up the wine's aromas.
Alcohol by volume (ABV): Every wine bottle is required by law to include the ABV. Interesting note: French and Italian wines usually have a lower ABV than their American counterparts.
Appellation: The geographic region where a wine comes from.
Blend: Wines made from more than one grape variety.
Bouquet: The fragrance that come from aging wines.
Complexity: Complex wines are those which feature a combination of richness, depth, flavor intensity, focus, balance, harmony and finesse.
Corked: Caused when the cork inside the bottle is tainted, resulting in a musty, moldy aroma and taste.
Dry: Having no obvious sugar taste. Sugar levels are usually tasted beginning at 0.5 percent.
Earthy: Most red wines are described as either earthy or fruity. Earthy wines exhibit a taste or smell related to earth, such as soil or a forest.
Finish: Describes how long a wine's flavor lingers in your mouth after swallowing. Wine's can either have a short or long finish.
Fruity: A commonly used descriptor for wines that have notes of (you guessed it) fruit like plums, berries, or other fruits. While white wines can be fruity, this term is more commonly used with reds.
Jammy: When red wines exhibit a cooked fruit flavor.
Legs: The droplets of wine that ease down the sides of the glass when wine is swirled
Minerality: Most often used to describe white wines, it refers to the flavor of stones, rather than the “soil” flavor of earthy wines.
Oaky: Wines matured in oak barrels (or with oak chips), sometimes described as having notes of vanilla, cloves, butter, or caramel.
Oxidized: What happens when wine is overexposed to oxygen, resulting in a loss of brightness in both color and flavor.
Sediment: Gritty particles that settle in the bottom of a bottle of wine. It is a sign of a minimally processed wine.
Tannins: Bitter compounds in the skin and seeds of grapes that give red wine its structure.
Terroir: Describes how a growing region affects the flavor of the wine
Varietal: A single variety of grape, for example: Merlot and Chardonnay are grape varieties.
Vintage: Wine made from grapes that were all (or mostly) produced in a single year. A non-vintage wine is made from grapes harvested over two or more years
Blink and the holidays will be here. Between shopping and cards, baking and wrapping, caroling and parties, there is so much to do and so little time left. But, there’s one thing that you can take off of your “to do” list and that’s choosing the perfect wine for the holidays.Whether you’re gifting a bottle to someone you love, or selecting the perfect wine to complete your holiday dinner, there’s one great rule to follow to ensure you’re yule-tide perfect—red, red and more red!Special hor d’oeuvres, fabulous main courses, and decadent desserts all cry out for wine. Deep, ruby-color wine that’s rich in flavor and Christmas-table ready, too!Although we firmly believe in the “if you like it, it’s good” method of wine shopping, we have four special red wines we think will make your holidays a little bit merrier and brighter. Hess Collection Napa Valley Allomi Cabernet SauvignonDistinct notes of vanilla and oak spice with classic red fruit flavors set off by currant and blackberry along with moderate, well-integrated tannins showing a round, plush mouthfeel.Why We Love it: Dark, inky, intense. Practically made for prime rib, but with flavors of caramel and toffee in the finish that are powerful enough to enjoy all on their own. Impressive to give…or to serve.Chateau Haut Gravet Saint Emilion Grand CruThis incredible wine comes from a vineyard surrounded by the great names of Saint-Émilion in the southern part of the appellation. The exceptional soil, the family’s two-hundred year-old passion for superb wine and belief in excellence have created a wine full of great charm and finesse. A world-class wine that’s pure indulgence with every sip.Why we love it:This one exceeds its reputation. Savor with a great meal. If you have a decanter, use it, this wine needs time to open up, but your tastebuds will thank you for it. In a word: spectacular!Rutherford Ranch Two Range Napa Valley RedA delicious, complex blend of Merlot, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, with flavor profiles of black cherry, raspberry and dark chocolate and hints of spices from aging in French Oak barrels. Why we love it:If you’re looking for a real crowd pleaser for your holiday table this is it. Even your grumpy Uncle will love this one (we promise). Ultra smooth, mellow, a perfect food-pairing red that will enhance whatever its served with. Cantina Di Sorbara - Lambrusco Di Sorbara Emma NVA sparkling red wine with delicious semi-sweet notes. Creamy in the mouth, with medium structure giving shape to raspberry, red cherry and plum flavors.Why we love it:Surprise! Sparkling wine can be red, too! A slightly sweet, bubbly adds the perfect touch of frizzante to any celebration. Visit your local Wine Country Store or Wine & Whiskey Country Store to meet with one of our wine consultants to pick up one (or all) of the wines above or to help you choose the perfect wines for your holiday gatherings or gifting. Happy Holidays!
At 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau, a young red wine made from hand-picked Gamay grapes, is released to the world.
And thanks to French law — yes, the law — not a minute before.
The celebration started in the 1970’s, but in 1985, Beaujolais Nouveau’s release date was officially changed to the third Thursday in November. And it was then that Georges Duboeuf, one of the largest producers of the wine, amped up the world-wide parties.
Now people around the world stay up to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day, and get their first taste of the 2016 harvest.
The grapes are picked in September, fermented and bottled in time for that 3rd Thursday in November. And while the wine is super young, it is a sneak peek of the grapes from the harvest.
But if you missed the midnight celebration, the wine is still a great choice for your Thanksgiving dinner. The red and black fruit aromas and hints of strawberry jam will work great with that big ol’roast and cranberry sauce. And at around $10 a bottle, the price is perfect.
Here’s a few more things to know about this now celebratory wine.1. All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. Just like Champagne.
2. The Gamay grape is the only grape that can be used in the Beaujolais Nouveau. Think of the Gamay grape as Pinot Noir’s little sister.
3. Beaujolais Nouveau is super drinkable because of a process called whole berry fermentation. That basically means the tannins aren’t pulled out of the grape skins so it’s very fruity and smooth.
4. Because Beaujolais Nouveau is made young, it is meant to be drunk young. Like within 6 months. Exceptional vintages, like many are declaring the 2016, can last a year. But that’s it. So drink up.
5. Like other fruit-forward wines, serve it chilled, even as cold as 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It’ll be more refreshing than if you serve it at room temperature.
So grab a bottle the next time you walk into your favorite Wine Country or Wine and Whiskey Country.
Fall is a time for harvest, diminished daylight, and brisk evenings by the fire. But that doesn’t mean warm-weather friendly, lighter-bodied wines should be pushed out of the equation. Quite the contrary: fruit-forward reds of this style — many of which are best enjoyed chilled — have a way of easing the transition into the colder months ahead. So rather than lamenting the last days of rosé, rejoice: autumn is ripe for experimentation. Explore a litany of such varietals that sing sensibly to pumpkin spice and apple pie. Juicy, yet gentle, these under-appreciated wines — sometimes whimsical on the tongue — ought to be taken seriously in the bottle.
It’s hard to begin a conversation about lighter-bodied reds without mentioning Beaujolais — a region of southeastern France known for its fresh, fruity red wines born from the thin-skinned Gamay grape. Here, juice is made with minimal tannin extraction, resulting in gulpable wines with smooth personalities. (None of that mouth-drying business that comes with tannin-heavy wines.) Seek out bottles by Georges Duboeuf, a reliable and affordable producer of the region, or in a larger format grab Julien Sunier’s magnum Fleurie, which displays floral notes of violet, rose, and lavender.
No strangers to lighter liquids, Italian winemakers from up and down the boot excel at luminous styles of vino rosso, or red wine, often redolent of ripened cherries and currants. To the south, Arianna Occhipinti — a vibrant, young Sicilian winemaker — bottles a number of light red styles under her own label. Her wildly popular Il Frappato is named after an intensely aromatic varietal native to the island. Although it punches the nose with sweet grape, on the tongue it tastes drier, finishing patiently with an unexpected edge of rusted iron. Easy-drinking Frappato wines make for perfect patio pounders, as further demonstrated by another Sicilian producer, Vigna di Pettineo, which makes a fresh and fruity light red with soft tannins and a flowery bouquet.
For those keen on sweetness, there’s always Lambrusco, a wine from northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, best known for its sparkling variation. Although these frizzante (slightly carbonated) wines were the biggest selling import to the States during the ‘70s and ‘80s, domestic consumption has plummeted ever since, and prices along with it. As a result, there are some unbeatable bargains awaiting discovery. But note, not all Lambrusco is sweet. While the popular style of decades past sometimes pushed cloyingly, American consumers have recently begun to discover the joy of dryer expressions within the category. The Vigna del Cristo from Cavicchioli is a prime example. Elegant, structured, and fantastically fruity, it’s an ideal autumn aperitivo for under $20 a bottle.
Off the western coast, in Sardinia, winemakers are finding significant success with lighter-bodied offerings, too. Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva from Sella & Mosca is derived from the sand and clay soil prevalent in the northwestern corner of the island. The wine’s robust earthiness elicits squash and caramelized yams, making it a prime pour come harvest season. “Cannonau is said to be Grenache-related, but the Italians disagree,” notes Joel Caruso, sommelier at Pizzeria Ortica — a wine-focused restaurant in Costa Mesa, California. “That being said, Grenache is ripe with pepper spice, and plays well into fall when given proper oak treatment.” In Sardinia, grapes ripen relatively late in the growing season, yielding juice with higher sugar, more alcohol, and a blueberry-forward palate. Although the body of these wines is anything but heavy, they are willing and able to push back against meatier meals.
Ever-impressive in its adaptability, American Pinot also displays grace in lightened variations. Point in case: Goria Ferrer Etesian Pinot Noir California’s Sonoma Valley bottles a super affordable single varietal Pinot Noir. Expect a concise expression of fruit — light, yet lengthy and robust.
For what seems like decades, in the world of red wine, big and bold has always equaled beautiful. But the industry is starting to shift, with producers around the world focusing their efforts on lighter-bodied reds thanks to these wines’ accessibility and affordability. In a world of rosé lovers, the progression towards Beaujolais and Grenache isn’t much of a stylistic leap. Particularly right now as the season shifts, and palates with it. Although light reds have been dismissed by the cognoscenti for years, a new generation of younger, experimental wine-drinkers is imbuing this subcategory with seriousness. They may be light in body, but their value continues to gain substantial weight.
It’s not your father’s drink anymore and it’s actually the perfect accompaniment to big, rich, decadent desserts.
So here’s what you need to know and why you should reach for it.
1. Port Is Fortified With BrandyPort is a sweet fortified wine from the Douro region of Portugal It is made from grapes that are indigenous to Portugal and there are close to 50 different varieties. But many have similarities to the ones you know. For instance, the Touriga Franca grape is like our Merlot and the Touriga Nacional grape is much like our Cabernet Sauvignon.
Halfway through Port’s fermentation process, brandy is added. So the alcohol content is amped up to 20%.
The conditions are very dry in the Douro so the grapes need thick skins to survive. The thicker the skins, the more the sugar in the grapes, so that’s what makes the wine sweeter than normal.
2. Leave It On The Counter — For Weeks!Port is already aged when you open the bottle so you don’t have to worry about waiting to drink it. Even better, since the wine has already seen so much oxygen during the aging process, it won’t spoil when you open it. So you can leave it on your counter for weeks.
We love that.
3. Serve In A White Wine GlassSkip the Thurston Howell cordial glass. Pick a white wine glass or bigger, Than you can really smell it and get the flavors.
And don’t decant it either. Just pour and drink.
4. Pick a Ruby Port with your chocolateA ruby Port is basically younger and more fruit-forward. It has a rich claret color and tastes closer to a Zinfandel.
This wine cries out for brownies or anything chocolate and rich cheeses.
5. Grab A Tawny with Anything Caramel or That Pecan PieA tawny port is aged longer, anywhere from 10 to 40 years. Tawny actually means golden brown which is the color of the wine, which it is gets from being in the barrel for so long.
It is less sweet, more nutty, and is great with anything caramel or your pecan pie.
So pour a glass. Whether you have a big piece of chocolate cake today or you light a fire on a Saturday night, it will pair perfectly.
3 Ports to TryWarre's Warrior Port, Portugal, $17Deep red color, aromas of ripe red fruits and spices, long finish.
Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port, Portugal, $20Ripe plums, cherries and full-bodied. Get the dark chocolate.
Dow's 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal, $32A blend of older wines, nutty with citrus and vanilla accents, soft finish.
Bubbles just make people happy.
So pour some bubbles now, yes now.
Oh, and get a bowl of potato chips while you’re at it. Champagne loves oily, salty, fatty foods because they bring out the freshness and fruitiness of the wine.
And while you’re munching, here are a few fun facts. 1. Champagne Only Comes From Champagne.Champagne is a wine that comes from the Champagne region in northeast France. The grapes have to be grown there and the wine has to be produced there. That’s why a similar sparkling wine from Northern Italy is not called Champagne — it’s instead called Prosecco. Same goes with one from Spain — it’s a Cava. Not Champagne.
The primary grapes used in Champagne are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. And again, these grapes must be grown in the Champagne, France. 2. Those Fabulous Bubbles.Champagne gets its bubbles from a second production step. The first step is to make wine out of the grapes. During the second step, yeast and sugar are added, science happens and bubbles are created.
That extra production step is often why Champagne is more expensive.
3. Don’t Pop the Cork!Popping a champagne cork looks super cool but it wastes all those wonderful bubbles. “Not to mention it's dangerous. Flying corks can travel up to fifty miles per hour!” says David White, author of But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World's Favorite Wine.
So follow White’s directions:
“To start, remove the foil covering — most bottles have a tab to pull. Then, loosen the cage with six counterclockwise twists, but don't remove it. Once the cage is loosened, be sure to keep one hand holding both the cork and the cage — at this point, the bottle is a loaded weapon. Next, holding the bottle at an angle of about 45 degrees, slowly rotate the base while tightly holding the cage and cork. While keeping downward pressure on the cork, begin twisting it, gently, in the opposite direction of the bottle as it starts to loosen. The cork should come out with a soft sigh.”
4. Skip the Fancy Flute and Use a White Wine GlassSure the saucer-shaped coupe (supposedly modelled after Marie Antoinette’s breast) and the flute have been used for years but they’re just not practical. The coupe is too top-heavy and you can barely fit your nose in a flute.
So just go with a white wine glass, suggests White. It lets the wine breathe and you don’t have to worry about spilling it.
5. Champagne is Good For Your BrainWe already know that wine is good for us, but new research suggests that three glasses of Champagne a week can help to improve your memory. And other studies have shown that Champagne may help your brain cope with the trauma of stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
It’s practically medicinal.
So grab the popcorn and pour a glass!
Pour a Champagne!
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve Champagne, France, $39Smoky minerality, flavors of ripe pear, black currant and lemon.
Piper-Heidsieck Brut Cuvee Champagne, France, $43A bit dry with ripe white fruits, great structure and fresh acidity.
Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne, France, $50Bright yellow in color, pear with a hint of lemon on the finish.