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Fun Fact Friday — Piedmont, Italy

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Fun Fact Friday!!!! Who does not love Italian wines??? One of the two most famous wine regions in Italy is Piedmont. Here are a few fun facts about this region.

Barolo and Barbaresco, both made from the Nebbiolo grape, are the most important and well-known wines made in Piedmont. Barolo and Barbaresco are the regions in Piedmont where the Nebbiolo for these wines is grown.

Barbera is the most widely-planted grape in Piedmont.

“Piemonte” is Italian for “foot of the mountains.”

Wine Storage

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Fun Fact Friday!! Today, I will give you a few fun facts about wine storage.

Why is it preferable to store wines lying down? Bottles are stored on their sides in order to keep the liquid up against the cork, which theoretically should keep the cork from drying out.

What is the perfect temperature to store wines? The best temperature for wine storage is between 45 and 65 degrees (colder for whites, closer to 55 for reds). Temperatures higher than 70 degrees will age a wine more quickly than is usually desirable.

Other things to remember — consistency with regards to temperature is important. A dark room is better than one with sunlight and bright light. Humidity and vibration should also be considered when storing wine.

Bottom line — don’t keep your wine in the laundry room or kitchen — a dark closet or dark corner of the basement is your best bet!!!

Angeline 2012 Reserve Merlot

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angeline merlot

Angeline 2012 Reserve Merlot ($14-15 retail) — this Merlot will make you drink Merlot again!! The wine immediately catches you with fruity aromas of blueberry, blackberry, plum, and rhubarb with hints of spice, pepper, and chocolate. The front palate boasts candied plum, ripened acai, black cherry, and blackberry and then transitions to smooth cocoa butter on the finish. From beginning to end, the wine remains juicy, structured, and earthy. Pair with baked salmon with roasted garlic or pasta in a light cream sauce.

The Angeline 2012 Reserve Merlot was grown in some of the best vineyards in the Alexander and Sonoma Valleys. Both valleys boast long growing seasons, filled with hot, dry days, and cool, cloudy nights. The long, warm growing seasons in these valleys allow for longer “hang time” for the fruit, allowing it to attain optimal maturity.

Uncensored Red!!

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uncensored red

Geyser Peak 2011 Uncensored Red ($11-13 retail) — this is a great blend of fun grapes. Check it out for your new everyday drinker! Smooth!!!

This wine is a blend of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Tannat, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The nose is fragrant with blackberry, plum, pepper, spice, cigar, and a hint of earth. The palate is soft, rich, and easy with lots of dark fruit, a velvety texture, and a smooth chocolate and caramel-tinged finish. Uncensored is designed to accompany the pleasures of daily life. Enjoy with jambalaya, steak burritos, mushroom flatbreads, a big plate of pasta, or a stacked hamburger.

Uncensored was developed to push the boundaries of tradition aside. The winery blends non-traditional grape varieties with noble grapes to create a thoroughly enjoyable wine experience. The hope is that by incorporating these more obscure varietals into the blend, consumers can get a glimpse of the enormous and rewarding world of delicious wine grapes that lies just beyond the ‘chocolate’ and ‘vanilla’ of the mainstream.

Panarroz 2011 Jumilla Red Blend from Spain

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Panarroz 2011 Jumilla Red Blend ($13 retail) — this red blend from Spain is a delicious assortment of Monastrell, Syrah, and Garnacha. If you are looking for a BIG wine for under $15 — this is it! The wine has aromas of mulch, brown wet leaves, black cherry juice, blackberries, anise, dark chcolate, and blueberries. It has coffee, plum, black cherry, cinnamon, and nutmeg brush strokes with mild spice, a full, supple body, and a delightfully long-lasting finish with leather tones that both refreshes and whets the appetite. This youthful, unoaked blend offers plenty of plummy, dark fruit aromas, with light spicy, peppery notes, and bold fruit, and a silky texture on the palate.

The vineyards consist of about 815 acres total: 400 Monastrell (same varietal as France’s Mourvèdre), 148 Tempranillo, 89 Syrah, and 74 each Garnacha (Grenache) and Merlot. More Syrah and Garnacha and some Cabernet are being planted. The Monastrell vines average 30 years in age, the Syrah 12, and the Garnacha 5 years.

Wine Advocate 89 – “The 2011 Panarroz, composed of 80% Mourvedre and the rest equal parts Syrah and Grenache, offers a dense ruby/plum color as well as sweet aromas of peppery, meaty, plum, and dark berry fruit. This unoaked, naked, medium-bodied red reveals lots of fruit, slightly less density than the 2010, and a solid personality that fills the palate with fruit and character. Drink it over the next several years. This wine was tasted one month prior to bottling.”

Why do some Chardonnays taste buttery? Fun Fact Friday!

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Fun Fact Friday! Why do Chardonnays sometimes have a buttery, creamy flavor?

Malolactic fermentation is a process in winemaking in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid. Malolactic fermentation often occurs shortly after the end of the primary fermentation but can sometimes run concurrently with it. Most red wines go through the process of malolactic fermentation, while most winemakers stop the process with white wines in order to preserve the wines’ fruit flavors and crisp acidity. The one exception is with the Chardonnay grape, where malolactic fermentation can impart a sometimes desried “buttery” flavor from diacetyl, a by-product of the reaction.

Malolactic fermentation tends to create a rounder, fuller mouthfeel. Malic acid is typically associated with the taste of green apples while lactic acid is richer and more buttery tasting. Malolactic fermentation generally enhances the body and flavor persistence of wine, producing wines of greater palate softness.

Romililly 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

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Romililly chard

Another stellar wine from Romililly Wines! Romililly 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($36-37 retail) — this is not your everyday Chardonnay — no, this is a Chardonnay with character!!!!

On the nose, there are aromas of golden apple and hints of pineapple backed by vanilla cream brulee. On the palate, there is acid upfront leading into a rich mid and back palate. Hints of spicy apple, pineapple, and pear fruit lead into a clean, but still rich and smooth finish highlighted by lemon fruit with cream.

This Russian River Chardonnay is composed of a single vineyard (Mill Station) in Sebastopol. The fruit was pressed whole cluster on a champagne cycle in a bladder press. The wine was allowed to hyper-ox for 36 hrs (this oxidation leads to browning that will fall away during fermentation). A portion of the juice was fermented in New French Oak barrels (2 barrels @ 45 gallons). TThe remainder was fermented in a stainless steel tank. After fermentation, the wine was put to barrel and allowed to finish 25% of malolactic fermentation. The wines are aged in 18% new and 18% second year French oak and 2 Stavins (19% stainless steel) for 10 months. The wine was aged on its lees and stirred every 1-2 weeks. Only 286 cases made.