Archive for the ‘ Market Monday ’ Category

The Garden State Wine Has Arrived

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This and a bottle of Europa!

To borrow from written history, various documented internet sources, and my own education in and around the New Jersey Vineyards over the past year, I have discovered my new home makes more than just ‘Okay and fruity’ wine.

The state has begun to take back its bragging rights of being ‘The Garden State’* in the last few years, and is staking a claim in some of the best wines produced outside of California and France. In 1767, London’s Royal Society of the Arts had already recognized two New Jersey vintners for their success in producing the first bottles of quality wine derived from the colonial agriculture. The problem I believe, started when everyone wanted a stake in the wine industry here and began buying up land and growing wine grapes further north, where the soil and weather are vastly different. Thus the huge difference in wine.

The GSWGA website with its marketing verbiage of ‘Savor The Experience’ and hearing from locals about how great their wines are in the central Jersey area (as they showed me their local fruity blueberry and cranberry wine), I was beginning to think no one knew what good vino really was. I already hail from Texas where there are very few, if any drinkable to my mature palate in the Lone Star State ( Texas grows wine grapes, and bottles it!). Yes laugh! Five years ago when I hit what I call the central Jersey wine trail…well…I was more than disappointed. De ja vue hit me like a mad bull in a packed rodeo parking lot!

I am sure a few winery cowboys would love to come after me on that comment, but I do agree in the spring along the east bound highways of I45: blooming wildflowers, historical site seeing, and a few stops at wineries can break up the ‘out of the AC lock down’ lifestyle of the Lone Star State, but I discovered something MORE breath taking in Jersey.

The Outer Coastal Plain American Viticultural Area– beautiful acres of green grass, pine barrens, and shore line. New Jersey is a puzzle so spread out that it can take years to place each piece together and find your way around, but its worth the wait. New Jersey wineries are generally in one of two areas: the triangle defined by Atlantic City, Cape May, and Philadelphia or the strip from near Trenton to High Point along the Delaware River.

Last year while taking a weekend excursion, which there are so many here to discover with its rich history, I ended up in the Marlton, Berlin, and the Atco New Jersey area. Noticing the clump of wineries on the ‘Garden State Wine Growers Association’ map, we decided to visit a few and see if they differed from the upper regions near our home in Princeton. Some were more drinkable, but our last stop was Amalthea Cellars. We walked away more than two hours later with over a case of wine, and I have made a few trips back since.

A big southern Thank You to ‘The Garden State’* as is well known for; it consist of rich cultural food history, small historical towns dotted up and down its old highways, sprawling farmland, farmers markets and (in my opinion) some of the best wineries down south. Put them together, and the sweltering summer heat of late aside, I have come to embrace my new home of wine and foodie paradise.

There is a lot going on now that the New Jersey Outer Coastal Plain AVA is getting noticed, and I would not miss it if I were you!

*HISTORY: New Jersey’s nickname, the Garden State, derives largely from the more than one hundred year history of growing of fruits and vegetables in this area which supplies such produce to the mid-Atlantic region and as far north as Montreal.

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Oxygen, an Enemy of Wine?

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While researching options for ‘Wine Preservation’ over the past year, because my husband travels quite extensively in his work and often we open up a good bottle of wine and he may want more when he returns in a week. Consumers do not always want to finish a bottle or two all in one sitting- what to do?

I am not always in the mood to drink two or three days in a row. Call me crazy! I love wine, but routinely I am myself traveling quite extensively to the the gym now. So I am seriously watching my calorie intake, and unfortunately alcohol and sugar products are high on that ‘no-no’ list.

PIWC will be testing out a new product I recently discovered on-line, the VinAssure™ Wine Preservation system. I am excited out this product and have seen it on a few wine sites. Often as a chef, or even just as a great cook I might make a few dishes where a white and a red would pair well, but for only two people and not other guests sharing- we would want to save what is left for another evening.

Wine connoisseurs have found numerous ways over centuries to preserve wine, most do not care if it sits on the counter just re-corked at room temperature, but if you are serious then you may want to re-think the options.

The VinAssure™ Story- How did this amazing product begin?

VinAssure™ grew out of a simple desire not to waste wine, and a practical business need to make good use of every last drop. For years I was the owner and proprietor of a small wine store and tasting bar, and I had what I would consider a low to medium volume of wines served by the glass each week. At one point I sat down to calculate the dollar-for-dollar waste of unsold, tossed out, or employee consumed wine that had just become an accepted sunken cost of my business. Even with my small program the numbers were staggering… I was simply WASTING WINE and pouring potential revenues down the drain!

VinAssure works by using Argon gas,

ARGON: WHAT A GAS!

by Clark Smith

All her pretty dreams argon.-Bruce Springsteen

Oxygen is not the enemy of wine. Yet the most outspoken proponents of O2’s role in wine development will still scrupulously try to exclude it from partial tank head spaces. We all gotta gas. But in reality, few of us do it well. And in an imperfect world, it is not enough to shrug and say, “We just try to keep topped tanks”…(read more)

Come back next week and find out how are VinAssure experience pours out!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Lazy River, Pinot Noir

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Nothing Like A Pinot Noir!


I only wish there was a lazy river made of Pinot Noir.

One of my favorite places to go when I get a chance around my birthday, not this year though, is The Monte Carlo in Las Vegas. You stay up till 1 or 2 Am, and then hit the Lazy River right in their back yard after a light breakfast, and maybe order up a nice glass of Pinot Noir as you relax in the sun- with sunblock of course! However I do not remember them having Oregon Pinot’s, one of my favorites as my palate has matured into the barnyard senses. I know animals and rivers just go together!

Three years ago while visiting Oregon and Washington State I had the chance to hit as many wineries along the trail as I could. Then we happened upon a collaboration of small vineyards. A tasting room full of possibilities. Hearing from some other serious vinophiles this area was a waste of time, my taste buds drifted off to other Pinot Noirs over the past few years.

Lazy River sat in the cellar forgotten- until my birthday this week! Cork popped, and out spilled the most beautiful colors of cherry, plum, and raspberries…rushing visions of wild mushrooms, cheesy sauced pastas, smoked meats, and hints of an earthiness- reminding me why I had to bring this bottle back home to New Jersey.

Ahhh, but why was I really in love with this wine so much I would and spent a meager $33 a bottle? Well it was the subtle tones of chocolate on the finish made it the right choice to pair with my flourless chocolate birthday cake…

Want a good reason to travel to Oregon- Try our Market Monday reason, and to travel on your own Lazy River, Pinot Noir, 06- Lazy River Vineyard, Yamhill Carlton District, Oregon

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Letting Wine Breathe

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Decanting A Few Good Wines

English glass maker George Ravenscroft is credited for the 1676 discovery of how to make lead crystal. Most wine decanters were initially made of glass or lead crystal, both of which allowed the person who decanted the wine to see the sediment and avoid pouring it into the decanter, as well into your wine glass.

As the demand for bottled wine grew, so did a parallel industry for the manufacture of decanters. Whereas decanters had originally been used purely to serve a function, manufacturers began to create new and more sophisticated designs, as decanters were recognized for their decorative potential.

One cannot have too many decanters. If you are going to do any kind of tasting event in your home involving more than one bottle of vintage wine- it would be wise to purchase more than one decanter.

Crystal decanters manufactured in England and Ireland during the period between 1760 and 1810 are considered among the finest of classic decanters. They were manufactured before the advent of machine production, and were hand-blown, hand-engraved and hand-cut, and therefore, each was a complete original.

Involved in the American Wine Society I have seen on many occasion the need for two or even three decanters. Wines, such as big Bordeaux or even a Pinot Noir benefits from breathing and can sit for up to three hours. Each passing minute the wine takes on a new life, even in the glass you will notice subtle notes on the nose, tongue and finish.

Decanters can range from $20 to $200, or even more, but one nice decorative for show and a few less expensive glass decanters will suffice. Guests who enjoy wine care more about how the wine is affected than whether you are pouring out of Bacarat lead crystal.

More on decanter history

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food and Wine Writer Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Other Wine Glasses and Decanter History

Market Monday- Summer Sexy Beach Drinks

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Summer, Pink & Sexy

While out on a typical Partners In Wine Club Press’s hunt for ‘Wine Special’, ‘Must Buy’ Wine Bargains, and a need for Wine Tasting Event space a glimpse of the cutest pink package marketing genius caught my eye! Normally you see I am not the pink sort of gal- no blush wine for me, but this product NUVO L’ESPIRIT Liqueur gave me an idea.

Corky convinced us to purchase a bottle, and we went home and had a nip. Tasting notes: slight sweet with a hint of Vodka and a bubbly finish martini style.

Product marketing (on-line) billed as ‘…a lifestyle choice for friendly individuals. Much more than your average spirit, NUVO is the ultimate accessory for any get-together’.

Exactly what went through my head when I first saw this product!

Okay, normally this orange zest loving chef might not endorse a product of this nature, but I endorse fun, with responsible drinking morals. NUVO screamed premiere and SWAG, I felt like this would be great for bridal showers, girlie party gifts, over crushed ice with an umbrella at your next BBQ party, and you might even see me out New Year’s Day, 2011 with mine chilled and a straw right down in the bottle- my go bite the hair of the dog remedy!

I have to share this with my friend Leila, she is going to love this…

Chef Elizabeth Stelling, Owner/Chef- CookAppeal, LLC Princeton-New Jersey Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! Restaurant Reviews

Pretty In Pink!

Market Monday- Cork 101, Why Cork Is Perfect For Our Wine

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For years hearing about how the cork forests have been depleted, and believing that we would be better off using synthetic corks, and screw caps down the road has our attention at PIWC, but in all honesty why have we not looked into it ourselves. Do we believe what someone tells us, or is there a good reason we have ‘Education’ on our side?

PIWC will be showing you why Cork is- Natural, Sustainable, Environmentally and Ecologically Friendly

First you must understand why, what, and where Cork is in our market-

WHY:

There is no other material, either natural or man made, with all of the characteristics that are unique to raw cork: light weight, rot resistant, non-toxic, good compression and expansion, fire resistant, impermeable, soft, and buoyant. Besides these remarkable qualities, cork bark is also a sustainable, renewable, and environmentally friendly natural resource. Cork bark is “stripped” off the cork oak trees at appropriate intervals without damage to the trees and allows new bark to grow in its place so there is no harm to nature, no trees are cut or destroyed, no disturbance of flora and fauna … and yet a whole industry flourishes from this very unique raw material. Besides the many other products listed, all of which are produce from cork bark, Jelinek also supplies large quantities of cork bark in its raw and natural form for a variety of products and purposes:

Corkwood is the raw material used by all cork manufacturers in the production of the majority of cork products, including natural wine corks and other natural cork stoppers and products. Corkwood is sorted by quality and thickness, boiled, pressed flat and aged appropriately with controlled moisture so it is “production ready”. Corkwood is sold in truckload or container quantities, packed in standard bale sizes and weights.

Virgin Cork Bark is bark obtained from the very first two harvests of a cork tree. The rougher, less uniformed and more “natural” surface appearance and texture of the bark from these initial harvests are easily distinguished from the smoother texture of subsequent harvests from which corkwood is yielded. Diverse industries utilize virgin bark.

Cork Characteristics

Lightness
Cork is light and will float. Beneficial for buoys, floats, fishing rod handles, level gauges. Light weight makes cork an excellent filler material for many products. Perfect for shoe insoles and soles.

Elasticity
The cellular membranes are flexible so that the cork can be fitted against the wall of a bottle under pressure (the airin the cork cells is compressed, reducing volume) and when released bounces back to its original form. Perfect as a stopper, perfect for floor tiles and wall tiles.

Impermeability
Cork does not rot due to the suberin which makes it impermeable to gases and liquids.
Combined with corks other characteristics it is the ideal material for bottle stoppers, gasket sealers, joint fillers, floor underlayment, and bulletin boards.

Low Conductivity
Gaseous elements in cork are sealed in tiny cell like compartments insulated and separated from each other. This provides for low conductivity to heat, sound and vibrations. One of the best insulating and acoustical capacities of all substances.
Resistance to Wear

The honeycomb structure of suberose surface gives cork a high friction coefficient and makes it very durable. It does not absorb dust and is fire resistant in its natural state. Ideal material for all building products, including floor and wall tiles, cork wallpaper, rolls, and sheets.
Cork products contribute extremely favorably to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Rating System. Cork is a 100% sustainable and renewable natural resource.

Information found and used by permission at Jelinek Cork Group

Recycle Cork in your area at local Whole Food Markets, a join effort with ReHarvet Cork.com

Market Monday- No CorkScrew?

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For Your Entertainment…

PIWC Thought it would be fun to show this video on how people have found a way to open wine bottles with no corkscrew…

We do not recommend this, nor endorse this video or its persons- bottles are made of glass, can cut you, and can harm you if the cork hits you or others in the eye! ~ PIWC

Market Monday- Swissmar

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Filter, decant, and aerate all in one step with this convenient decanting funnel. This has been one of the most used gadgets in our house.

The most recent uses was when hubby opened an old bottle of Grand Marnier, and the cork fell to pieces, most of it went inside the bottle. So each time we have a sip we now have a nice strainer to keep even the tiniest pieces of sediment or cork separate from the liquid.

Company is impressed as it also aerates the wine as you decant aged wines for breathing purposes, or the last few drops into your awaiting glass.
Swissmar Decanting Wine Funnel, 6-hole Stem with Stand are available for $20 on Amazon.com.

Our Swissmar Decanting Wine Funnel, 6-hole Stem with Stand is not so shiny and new as seen in advertisements, but you can bet we will enjoy this gadget for years to come!

Chef E Stelling, Chef/Owner- CookAppeal, LLC @ Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Market Monday- Mingle Plates

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Now here’s a little gadget we’re sure every wine savvy, or vinophile tasting geek needs. The ‘Mingle plate‘ aka  cocktail plate. It allows you to keep one hand free while eating and win(e)ing.

This little accessory is ideal for any wine tasting,  but face it, no one wants to spend the extra cash on gadgets these days. However they are worth the money spent! How cool is it to have effortless eating and drinking at a party (like eating  and drinking should be an effort!)

Chef E and her hubby own quite a few of these, and used them back in Dallas when she owned a public wine and food pairing company- The Cork Screws, and are never on a tasting scene with out them. The Dallas Food and Wine Festival back in the day passed them out, before even good wine glasses were chic, so her and hubby are a little surprised not many on the east coast has caught on to ‘Mingle Plates’ at tasting events.

I know these are cool. I’ve seen Chef E and hubby  in action with these little babies. I’ve actually seen Chef E use one of these gadgets at a dinner party with her  iPhone at the some time. Now how cool is that. She was like a Rock Star in action, and didn’t even know it.

Cheers and Tweets!

Adrienne Turner , PIWC

Chef E, PIWC

Alternative ‘Vino Plate Clips’, as well as ‘Mingle Plates’, Cocktail Plates with glass holder can be found in wine retail stores, or on-line- Crate & Barrel

Market Monday- Wine Preservation

We all at one time or another, more often weekly found ourselves wanting to relax and open a bottle of wine. After one, or possibly two glasses and time for bed, or errands, we have a need to re-cork the bottle? So often and after years of seeing our parents doing the same thing, we just push the cork back in as deep as it will go leave it on the counter for the next evening. NO NO NO!

There are two problems with this- after years of learning that leaving air inside the bottle to continue oxidation, and not properly chilling the contents we are creating vinegar. An off tasting glass of wine in the next few days will be a  put off to most taste buds (imagine offering this to your friends, possibly an enemy!). Returning to the joys of enjoying earths great juice, the gift of Bacchus, should be a good experience.

Every well stocked bar needs a supply of bottle stoppers and pourers to extend the flavor of life of a good or not so great bottle of wine. There are many options of preserving wine, but our feelings are that if one has only a few ounces left- then why not spread the joy and split the last few ounces. That is unless you have over indulged, and exceeded the legal limits allowed to drive home. Half of a bottle left, or even two thirds then you should do what you can to preserve the luscious juice of the vine for the next day.

Preserving wine was only intended for a day or so, but we have actually experienced a bottle of Repasso from a recent wine tasting that was still singing to your taste buds seven days later, that of course is rare. Finding the right solution to the problem of preserving wine if you are only wanting to indulge or share in a glass of wine does not have to be as daunting as one might think. Below we list a variety of preservation methods, and in the next few weeks will be sharing information on the history of wine preservation and way into the development of products/gadgets that help make our lives so much easier.

We have contacted various industry pros and their companies, and will be bringing you wine industry news first hand!

Options in Wine Preservation:

  • Re-corking the bottle- not a good choice for champagne/sparkling wine due to expansion of the cork from pressure, and sealing in air to continue oxidation
  • Decorative Bottle Stoppers– sold in most wine and regular markets- temporary and only bottle bling
  • Glass top decanter cork stoppers- temporary and designed in the packaging of spirits to keep air particles, moister and debris from spoiling contents; decanters are designed to temporarily hold aged reds for breathing purposes; until the wine is immediately consumed
  • Vacu Vin Wine Saver & Stoppers- removes the air the damages the wine by continuing  the oxidization, thus destroying any remaining wine. Sterile marbles were discovered, by adding them to a half bottle until it reaches the bottle neck, and then using the Vacu Vin to remove any remaining air, and placing in cool storage.
  • Half Bottle Method– This is the lowest tech, maybe even a traditional method. Pour wine into a half bottle, fill near the top, and cork it. (Pouring itself aerates and helps change the wine. Remember always to refrigerate. Cold preserves).
  • Gas- There are a variety of solutions in which gases, such as nitrogen are pumped into the wine to replace harmful oxygen. These work about as well as the methods above, more or less, but cost money and require replenishment of supplies. The consumer models don’t work as well as the big restaurant models.

Next weeks ‘Market Monday- Wine Preservation’ will discuss ‘History of Wine, and the Development of Wine Preservation’, with additions of our own incites on the subject…

Quick Facts About Cork

. natural product
. unique characteristics
. unparalleled properties
. environmentally friendly
. renewable resource
. steady supply

. managed healthy forests …we will be sharing a big concern- ‘Is There A Cork Shortage’?