Archive for the ‘ wine,food ’ Category

VinAssure Review #1

How did we discover VinAssure?

PIWC is always seeking out products we can try to review, but while over at GrapeRadio I viewed an ad for VinAssure and went to check it out.

Would we drink up too 700 bottles to make this product worth while?

Of course we would…do…drink plenty of wine with meals I prepare, and open lots more for wine tastings during the year. Any of you out there who value the wine you buy, or pour for family, friends, clients and host wine tastings will appreciate this product.

After contacting the products company we had to decide our approach to testing VinAssure. Of course we would open three wines, used the VinAssure Argon Gas canister, Vinuvac pumping device, and the cork method to see which preserved the wine as if we had just opened it. Before traveling to Spain last month, hubby and I opened a few bottles to test. We found that after our second attempt, and re-tasting the wine upon our return, the wines smell and taste were as if we had just opened it. Now we will open some more wines and share their results soon…

How can you tell there is argon gas in the VinAssure canister?

The manufacture and developer of VinAssure recommended this to me- Hold up a seal-able sandwich bag, make sure it’s flat (as opposed to having air trapped in it), seal it about 3/4 of the way, inject VinAssure into the bag for a slow count of 5, seal the bag all the way. VinAssure’s Argon has forced any air our of the bag and has remained IN the bag.

Now cup your hands around the bag and you will see a pillow effect from the argon that’s been injected. Visually that pillow equals the amount of Argon you’ve injected into a bottle with a 5 count. That’s approximately 185ml or 1/4 bottle. The ‘rest’ of what’s in the bottle’s empty space (if it’s more than 1/4 empty) is air, so there is now a mixture of air and Argon. Obviously, then, the more VinAssure you inject the greater the proportion of Argon and the greater the level of preservation.

We’ve found that the 5-count (or 1/4 bottle of Argon) is enough for the palates of most people. But the one constant in this is that all wines and all palates are not the same. Actually, the suggestion to add more Argon came from the calculation of the actual amount of gas going in and not from any negative feedback. Because the very expensive refrigerated preservation units (like Wine Keeper and Enomatic) use a method which keeps 100% of the empty space full of gas all the time, we wanted to be able to explain to users how much VinAssure it would take to simulate that method.

I tried what Peter recommended and you can see the pillow, as well as taste the difference in filling the wine bottle space with more than just room temp air, marbles, or pumping out the air. We also preserved the wine at room temp on the counter, as well as storing in a temp controlled upright wine cellar, and on a 45 degree tilted angle in the cellar.

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling

What else am I up too?

Eating Weeds
Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Arizona Wines- MeCaSah

Southwest Arizona Scenery

Not only is southern Arizona beautiful in paintings of the southwest style, but it is a great place to visit. Being from Texas and not having such good wines produced, I was skeptical about trying Arizona wines, but it was a good experience.

Visiting Tucson, Elgin, Sonoita areas we found a few wineries who were producing some decent grapes, but some were just bringing them in from California. What was the point? Maybe their grape varietals needed more maturing, but one winery was producing good cabernet, merlot and syrah grapes on their sprawling vineyard. A beautiful day and drive, we ended up purchasing a great bottle of wine.

After sharing it with my partner in wine sister, Adrienne, we decided it was worth the extra weight in the luggage after all. Sonoita Vineyard’s MeCaSah (My house wine), 06 Red Table Wine was a good match to the Italian meal we enjoyed together. Of course hubby broke out a Nickle and Nickle, and Adrienne brought a bottle of Sancere and an Isocolis cabernet blend, this bottle almost had not chance of survival. Well I was in love with its mellow and medium body. They were all good, but with a glass left in the MeCaSah bottle, I snuck it back into the carrier, and enjoyed it the next night. Savored every last drop.

When in Rome, or should I say Arizona, visit Sonoita Vineyards and pick up a bottle- tell them the chef from Texas sent ya’ll!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling  Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! </a> Read her post on ‘dogeuro’ stands along the Arizona highways!

When Its Time For Wine, It Can Be Spectacular

Opus One 1999

Aging wine can be a tricky thing. You have to be comfortable with spending money on wine, and letting it lie on its side until the right moment arrives. When is that? Not sure, then read up on the wines, and follow a few simple procedures- temperature, keeping it in a dark place, and on its side. A temperature controlled environment is the best, but understandably if one cannot afford to build a cellar, or basement area, then an upright refrigerated unit works.

How do you know a wine is meant to be aged? Here are a few notes-

Knowing how long to age wines can seem difficult. There are many types of grapes, many methods of production, a great variety of storage conditions and an overwhelming number of personal preferences. Each of these factors has an impact on how long a wine should be held before drinking. In general, wines gain complexity and lose fruitiness as they age. Tannic red wines also mellow and become softer as they age. Once a wine reaches maturity, it will usually plateau before slowly going downhill. Different grapes make wines with different aging profiles. As an example, most Cabernet Sauvignon will age for longer periods than most Merlot’s.

Of all the wines produced, more than 90% are designed to be consumed within a couple of years after they are produced. Understand that it is just as possible to age a wine for too long a time as it is to age it for too little a time.

In general, more expensive wines are usually designed to become better with age. Most inexpensive wines do not benefit from aging.

If you are not sure then read, or do your research. The internet is full of wine sites, forums and blogs, so it would be almost impossible not to find out a recommended aging time-line for your bottle of wine.

Hubby and I opened up this Opus One with a meal at Ruth Chris Steak House. Corkage fee of $15 for a 1999 was a bargain. They did offer an 06 for $210, but you can purchase them for around $100, sometimes less if the store wants to unload them. Friends have often purchased wines off of Ebay, but unless you trust how it was stored, and the temperature, be careful.

I was disappointed in the Ribeye I had, over cooked, but hubby’s lamb chops were perfect. Sure I could have sent it back, but by the time we waited and arrived for dinner, I was hungry. They removed some of the bill for the mistake. I however feel a good Ribeye on the home grill is by far the best experience. Eating out is risky, and an expensive lesson.

Bordeaux Blend- Cab and other grapes

Opus One has lost some of its momentum in the wine connoisseur circles, but we felt it had aged perfectly. There are some higher end wines out there, but Opus One is still producing some good grapes, and is perfect for aging. Mellow and meaty- great with grilled meats. The recommendation for this wine was to open no later than 2012, so it just felt right to enjoy the wine. The best part of our meal was the company and the wine by far!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Pairing Wine with Market Finds

Over the summer Farmer’s Markets and Flea Markets are a great way to find local made goodies to introduce to friends along side a good wine.

We recently discovered a new friend was in the business of making biscotti- many flavors, and interesting combination’s too! As well as some hot sauce, or where I come from in Texas, Chili Paste who’s flavors still ring out in my memory, and I want to spread on even just the simplest piece of cheese.

Being sent a few bottles of wine from a winery in California’s Lodi region, especially a Syrah, Partner’s In Wine felt it was time to take the treats to the table to get others opinion on some pairings.

Earthquake Syrah-

Invited to a gathering and fundraiser, her and I each took a bottle to compare side by side. Both were good meaty and jammy on the taste buds. Syrah is know to pair well with spicy, with its own spicy notes. The chocolate biscotti also was good match, but a surprise was the coffee toffee biscotti that held up to the match.

Syrah is a good bottle to introduce those white zinfandel to white chardonnay drinkers to some good red wine. Drank with good bites like the Saba’s Hot Sauce Spread, and Randi’s Gourmet Food Biscotti will help them quickly decide red is the road to follow. It worked for us!

Cheers!

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Check out the Hatch Chili Post- Now these would go perfect with my Earthquake Syrah!