Posts Tagged ‘ wine storage ’

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!

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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!

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- 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’?